For most people the whole point of coaching is to change something, do something different. In order to do that, we have to actually stretch and step outside of our ‘box’. We all have a particular inner force that—to say the least—inhibits change. It’s the Inner Critic.
We all have one. It’s not a new idea. Monkey mind, gremlin, saboteur—all the same thing. It’s that voice that tries valiantly to keep you SAFE. The problem really is that it has a really strange perspective of safety. Sort of goes like this: “If you are not truly in imminent danger, why rock the boat. Just hang out here, after all it’s safe.” That can sound sensible, and at the same time it can be soul crushing. Maybe you are miserable in your work, or relationship… but you aren’t actually on fire, it could be worse! So we stay and plod on.
Remember the definition of insanity that is about doing the same thing over and over the same way and expecting the results to be different? That is what we want to avoid because it’s not effective. And yet that handy Inner Critic thinks where you are is fine, okay, good enough… poo bah!
I have written before about the critic, and seeing it as a signal that you are actually embracing change. I know that idea is hard to get our arms around, and yet it’s really valid. If you Inner Critic is calm and happy it basically means you are on the hamster wheel.
“Yeah, but,” you say, “what has all this got to do with the title of this blog? – Beware the “Yeah, but…?” One of your Critic’s biggest tools to keep you ‘safe’ is to distract you. After all when you are distracted you miss things, you get sidelined, you drift away from your dreams and goals. That’s where the “Yeah, but…” comes in. Just when you start to explore an idea, up pops a “Yeah, but…” to stop you in your tracks. It’s one of the things I really listen for with clients.
Somewhere, most of us got really sidelined and confused about how to dream, explore, and investigate new ideas. This concept used to be called Brain Storming and one of the primary rules of brain storming was that you weren’t allowed to “Yeah, but…” it! Why? Because the “Yeah, but…” distracts and halts the idea.
These days we seem to think that we have to bring up all the possible problems and objections right at the beginning of building an idea. Somehow it’s a fairness or objectivity thing. Nope! It’s a distraction technique that shuts down your dreaming right at the get go! Sure, as you pursue a dream and actually start to make it real, obstacles and problems will arise. And you’ll cope with them. You’ll get clever. You’ll change the design. Maybe even change the whole project. It’s all good and part of the creative process.
And you’ll never get that far if you let in the “Yeah, but…” voice early in the process.
Bottom line? Beware the “Yeah, but…!” Gather questions to ask yourself when it shows up. Things like:
- When does it show up? Early in the process? Midway?
- Is it a constructive comment, or one that blocks the process?
- How distracting is it?
The biggest question really is: “Do you want your Inner Critic’s fears to keep you where you are, or do you want to venture into new territory?” It’s up to you. Being aware of the “Yeah, but…” is a good place to gain clarity on what you are up to!
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Want to shift out of letting your “Yeah, but…” run you? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.