as published in Conway Daily Sun
We all know we have a little voice in our head that seems to have something to say about everything. Some people tell you to listen to the little voice inside you… really?! Which one?!
Even though we all have this little voice, we sound schizophrenic when we admit to having a number of voices in our heads. It does sound more sane if you call it a “little” voice and only one. To be sure, we have a gut instinct or a feeling that is different from the voice in our head. Also, to be sure, we have multiple voices – in fact, I think our inner voice may have multiple personalities – so why not just call them multiple voices? I think I will start naming mine – to keep them straight and give more credibility to the ones I trust more than the others. Let me explain.
We all have a judge voice. No need to name him, I just call him by his title - The Judge. He is the loudest voice in most people, constantly judging ourselves, others and the situation we are in at any moment. Think of your judge as a third party – just another outside opinion being offered. This voice is not us, it is just a thought we are having. Thinking of the judge voice as a third party makes it easier to hear the judge’s opinion and acknowledge it – the judge thinks I can’t handle this, but I know better! Sometimes I wonder if my judge thinks I’m an idiot; he’s always telling me what I can’t do, then I prove him wrong anyway. I have trained him to listen more and speak less, and it is helping. I still need to be careful, since he thinks he’s speaking for me when he’s not. He only represents the natural judgmental thoughts passing through my head. I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts.
Another loud-mouth voice in my head is named Randy – Restless Randy wants to do everything. This guy cannot say no to any opportunity. He causes a great deal of trouble. Now that I have identified the source, I can usually tell that the thoughts coming forth are just Randy carrying on as he usually does. I say “thanks for the input Randy” but I got this – I’ll decide for myself instead of letting Randy control my decisions. Don’t get me wrong, Randy has been good to me over the years, Randy helped us buy real estate and start businesses that worked out well for us, but given to much input, this voice will take over our lives and we won’t get to do what matters most to us.
In his book Positive Intelligence, Shirzad Chamine discusses a total of nine such voices he calls saboteurs. Shirzad should know, he is Chairman of CTI, the world’s largest coach-trainer organization, and he has coached hundreds of CEOs and their executive teams. 95% of executives in his Stanford University lectures conclude that these saboteurs have caused “significant harm” to achieving their true potential.
The argument is that we all have the judge, plus one or more other prominent saboteur voices fighting against us – voices such as the Stickler, Pleaser, Hyper-Achiever, Victim, Hyper-Rational, Hyper-Vigilant, Restless, Controller, and Avoider. I recommend the book for advice on building our inner sage and quieting the saboteurs. Don’t believe everything you think, it’s likely just your friends in your head.
For me, I have always made my best decisions by following my heart – we could call it intuition, gut, feelings, divine guidance or inspiration. Before making a decision, I hear all the voices in my head, I may look at lists of pros and cons, I seek advice from people I trust, and sometimes I spin and ruminate in angst. But, when we actually decide to take action on something, it is almost always because we just knew in an instant that it was the right thing to do. When we are in flow, when we are connected with our source of inspiration, when we know what we value, the right choice does not take so much time and energy – we just know. And after making a decision, we get constant feedback to tell us if we are on the right path. I follow an inner guidance system that uses joy as an indication that I am on the right path. We feel joy when we are being of service, things are progressing, and the work matters, when the decisions we make are adding value to our experience in life and the experiences of those closest to us.
Don’t believe everything you think. Listen to what you feel, ask yourself how you can get more connected and how can you learn to listen to your heart and gut and learn to trust it. I am creating a new six-week series of ninety-minute classes to guide students through the process of identifying what their natural strengths, their true passions, calming down the mind to tap into the ability to make anything happen they want in life from money to relationships to health. Whether we gravitate to more spiritual or more scientific aspects of learning how to make our lives work better, there is no arguing with the evidence. People have the power to live the life they choose. We can choose our health, our happiness, our relationships, our commitments, our attitudes and our experiences.