Ariel vs. Ursula: How to Overcome Resistance

Ariel vs. Ursula- How to Overcome ResistanceFor over 20 years now, I’ve been in love with The Little Mermaid (Disney version). We’ve got a lot in common.

Like Ariel, I…

  • Love purple.
  • Have a Texas-sized mane of red hair.
  • Am the youngest in a close-knit set of sisters.
  • Possess a bit of an independent streak.
  • Married a tall, dark, handsome (sailor) man in uniform.
  • Had to move away from my fam and over the rainbow (ahem…Hawaii) to be with him.
  • Completely lost my voice…the day before our wedding. [KID YOU NOT. That had NEVER happened before in my life (despite my best efforts to “go hoarse” at years of Backstreet Boys concerts and Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo performances), and it hasn’t happened since. Bizarre.]
  • Face an evil opposition named Ursula.

Today I want to focus on tackling that last one: Ursula. How to beat the opposition and overcome resistance.

I also want to help you identify YOUR evil opposition, and give you some tools to stab that B with a trident and send her back to the depths of the ocean where she belongs.

How to Overcome Resistance

I’ve got some big to-dos on my plate this month – both personally and professionally.

We’ve got a busy fall coming up, so the past couple of weeks were the perfect time for me to get a head start. And yet, I was having an uncharacteristically tough time doing that.

The only way to explain it was “resistance.”

Funny thing is: I don’t even USE the word resistance. But I knew that’s what it was. And you know what confirmed it?

A little postcard from our local library, telling me that my copy of The War of Art by Steven Pressfield was ready for pickup.

Read The War of Art

I’d requested this book a couple of months ago and had since completely forgotten about it. Still, to avoid the $1 fine for abandoning it, I headed to the library.

When I opened up the cover and read the first few lines of Robert McKee’s foreword, I laughed.

“Steven Pressfield wrote the war of art for me. He undoubtedly wrote it for you too, but I know he did it expressly for me because I hold Olympic records for procrastination.”

At that point I knew two things:

  1. This was no coincidence. This resistance (procrastination) was real, and this book was gonna help me kick it in the booty.
  2. If I wanted to finish it any time soon, I’d need to buy the audio version.

And so I did. Best $11.95 I’ve spent in a while. I listened to it all the way through while decluttering closets, sorting through tiny clothes and shoes that no longer fit my little man, and commuting to and fro.

If you’ve never heard of The War of Art, you need to get a copy. ASAP. It’s a MUST-READ for, well, just about everyone I can think of.

Until you’re able to read it, though, here’s my quick summary:

Resistance is real – an evil force trying to keep you from doing what you were created to do. The stronger you feel resistance to something, the more important it is that you DO it. (Unless, of course, you’re feeling resistance to drugs or something harmful. Don’t do that.)

Also, to be a pro, you have to commit and do your work. The hardest part isn’t doing it, but starting it. So make yourself sit down every day and crank something out. It’s not a coincidence that when you sit down and make an effort, miracles happen. The words come. It’s God’s way of rewarding you for doing your work.

Bottom line: You owe it to yourself and the world to do the work you were meant to do. Do it.


Back to Ursula – The Opposition

A week or so ago I told my friend Brie how I was feeling allergic to this next big project. I was facing serious doubts – unsure if it would be worth the effort, if my clients (and future customers) would really LOVE it as much as they deserve to.

Ariel's Voice

My resistance was an evil force trying to silence my voice. To keep me from sharing what I know I was created to share.

It clicked: My resistance was URSULA!

Trying to make me second-guess myself. To steal this project right out from underneath me and hide it from the world in that tacky shell necklace of hers.



The Bigger the Potential Impact, The Bigger the Resistance

What I’m working on for the fall is my biggest undertaking yet. It’s going to be a game-changer for my business, for me, and for those who sign up for it.

So really, it’s no surprise that I’m being challenged on it. It’s going to have a big impact! The dark side is intimidated by it. Doesn’t want it to come to light.

But oh, friend. It’s gonna come to light.

Once I named my resistance, saw it for what it is, I felt empowered. It’s almost fun to know that what I’m working on intimidates the hey out of Ursula. Because now I’m more determined than ever to create something of tremendous value for my clients and customers. (Take that!)

