You know the voice in your head…the one you hear so often…the one that in every new situation, challenge or environment sends a friendly whisper to your ear….
- Who do you think you are to think that you say/do this?!
- There are so many people better than you!!
- You have never done this before – you won’t be able to cope!
- You are no expert in this area so keep quiet or you will look silly!
- You will come across as arrogant if you say this….
And that’s exactly the voice that makes you decide not to take part in something…before you even had a chance to open your mouth!
What is this voice and where is it coming from??
Well, ‘the voice’ is as old as the world or more precisely as old as the human brain. ‘The voice’ is the part of our brain whose aim it is to warn us from danger and protect our lives.
It becomes especially loud and talkative when you enter new and unknown for you situations. For ‘the voice’ everything new equals risk and danger.
You don’t hear whispers or shouting in your ear when you are doing your daily routine stuff i.e. like applying your makeup, driving to work or watching TV – that’s because all of those situations are well known and comfortable to you so there is no risk and no need to be warned from anything. Your voice can go for a peaceful snooze in situations like that.
The voice I’m talking about is like the private narrator of your life – it accompanies you everywhere, comments on everything you, hear or see and most of all warns you from anything unknown….because if it’s unknown then it’s probably dangerous and it’s best to stay safe!
Thousands of years ago (in the primitive stage of human development) this voice was very helpful because it was warning us from the danger of wild animals who could potentially harm or even kill us.
In the last few hundred years, civilisation and the way we live have progressed so much we don’t need as much ‘warning’ everywhere! Because when was the last time you run into a wild animal on your way to work?
Humanity evolved, our internal narrators not so much though!
The good news is though that instead of habitually listening to your narrator and not live your life exactly how you would like – you can learn to manage her.
Sounds good, but how to do it you might think? After all your narrator has been your most consistent advisor your whole life….
- Awareness – in order to be able to manage your relationship with your narrator – you need to be aware of when do you hear him/her the most? What is he/she warning you about?
- Carefully listen to the voice – how does it sound? What’s its pace? What’s the tone? Is it a female or a male voice? Is it high or low pitched?
- When you are clear on the characteristics of your narrator’s voice – name it! You can name it after a fictional character or a real one. Whatever name works for you. I call mine Stephanie, it’s after my grandma….because she always used to tell me “you can’t cook so you will never find a husband!”, “your front teeth aren’t straight so you should remove them, as nobody will want you looking like this ”…I know that although it might sound horrible – really her comments were her way of trying to save me from the danger…of being single 😉
4. When you named your narrator – start treating him/her like your best friend. Like someone who has your best intentions in mind. Then…every time she/he starts speaking to you – listen to them (not longer than for a few seconds as, as you know, they can talk for England!), then thank them for their care and willingness to give you advice.
5. Once you thanked them – ask them to leave you alone and let them know that if you will need any help, you know where to find them. I always say ‘thank you for your help & advice Stephanie’ if I need anything else from you I will find you.
6. If after thanking them and sending them away you can still hear them and you are struggling to send them away – focus on the moment you are in. What exactly (in that moment) are you seeing
7. Keep repeating steps listed above until you feel in control. Our narrators will be with us for the rest of our lives, but if you get into the habit of managing them – you will learn how to live your life based on your actual reality instead of fear of imaginary ‘what if’.
Good luck….and if you right now you are hearing:
- You will never succeed in this
- Maybe this works for others, but it won’t for you
- It’s impossible to manage me in seven simple steps
Then you know that that’s the opinion of your narrator and not yours, and you know what to do with it!
Right now your narrator is terrified of everything you just read and will do everything to stop you from trying to change your relationship with her/him.
You can’t blame them though…at the end of the day you spent your whole life together and now they are worried about you being able to cope without so much of their influence.
With a smile on your face, you can guarantee her now that you will be able to cope, and for now goodbye my dear ‘friend’!
About the Author
Nina is a Business Coach and Strategist.
As a woman who came to the UK without knowing one word of English and having nobody to rely on for help Nina is on a mission to show women that (regardless of your background!) you can create your dream and desired life.
Having worked with 1000’s of people on their personal effectiveness and 100’s of leaders on business management and leadership skills she is now also running of her own Coaching Business and helping women to set up their own businesses.
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