All of us talk to ourselves.
You may not want to own up to it, but if we’re being honest, we would ALL admit to an almost constant conversation with an inner self (or several!).
That proverbial voice inside our heads is alternately a comfort and a nuisance. We turn to that inner adviser when we’re in the midst of an important decision yet we struggle to silence it’s opinions when we lean toward something that it argues against.
That voice is always there. Day and night. It keeps us from sleeping. It preoccupies us when we should be paying attention to the road, or listening to our kids. It locks us in a seemingly endless debate about prospective outcomes of complex business decisions or of challenging professional interpersonal exchanges, or the costs and benefits of various paths and steps in our careers.
This voice purports to be helpful. So much so that we buy into it as the “voice of reason.”
We either don’t see, or we ignore, that underneath that veneer of reason festers a bent toward a same-ness and a reluctance to rock the boat. What seems like security and stability can be nothing more than stagnation. All of which we INVITE into our process, habitually. Over and over. Situation after situation.
We call upon this inner self deliberately and typically in times when we most need to orient ourselves toward openness and an expansive outlook. Those times when we are facing a challenging situation or decision that introduces risk, anxiety, stress, worry, or even panic are when we call this inner self to the table. We have been conditioned to rely on it’s input. We don’t recognize is that as soon as this particular inner self chimes in with it’s “reason,” possibility contracts. Too often so does our most satisfying and successful potential outcome.
The voice of this inner self often expresses stark judgement, justification for limitation, and a near-sighted view of any potential opportunity. It represents a perspective to which we listen intently because it’s pushing masterfully on our fears, which it knows are motivators for us.
Though we tend to recognize that this inner self is not only unhelpful but also, at times, flat out corrosive to our potential, we struggle to contain it.
And to what result? Disappointment at how we address challenging team members? Regret over a forgone opportunity? Hopeless acceptance of burnout and exhaustion due to a series of seemingly well thought out choices?
If that’s not OK with you it’s time to tell this inner self, once and for all, “you are NOT the boss of me!”
It’s time to step up and show this inner self some firm and honest leadership. Engage in the effort to identify the other facets of your perspective and bring to light the view points that exists in your “other inner selves,” those that want more.
Have an internal debate about risk, growth, opportunity, and fear. Include that inner part of you that craves achievement, recognition, fulfillment, and a balanced lifestyle. Let that part of you that speaks with the “voice of success” have a seat at the table. Over time that “voice of success” and that “voice of reason” just might agree about your greatest potential for career and personal satisfaction.
It starts with you leading with the expectation that they will.