How Inner Wisdom Helped Tom Move beyond a Childhood Vow to Succeed in a New Job

Sometimes you know exactly what you need to do to move forward, but you can’t bring yourself to do it.  You feel stuck and frustrated with no idea of what’s holding you back.  In such situations issues left over from childhood may be creating a block. Until you surface and resolve this block it may be difficult, if not impossible, to move ahead.

If you have ever been around children, you know how intensely they experience things.  These intense responses often lead to vows.  For example, if you grew up in a house with an angry, abusive father you may have promised yourself that you would never be that mean toward your own children.

As a child you took these vows very seriously.  When you carry them into your adult life, they can impact you powerfully.

You may be totally unaware of the vow that’s creating problems in the present. Or you may be conscious of the situation but have no idea of how powerfully it’s impacting you.  Either way, there’s no moving ahead until you surface and resolve whatever is standing in your way.


When Tom came to see me he had been at his present position only a month.  Though he’d had several career moves prior to his most recent one, he had never before experienced anything like the paralysis he suffered in this situation.

About a year prior to coming to see me, Tom, a successful banker, had felt ready to branch out and try something new, so he’d taken a position with a financial planning firm.  Things had gone well in this position until the economy tanked.  Tom found it increasingly hard to make his numbers and knew it was only a matter of time before he would be fired. He decided to jump ship.

With his excellent track record at his old bank, Tom had no trouble landing a new position there. Though he enjoyed an earning potential equivalent to that in the investment firm, returning to the organization he had left behind bothered Tom. It felt like a step backward.

Tom knew exactly who he needed to call to get going in his new position, but he couldn’t pick up the phone.  The embarrassment he felt at the thought of reconnecting with his old contacts puzzled him.

He frequently lost focus, as doubts about the wisdom of his recent job change intruded in his mind.  Tom had always relished the challenges and rewards of banking, but he even began to question whether he should remain in finance. His doubts and confusion sapped his energy, undermined his confidence, and kept him stuck.

Tom had no idea of what was going on, so we turned to his Inner Wisdom for answers. When we asked what he needed to know, his father’s situation immediately came to mind.

Tom’s father had stayed at the same company for forty-five years.  As a young man, Tom felt critical of his dad for staying stuck.  In Tom’s view, his father could have accomplished much more in life if he hadn’t been bound by a sense of duty to the company he stayed with for his entire career.

Early in life, Tom vowed never to repeat his father’s mistake.  The part of Tom which made that commitment saw returning to a company he had left behind as a failure. Once Tom became aware of how these feelings were influencing him, he could deal with them directly and dispel them.

Tom recognized that returning to the bank where he’d worked most recently wasn’t the same as spending his entire career with a single employer. He could see that this move wasn’t really a betrayal of his early vow.

Releasing the shame he had felt at going back on his commitment freed Tom to wholeheartedly pursue his goals.  He began making the necessary calls, and moved ahead successfully in his new job.

Notice that even though Tom was consciously aware of his father’s history and his feelings about it, he failed to recognize the powerful impact his earlier views created in his current situation. He could not see how his earlier commitment to himself stood in the way of his moving forward.  Once he became aware of this connection, these vows lost their power over him.


What you can do

Next time you feel stuck take some time to discover any childhood vows that may be standing in your way.

1.  Give yourself plenty of space and time and allow yourself to relax deeply.

2.  Ask deep within, “What situation from my past is impacting me now?”  Then wait quietly for any awareness that comes to you.  It is very important that you avoid trying to figure the answer out in your mind.  Instead, wait openly for an awareness to arise.

3.  Once you are clear on what is blocking you, ask “What do I need to know about this situation that can free me from the impact it is having on me in the present?”  Once again, remain very open for any awareness that arises.

4.  Continue to ask any questions you need until you reach resolution.

You’ll know you’ve discovered and resolved the block when you find yourself acting freely.

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