What does the voice inside your head say to you? I’m not talking about that “still, small voice,” but rather that loud and seemingly inescapable one, the one that calls for your attention despite your best efforts to ignore it. (If you’re asking yourself, “What voice is she talking about,” the voice that just asked you that question is precisely the one I’m talking about.)
Rest assured, becoming present to that inner voice doesn’t mean you’re crazy. On the contrary, it simply means you’ve slowed down long enough to listen to the script that’s running inside your head. What do you hear? Chances are likely that you’ll recognize that voice as your inner critic, the voice that tells you not to try, never to take a risk, to take the safe road, and to play small. It’s also known as your gremlin and its message is pretty clear: you’re just not good enough.
To impress the point, perhaps you’ll recognize these variations on that same theme:
- I’m just not smart enough.
- I don’t really have what it takes.
- I’m not attractive enough.
- I don’t deserve success.
- Who am I kidding here?
- I don’t have enough experience.
- I’m too old to even try.
You get the idea…
You’ll know your gremlin is staring you right in the face (or holding a megaphone to your ear) when you get stopped in your tracks for fear of failure, embarrassment, or hurt. You’ll also recognize it when it’s speaking to your limitations and not to your greatness. (In fact, right now it’s likely got you questioning that you and the word greatness could even exist in the same sentence!)
Don’t be afraid to receive the message your gremlin is sending your way. Once received, you’ll at least be able to acknowledge it -- and then you can stamp the package: “return to sender.” Let it know that you don’t need its help, that you’re okay, and that you’re not interested in playing small and taking the safe road. (Yes, I’m inviting you to have a conversation with your gremlin.) Taking this approach will actually help to move your gremlin out of the way so you can make forward progress.
It would be foolish to tell you that your gremlin is going to get a case of laryngitis; in fact, the more you try to silence it, initially, the louder it will get. And, despite the fact that it likely feels six stories high and another six stories wide, know that you’re so much bigger than your gremlin ever could be (figuratively speaking, of course). Don’t make the mistake of confusing your gremlin with your identity; it’s simply not who you are.
So, what are the things you haven’t been able to achieve lately, or in a number of years, perhaps, thanks to the “advice” of your gremlin? (How long is your list, really?)
Isn’t it time to change your stance, to really “get” that you’re an extraordinary human being, that you’re more than “good enough?” Don’t just get in the game. Play a bigger game, swing for the fences, and play full-out. After all, you’ve got everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose…except, of course, a gremlin or two. (Hear, hear!)