Do you ever find yourself having conversations with that little voice in your head? You know, the one that loves to stop you from making any real progress in your business. If you answered yes, I feel confident in saying you’re not alone.
It can be frustrating, even annoying at times. Why do we always have to argue with this stupid little voice that makes such reasonable and seemingly well-intentioned arguments?
It’s always telling us why we can’t do something or what we should be doing instead to avoid risk and be safe. Shut up already!
There are certain times when I notice the voice more often than others. Like when I’m preparing to write a post that contains personal thoughts or information. I like privacy and I like laying low. It’s comfortable, and my little voice knows it.
It’s incredibly patient. Showing up in all kinds of different situations just to test me when it thinks I might be vulnerable to attack. For example, when exercising, let’s say I’m doing a workout that is five rounds long. It looks like a nasty workout. A grinder. Before I start, I say to myself “that’s not too bad, I can get through this.”
Once I get started though, maybe about the time I get to the second round, guess who shows up for a conversation.
“You’re tired today,” he says, “you can get away with just doing three rounds.” or, “it’s ok to slow down, you’re working hard enough.”
The same little voice loves to show up when I’m trying to grow my business. Telling me why I shouldn’t do something or why I won’t be successful. And here’s the kicker:
He’s so convincing and so reasonable I feel like I should just agree. Which I sometimes do. Do you ever find yourself agreeing with your little voice?
It’s a dangerous proposition because the more you agree with him/her, the more power you lose. Alternatively, the more you ignore it, the weaker it becomes.
Learn From the Situations Where You Win
As much as my little voice likes to think he’s in control, there are times I have him beat and he knows it. But he still shows up just to test me–probing for a weakness. Somehow, I find a way to win.
In three years, I have never failed to complete a workout that I started. It might take me forever and a day to finish, but I get it done despite all of the internal conversations that come up suggesting an alternative ending.
The same can’t be said for my business though. In that area of my life, it’s more like a 50-50 proposition. All too often I give into the little voice and that holds me back from doing something that might result in real progress.
For a long time, I was afraid to write anything. Afraid that other people would think it was awful or that I’d be judged; afraid that if I failed to put an amazing piece of work forward, I’d never get any clients; afraid I’d look like a fool. The voice in my head made up all kinds of excuses to not get started and for a long time I have been listening.
There are times where we find the confidence and resolve to power through situations that are difficult. If you have an area in your life where this resolve exists, learn to bring it to the table when your little voice shows up. He/she won’t know what hit them. Pay attention to what you are saying to yourself when you win, because that’s what you’ll need to say when you feel like giving in.
Take this post for example. It would be much easier to write about the “Three WordPress Plugins That Will Skyrocket Your Productivity.” Maybe I’ll write that later, but for today my goal was to be more transparent. I don’t really feel like publishing this post because look who showed up again–chirping away in my ear. I’m not listening though because I know comfort is the wrong choice.
Use Your Inner Voice as an Indicator
There’s a relatively easy way to overcome the little voice that’s in your head by using it as an indicator that you’ve reached a crossroads. You can give in to the voice, or ignore it. The choice is yours.
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day called “Think.Act.Get” in which James Schramko says (ad-lib):
“We’re all in a terminal situation here, so do we tiptoe through life to get to death safely?”
Our little voice wants us to be safe. It wants us to take the easy way out and avoid putting ourselves in situations where life is uncomfortable. That’s not where we need to be though. Comfort rarely equates to progress.
One of the first things my coach told me when I started CrossFit, and this applies to building a successful freelance business as well:
“If you want to make real progress, you’ll need to get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
That’s how I know if I’m on the right track: The little voice in my head, the one that lurks in the shadows waiting for the opportune time to share his opinion, he’s the voice of comfort. The voice of safety that needs to be ignored. When he shows up, you know you’re doing what needs to be done and that you’re on the right track.
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