It’s two o’clock in the morning.
I know it’s early. It always is.
It’s dark; it’s still; there’s no sound.
The wine from yesterday’s V.E. Celebrations is literally pounding against my forehead. Relentless. Unforgiving.
Still, I can’t help smiling as I remember the great time we had. The fun. The laughter. The coming together of a tiny neighbourhood community who had been starved of social connection for so long since lockdown.
It’s then I glance at my phone.
It’s 00:05—a missed call from my Mum.
Was she also sleepless? “Playing” with her phone? Dialed by mistake? Or does she need me?
It’s two hours later, and I um and ah about calling her back, not wanting to disturb her if she’s fallen back to sleep.
So I message.
The call comes right back. It’s my brother.
My dad is dead.
When someone close to us dies, it reminds us that life is finite. That we only have so much time—to build the life of our dreams, make a real difference, and leave the legacy we want.
We all have dreams, don’t we?
We all want that blissful life (whatever that is to each of us).
I want to be wherever I want to be, with my MacBook under one arm and my camera slung over my shoulder, sitting under a tree in the dappled sunlight with a glass of Châteauneuf–du–Pape.
So why do so many people just not get it?
Why do we give up? Why do we keep dreaming, yet not planning? Not taking action?
Why do we put it off, thinking that there is always tomorrow? That for some reason, we’ll get all those things tomorrow, which we believe we need before we can take action.
Or is it that we feel it is all down to luck?
Those who do live their dream lives are simply just lucky.
Or that we don’t believe it’s possible?
Or that we don’t think we deserve our dream lives? Or, we don’t believe we are capable of achieving what we want?
Do we listen more to that nagging critical inner voice, than we do to our hearts?
And, just why is it so much easier to believe that we can’t do something?
We can do anything.
We just have to understand what’s going on when our mind is flooded with these negative thoughts. Appreciate that we are going to have to get used to feeling incredibly uncomfortable.
It doesn’t matter how much we’ve achieved. Whenever we try and uplevel our lives, we are going to feel incredibly unsure. Our mindset monkeys are going to go into overdrive.
It’s all the fault of our inner critic. That voice inside our head that tells us we won’t succeed. We don’t have what it takes. People will laugh at us. We’ll be rejected. We’re not good enough.
This voice. Well, it’s part of us all. Yes, really!
Yet it doesn’t care a jot about our happiness. Our fulfillment. Our dreams.
The only job this inner critic has is to keep us safe. And, it will do everything in its power to do this—even feeding our minds with lies.
So, what can we do? We want a dream life. We deserve a dream life.
But this voice stops us. We slow down. We don’t take the action. We believe what we are hearing. We may fail. People may laugh at us and our ideas. We might be rejected.
First of all, we need to recognise this voice for what it is.
We cannot fight it; it’s a part of us; it’s not going away; it’s always going to be there.
So, how do we recognise it?
Well, it’s easy (thankfully).
If the words are black and white and pretty harsh—if they sound like the words of a critical person you know—you can be assured that those thoughts belong to your inner critic.
This is different from the more helpful thoughts that arise from realistic thinking.
Here, the type of voice you hear is more likely to provide you “advice” on the way forward. For instance: “you might need to retrain,” or maybe, “raise finance” first.
This is the kind of thinking we need to train our brains to engage in. It’s rare that we are always fully prepared for the next step, so this is the way we need to get into the habit of thinking more constructively.
So, what do we do when the inner critic voice is at large?
Simply acknowledge it. Then say, “Okay, but I just don’t need you today. I know you want me to be safe. But I’ve got this.”
The main thing we have to accept is that nothing totally fulfilling is going to come from within our comfort zones.
Stepping out of our comfort zone is scary; it’s risky, but the results are intoxicating.
Nothing beats a life that is totally fulfilled.
We can all achieve our dreams.
The risk has to be worthwhile.
Surely the greatest risk is that we never achieve what we are capable of. We never feel as fulfilled or satisfied as we should.
Life is short.
Let’s quiet that inner critic. Let’s step out of our comfort zones. Let’s focus on our greatness. Let’s focus on how we can make a real difference. Let’s be positive. Let’s keep learning. Keep trying.
We can make the world a better place for us all.
Let’s make sure we trade each and every day of our lives for something that makes our hearts truly sing.
That way, our legacy will inspire everyone to live a life of greatness themselves.
Creating a circle of life, light, and pure love.