Can you remember a time when you were so close to reaching a personal or professional goal, and then dropped the ball?
I’ve done it. I’ve still got anxiety about a script I wrote several years ago that could have gone so much further, but fear grabbed me by the throat.
I had strong interest from someone who had the potential to get it made, but I didn’t follow through. It was easier for me to say I had a script in development than the script was turned down 12 times.
But now I’ll never know.
The big fat culprit at the root of it all was the relationship I had with that voice inside my head. It’s the one that says, “Why should they pick you over another, more experienced writer?
I always gave more attention to my husband’s scripts. HE was the professional writer and producer and made a damn good living at it. I was his editor and story consultant. I wasn’t a real writer… I could never achieve what he did.
That was the story I told myself, over and over again… even as my work began to get noticed.
I discovered, as you attain higher levels of success, you’re susceptible to creating interference and personal dramas that cause chaos, unhappiness, lethargy… all preventing you from moving forward.
At the root of it is something everyone owns… a negative little voice inside your head that stops you in your tracks.
Why do we have these negative voices?
Psychologists believe these voices are residues of childhood experiences, automatic patterns of neural firing stored in our brains and dissociated from the memory of the events they are trying to protect us from.
– Psychology Today
Your negative chatter is trying to protect you from the biggest enemy you think you have… fear.
But, what if I told you that you have the ability to dissect your experiences and reconstruct a new perspective that could let fear serve you well?
Here are some questions to ask yourself. Do you have anything in your past that caused you to believe any of the following:
- I cannot expand to my full potential because…
- I cannot enjoy abundant love and relationship potential because…
- I cannot achieve success in my business because…
- I cannot reach my full wealth potential because…
I have a friend whose first-grade teacher told him he was not smart enough to go into the second grade. From that day forward, every choice he made was filtered through his belief that he was not good enough or smart enough to go to the next level.
Even though today he has a successful business, he still fights the false belief that he is not capable.
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” — Willie Nelson
Beliefs are a powerful, quiet presence in your life. The good beliefs hold you and sustain you through life’s tumultuous cycles.
What is a belief? It’s a thought you let repeat in your mind… over and over again, until it becomes a belief.
If beliefs were all good, we’d have a wonderful life, but human nature allows for negative beliefs too.
Your mind is the great curator of negativity
When these fears and false beliefs collide, the voice inside your head curates all the negative experiences of your past and throws them back at you. They become damaging beliefs you have about yourself.
It’s all-out war with your past and your present
Aren’t you exhausted by letting these beliefs have control? Don’t you want to win this war?
In a book by Don Miguel Ruiz called The Four Agreements, his Agreement Number 1 is “to be impeccable with your word.” This means not only with others, but most of all… be impeccable with how you speak to yourself.
You know it’s not right to criticize others, so why would you do that very thing to yourself? Can you imagine saying to your best friend, “you’re not smart enough,” or, “why would they choose you?”
Of course not!
Try this 4 step process to handle the next inner chatter battle:
1. Become aware of the voice and diffuse it by realizing it’s normal. We all have it. There’s no way to stop it, but you can redirect it.
2. Recognize your inner voices as part of your cast of characters that make up your personality! The angry voice needs a title… Give it a name! Danny Downer, Mean Mary, Cranky Cara.
Neutralize the voice’s power by recognizing it the moment it speaks. It no longer gets to take up free residence in your head. Give it notice. Then dismiss it, send it away, laugh about it.
3. Claim your reality. If that voice is saying you’re not smart enough to rise to the top of your field, ask… is it really true? Are you good at what you do? Are you smart in your area of expertise? Focus on your strengths, and you’ll realize the voice is not telling the truth at all. It’s attempting to challenge you and derail you from moving forward. Rise above it. Prove it wrong.
4. Consider the worst-case scenario. Look to your past…what happened when you’ve taken a chance before? Did you fail or succeed? IF you failed, did you learn something from the experience? If so, you succeeded in doing what was necessary to learn to move forward. That is hardly failure at all.
“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” — Henry Ford
In our culture, we’ve come to view any mental discomfort as a sign of something being wrong, as though you’re broken. That brokenness stops you in your tracks.
But you’re not broken…
To feel flawed or broken doesn’t necessarily mean you are broken. These are feelings that come from false beliefs.
I remember Oprah’s conversation with author, Mark Nepo who wrote one of my favorite books, The Book of Awakening.
Nepo said, “to be broken is not a reason to see all things as broken.”
Oprah started to cry. Watching it, so did I. That was exactly how I felt. Broken. I was at a vulnerable stage of my life. I didn’t feel good about myself, and it felt like everything around me was in chaos.
I was just starting a new chapter. My last two children had left for college, and I was just considering dating again. My children’s father died 4 years before and the grief still lingered. I had very little confidence and that little voice inside my head was louder than ever…How can I be happy, or creative, or excited about my future? I’m fundamentally flawed!
The lie of the little voice
It feels as though it’s easier to play it safe and stay small. But that’s the lie of the little voice.
Just because you have a thought does not mean your thoughts are true.
We all have “less than” thoughts. It is part of being human. What you do with those thoughts is critical. If you give them credence, they can restrict your life and destroy your dreams.
“People learn to love their chains.” –Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones
Embrace your true voice
Stop loving your chains. Cut the chains of your negative thoughts and embrace your true voice. When you begin to value that voice-the one that loves you and wants you to succeed-you’ll gain the potential you never knew you had.
Is there something from your past that was thwarted by that inner voice? Time to revisit it with the armor to fight and end the hold it has on you.
Maybe it’s time for me to revisit that script I let go of several years ago. It might not be too late.