Don’t Wait Until You are Ready
In the last article, I mentioned that little voice in your head. You know the one. It’s the voice that tells you that you’re wrong, that you are too slow, too fat, too lazy, too dumb, too clever, too young, too old, too tall, too short, too hairy, too bald, too underqualified, too overqualified, too experienced, too inexperienced, and so forth. It’s the voice that beats you up when you make a mistake.
Psychologists often call this voice the Inner Critic. It sits in judgment of you all the time. But I think that gives it too much of a sense of authority, which is partly why people get pushed around by this inner voice. They think it’s in charge.
I like to think of it as the little voice of your fears. It comes from past pain. It comes frognalUhose times when life has hurt you. It’s actually a voice of compassion because it wants you to avoid feeling pain again. It associates change with pain because you have experienced pain in the past when a change has randomly been imposed upon you.
So, when you decide you want to make changes, it says, “Whoa, wait a minute. Are you sure about doing that? It would expose you to possible failure, and that hurts.
Wouldn’t it be better that you carry on doing what you’re doing now? You know what that’s like. It might not be what you desire, but at least you know what you’re going to get.”
Sometimes the voice will do a good job and keep you from getting into trouble. But it can also keep you in a situation that you would be best to move on from, because it tries to persuade you to stay with what you have, even if what you have is not what you want.
The voice tells you to stay in the same uninspiring job, stay at the same weight, stay with a partner who is hurting you, keep consuming things you know are bad for you or stay in the same neighborhood although you hate it. The voice argues the case for staying with what is familiar, rather than experience something new.
Working with clients, I find one of the biggest difficulties in my job is that I am competing with this voice of their Inner Critic. During the hour that I spend with a client, we can get a lot of things agreed, and the client goes away with a course of action to make positive changes to their life. But once the client leaves the room, the voice of the Inner Critic starts in their head, and it has all week, until the client next sees me, to sow the seeds of self-doubt in the client’s mind.
A week is a long time for the voice to do its worst. And that’s what the voice likes best, time to work with. So, it will intrude on your thoughts while you are at work, or when you are watching TV. Its favorite trick is to wake you up in the middle of the night and start you worrying.
Clearly, if you want to make changes in your life, you need to get the upper hand on the voice, or it will sabotage your plans every time. Here’s how:
Take some action immediately. Don’t wait until you think you’re ready that gives the voice time to sabotage you. You will never be 100% ready, anyway. Make a start. You will take the voice by surprise because you will be taking it.
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