Now that I’ve identified my opposition, I know how to beat it.  And I want to help you do the same.

So here you go.


How to Overcome Resistance in 6 (Deceptively Simple) Steps

  1. Admit that it’s there. Be honest with yourself. Have you been avoiding a big project? Doubting that you can handle the next step? On a writing strike because, among other things, you don’t know what to blog about? Acknowledge the resistance!Ursula
  2. Give it a name. Personify that blah negative energy that’s keeping (okay, repelling) you from your work. Naming it reinforces that it’s a real (albeit invisible) force you’re reckoning with.
  3. Understand the WHY. Use this as an opportunity to STOP and reflect a bit. What can you learn from this resistance? Is this project going to take your business to the next level? Help a LOT of people change their lives in some meaningful way? Is there something fundamentally off with your current approach – and you need to realign before moving forward?
  4. Use the WHY as a pep rally. This type of resistance only comes when you’ve got something pretty amazing in the works. Yay for YOU! Use that as fuel and encouragement to “Keep SINGING!”
  5. Commit to doing the work. Nothing will hurt your Ursula more than when you sit down and do the work. Make a commitment to keep mindfully plugging forward, even when it feels like a struggle. No one else can create this for you.
  6. Share it with the world. Put your work out there. Let it change your life and the lives of your dream clients, customers, and readers. Be proud and share your voice.

Then watch your Ursula sink straight to the bottom of the ocean.


NOTE: This isn’t the last time I’ll reference The Little Mermaid or The War of Art. I’m kind of obsessed with them both. There’s a lot more to say about resistance too.

If you liked this post, please use the buttons below to share it with like-minded amigos. Get the word out!

And if you need a little reinforcement, I’d be glad to help. (I’ve got your back!)

Ursula doesn’t stand a chance when we shine a light right on her.

In the comments below, I’d LOVE to know:

What will you name YOUR resistance? What’s the big amazing project it’s trying to keep you from starting (or finishing)?

2014 Update: I lost my voice literally days after publishing this post in 2013. HA! Aaaand now almost exactly a year later. Same thing. Also, one of my new fave ways to deal with resistance is to use EFT and tap it away. (Looks cray cray, but don’t knock it til you try it. Brad’s the man.)



  1. Teri Smart

    Nikki, you totally nailed this.. I was feeling this last week while trying to narrow in on my ideal client. I had to stop and ask myself “hey whats going on?” I even started to write about it! (Journaling helps me work through this junk!) I found its that evil trying to keep us from moving forward! So, in the words of Jesus, “get behind me satan”! I’ve got an impact to make. Thanks nikki for sharing!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      “I’ve got an impact to make.” – Perfect, Teri!

  2. Catherine Cerulli

    An excellent article Nikki. And, i imagine the relationship with my “Ursula” differently.

    Rather than an opponent to vanquish, I see her as a part of myself that needs to be honored & embraced, reassured & respected.

    My Ursula desires to protect me with her fear and procrastination. Rather than succumb, I look more closely. Within the fear is a desire to protect. Deeper still, there is a gem of insight that will add a sparkle to my project.

    Perhaps at 60, my perspective on Ursula is different as she and I have been doing battle for years. At this point in my life, I recognize that she is a worthy companion….just not one that I want to take on a play date!

    1. Susan Seale

      Catherine, I hear you:) In my 20’s and 30’s I was vanquishing my Ursula
      and now in my 50’s I care for her, listening to her for any wisdom
      couched in fear and yes, taking the time to see the gem that will bring

      1. Catherine Cerulli

        Yes, Susan….it is so interesting to bear witness to this evolution of perspective. Now, I find myself wondering what my Ursula look like in my 80s! :-)

    2. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Love this discussion, Catherine + Susan! Absolutely – resistance is an opportunity to reflect. That’s what I’m going for with step #3.

      Sometimes resistance provides us with a much-needed chance to slow down and reevaluate.

      Pressfield talks about that too. (Again – love this book.)

      Thanks for sharing!

      1. Catherine Cerulli

        Yes Nikki….you are so spot-on. Am going to have pick up Pressfield’s book. Thank you for the recommendation. :-)

        1. Nikki Elledge Brown

          Can’t WAIT to hear what you think. Keep me posted!

