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Shoulding yourself and the not self of the mind in business.

The not-self of the mind in human design is centered in logic and sense making. While this can be useful in business, it can also lead you to ‘should’ing” yourself with all those things that you are supposed to be doing. Learn more about the centers in human design, their not self themes or “should” themes in business. How to recognize with more speed when you are shoulding yourself in business.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Oh I should do that.” Or “ I should do this”. Over the last couple of weeks I have been hearing it more and more, with clients, colleagues and in social media. The reality is I’m guilty of “should’ing myself” from time to time as well. The more I pay attention the more I hear it in different iterations as well, “this makes sense” or my personal favorite. “on paper this looks great.”

When I take a step back to think about what “should’ing actually is especially through the lens of human design it is the not-self.

The should’ing shows up in our:

      • Marketing & keeping up with the latest trends like tik tok or reels
      • Sales & selling systems & tools
      • Need to try the new thing, tool, or thing aka Glittery Object Syndrome
      • Offers & business model trends
      • What our idea of “success” is
      • Working hours
      • Pricing
      • Time frame to respond

If we examine our “should’ing” through the lens of human design this is the not self of the mind. The not-self of the mind is the spokesperson or mental monologue of the mind when we are out of alignment within one of our centers or with our strategy and authority.  In the human design body graph there are several places where we can be in the not self or low expression

With our type – projector – bitterness & resentment, manifestor – anger & shame, manifesting generator – frustration & anger, generator – frustration, reflector disappointment.

And with the 9 centers – head, ajna, throat, identity, heart, sacral, spleen, solar plexus and root.

Human Design Centers – Defined, Undefined, & Open

human design centersFor this discussion on should’ing and the not self of the mind in business, we are going to stick with the not-self of the centers. There are three ways centers show up in the bodygraph – defined – colored in, undefined – white with only gates, open – no gates. Within each center there is a polarity and a dichotomy. The high expression and the low expression, particualy with the undefined centers (the white ones). The undefined centers are the places where we take on conditioning and end up in the not self. Of which, the mind, is the not-self spokesperson of these centers or the voice of the “should”. The conditioning comes from friends, family, coaches, those around us, society, culture norms, social media and more. When we are in the “not self” we are out of alignment with our strategy and authority. The not-self of the mind is a tricky thing because it wants to logic us. It’s sole purpose is to keep us alive. The mind, through the lens of human design, is here to be in service of others. It is not here to be used as a decision making tool for us to operate on ourselves. That is what our strategy and authority is for.

The mind, is rational, reasonable, sense-making and logical. It yearns to do the thing or things that make the most sense based on what we have seen, read about or experienced. The mind operates from a place of fear and pressure. It is primitive in this sense even though it is very powerful (and convincing). For many of us we live in the place of “if this makes sense then it must be correct for me.” I know I have operated in this way in the past even when my gut was screaming for me to go in a different direction. The challenge with this is that our gut, intuition or inner knowing will often nudge us to do x and our mind ‘logics” us out of those decisions.

When we leverage human design as tool we rely on our authority for our decision making process rather than the logic of our mind especially when it comes to our business. Our strategy – projector – wait for the invitation / recognition, generator – respond / know thyself, manifesting generator – visualize, respond &  then inform, manifestor – initiate / inform, reflector – wait a lunar cycle..

Part of the reason I believe this to be so important, especially, for my fellow entrepreneurs is because when we are out of alignment we aren’t in the highest expression of ourselves. We will struggle to reach the full potential of who we are when we are in the not-self. The reality is when we leverage human design as a tool to look at where we are out of alignment it is because we have gotten lost somewhere along the way. We have fallen off track with our strategy and authority. We gave our power away. We outsourced our thinking. Ultimately leaving us in a place where we didn’t expect to be. We have taken on conditioning and our carrying something that is not ours. In our undefined centers we can take on layers and layers of conditioning along the way and we lose ourselves. We lose sight of our lighthouse.

I love using the lighthouse here as a metaphor because if you think of what a lighthouse does it stands tall shining its light. If you think of your human design blueprint as a lighthouse and the light shining round and round from the lighthouse as your strategy and authority. When we take on layers and layers of conditioning we can get pulled out to sea and lose sight of our light. We lose sight of where we are and we have to come back home again to ourselves.

