The Secret Saboteur That’s Stalling Your Success

Filed in Finding & Following Your Voice by on May 9, 2011 • views: 413

If you’re like most of us, you have a naysayer in your head. You know the one—he’s always making you say things like “I just don’t have time,” and “I’m not very good at that,” and “That would never work,” and “I just don’t know how.” You’ve heard about him before. Yes, he tears down your self esteem. Yes, he’s negative, which is frowned upon in our current “positive thinking” culture. But he does something else that’s even more dangerous—he drowns out your inner voice.

I’m willing to bet that this naysayer comes up most often when you’re considering a change in your life, which of course, is usually motivated by your inner voice. Inside you’re thinking, “I’m bored. My job just doesn’t challenge me anymore, so I think it’s time to think about a change,” to which your naysayer immediately says, “Well whoop-te-doo! Lots of people have to do boring things in life. Who are you to expect your job to always be interesting?”

The naysayer pops up just at these times because he’s really good at helping you to avoid change. Want to create a budget and save money? “That’s too much work. You’re not an accountant!” Want to sign up for a few classes at your local community college? “You don’t have time for that, are you kidding?” Looking to improve your health with some daily exercise? “Well, maybe tomorrow. You’re really too tired today.”

The naysayer will do whatever it takes to keep you from hearing what your inner voice is trying to say. Especially if you start listening more carefully, start journaling about your dreams and goals, or go so far as to make a list of those things you want to change in your life, you can bet that the naysayer will shout even louder about all the reasons why you just can’t do those things.

“Everyone has a talent for making up excuses for not doing things that are required for making a successful life change,” write authors Fred Mandell and Kathleen Jordan (Becoming a Life Change Artist). “The danger is not in succumbing to occasional lapses in motivation, but in being unaware of when we are playing the game.”

In other words, it’s not so much that your naysayer speaks up that’s the problem—it’s when you don’t realize that his very presence is keeping you from following your heart. The naysayer is your personal procrastinator, the one who stalls your forward progress. He constantly wastes your time, for the longer you listen to him and fail to make changes, the longer you remain stuck in the same place in your life.

If your inner voice is nudging you to make a change and your naysayer has so far kept you successfully entrenched in the status quo, the best thing you can do is to become aware of what’s happening. Give your naysayer a name—preferably one that relates to a major time waster in your life. Who keeps you waiting in a way that just irritates you? Your doctor? Your employer? Someone at work? The grocery store clerk? Pick a name, then each time you hear yourself saying (or thinking) something like, “No, there’s no way I could do that,” name the speaker, and become aware—he’s trying to waste your time!

Once you realize what’s happening, then you can make an informed choice to ignore the naysayer and tune into your inner voice.

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