Whether you’re struggling to figure out how to manage remote learning for your children, navigate layoffs at work, or just trying to find a way to stay balanced during this incredibly chaotic moment in history, I invite you to spend some quality time with the most important voice you’ll ever hear: your own.
When things get crazy and you have no idea how to determine your next best step or you’re frustrated by competing priorities trying to pull you in opposite directions, it’s time to do a little self-interrogation. Don’t worry – it’s not as scary as it sounds and it doesn’t require a three-day retreat in a remote location!
In order to do this work, you’ll need to claim a space. It might be as simple as a pen and notebook where you can download all the noise in your head. Some of my clients like to head outside for a walk to both clear their minds and enjoy the meditative quality of putting one foot in front of the other. For those who struggle to hear themselves in the midst of life’s hubbub, a quiet space such as an office or bedroom with a closed door can work.
Unload Your Baggage
For those with a notebook, just start writing down all the things on your mind. Similarly, walkers can rattle off a stream of consciousness while moving through their route. If you’ve found a private space to discard your excess concerns, simply name them and then move on. Don’t bother to judge or solve these issues. Your only job is to create a little room in your noggin by acknowledging the cacophony.
Find Your Locus of Power
For so many of us, the center of power frequently resides outside of us – with a boss or a child or a spouse. We look to them for what should come next or what’s most important. It makes sense to note that your boss wants that report by noon or your child needs lunch. Ideally those desires serve as inputs, not as directives. When you are able to center your own sense of agency, something significant shifts. Yes, you’re still feeding your family and meeting your deadlines, but it’s in a more intentional and holistic way.
Once you’ve claimed some space, unloaded your baggage, and found your center, you can start to listen to your own vital voice. Free write, stare into space, walk and talk to yourself, or take whatever action works for you. You’ll find yourself making to-do lists, remembering that email you owe someone, or dreaming up the plotline for a movie. That’s all fine. Keep going by asking yourself the questions that will help you to move forward: What do you want to do about a particular issue? What would make you feel satisfied with a certain situation? How will you benefit when you make this choice instead of that one?
For many of us, the best way to hear our own voices is to actively shut out competing ideas or contrary notions. Once you figure out the best way for you to hear yourself think, you’ll have access to the best ally, most insightful perspective, and critical thinker around: yourself.
Talk to you next month,
P.S. For more insight on that voice in your head, read this blog from a few years back: How Talking to Yourself Can Help You.
P.S. If you need help finding that internal voice, we’re here with language and leadership coaching. Just send along an email and we’ll set up a complimentary 30 minute call.