So the mind and the not-self of the mind, it is here to keep us alive but it is not here to help us live out the fullest expression of our being. The mind is not here to help us fuel our passions and spark a fire within us. The mind is not for fulfilling your purpose. It is literally here for survival. So when we use our mind for decision making we betray our future selves. We betray our bigger purpose. We betray the impact, we as entrepreneurs want to make. However, our minds are brilliant tools when they are in service of the other. The mind is simply not here to operate on itself. Imagine if you broke your arm and you needed surgery. You wouldn’t try and operate on yourself. Next time your mind attempts to take over your strategy and authority think of this as operating on yourself. It’s not the best idea.

human design your business

Not Self of the Mind – Should’ing Yourself in Business –

What the not-self talk sounds like?

Now let’s get back to the centers…For each of the centers the not-self of the mind, the “should’ing” is going to show up in a different way. For example:

human design centers - head center
With the Head Center:

  • “ I should be further along”
  • “I should know more”
  • “I should be able to figure this out”
  • “I should get to work but I’ll just spend five more minutes scrolling”


human design ajna center
With the Ajna Center:

  • “I should do this because this is what is normal / typical / standard for my industry”
  • “I shouldn’t do this because people will think I’m weird”
  • “I should do this because this is what’s expected of me in my industry.”
  • “I should know what to do next”


throat center human design
With the Throat Center:

  • “I should be showing up online and get more visible”
  • “I should be making Tik Toks or reels or (insert trend here)”
  • “I should be getting more likes/engagement/interaction”
  • “I shouldn’t bother showing up online no sees my stuff anyway”
  • “I should do this podcast interview because it’s going to get me exposure”



identity center human design
With the Identity Center (G Center):

  • “I should do it this way because x is doing it that way”
  • “I should have a 5 year plan for my business”.
  • “I should know what my purpose/strengths/passions/direction are”
  • “I should love what I do because it’s my business but…”
  • “I shouldn’t change direction/pivot because…”


heart center human design
With the Heart Center (ego center):

  • “I should raise my prices”
  • “I should try this new thing/tech/trend because I don’t want to miss out”
  • “I should join this program because that is THE thing that will change the game for me.”
  • “I should do this thing because then they will finally see my worth/how valuable I am”


sacral center human design
With the Sacral Center:

  • “I should do a course and a evergreen product and a ______ and a _________ (all the things)”
  • “I should keep working even though I’m exhausted
  • “I should be working since it is “work hours”
  • “I should set better boundaries with my clients but __________”
  • “I should stay focus on my goals but I fear I’m going to miss out if I don’t say yes / do this thing”


solar plexus center human design
With the Solar Plexus Center:

  • “I should be happy”
  • “I should keep doing this because it is easy even though I hate it”
  • “I should go this route because I don’t want to waste all the effort I put in”
  • “I should go this route because I don’t want to upset / let my team / people down.”
  • “I should talk to x because I’m not happy but it’s easier just to do it myself”

splenic center human design
With the Spleenic Center:

  • “I should show up but I’m afraid I don’t know enough / not expert enough.”
  • “I should do x because Sarah does it that way and I fear if I don’t do it that way I won’t be successful.”
  • “I should pivot my business but I’m just going to keep holding on because I’m afraid of _____”
  • “I should do x but I’m afraid / overwhelmed / have anxiety about doing x because I might fail / be successful / have to let go”
  • “I should do this now instead of later because I fear I will _________”


root center human design
With the Root Center:

  • “I should hurry up because I’m behind”
  • “I should do this because x is already doing it and I have to keep up”
  • “I should do ____________ even though I’m already stressed”
  • “I should do this because my clients/family/friends/person needs me”
  • “I should try this new thing even though it might sabotage this other thing I’m working on”
  • “I should be able to get past this block/level/limiting belief. What is wrong with me?


Recognizing the not self talk of the mind & should’ing

When I hear that logic of the mind, that sense making, it is often a sign that the person is in their not self. They are should’ing themselves with reason why they should do this or that. Although intuitively they might not necessarily agree with their “should’ing”. In human design we rely on strategy and authority for our decision making process

should'ing the not self themes of the centers in businessFor example, I’m a projector with emotional authority. For me I first have to wait for the invitation and receive recognition from the other then I have to ride the highs and lows of my emotional wave and get to an emotional neutral. Once I am at that neutral, I can then discern if that is the right decision for me.