  3. Dr. Tonia Winchester

    The irony is, in the Little Mermaid, Ursula yells, “KEEP SINGING!!!!!!” to Ariel. Yes, at the time she is trying to steal her voice, but she is still encouraging her. I say we do that with resistance. Turn it on its head and let it encourage you. Kyle Cease is a funny little comedian turned inspired consciousness speaker and he has this great little exercise to get in the flow and get creative. You can watch the vid here: until the end of the weekend. His vid is 3rd from the bottom. KEEP SINGING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Absolutely the point of step #4! Just went and added that :)

  4. Victoria Montemayor

    I JUST worked this out with a friend a few minutes ago.

    I am a powerful woman, spiritually and professionally. I know how to beat “Ursula” in the tentacles – or at least not be consumed by her.

    And, yet, I have been almost disgusted with myself for how stuck I have been the last few weeks in my work. Underneath all the fear of sharing myself with the world is “I’m not good enough” – and not for others, but for myself!

    I felt fake and hesitant to really give to my clients what I know I can because I hadn’t done the same work for myself. Complete lack of integrity. No wonder I was resisting!

    After distinguishing my own Ursula, I created a whole new future of claiming who I am – for myself. I am that everything I do be a gift to me. What a more powerful place to bring value to others when I’m free & fulfilled.

    I can’t wait to see how this plays out!

    P.S. My project is to launch my first offer by Wednesday. Watch out world!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      That is fabulous, Victoria!!!

      Totally hear you on that. When I first envisioned this project, I had painted myself into a content box I wasn’t excited to fill. That’s one reason I was resisting! Once I put more thought into it, I realized I needed to shift my perspective and my approach moving forward.

      Now I can’t find the time to write it fast enough :)

      Can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on!

  5. Claire Brewster

    I love that book, bought it a couple of years ago, and am always dipping into it. Resistance is the biggest thing to get over, but at least once you know it’s there you can start to fight it. I love the idea of being a warrior in my studio. I hadn’t thought of naming it before though, with have to think about a suitable name. I am also working on some bit and hopefully game changing work for the Autumn and early next year, so really need to get the resistance in check. cx

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Can’t wait to see what you’re coming up with over there, Claire.

      Sounds silly, but naming the resistance made all the difference. It’s like it’s more real when I put a (half-human, half-squid) face on it, and I acknowledge that it’s a REAL force to be reckoned with.

      Thankfully I know who wins :)

  6. Jennifer Smith

    I love reading your posts Nikki! I’m feeling this way too about my 3-3-3 FB Ads project that YOU helped me write the copy for! It’s hard managing my current SEO biz while trying to kickstart my new Facebook gig but I gave it a name and now I’m giving it a face…having a graphic created for it and everything and I’m just gonna commit, GIVE IT A NAME, and make it happen :)

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Boom! You got it, Jen. Think of all the entrepreneurs out there who need help figuring out what on earth to do with those Facebook ads! We need YOU :)

  7. Denise Dare

    Brilliant, Nikki!

    I’ve been a huge fan of Ariel since I was choreographing dances to “Under the Sea” with girlfriends back in the day…love that you’ve usurped your power from your inner Ursula and are cruising ahead stronger & more aligned!

    And, thank you for the reminder about the War of Art…this has been on my To Read list for a while now…thinking I’ll get the audio too!

    Hugs & Happy Days to YOU!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Ha! Absolutely. I think I had at least three “Ariel” birthday parties in a row. The plus of having a pool and a summer birthday ;)

      So excited for you to read/listen to The War of Art. It is a refreshing kick in the booty and I will refer back to it OFTEN.

  8. Wendy Mak

    Great post Nikki. At the heart of my resistance is a fear of failing. And it’s a CONSTANT, conscious effort to acknowledge my resistance (have yet to give it a name), give it no further attention. park it and keep moving forward. xx

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      I hear you, Wendy!

      That’s the heart of my analogy from last week’s post:

      It can be scary to put yourself out there and OWN it. Publicly proclaiming who you want to work with is a bit like asking someone out on a date. What if she says no?!

      But you’re a boss. You’re THE boss. So I encourage you to squash that hypothetical hater in your brain and instead welcome the cool guy. The cool guy asks, “What if she says YES?!”

      Friend. She’s going to say yes.


