Yesterday, at the weekly meeting for the lifestyle program I’m taking, we focussed on overcoming obstacles.
One aspect we spent some time on was the importance of dealing with your inner saboteur. You know, that little gremlin in your head who tells you that you can’t do it, that you aren’t good enough, that you’re fat, that you shouldn’t even bother, etc…
It’s not a new concept for me. Like many, I am my own worst critic.
The day’s conversation came with some suggested reading that I might add to my list. But it mostly made me think 1) about a board I walk by each week at the school where my eldest daughter does Sparks on Tuesday nights and 2) about some of the various tricks and gimmicks I’ve developed over the years to deal with self-doubt and self-sabotage.
On the first, I took a photo of the board to share with the group on Wednesday, but it came out a bit blurry. Fortunately, the Internet was there to pinch hit for this post. Here’s the board:
I pretty much love everything about this. Such a powerful message about how the way we speak to ourselves impacts us.
Like Pink sings:
I have a small “ahh” moment every week when I walk past the board. I hope these are the words students internalize and take with them into adulthood. Those with positive attitudes help not only themselves, but those around them.
In reading it, I also find some peace in the fact that while I recognize myself in some of the negative statements, I also see myself in some of the positive.
So yay me!
Which brings me to some of the tricks and gimmicks I’ve used to keep my inner critic in his place.
In no particular order:
- As an introvert, I’ve never loved walking to a room of strangers. In my first year of university I had a girlfriend tell me: “When you walk into a bar, just tell yourself everyone in there wants you – they just don’t know it yet.” While that’s not quite the approach I go for now, the intent is the same: I am awesome. And so I shall just walk up, introduce myself, and assume you want to speak with me. Because, really, why wouldn’t you?
- On the flipside of that, when public speaking or giving presentations, I tell myself the experience isn’t AT ALL about me – it’s about the audience and what they want to learn – which is the information I’m there to communicate.
- I named a stuffed koala I got at a conference after someone I had had to professionally deal with who chronically put myself and others down. There was something about turning that individual into a cute little stuffy that my kids felt the need to take care of and make sure I had with me for movie night – along with their bunnies because it is important not to exclude anyone – that, well, nicely redistributed the power in my mind.
- I’ve trained myself that, when I’m tasked with something I don’t immediately know how to do, rather than panic, I tell myself “I’ll figure it out.” I then take a moment and figure out what I need to do to figure it out. It generally works.
- At a particularly low point in my life in my 20s a girlfriend took me to a baseball game. I noticed that when each of the players came to bat they had individualized theme music. I thought this was an awesome idea. Everyone should have theme music when they walk into a room. I chose my song then and there and over ten years later I still hum it when I need a confidence boost. Here it is for your listening pleasure:
I admit, I never thought much about some of the lyrics until years later…
The discussion on Wednesday, as well as my weekly pause at that board, tell me I still have room for growth here. And really, I’m not sure anyone can ever hit Lynn Peltzer effectiveness with their inner gremlin. Although, that would be ideal so let’s all take a moment to visualize:
So what about you? I’d love to hear any tips or things you do or have found helpful in keeping him where he belongs.