By Jalene Case
“I’m my own worst enemy!” Have you ever said this or heard a friend or colleague say it? It can feel frustrating and demotivating to know precisely what we want to accomplish yet take actions that move us in the opposite direction. How can you get out of your own way and support yourself in getting more of what you want?
After working in organizations for more than three decades, I started my own business a few years ago. It surprised me that the gnarliest challenges came from inside me, not from the external skills I was learning. Internal voices that overly criticized and structures that didn’t work blocked me from reaching my goals, dreams, and life purpose. Yes. It’s a big deal! Growing skills to support ourselves is essential if we want to create purposeful, meaningful, lives we love.
While I needed to learn many external, hard skills, I found that those were relatively easy. It was the internal, soft skills that were the trickiest yet had the most far-reaching, positive impact. The exercises that I share below have the potential to change more than you might imagine. Experiment. Pay attention to what’s happening on the outside as a result of the work you’re doing inside.
Subtract What Blocks You
This self-sabotaging voice may also called inner critic or negative self-talk. It’s trying to keep us safe by holding us back so a lion doesn’t eat us. As we venture beyond our comfort zone, it springs into action. It usually sounds mean and loud. Its sentences might start with words such as “you can’t, you should, you must, you’re not enough,” or “you don’t deserve.”
How can you get rid of the Saboteur? Unfortunately, you can’t remove it 100%. However, you can block it from taking control. The most powerful tool you have is to simply notice it and name it. That’s it.
To begin noticing what your inner critic says, bring to mind something new and difficult that you did recently. Then, take a minute and jot down what the Saboteur was saying to you internally during that experience. For example, “Who do you think you are? You can’t do that!” Remember, simply notice.
Identifying your Saboteur’s language means you’ll recognize it sooner so you can boot it out of the driver’s seat and into the back seat where it belongs.
Limiting beliefs are hidden in our subconscious minds and constrain us in some way. Because we unconsciously believe them, we don’t do or say things that they inhibit. For example, “I don’t deserve to earn a six-figure income.” That type of limiting belief constrains your actions.
Working with a professional coach is an excellent way to unearth these limiting beliefs. For now, here’s a hack for you. Rather than identifying your limiting beliefs, do the reverse. Write as many answers as you can using this prompt: “I want to believe …”
Keep your list of what you want to believe in a place you see it often to consciously choose your beliefs.
Digging down into these areas is usually not pleasant. I know from experience. I also know that the reward is worth it.
Add What Supports You
Your Sage Voice is here to give you some love! This voice sounds kind and quiet, which means it takes intention to hear it. It says things like, “You got this! You’re learning so give yourself a break. It’s going to be okay.”
The best way to connect with your Sage is to stop for a moment. Even pausing for ten seconds makes a difference. My favorite ways are to close my eyes and take a few deep breaths, stand outside for a few minutes doing nothing but sensing my surroundings, listen to a guided meditation, or take a walk.
Create a Container
Designing a container for yourself can bring freedom and fun. Really! My definition of a container is a system or framework that supports you. This will look different for all of us. Start by designing what you think will work for you now and then continue refining it as you learn and grow. The first step is the toughest!
For example, in order for me to feel free to work and have fun along the way, I need processes and people.
For my processes, I have structures in place for goals, daily tasks, writing blogs, recording videos, morning rituals, and monthly e-letters. Those systems bring me calm focus and a sense of accomplishment.
Here’s what I mean by needing people to support me. I thrive with a coach, an accountability partner, groups with a shared vision such as The Complete Leader program, and regularly doing yoga classes and running with a friend.
Your container will vary based on your needs. Imagine this as an infrastructure that supports you in doing what’s most important to you. What will help you be at your best?
By noticing your self-talk, choosing what you want to believe, and creating your container, you will be your biggest ally. I’d love to hear what your support system looks like! Send me an email to Jalene@JaleneCase.com.