“How Do I Stop the Voices?”

I was asked that question last week. Sounds like a punch line to a joke right? Maybe a joke from one of my emotionally unstable clientele! It is NOT a punch line, nor is it coming from someone that suffers with neurosis.

The voices are very real”¦and in this case are coming from a highly functioning successful executive with a very long resume of academia. First you have to recognize the voices, are you conscious of yours?

As an executive life coach my approach to helping someone “get what they want” first involves getting a handle on the roadblocks, the voices. That is square 1. For me, they are simply the voices representing Ego.  (Please note: This is NOT how ALL coaches-coach.  This is my approach that I have had great results with.)

What does EGO mean to you, ask yourself the question?  What is Ego?

Noun, Plural Egos:

1)   The “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.

2)   Psychoanalysis. the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.

3)   egotism; conceit; self-importance: Her ego becomes more unbearable each day.

4)   self-esteem or self-image; feelings: Your criticism wounded his ego.

5)   (often initial capital letter) Philosophy. the enduring and conscious element that knows experience. Scholasticism. the complete person comprising both body and soul.

6)   Ethnology. a person who serves as the central reference point in the study of organizational and kinship relationships.

That has always been a slippery slope for me to understand.  I like to think of my Ego as my own personal experiences as well as the beliefs handed down to me by an influencing member of my family or community.  The voices can be coming from many childhood experiences right up until yesterday.  My ego shapes a story around every one of those experiences, thus giving me a sense of security (Which in reality is really quite delusional but that’s another blog).

I love how Shirzad Chamine breaks it down.  He calls the voices Saboteurs.  And you can see how your very own show up in his Saboteur Assessment survey.  (Available on line for free”¦take it!!!)  He also has a fantastic book called Positive Intelligence that I recommend reading.

In his format he has 10 voices that represent the Saboteurs.  Just so you know”¦I have clients that have 50 or more (:

His breakdown is simple to understand”¦

  • Judge
  • Stickler
  • Pleaser
  • Hyper-Achiever
  • Victim
  • Hyper-Rational
  • Hyper-Vigilant
  • Restless
  • Controller
  • Avoider

It amazes me how quickly my clients can relate to and accept the fact that these voices exist, and are at work. Don’t struggle grasping that there is ALSO an “All Knowing” voice alive and well inside us.  That voice is what I refer to as the “Leader-Within, Intuit, Captain, or Spirit”.  The goal as your coach is to help you quiet the negative voices and make more room for the Leader Within.

So how do we quiet the voices and make room for your brilliance to shine? Discipline and practice at being still. Research and science data now suggests that sitting still and trying to “not think” creates new neuro pathways from the right to left, and the left to right hemispheres of the brain.  New pathways are opened up as a result of this practice.

Some people practice this through prayer, nature walks, exercise, and meditation.  And experience a heightened sense of consciousness from as little as 20 minutes per day!

I like the definition of Ego I once heard from Roshi Jun Po Denis Kelly. He says the Ego is the part of you that does not wish to die. Keep in mind that your Ego is your friend and has gotten you where you are in life. Your ego has somewhat kept you safe and sound.  Consequently, the last thing your Ego wants you to do is NOT LISTEN to the voices.

See the paradox? So the question is really up to you to answer. IF you want change, you have to become more conscious to what you are listening to the saboteurs or the leader within you?