Is Shame Running your Show? - Christine Kane

“You know, the money’s always just sorta been there. So I never paid that much attention to it. It seems to just show up when I need it.”

Elise and I were chatting about her business, her pricing, and why she’s never created (or stuck to) a plan for herself until now. She told me that her “abundance thinking” worked for covering the bills and having a little left over at the end of the month.

Only problem was that Elise had always known she had bigger dreams than “a little left over at the end of the month.”

Much bigger.

Plus, Elise had almost no time for herself, was often in chaos, and didn’t charge enough for her consulting work. She admitted that she wanted to have a plan, take back control, and feel a sense of purpose as she created more structure and systems in her business.

“So, why does it scare me so much to even admit those things I want and take the first conscious steps?” she asked. “It’s almost like it’s easier to just let things happen as they will – and then just settle for what money is left over!”

After mentoring so many women in their businesses, I’ve seen this pattern quite often. Many people call it laziness. Others blame ADD. Some believe it’s their destiny to stay stuck in the same place. Some call themselves “procrastinators.”

My experience (both personal and with clients) is that often it’s a sign that shame is running the show.

Shame is a really sneaky co-creator – sometimes even becoming a business partner! We might not realize it’s there, but often it’s making our decisions, keeping core beliefs in tact, and seeing that we don’t get too far out of our comfort zone.

Here are some ways shame runs the show:

• If we’ve always been “creative,” then we might still be living from the old messages that we’re not good with all that other left-brain stuff. Shame can keep us from believing that we can plan, strategize, or look at our numbers – while having big exciting creative dreams at the same time.

• Shame messages can be so deeply ingrained that we’ve stopped believing any other possible truths about ourselves. Instead, we just assume that those old stories must be true and don’t give ourselves a chance to expand.

• Shame can stop us from planning and thinking about where we want to go because we’re so used to the pattern of shaming ourselves for not reaching a goal or for making a mistake. So we simply choose not get that clear about what we want, thankyouverymuch.

• Rather than ask for help and begin to break our old patterns, we resort to avoiding that “left brain stuff” altogether.

• Shame will often convince us to simply give up on ourselves soon after we begin a new program or project or plan. (Usually when we hit an obstacle or block.) After all, we’ve never done it before – so we probably won’t do it this time.

• We use “Abundance Mindset” as a way to avoid the topic of money altogether – hoping it’ll all work out. (Yes, having a mindset of abundance is crucial. But it doesn’t mean you can’t also have a bookkeeper!)

• Conscious expansion is uncomfortable. Discomfort can be a trigger for old shame-y thoughts that might come up to tell you the same old stories – and then continue the same old patterns.


If any of these sound like you, then stay tuned. I’m going to share some “Been-There-Done-That” tips for breaking through these old shame patterns in the next post.

(Feel free to ask any questions about shame running the show – and I’ll be sure to cover it!)

  • Sarah

    I’ve just found your blog and have been truly inspired. Is there a link between shame and guilt/fear of actually making money when others don’t have money? Someone touched on this in an earlier comment. Thoughts arise such as “It would be embarrassing (or I would feel guilty) to make money because I came from a poor family” or “What would people expect of me if I made money” or “People would think I’m trying to attract attention to myself if I made money”. It’s almost safer to hope that I make enough money but not too much. It sounds so backward to see it written out like this, but I think these thoughts are influencing my decisions in pursuing self-employment…

  • Suzie Cheel

    Hi Christine,
    I relate to Elise and have been going down that path for longer than I would like to admit to. Just this week I am putting that plan into place. Your Uplevel you life mentoring that I have just started on I feel is the missing link and i like the daily accountability.I now know that this is a way that I will make the breakthrough i have been “trying to do ” for months.

    Shame is a funny thing and it definatly stops up doing what we love, asking for help and even trusting our own intuition. I look forrward to your next post and also to the call I missed on Friday, my Sat am- planning to be on the next call
    in gratitude

  • Allison J

    It makes perfect sense Christine – thank you.

  • Christine Kane

    Thanks everyone!

    L – see if the next post gives you a few clues! And let me know in the comments…

    Allison – the “not knowing” is – in my experience – a beginning point. I don’t think this is shame at all. I think it’s what happens when we have spent so much time doing what we don’t really love – that we’ve never given ourselves a chance to figure out what we DO love. My advice – which is kinda uncomfortable – is to sit with this ‘not knowing’ for a while. And look around your life – not just at the job situation – but even in your environment – and see what things are there that you don’t really love or want – but that you allow anyway. (And try to let it go. move it out of there!) Live empty for a while and let the things you DO love start to reveal themselves to you. Does that make sense?

  • Allison J

    Christine – thanks for this post. I have a question. I currently work in a job four days a week, but I desire a lifestyle where I can work while my son is at school. I have been following your blog and others about self employment an undoubtably I will go down this route. My question is this. When I think about what I could do as a business my mind goes blank. Its the same when I think about writing a book (another thing I’d love to do) – what would I write about – blank mind! Do you think think this is shame in action? What can I do to over come this?

  • Tim D

    I *totally* agree. This is a major problem facing anyone who strikes out on their own. (Everybody probably faces it in some form, but it’s not quite as significant for someone who takes a specific job working for someone else.) I find that I shy away from certain tasks that I know are crucial…It’s not always “shame” that gets in the way, but also a lack of familiarity, a fear of messing up, or whatever.

