Living up to one’s potential is never an easy task, but it definitely doesn’t need to be an arduous one either. We all struggle from self-defeating internal commentary about our abilities – this is nothing new. The real conversation you need to be looking at is what you are doing with these conversations.
Owning your potential (or greatness as I like to call it) is one of the most challenging acts anyone can face, especially when you have that little annoying and nagging voice in the back of your head telling you half truths and full lies.
You know that voice…the one that loves to keep you safe. It’s the same one that’s probably reading this sentence telling you that what you are reading is a load of “nature vs nurture” psychobabble.
If you think this doesn’t happen to you, you are dead wrong. It happens to all of us. It shows up everywhere, both in and out of the workplace. Shirzad Chamine, chairman of CTI wrote a great book on this topic (and how it applies in the workplace) called Positive Intelligence.
Fact: Everyone gets down about his or her life or themselves at some point – it’s inevitable. However, successful and happy people all share some common habits.
- They don’t dwell on these conversations but rather acknowledge it for what it isand what it isn’t…a simple thought.
- They recognize that these conversations aren’t real or who they are. They have as much control over them as they allow it to and that they are stories they can choose to believe or not.
Here are 4 common self-defeating conversations we all encounter that plague our potential:
- I’m not good enough. Actually you are. Somewhere down the line you collected evidence that proves otherwise. Encountering set backs or challenges never makes you less than but rather opens you up to growth, learning and possibility. None of this is possible through the lens of being not good enough. When the right person or opportunity presents itself – you will know.
- I‘m not where I should be. Comparing your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 5 is a waste of both time and energy. Life is not made up of “should” but rather “when” which is contingent on you and of course your “will” to take action. Consider you are exactly where you need to be and have everything around you needed to move forward.
- I know how this goes. Confidence is one thing but over compensating at the risk of not being present and being perceived as arrogant is a lose-lose scenario. Consider that you don’t know everything and unless you are a mind reader, giving others the gift of your presence and attention will go a long way in both how you show up and the subsequent actions you take.
- I’m always going to feel this way. Sorry to rain on your pity party but even the most victimized person knows that the curtain falls and the show ends eventually. Time actually does heal both mental and physical wounds if you allow yourself the opportunity to cycle through it. Change your mindset and you can literally change the course of your life.
Here are some signs that you may be having too many of these conversations:
- Being indecisive
- Being hard on yourself
- Being lazy / procrastinating
- Being unimaginative
- Being unaccountable
- Being of a fixed-mindset
Here is what you can do about it:
The first step in fighting your inner critic is recognizing when it speaks up. Notice the triggers – who you are with, where you are and what is being said. Then it’s all about expressing yourself (quietly of course) and telling that little voice to zip it. Lastly, once you’ve successfully quieted the beast, it’s time to collect new evidence to support the opposite facts you were led to believe.
A great resource worth discovering is the book Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does For A Living by Steven Fogel. He discussed a powerful practice called C.O.A.L., which stands for: Curious, Open, Accepting and Loving towards oneself. No matter what course of action you choose, remember that this is a marathon – not a sprint. Nor is this a simple process (sorry to say) and requires time, patience and most importantly compassion for self. Some other actions you can take which can help:
- Journal your feelings
- Talk about it
- Practice mindfulness
- Distract yourself
Final thoughts: We are all fighting something on the inside and the most important battle you may encounter is the one going on inside of you now. The good news is that this is a fight that you can win. It takes time to change your mindset from negative to positive thinking, especially if you’ve been living like this for some time. The key to unlocking this destructive behavior begins with noticing when that little voice rears it’s ugly head and begins to dominate your thoughts to the negative. Your inner critic can be silenced but it won’t go away. The sooner you recognize this fact and begin taking action that goes against the negative thinking – the sooner you will be able to live in and up to your potential.
The floor is yours: How do you silence your inner critic?
Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.
Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com
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