Sometimes our motivations mystify even ourselves.

The stage was set. Microphone in hand, laptop ready, and enthusiasm high. Despite the late hour and slight feelings of exhaustion from a long day parenting, recording tonight’s podcast episode was motivation enough to push forward. Fast forward to an hour later: I have recorded a sublime episode.

After finalizing the recording I began the editing process. Unfortunately, I realize that the entire recording has a layer of static blanketing it. I pretend my way around a vast array of knobs and buttons on the audio program in an attempt to fix it but to no avail. The recording is unusable. I have to record it again.

I glance at the time and measure my motivation. Neither are looking good. Despite giving myself a few pep talks, “You can do it!” “Don’t’ give up!” I shake my head, put my feet up and turn on Netflix. I give up.

Not only had I ceased the momentum of what I truly desired but now, instead of heading to bed to wake up refreshed and start over, I was potentially sabotaging my next day by staying up so late. Why?

I felt this tennis match of internal ethics playing in my mind. One side saying, “Go to bed start over in the morning!” vs the other side saying, “What’s the point? You tried. Just relax and watch a show.”

I realized my 51 percent was off. My 51 percent had become shadow.

51 percent is a term I often use with working with clients. They come to me with personal or professional blocks and I can usually tell how in-or-out of alignment they are within themselves. Out of a possible 100 percent total personal alignment (focus towards a goal), they may have 49 percent working towards their goal and 51 percent in self-sabotage mode or vice versa. Tonight my 51 percent was in self-sabotage mode or what I like to call the shadow side.

There was a motivation (or lack thereof) here that I was not seeing. Some part of me that had decided it was less important to complete my goal than it was to relax and forget about it. The part of me that tugged at my shirt and held me back from completing my own race had to be examined.

While pondering this (still relaxing on the couch mind you), I began to think about the depth of our shadow side. I began to realize that often we want to ignore this part of ourselves and see it as “bad” but in truth, it is neither good nor bad. This part of ourselves is simply a part of our whole. A part of us that chooses to remain hidden because it is trying to protect us. For whatever reason, this aspect of ourselves is simply internal scar tissue left from a moment that hurt us in the past. An event that sent a signal to our internal compass that doing X was not in our best interest. And now when this part of us perceives danger, it begins to act accordingly.

Now I know my podcast was not going to put my life in danger, but being in the spotlight could potentially make me vulnerable. Being vulnerable can hurt. Being hurt can suck. I can see how my shadow side was trying to protect me by getting me to stay on the sidelines of my own history where it is safe and quiet. To recognize my motivation as a part of me that is actually loving me, I can see that all of me is loving me all of the time. Even when it doesn’t feel that way. By taking this gentle approach to my self-examination I release the items holding me back and begin to embrace myself more fully. This approach leads to more alignment. Getting myself back to the 100 percent alignment mark. At least for a while.

Where is your 51 percent today?