I might be recognized to do this thing, but then I also have to ride my emotional wave to discern, is this actually the right thing for me to do? I recently got invited to write a chapter for a book. It is with a great publisher and I got the invite and recognition on why I would be the right expert and writer. So I can enter into this knowing I followed my strategy of waiting for the invitation and recognition.

Now I have to lean into my emotional wave to discern do I actually want to do this? Is the timing right? Is this a yes for me.  I caught myself in the process in this “should’ing”. “I should do this because you know, this is going to help get me exposure”. The not self of the throat. I should do this because it’s going to position me as an expert. Not self of the identity center. I should do this because the human design world is growing so fast and I have to keep up.” The not-self of the root center.

All of these shoulds kept coming up and I had to get out of my not-self thinking and into my authority. I knew it was the right thing for me and I had 75% buy in however I wanted to make sure the timing was right and I could follow through on it. Ultimately, I said yes but I honored the highs and lows of my emotional wave before I committed.  

For each type there is a strategy and an authority. Each authority corresponds to a spot to a center in the body. When we are in alignment of our strategy and authority the authority is being leverage to make decisions instead of the mind. When we are should’ing and logicing and sense making we are in the not-self of the mind in one of our centers. My goal in sharing all of this with you is that you can begin to recognize this in yourself with more ease, less resistance, and faster.

11When you leverage your mind for decision making instead of your authority you will often find yourself in frustration, anger, resentment or overwhelm. The mind is simply here to be in service of others and keep your alive from a primal survival level. It will always lead you astray in expressing the highest version of yourself.

Ultimately what happens when we use our minds in service of our decision making in our businesses it becomes sort of a huge problem. Because one decision made by the mind, followed by another and another and another leads us out to sea where we can no longer see the light of our lighthouse. Instead we can lean into the innate inner knowing of our intuition, our gut response, our bodies, which is ultimately our authority. Our bodies hold the truth of what is best for us not the shoulding or logic or sense making of the mind. Just become something look good on paper doesn’t mean that is actually what sparks our passion and drive. That logic and should’ing is the not who you are. It is simply how you are experiencing the world based on conditioning you have taken on. That baggage, conditioning, not-self whatever you want to call it. The layers you are carrying that are not your. You can put them down. You can free yourself from the weight of conditioning with a bit of work.

Human Design as a Framework for Your Inituition

Put Down the Conditioning You’ve Been Carrying

It’s incredibly freeing once you put it down. I’ve been studying human design for three years now and living in alignment with my strategy and authority. I notice now with so much more speed when I am should’ing myself and When I’m out of alignment. That is because I’ve gotten to know myself better. I’ve gotten to know where I tend to take on conditioning and I’ve been working through peeling back all the layers of stuff that is not mine. Human design has given me a framework for my intuition. Language to understanding my uniqueness and process for how I’m best to interact with the world.

This work takes time. It takes time to reestablish trust with our bodies when we have been relying on our minds for years. It takes time, repetition and a bit of belief in listening to your authority instead of our minds. In our culture we are programed to rely on our minds from a very early age. You woudn’t go to the gym for the first time in years and expect to be able to dead lift 250 pounds. The same goes for trusting your authority (and strategy). Start with small decisions first. Look back on your past lived experiences when things have worked out (or haven’t) and go step by step through what happened. Did you rely on your mind? Or did you trust your gut?

I encourage you  to lean into that inner nudge, that voice within that spark, that passion, that fire, that thing that you want to do, that doesn’t make sense because ultimately, that’s probably the right thing for you. I invite you to lean in, lean into the knowing, lean into the nudge, lean into the spark, lean into the intuition because what, what would happen if instead of saying, you know, I should follow this blueprint because blah, blah, blah. And what if instead we blazed the trail. What we did things on our own terms and followed the thing that didn’t make sense.

What if instead we just completely imagined a new business model or a new way to do things or a better way to serve our clients. What if we just put down the shoulds and really just embrace the possibilities. The possibility we can kind of create the life that we want to create and the business that we want to create on our own terms, when we stay true to who we are. If you are someone who wants to lean into your intuition, who wants a framework for that inner knowing, I encourage you to join me for the HD Your Biz Fall cohort in the in the next four weeks. If you sign up by September 17  early bird pricing of $1497 instead of $1997.

human design your business