Parts Work

I need to prove myself

Published 4 months ago • 1 min read

“Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed and trapped by this part of me that needs to prove myself to other people.”

My client was describing why decisions that should feel simple had become paralyzing, and why writing reports or even basic slack replies needed 2 or 3 times longer than necessary to edit before hitting send.

“Do you know, that growing up, I don’t think I ever heard my mom say she was proud of me even once?”

It hadn’t always been so paralyzing. For a long time, the chip on the shoulder was a huge motivator. It pushed them to succeed; driving promotion after promotion. But a few recent setbacks had transformed the chip on the shoulder into a claw in their back, and now everything ran through the “I need to prove myself” filter.

We went deeper. We found another part that was watching every move, scrutinizing every decision, making sure that they wouldn’t make a single mistake and ‘catching’ them when they would. But, when we slowed down and listened to that part, it didn’t want to be stuck in this role of watching for mistakes. It wanted to focus out on the horizon and help look out for obstacles.

Once that gaze shifted, the part that needed to prove itself felt less scrutinized. Over time we were able to build more trust with that part until, in almost a whisper, it said, “I don’t want to need to prove. I want to help us improve.”

“What was that?”

“I want to help us improve.”

And, from that moment all the energy going into fear and anxiety, seeking approval, and preventing mistakes, shifted to courage and curiosity, seeking feedback, and creating growth.

Thank you for subscribing to Parts Work.

If these stories resonate with you, and you would like hire a guide to help you discover and work with your own unique parts, I am waiting for your call.

Until next time,

Thomas Knoll


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Parts Work

by Thomas Knoll – Founder,

Parts Work is an intimate encounter with the practice of Self Healing Leadership.​ Subscribe to hear what it is like when we go inside to do this transformative work.

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