    But you’ve got to go out and make yourself uncomfortable…

  • L

    When I was a kid, I often had big dreams or ideas that my parents — my dad, in particular — laughed at, saying I had better marry rich so someone could take care of me, or generally mocking me as too big for my britches. (It wasn’t quite as overt as it sounds, but it sure felt that way.) Sometimes I did take on more than I could handle, and that was seen as proof that I had no common sense and was easily duped by my own fantasies. I felt so foolish.

    It took a long time to emerge from that. I stayed hidden doing marketing for other people’s big dreams. In the last six years or so, though, a lot has changed. I took a chance, tried writing books for kids, and have published two and am finishing a third which is already under contract. Should make me feel pretty good, right?

    It does. And yet I have not taken the next step. I’ve been hesitant to really jump into marketing myself (I was a marketer for crying-out-loud! I know what to do!) because I am so afraid of looking foolish, of looking like I want attention, of failing and that being further proof of all that was said about me so long ago.

    This is why I sat here at my desk over and over with my fingers hovering over the keyboard, wanting to sign up for your recent Uplevel Your Life seminar and yet hearing the voices of all those people from my past — what if I signed up and didn’t really commit to doing the work? what if I signed up and did the work and nothing changed? what if — and here’s the really scary part — what if I signed up and did the work and things DID change and then I was OUT THERE with even more opportunities to fail and look foolish in front of even more people???

    I chickened out.
    Maybe next time I wont.

    Anyway, That’s the shame and I sure would love some advice for working through it.

  • Lisa Zimmerman

    Your info is fabulous and right on! The one I hear often is “if Spirit wants it to happen,” as if we have no will to create what we want or, “if it’s meant to be.”

    I have learned that we have MUCH more power than we realize once we have the tools – internal and external – and know how to use them, which is the ultimate great news 🙂

    I so look forward to your next blog post with solutions. You so painted the picture with this one!

    xx Lisa

  • Paul

    I stumbled upon your blog while doing some research on Vision Boarding. It was like finding an old friend, or my true self. So much commonality in experience (well except maybe the music thing — you don’t want to hear me sing!) This piece particularly hit home — I find myself in these continuing cycles of motivation/alignment and then analysis paralysis/inner critic that stops me in my tracks. One of the pieces you wrote that speaks to “just do something — stop thinking” also seems to align itself with this topic. I’ve been doing some self-confidence work lately — it seems to have evaporated in the past few years — which of course speaks to core beliefs — again shame raises it’s ugly head. Really looking forward to what you have found, your thoughts, and those of other readers…. Keep up the great work!

  • Christine Kane

    Vicky – i think you’re expressing what a lot of self-employed people go through. It’s AMAZING to live in gratitude, yes. And to be able to just KNOW that the money will come ine. AND – i’ve worked with so many people to help them realize that taking some time to face the desire (without shame or guilt about having it!) and find out what new action steps might help build things up so that the business is always running smoothly… ALWAYS brings about a higher level of results (without losing the gratitude or the abundance thinking!)

    Evie – you’re absolutely right here. I think the old “shame-y” messages we got can be right OR left-brain ish. And of course, we all have so much learn from both sides of the brain. (Which is over-simplifying of course – but you get my meaning, i think!)

  • Evie

    I’d like to add that just as always being “creative” can be a problem the opposite is always true. I was always “left-brained” and believed I wasn’t good at that “creative” stuff. While I might not be able to paint or write a poem, there are things I am good at that can be considered “creative”. It just took me a really long time to realize that and now that I do, it’s really exciting.

  • Vicky

    Thank you for this – I’m really looking forward to seeing your next post. This abundance cap/limit mindset is something I think I might be struggling with and it’s been on my mind alot lately. I’ve always felt lucky and grateful to have always seemed to have just enough to get by – this has been in spite of giving up regular jobs, decent salaries, selling home, going travelling and setting up a business based on the passions of me and my partner. Our work is rewarding but very sporadic now. So, I suppose the fact that we have continued to manage to pay bills (so far, so good), sometimes serendipitously and miraculously, seems like reason enough to be really grateful and very happy. Cash flow seems to appear just at the precise moment we wonder how we’re going to cover the next set of bills. However, despite not having bank debt these days, we’re still not quite comfortable with our financial situation and with the way our cash flows. At times we may use deposits paid for work not yet carried out, rather than dip into our overdraft or use cash set aside for later tax payments, rather than go overdrawn. This is all built on long term projections. But my fears kick in when I think, what if? What if for some reason the work doesn’t come to us? Then we’d be in trouble. Ideally, my goal is to have enough money in the bank to pay for our lifestyle in real time, with enough left over to indulge in some bigger dreams – who doesn’t!!? Then, I remind myself to live each day and be grateful for the lifestyle we have built – a rural home by the sea which has been a long held dream, no 9-5, working with our talents, covering the bills and enjoying good food, pleasant surroundings, good times with family and friends and so on. As I write, I realise that this is about finding the balance between gratitude for what you have and perhaps not feeling guilty about wanting yet more? Yes, the guilt is what limits me. Why should I have more when others have so little? But, thank you for this blog – tips like filling your car up at the tank every time and choosing to buy the best quality, not the cheapest every time, has improved our state of mind and not sent us into a downward financial spiral as previously feared. Part of the process of making a creative lifestyle change often involves changing old mind-sets and maybe realising that you no longer need or even want to shop for new clothes ever other day and dine out every other night….but ultimately not going so far in the other direction that you ruin the pleasure of the lifestyle you seeked to create in the first place.