Inner Voices

(Originally published Nov. 21, 2007).

Last week, I blogged about my opinion that most of us are afraid of success. Since then, I continued on my quest to nail down some specifics of my own attitude towards success. To this end, I attended the Breaking Barriers Workshop, billed as, “Your best resource for powerful, fast, and life changing methods to help you let go of your negative programming and break through your barriers.”

One of the objectives of this workshop was to give us tools to identify those nasty little internal voices, most of which we are unaware of, that prevent us from achieving the goals we say we want.

This, I thought, should be really interesting. Surely by now, I had dealt with the bulk of the baggage I dragged from my childhood into adulthood.

Not so, as it turned out.

The workshop gurus knew what they were doing when they designed this program. They came up with some pretty sneaky approaches to busting those pesky inner voices, using techniques which took most participants unaware. First, each of us identified one important goal we wanted to achieve (mine was to become a NYT best-selling author within five years). Next, we broke down our goal into tasks. Finally, the facilitator gave us four minutes to write down exactly what our critical little Inner Voice had to say about each task, no pre-thinking, no editing, and definitely no censoring, and all the time using our non-dominant hand.

Because of my work with addiction counselling, I’ve known for some time that using the non-dominant hand uses a different part of our brain. Somehow it frees up our subconscious to express what we really feel, not what our conscious mind wants us to believe. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this left-handed exercise, but one thing’s for sure; I hadn’t anticipated striking the mother lode.

Imagine my shock when I wrote things like, “I don’t want to draw attention to myself,” and, “It’ll take too long [to write another book], I’ll be ancient,” and, “Change always ruins relationships,” and, “Attention is destructive,” and, “If I earn lots of money, someone will just take it away.”

Did the workshop help me accomplish what I’d set out to do? Definitely. Could these messages from my critical little inner voice sabotage my success? You bet. Have I broken through all my barriers? Not yet. But as they say, “Knowledge is power.” Now I have something concrete to analyze, to work with, to wrestle with, to change.

Does anyone else hear their critical inner voice? If so, how do you deal with the knowledge? Please leave a comment, let me know.