The nagging nay-saying voices.
For regular readers, I talk a lot about the gremlin or saboteur that we have in our head. It’s the voice that tells us we can’t.
A large part of what I do with coaching is getting clients to develop a relationship with this voice and learn how to take action. The gremlin won’t go away fully or shut up, but we can learn to make a different choice than what it suggests.
This is the definition of courage that I like: action in the face of fear or uncertainty.
However, this voice in our heads is powerful and it can be easy to let it seduce us into inaction. It has a real knack for making us think that we’re not worthy or cannot do what we are planning.
In order to keep moving forward with your plans, it is important that you value your actions just as much (and more) as your gremlin tries to devalue them. Here are three powerful perspective points that can work as fuel against the sometimes seemingly endless barrage of negativity that can come from deep within your own personality.
Three counter arguments to your “No” voice.
1. A messy beginning.
Things in the beginning won’t look polished or smooth and that’s okay. Action is more important than perfection, but the quest for perfection can paralyze you. The first step is accepting that you’ll never achieve perfection. You’ll improve and get really good, but the focus needs to be on the process of improvement rather than obtaining a mythical status. Set your sights high, but understand that the magic is in the doing rather than the “one day.”
In the words of Vince Lombardi, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
2. Letting go of the familiar.
If you are going to push into new territory, you have to change things up and this can be scary. There is comfort in the known and being in a rut gives us that stability despite being unhappy. Many people would rather dance with the devil they do know and be unhappy rather than take a chance on the devil they don’t know and achieve a higher level of happiness.
I like to think of this quote by Andre Gide when I start something because to get somewhere new, you have to let go of some comfort: “In order to discover new lands, one must be willing to lose sight of the shore”.
Worrying about what might go wrong is natural but ultimately useless. The Dalai Lama sums it up best when he said, “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
This is much easier said than done, but in going back to point number two, this is what we should aim for and be kind to ourselves when we get caught (and we will) in worrisome thoughts. It is not a time to beat ourselves up when we get distracted in worrisome thoughts because this is what the mind does if left unchecked.
In the words of meditation teacher Jack Kornfield, “If you treat the mind like a puppy, it changes how you relate to yourself. If a puppy misbehaves, you wouldn’t beat him/her. You simply reshow the puppy how you would like it to behave. The same goes for your relationship with yourself. When you fall back into old patters, be kind to yourself like you would be to that puppy, remind yourself of your intention and try again.”
A final thought on worry and the powerful hook it can have on us was best expressed by Tim Kreider when he said, “Worry is not productive; it’s a kind of procrastination.”
These three powerful perspectives are a first step and bring awareness to our own thought patterns. The next step is practicing being with our thoughts and creating action despite our own doubts and fears. And like all new skills, practice is the key.
What has your “No” voice been telling you? What would it look like for you to simply listen, be with the voice and create action despite it’s chatty self?
Craig Morton works as a Life Coach at ignitechange.net where he helps people get unstuck and directly into action. He is a daily Ashtanga practitioner and has just moved to Laos, South East Asia.
Editor: Edith Lazenby
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