Would you be willing to display what your inner voice tells you on the largest billboard in Time Square or any other public display?
We all have this persistent and at times overwhelming voice inside our heads that insists on ruling our lives. It tells you, "I am just not that talented to apply for this job.", or "I am too ugly." Would you be proud to share what it tells you with the world, or would you rather keep these thoughts under the colossal padlock?
Chances are, a majority of us, humans, would never want our inner negative and self-deprecating thoughts advertised, and there is a good reason for that. These thoughts are not our aspirations and will not inspire anyone. These are your deep, dark, and scary stories you are telling yourself, and they are not the reflection of your potential and your bigger vision. Most likely you don't want to be known for being someone who never achieved anything because of always being afraid or believed you weren't good enough, right? We have our self-image to uphold, after all.
This inner voice is not going anywhere. It will always be with you. It is not like that annoying, all knowing, so-called "friend", who you can simply choose to remove from your life and never see again, if she criticized you for far too long. The tiny but always vigilant voice is here to stay. Yes, as long as you are breathing, it is doing its job. You make a choice to either let it control you or work to your advantage.
So why not use it to your advantage?
Changing the tone of the message you tell yourself is under your control. Quieting down the negative voice, by deliberately paying attention to the moment it starts yapping and changing it to a more positive story, is possible with practice. You won't become successful and masterful overnight, because it requires a lot of work. And even after you master the skill of controlling your inner voice, it will continue rebelling. It will come back and will try to overtake your entire being. It is like cancer, that if not caught early enough, can't be treated because it spreads like a wildfire until it destroys you.
When was the last time you felt stress, pressure, doubts?
What were you worried about? What did the inner voice tell you?
Let me guess, in most of these moments when you felt stress, pressure, doubts, or anxiety, you might have been thinking about the future or the past.
How do I get out of the funk and change the tone of the messages I deliver to my brain?
I ask myself, "Can you control the future or the past?"
Naturally, the answer is always, "No! I can only control the Present." I am in control of my reaction to any situation.
I know many of my friends and clients who are stuck in the past. They still dream of the bright future, but not much different is happening to them. Wanting something is not the same as making it happen without positive thinking.
Here is the process that keeps me on track. I am using my inner voice to help me move towards my vision.
1. Begin with the end in mind. Ask yourself, "What am I trying to accomplish?"
2. Setting big goals is great, but to meet these goals you have to focus on the process of achieving them. Whether you are going to meet that goal or not, is never a sure thing. You can't control the end result -- the future. You can control the process of how you are getting towards this goal, i.e. the thoughts you think, the actions you take, the skills you learn, etc. Remember, there are no shortcuts, there is no magic pill to be successful. Focus on the process in the NOW. Ask yourself, "What is my plan?" Then, live and breathe the process.
3. Your character matters. It is necessary to define what character skills are required to use and develop to reach the desired result. If getting rid of negative and limiting thinking is on your list, then consider it being your priority. Other skills could be resilience, self-control, discipline, etc. Additionally, moral character or skills you use to interact with others are vital to your success.
In summary, no matter how intelligent and educated you are, the past doesn't define you, and the future is not controlled by you. You have all the power in the universe, to be in control of the thoughts and actions in the present moment.
Original post from December 17, 2016.
About the Aurthor: Alex Aberle is the President and Founder of XCaliber Coaching & Consulting LLC, a leadership and career development coaching firm. As a Certified Professional and Executive Coach with over 20 years of global experience in leadership and career development, she is on a mission to build a better world of leadership. Alex helps currents and aspiring leaders to calibrate existing skills, expand knowledge, and innovate approaches to effective performance in life and at work.