May 30, 2019

You and the others in your head.

You're in a meeting. You feel nervous because you will soon be addressing the room.

You are aware that you can speak and nothing outside your skill set is needed, not even a boost to the volume of your voice, since you've just heard the last person speak at their normal range and you picked up what they said just fine. 

Stepping out of your head, you notice you are not the room, just the chair. A chair much like the one you are occupying now. You see that everyone has a chair too, a role they play in the room. Together you all fill up the space in the room, one person saying his piece and then the other picking it up.

You realise you are not required to fill up the silence because there is no silence, just voices- ones you are listening to now.

And maybe that's what you are here to do, to seat in your chair- the one that's holding you while you listen. So you do, and there is something interesting to hear, and see too! That person over there is also thinking about being the room like you were a minute ago- they are nervous but bravely speaking on. 

It's almost your turn to speak, what will you say you think? "It might not go very well" you say to yourself, dismissing the first idea that comes to your head. But you remember you are the chair not the room, and you own the space your chair seats on, that and nothing more. So you say what it is you think of, leaving others to say the rest.

You easily pass on the baton, barely noticing you have already spoken. Your ears welcoming the small giggles rippling to either side of you. 

It did go down very well!

Central to my end of year message of 2018, was not so much the charge to unleash our potential but really a call to get out of our own way so what's within can shine through.

I said: "Consider how much of your inherent potential you can release if you overcome the critic in your head that creates the self doubt, fear of failure and vote of no confidence which interferes with your performance to the point where you don't do what you think yourself capable of or never find out how great you can be it."          
It's about getting out of our heads, so we can do what comes naturally to us- being brilliantly ourselves without the 'self conscious- us and the judgemental others'. 
For instance, we have no real reason to feel inadequate when we don't know something, because not knowing is not only inevitable but perfectly realistic. But we might feel that way because we've considered how other people will think of us negatively because of this and depending on how negative or positive our mental habits are, we could over estimate in either direction. 

Getting 'ourselves and the others' out of our heads in this example will really be stopping the fantasy and handling only the reality of the present- "I don't know about 'x',".  It should only be an observation we make that then informs our decision to either learn or not learn more about that thing. 

My conversation with a friend earlier this week illustrates the point.

She'd spent more time than she liked at home, sorting out the small issue of what she was going to wear for an engagement the next day, when she 'should' have been on her way to work. I listened more amused by how often I too had been boggled by a ward robe change that felt absolutely important in the moment, instead of getting myself out of the house.

I came out of reverie though when she started to anticipate some repercussion for her lateness and effectively turned our chat into a brainstorming session on how she would handle it. 

It had not happened.

It might never.

And yet here we were stuck in an unpleasant future in her head, the present realities of our actual safety from repercussion, fading in our rear view.

I said something along these lines to my friend but writing this today, I now realise what I really meant was: "when you come to the moment and a response is needed, you'll give one. For now own the present- your purest of intentions neither to shirk on work nor to suck at the social responsibility to turn up at a colleague's wedding wearing the agreed outfit . 

Those accepting thoughts could prove really useful if at all you need to give a reason for not being in at your normal time. You'll be able to own the confidence from knowing you do not need to turn up early all the time and it is you not anybody else who is responsible for managing your calendar such that your life in and outside work balances"

By only noticing the event and not running away with the thoughts of repercussion and judgement from 'the others' we disinvite the feelings of nervousness, fear, worry and anger- another waste of our mental energy. 

Again we pick up your internal self talk from the point where you are angry at 'insert name' and you are just saying "'insert name' is a 'name insult'!" and what you mean is that they seem to be frustrating your efforts and standing in your way. 

The only problem is you have just told yourself that that person is a road block and how do you feel when you think of them and the thoughts 'road block' come to mind? You'll likely feel blocked or feel like a person who is able to be blocked- which is a defeating feeling.

The result is you have magnified that person or situation just by your colourful description of them. So a good emotional habit is to cut them back to size and instead say- "that's just 'name' and they are not stupid, I am just upset because I am not having my way which is usually a difficult feeling for me to handle". 

See, you can use your words differently to describe the event you are noticing not the person, focusing your attention on the real issue of your perception of the situation.

Without the obstructive feelings of self doubt, nervousness, inadequacy, worry, anger and un-useful mental and emotional habits, you'll be letting your natural state of confidence and brilliance lead and optimising your results without doing a single thing! 

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