A client and friend of mine used this term just last week: “holding pattern”. It had been about a year since we’d worked together, and he’d been reflecting on that period and noticing, in hindsight, all the change that had happened in his life and decisions he’d made since our three sessions. He said he went from “holding pattern” to “watershed moment”.  

As we approach the end of one year and beginning of the next, a bit of reflection is natural. It’s certainly been an odd year for most of us, and has possibly prompted even more questioning and reassessing than usual. Forced change tends to do that!

How do you feel as you approach 2021?  

Do you feel excited?  

Do you feel those yummy butterflies of joyful anticipation?  

If not, why not?

When my client came to work with me he felt he’d been in a holding pattern since his (amicable) divorce. He was functioning well, his business was successful, he was actually doing just fine, and yet he felt like he was treading water. Can you relate to this?

Are you in a holding pattern? Can you see others who are?


Well, there are different ways to answer this question, different ways of thinking about it, and different reasons for it happening! However, understanding how our subconscious mind works is key.


One of the functions of our subconscious mind is to protect us. It’s the aspect of us which expresses animal instincts, the ego, and which ensures our physical survival. The only thing is, it’s naïve. Sometimes its idea of protection is actually sabotaging us!

Let’s just say you’re in a “holding pattern”. It might be ‘stuck-ness’ at work, in relationships, in your career, in your health, or another aspect of life. You recognize it, and you want to snap out of it and move on. If your subconscious believes that it’s not safe for you to move on and affect the change you consciously want, it will keep you in that holding pattern come hell or high water in its attempt to ‘protect’ you.  

Sound familiar?


Remember – we create the reality which our subconscious believes to be true, not which our conscious mind believes to be true. So let’s say you have an experience which results in an unconscious (or subconscious) core belief: “I don’t deserve ___, or I’m a failure. I don’t deserve to be happy or successful…” Can you see how the subconscious would then stick you in a behavioural (and possibly also emotional) holding pattern in order to make that belief a reality?  

That’s how powerful it is. Our subconscious beliefs prompt our choices, which then dictate our behaviour, which in turn creates our experience.

So however you look at it, a “holding pattern” is the subconscious mind unwittingly sabotaging us and orchestrating our discontent and lack of fulfilment. It keeps us in that very safe place - exactly where we are!


Is this ringing any Christmas bells for you? Are any Christmas tree lights flickering in the grey matter?

As you approach your fresh new year, are there holding patterns you want to break free of? Are you feeling shackled to your past and unable to move on and live life as you’d like?

Do you sense that you should feel happy, but you just don’t?

You’re so much more powerful than you realise – it’s just that that power (the extraordinariness of the subconscious mind) has been unintentionally misused. It’s been used to orchestrate your disappointment and emptiness, not your joy and fulfilment.

Get real with yourself here. What change do you want? Why wait? The way you want to experience 2021 begins with a strong, irreversible, conscious choice. How about giving yourself the gift of your very own watershed moment?

You’ve got this!  

Get in touch if you need help.

About Sally

As a former international opera singer, Sally Wilson knows a thing or two about being at the top of your field. And she’s discovered first-hand what it feels like to step away from the spotlight and lose your identity.

Through coaching, Sally helps her clients let go of their self-sabotaging beliefs and discover freedom, joy and fulfillment. As an accredited TRTP™ practitioner, Sally uses evidence-based practices to create changes that are quick, safe and lasting.

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