Lifestyle + Wellness

Why Shadow Work Should Be in your Business Calendar

photo of person holding cup

March 22, 2024

“If we all allow ourselves to feel the unconscious, divine, kinky pleasure we’ve been suppressing, then we are left with just our intelligence to guide our decisions, and that’s great. Your own intelligence and consciously chosen principles are a much better ethical compass than your reactive feelings of guilt.” 

Carolyn Lovewell (formerly Elliott), Existential Kink: Unmask Your Shadow and Embrace Your Power

There’s a lot of talk in the personal development space for entrepreneurs that makes it sound like we have to heal past wounds in order to be successful in business. While there are many cases in which some wounds need to go in order to overcome concrete barriers standing in your way, it’s easy for it to become a trap.

But today I want to talk about why shadow work could be a beneficial addition to your business diary the way setting a day to do your accounts every week or planning your diary is.

photo of person holding cup in front of a journal

What is Shadow Work

If you haven’t heard about it before, the term “Shadow Work” refers to an idea in the psychology of Carl Jung that the unconscious mind holds the parts of ourselves that we repress and hide from ourselves. It’s things that we find undesirable about yourself and don’t want people to know. For example, a common shadow trait for people who are socialised as girls when little is that anger is a shameful emotion that should be suppressed.

Another way to look at the shadow is a negative expression of what would be a neutral personality trait. For example, sticking to things that affect women, a man is assertive and praised but a woman is bossy and a bitch. The trait is the same, but the narrative turns it into a negative and plenty of women will then shut down a part of themselves to avoid that perception. 

Shadow Work is all the activities that can help you bring these traits to your conscious awareness and take steps to alchemise them.

Why Shadow Work Matters in Business

Think of someone you find charismatic. They have what you would say is a magnetism, or an energy, right? That’s the most basic level in which to understand the power of energetics. Of course as a witch I work with other layers underneath it, things more subtle like even the energy I had coming to my laptop to write this blog post.

I put a lot of emphasis into coming to my work from an energy of gratitude. Even the tasks I like the least, I get to do them. I have my own business, which is a huge privilege. I’m working at 7.30pm drinking tonic water from a champagne glass, a pizza with prosciutto and fresh rocket for my dinner, a song from Idolish7 playing, my mind sharp because I’m a night owl, ready to wrap up quicker than if I tried to write this at 10am and then go off to enjoy my evening. It’s a vibe.

photo of cup beside books

It’s not a “wise” strategy in the masculine paradigm of business that values linear understandings of consistency, hustle, and showing up no matter what, but unless I have a meeting I’d rather take time out and face what’s going on, than put something into the world out of obligation. And I know people who are so protective of the energy they show up in that they reschedule meetings too)

But when you work with energy, you understand that it’s like investing money (which many say is energy, too). It compounds, and the higher the sum the higher the potential return.

What to Focus on for Shadow Work for Business

In my experience, the main areas in which wounds get triggered in business are around worthiness receiving, visibility, and of course money. For some who are new or aspiring entrepreneurs they can also come up around being good enough to have a business to begin with.

But, at the end of the day, us humans are far less capable of compartmentalising our lives than our society would like us to. So all areas that affect how we feel about ourselves and the world around us can have repercussions for business.

Shadow Work could be journalling, therapy, ritual work, or other forms of self-explorations like meditation and self-hypnosis. For traumatic situations there are modalities that are designed to bypass the conscious mind and heal in the background, like EMDR and Rapid Resolution Therapy (RTT), which is a modality in which past podcast guest and healer Christian Jones is trained in.

close up photo of notebook with pen

In the episode together last summer, we talked about healing the Witch Wound, which shows up in business owners around visibility in marketing. For the same season I interviewed certified facilitator of the Spiral School of Awakening Beth Neely, and multi-modality healer and therapist Lou Henwood.

I hope our conversations can give you information and inspiration for how to incorporate this spiritual discipline in your work even if you don’t have a spiritual business yourself (if you didn’t know, aside from the podcast and Witchy Musings, I don’t either!)

Making Shadow Work a Part of Work

While we start our lifestyle businesses to find better balance with our personal life, it’s easy to have too much on our plates. But like our education in our field, we have to keep growing to match the direction of our business if we desire for our business to grow.

Making time in our calendar to be intentional with connecting with ourselves, and making it equivalent to other business tasks should increase our likelihood of actually doing it. It can even be just a 5 minutes debrief looking at things that triggered us or thoughts we have had during the day that do not serve us.

A healthy inner life is as important as a healthy body, and that’s especially true of those of us whose business rely on as its most important asset.

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The character Amy Sherman-Palladino would write in a series about a traveling witchy photographer obsessed with Hakuoki
Currently in: London 🇬🇧
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