I can’t be bothered
It’s too hard for me
I won’t be taken seriously
I’ll do it tomorrow
It won’t be good enough
I’m too tired
What’s the point
These are some of the phrases that our internal monologue can rattle off in a matter of seconds. They start to form in our heads when we are faced with something that will be a challenge, something new or maybe just something that requires us to stop being so determined by our feelings.
Just last night, my boyfriend suggested we do the washing up together before going to bed. My automatic response was “I’m tired, I feel a bit sad, it can wait, I’ll do it tomorrow”. His reply was: “Why are you listening to the itty-bitty-shitty-committee?” This took me by surprise as I hadn’t considered that was what I was doing. We then had a conversation about how good it would feel to just get the kitchen clean. It would mean I wouldn’t have to worry about it in the morning (I’ve noticed that when working from home, waking up to a messy house causes stress). I allowed myself to continue experiencing the sad feelings, but didn’t give in to them to wallow in incapability. So the first step?
Acknowledge the itty-bitty-shitty-committee (and talk about the concept with the people closest to you so they can call it!)
This is the committee that undermines your capabilities, puts you down and becomes the voice of excuses granting you permission to avoid things that could make your life bigger. If I hadn’t had the conversation with my boyfriend about the negative conversation within myself, then he wouldn’t have been able to notice those voices creeping in to my behaviour and challenge me.
So to re-cap – share the concept, that way the voices contributing to your choices come from a much larger committee. Nifty! On to the second step.
Find humour in adversity to conquer damaging self hurt
When situations don’t go how we hoped or intended, there’s often humour in the situation. All it takes is a whisper from the itty-bitty-shitty-community to dampen that and lead us towards guilt and regret. The witty committee, on the other hand, will notice the joy that can come from seeing the funny side and being able to share it with your nearest and dearest – there is character and resilience in that. I know I tend to respect people who can be honest and cheerful about the slip-ups they’ve made and I’ve noticed that people who do this tend to move forwards with what they’ve learned.
So to re-cap – take pride in being able to see the funny side. Be witty!
3. Acknowledge that just because we have feelings, we don’t have to BECOME our feelings. The voice that tells us ‘you’re too tired’ might be masking something else – perhaps the sense that staying where you are is safe, comfortable, reassuringly predictable and familiar. Have you ever heard yourself say something along the lines of: “I was feeling pretty tired so almost dropped out, but when I got there it felt great and I was so glad I went”? That’s your Gritty shouting loud and clear.
If you have trouble gritting your teeth to do something you suspect might be beneficial for you, ask the question: ‘What’s at stake?’ It may seem like a trivial example, but by gritting my teeth and mucking in with my other half to clean the kitchen last night there were a few things at stake – an opportunity to break the cycle of negative thinking that had crept in, the chance to do something with my partner to cement our shared commitment to living in a nice flat and the opportunity to wake up in the morning to a clear space to start the day from.
So to re-cap, allow yourself to feel whatever you feel and then tune in to what might be at stake in listening to the voice that’s committed to your growth. That’s gritty right there.
So there you have it – the nifty, gritty, witty committee. How will you be gritty for the remainder of 2017? I’d love to hear in the comments and promise to reply to every one. If you’d like the opportunity to grow the nifty side of your committee, a coaching conversation is just an email away.