  9. Chivon John

    Nikki this is such a fun an awesome post! I couldn’t help but smile when I read this because I’m a huge Ariel fan, love purple too and the War of Art is one of my favourite books. Your article is so timely because I’m actually reading the book AGAIN because my inner Ursula came back out to play since I’m working through some big projects too. I love your writing and thanks for sharing this.

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Thanks so much, Chivon! So glad you like it :) And CLEARLY you’ve got great taste.

      I felt totally confident investing in the audio book because JUST from that teeny bit of the foreword I *knew* I’d need to refer to this one on a regular basis. Totally get that.

  10. Robin Green

    I named my resistence, Judy, after my college professor/advisor who discouraged me from pursuing my career and did her best to cut me down and dash my hopes and dreams. Initially I was devastated after my meeting with her, but decided she she didn’t know sh*% about the career I was choosing. I’ve gone on to be very successful in my career and I’ve helped thousands of people. With every huge milestone I’ve accomplished I’ve thought of Judy and how if I’d listened to her I would have gone down the wrong path and wouldn’t have pursued my dreams. It seemed only fitting to name the B resistence Judy. Looking back I think Judy was really threatened by me, my passion and desire to make the world a truly better place. Isn’t that resistence in a nutshell? So on my current project I could feel resistence trying to stop me again and when I thought of it as Judy – it was extremely motivating to make Judy wrong again. Take that Judy!

  11. Urszula Lipsztajn

    As someone named Urszula (with a z) this sure was an interesting read. Never thought of myself as the opposition before ;)

  12. Lina Hollman

    You nailed it Nikki! Awesome post and one I can totally can relate to. I launched my new website two months ago and lately the resistance dragon has been playing with my head. I started with great passion and energy and now am struggling with getting my weekly blog done and posted. I have to start planning and promoting a fall self-discovery retreat in Vermont but I’ve been dragging my feet. The tips you’ve shared in this post will help me get my butt in gear! THANKS!!

    1. Melanie

      Nikki, love this post! I’ve been moving forward and just did a survey of my readers to see what they were wanting/needing from me…and got plenty of wonderful ideas to work on and create for them…now it’s time to implement, implement, create, create.

      Lina, hello fellow Vermonter! Your fall self-discovery retreat sounds great :)

      1. Nikki Elledge Brown

        Sounds great, Melanie! Enjoy the creation phase :)

  13. Tonia Winchester

    Omigosh. Resistance like deciding to dust off the boxes in the basement of the farmhouse we rent, and scoop out all the the (fermented, mouse pooey, icky) stuff from the jars that were canned September 2003 (8 years before we even moved here) with the fruits from the orchard and wash and sterilize them all?


    After the webinar this morning I put a date for my course launch on my calendar… and yeah… then promptly got lost in the jar obsession… A perfectly timed reminder!! Thank you :)

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Ha! I bet the jars appreciate your resistance, T ;)

  14. Linda

    Nikki, I’m so glad I read this blog post. Thanks for reviving it. I got “The War of Art” on my Kindle and got through about half of it while (not resisting my workout) on the stationary bike. See? It’s working already!!

    Seriously, this was just the butt-kick I needed. Thank you!!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      This made me literally LOL, Linda.

      Working out is a GREAT way to procrastinate -slash- shift to productive mode. I read at least 75% of all my grad school research articles while seated on a stationary bike in my apartment complex gym!

  15. Cathy

    Nikki, I hope you’ve made the connection that your “voice is shot” at this particular time. In my view of the world, it’s also no coincidence that resistance is the topic at hand almost exactly a year later.

    Keep singing, you’re gonna be great!

    Happy Summer Solstice too.

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Ha! Thank you for this, Cathy – hope you’re doing great over there :)

  16. Laurel Noddin

    Thanks Nikki! Always love your insight and ability to put things into perspective. Overwhelm can certainly be debilitating and the steps you provided are creatively valuable.

  17. joy

    I, too, have LOVED the Little Mermaid (Disney version) for YEARS. Checking my library now for the Art of War. Fun game – hide and seek. Thanks for keepin’ it interesting. Big hugs

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Ha! No worries, Joy ;) YES it’s a must-read. Or listen. Whichev. Let me know how you like it!

  18. joy

    uhhmmmm – the War of Art, hee

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