20 Apr Full Disclosure: Recognize Your Inner Voice
“If your inner voice is telling you “you can’t paint”, by all means, hurry up and paint to silence the voice.” – Vincent Van Gogh
Full Disclosure: It has been so long since I spent the time updating my blog and honing my business message. OH NO! I have fallen into the trap! I regularly coach business owners to develop and execute a marketing plan, and here I am not following my own advice. Shame on me.
Honestly, there is no one to blame, no one to point fingers at, and no one to fire. The simple fact is, I haven’t followed through on a task which I own, I am responsible for, and I did not do. I could make excuses, but that isn’t me. At the end of the day, I am accountable for not doing what I said, was a priority.
So why didn’t I write the blog? After spending a little time reflecting on exactly that question, I determined I was afraid. I was afraid no one would want to read what I had to say. I actually talked myself out of something I hadn’t even really started. Imagine that! I coach hundreds of people on facing their fears and yet I fell into the same trap! Yup I’m human! A little humility and self-reflection goes a long way. I too have the little voice inside my head, the one trying to protect me from getting hurt, but blocking me from getting where I want to go. Do you have one of these voices?
Let’s be honest and fully transparent, I finally got mad enough to do something about it. I often seek counsel from leading experts,
- Who have what I want.
- Who have been successful in business.
- Who have experienced feelings of fear and have overcome them.
- Who have insight and strength to survive life threatening experiences.
- Who persevere despite a physical or mental challenge.
Additionally, to maximize my learning I use various learning mediums, such as pod casts, webinars, CD’s, books, conferences, networks, and music. Through the use of these different mediums I am able to stimulate my audio, visual and kinesthetic learning styles to obtain a deeper understanding from their teachings.
For example, yesterday I attended a Women’s Leadership Conference held by the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce. The theme of the conference was Transitions. Transitions happen each day, and some are more difficult than others. Sometimes our inner voice tells us to be fearful, and we give this inner voice more power than our conscious voice. One of the speakers, Maureen Ross Gemm, CEO of Emerge Leadership Academy, LLC, recommended giving this little voice a formal name which allows us to:
- Identify it quickly when it surfaces
- Recognize the voice has my best interest at heart, which is to protect me from something I fear.
- Ask this voice to “simmer down and help me take positive action(s) to help me overcome the fear.”
There are many acronyms for FEAR, however this one, False Evidence Appearing Real, helped me connect the dots and realize how much time and effort is spent on self-recrimination. For example I start saying, “For goodness sake Gail, you’ve jumped out of a plane from 15,000+ feet. You help people overcome their fears and advocate for others every day. You started your own company, in Connecticut of all places. Why aren’t I listening to my own advice?” Because, I have been giving the voice in my head a reality it doesn’t deserve!
As the owner of Leading to Unlock, I act as a sparring partner for many businesses and individuals. I am an unbiased external resource who can identify and resolve gaps. I help businesses define their strategy, overcome obstacles to reach their goal, while creating value and improving cash flow. I help individuals identify their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. As a business owner myself, I realized I need a ‘me’ for me.
Reflect and Act:
Reflection 1: I had to dig deep and start to understand why I was deferring my inner personal power to FEAR. What in my past has given me this learned behavior? What is one action I can take immediately to move forward?
- Learning 1: One learned behavior I uncovered was I try to always follow the rules. My epiphany: They were always someone else’s rules, not my own. I went along even when I didn’t fully understand what the purpose or objectives were.
- Action 1: Focus on being a better listener. Ask more open ended questions to gain a better understanding of the ‘why’ behind the ‘rule’. Then decide if this ‘rule’ fits my personal ethics and make a decision.
Reflection 2: I want to have my knowledge from these experts in one format and in one place. One person said to have a “learning journal” where you capture your thoughts, reflections and actionable items in one place. He also recommended using a highlighter or checkbox for the action so I could go back and check it off once the action was complete and the behavior was changed.
- Learning 1: I take copious notes when listening to an expert. As a result, I sometimes miss what the expert is ‘really saying’.
- Action: Now I record the speaker and use my learning journal as a record of my learning and new behaviors. It allows me time to 1) Focus on the speaker while they are talking. It helps me learn public speaking techniques such as eye contact, voice infection, etc. 2) Reflect on what was initially said. Allow your mind time to process what you’ve heard. Sift through what you feel is important. 3) Within the next 24-48 hours listen to the recording and write down your notes in your learning journal. 4) Create a plan to implement the actions you deemed important. If you need inspiration, there is a great Ted Talk, “Try Something New for 30 Days” By Matt Cutts, where he talks about the 30-day challenge. Ask someone to partner with you to help you reach your goal.
- Learning 2: I am often motivated and inspired after attending conferences or listening to experts. Jack Canfield, author, said there is a difference between Motivation and Inspiration. He stated, “Motivation is like a shower, it washes off in a day or so and requires you to refresh it daily, otherwise it becomes old, smelly and no longer deemed valuable. While Inspiration is like a fire that lights up your soul, it transforms you, and makes you become unstoppable.”
- Action: First, I personally need daily motivational messages. I began subscribing to TUT.com (The Universe Talks). Each morning (Mon-Fri) I receive a message from The Universe. These messages help me start my day with positive message which carries me throughout the day. Second, my inspiration comes from my learning journal. I will use the actions captured within to move forwar
- Learning 3: I have decided to give my inner voice a name. I want my inner voice to represent strength, courage, authenticity and resilience.
- Action: I’ve got it – SCAR! It represents the scars from the past which have prevented me from moving forward. It represents a shortened version of SCARE, which is what I’ve allowed it to do. Finally, it represents the four words I typed above Strength, Courage, Authenticity, and Resilience! I love this photograph. It speaks to me on so many different levels.
Get to Know Thyself
In closing, this week has been a Get to Know Thyself journey. Here are the guiding aspirations I have for myself and the mission of my company.
- I will consistently work on myself, to be an effective coach for others.
- I will invest in learning from and through others.
- I will be an expert who creates a foundation of healthy soil for planting seeds and fosters growth through fertilization and nurturing.
- I will be a coach and mentor who leads through inspiration and helps other’s.
- I will seek motivation and inspiration in many different forms, from many different resources and cultures.
- I will put my goals in stone, but the timeline in sand.
- I will stay humble and kind.