Behind the results you have in your life are your actions. Most consultants and coaches will work with you to tweak those actions – do more of this, less of that, change what you do or how you do it. These are obvious leverage points.
However, the less obvious and more powerful leverage point is the “inner dialogue” that determines those actions, lack of actions and the ways in which you act. The inner dialogue refers to the incessant conversation you are having with yourself at almost all times. It’s like you are tuned into a radio station that you don’t even realize you’re listening to all day. And just like with music stations “the tunes” can put you in a good or bad mood, make you want to dance or cry, and certainly influence the actions you choose to take.
SO HOW DO WE REGAIN CONTROL OF THE VOICES IN OUR HEADS, SO THAT WE CAN FREELY PURSUE THAT WHICH WE MOST DESIRE?
The first step is to be able to clearly hear them for what they are. We’ve detected 3 major themes among the most pesky voices: the weather reporter, the brat and the chicken.
At Handel, we throw around jargon sometimes. I’ve used some of it so often I think it’s common parlance, and maybe someday it will be, but as of now it’s not. And, since that’s the case, I want to define these terms for you, so that they become your own to use.
The voice of the weather reporter: This voice thinks it knows just how it is (It’s impossible to lose the baby weight, nobody recovers quickly from my condition, I can’t eat healthy while traveling, my mother just is that way, etc.) and reports on it as though it’s as true as, “It’s hot in August.”
“Weather reports” state how things are in a way that is very convincing. They sound like they are just stating facts as a way to help you explain or deal with something that is beyond your control. Much like the way a weather forecaster tells you what to expect weather wise and you act accordingly. Often this sounds like the voice of reason, or even better, of science–coming to you with charts, stats, research and doppler radar. All of this helps prove your point or position on the topic on which you are reporting. But you’ve conveniently forgotten that you are the one who collected the skewed data that got you off the hook for going for what you want.
If you are happy with the “weather” in your life, there is no need to intervene with this voice. If the voice reports that the people in your life are wonderful and delightful and your dreams are all coming true, groovy. Anywhere the voice reports cynicism or hopelessness where you would rather be dreaming and pursuing dreams, is where you need to intervene and teach the weather reporter to get it’s evidence and stats from different sources. You’ve been skewing your data one way, you can start to skew it another, anytime you’re ready…
But you have two more adversaries to overcome first…
The voice of the brat: This is a childlike voice that wants to avoid doing something annoying, unpleasant or that requires effort you don’t want to make. It won’t always sound immature, sometimes it will sound very intellectual or even noble (i.e. but the kids need me, I am needed at work, I can’t risk my job) however, the truth is: you just don’t wanna.
Nobody likes to think of himself or herself as immature. I understand. As kids we’d whine, whimper, cajole, charm and even tantrum to get our way, but this would be slightly embarrassing as an adult, so we do it a bit more subtly. Our excuses can even sound mature but under inquiry (and if you say them in a whiny voice) you will find they are still excuses designed to get us out of doing even the things we know are so good for us and make us so happy like eating healthy, exercising, dealing with our budgets or quality time with our loved ones.
The best response when you realize you’ve been listening to your inner brat is exactly what you’d do with a tantruming child. First giggle (isn’t s/he cute?) and honor the power and will inherent in this voice. Then discipline it with a plan of action, complete with promises and consequences (more jargon which can be further illuminated here).
But there is still one more voice with which you must contend:
The voice of the chicken: This is the voice of fear and it definitely does not readily reveal itself either. Common disguises it uses are blaming other people (he’s not ready for this) or discussing timing (it’s not the right time) or not feeling well enough (when I am XYZ then I can) or thinking some other hurdle has to be met first (when I get more educated I can go for that job, when I get thinner I can go to the gym). The truth is you’re just scared, and that is hard to admit and feel.
Busting your fear makes all the difference. Try saying this simple sentence to yourself (or out loud) and see if it rings true: “Oh I’m probably just scared.” We call it chicken to lighten the mood a bit and to deter you from getting too psychological about fear. Some people consider it to be a noble excuse but we challenge our clients to push through, and talk back to that voice. One shift in context that often works is seeing that your job is to chase fear instead of run away from it. After being afraid of fear for too many years and having a career that demonstrated just that, my coach encouraged me to feel proud every time I felt fear because it meant I was going for something outside my comfort zone. We came up with the promise that I would do something that scared me every day. That way I was no longer spooked by fear but even looked for it with a bit of pride. The chicken hates this change in narrative! You can try it too.
So you may be wondering how wonderfully quiet it can get once you learn to turn these voices down, but that’s not what we’re really going for. We’re hoping that you tune into a new station. We’re hoping that the voices that you start cultivating and listening to are the ones that want to talk about your dreams with you and how and why they can come true. Since you spend a lot of time alone with your mind and you can’t really turn it off, you want to have something pleasurable or inspiring to listen to. Instead of listening to the stations where the voices talk you out of what you want, find the one with the voice that let’s you think about what you DO want and how it can happen. And then turn it up!
P.S.- Fine tune your inner dialogue into pursuing what you most desire! Join our 12-week Design Your Life Tele-Course.