Identifying Internal Resistance

Jane Elliott PhD
3 min readDec 30, 2022


A free one-hour workshop.

Choose to attend either Friday, 6 January 2023 or Saturday 7 January 2023 at 12 pm New York/5 pm London time. On Zoom. Sign up here.

When you wake up every day determined to do something and then go to bed every night knowing you didn’t do it, it can feel completely baffling.

Like: I know I want to go to grad school. Or get this promotion. Or start my business. So why do I just keep not doing it? Why do I keep steering directly away from the direction I actually want to go? Who exactly is driving this thing, and why are they so determined to thwart me?

I call this dynamic internal resistance. Since I started writing about it, the most common question I’ve gotten has been: but why the hell is it happening?

The reason I can’t answer this question in an article is that the answer is specific for every person.

That’s because internal resistance is like a fingerprint for the brain, a unique pattern of neural pathways we’ve each built across a lifetime worth of experiences related to talent, achievement and recognition.

It would be a lot simpler if this wasn’t true, if the reason was always really basic and predictable. Like: oh, we’re just afraid of failure. Or we’re actually just afraid of success.​

But human behaviour isn’t driven by floating generalisations like this. If we’re afraid of failure or success, it’s because our brains decided at some point that there was a specific, logical reason to be afraid. That decision might be one you want to change, and you definitely can — helping people do that is my main purpose as a coach — but only if you know what exactly the issue is.

A quick example: imagine you’re dragging your feet about going up for promotion and it just seems to make no sense. It might turn out that deep down you’re convinced your boss will say no and you’ll feel like an idiot for even trying. Or it could turn out that you’re actually convinced he’ll say yes and worried you won’t be up to the job.

There are ways to dismantle these kinds of convictions either way, but if we work on the first one when the real issue is the second one, we’ll get nowhere.​

There is always a self-protective logic at work when we can’t move forward. And once we know that logic, we can start to challenge it. But first we need to identify it.

In this free workshop, I’m going to teach you how to do exactly that. I’ll share specific tools to use to identify your internal resistance, and talk through what to do once you have figured it out.​

I’ll guide you in using some of these techniques in real time, and also coach some volunteers live on the call as well.​

I’ll be sharing some tools I’ve never taught publicly before, so if you’ve attended a workshop or worked with me in the past, this will be fresh information.

And if you’ve ever wanted to work with me or ask me questions but aren’t able to coach with me for whatever reason, this is an ideal chance to do it for free.

You can find the sign-up and an FAQ for the workshop here. Any other questions, you can email me.

I’m a coach, a professor and a writer. Contact me at




Jane Elliott PhD

Coach, Prof, Writer, Swear-er | I help high-achievers do the one thing they just can't do.