How often do you think about the ways you might be making yourself less effective? Even if you do, it can be extremely difficult to identify how you are being your own worst enemy!
One of the most insidious ways we make ourselves smaller is by listening to that constant, never-ending ticker tape that runs a commentary on, quite literally, everything. You know, that ticker tape that is saying right now: What ticker tape? I don’t have a ticker tape!
Yes, that ticker tape. The one that often says you are less than you are, or dumber than you are, or less worthy, etc…
A few weeks ago I was at my Tai Chi class, and was chatting with a woman I’m friendly with (“Heidi”) and another man whom I don’t know at all. The man is relatively new, and was lamenting about how hard it was to remember the exact placement of his hands and feet for certain moves.
Heidi piped up with: Yes! They should make a Tai Chi for Dummies book!
(As an aside, Heidi is really good at Tai Chi, although she’s extremely humble and tends to second guess herself).
So I said to Heidi: You SO don’t need that! You totally know the form!
She looked at me, shocked, and said “What? Ouch!”
I looked at her, puzzled, and said: “What did you just hear me say?”
Heidi said: “You said I totally needed that book.”
I replied: “No, I said you so DON’T need that book!”
The guy we were chatting with confirmed that I had, indeed, said that she didn’t need that type of instruction. I then asked Heidi what she was listening to that had her hear that?
She said her mother was very tough on her when she was a child, and not only never had a nice thing to say but at times was downright unkind. Now, whenever she is with people, her mother is there too in her mind, speaking all those unkind things over and over.
I pointed out to Heidi that she was so busy listening to her internal ticker tape that she had not been able to hear the compliment I paid her, and instead heard herself being put down.
So I ask you: What are you listening to that speaks louder than the people around you? What are you hearing that is, perhaps, not true? And what are you getting caught up in that doesn’t serve you?
The majority of people are saying kind things to you. Are you able to hear them? Or are you too busy listening to yourself?
I’m assuming you may not have such a clear example, but invite you to take a look at the times when you forgot to champion yourself!
Have a question? Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.