Category Archives: inner critic

The Perfection Trap

It seems like it’s everywhere these days: People seem to expect to just magically be perfect at something without practice or study.  I don’t really know what’s behind it—or even if I’m just noticing it because I have several clients who expect themselves to be perfect right ‘out of the chute’.

What I do know is that it’s not only a futile endeavor but a trap.  It’s one of those handy tools that our Inner Critic voice uses.  You have heard me speak of that, and I will continue to do so.  Frankly, I think helping people to stop giving their Inner Critics ‘air time‘ is one of the most important things I do… whether it’s about money or not.  This perfection thing is just another diversion in the Critic’s Toolkit.

Somehow many of us feel like we are supposed to be able to be perfect without practice or effort.  I beg to differ with that.  Even the things that we are ‘good‘ at, or have some innate talent for, require practice, enhancement, care—or we either lose them or they get stale.

This desire to be instantly successful and perfect at something is everywhere in our lives.  We should just know how to write a blog, cook a great meal, play an instrument, or manage our money, right?  Um, no.  All those things and many more take practice—lots of practice.

It’s not even just a matter of patience.  It seems to be more about expectations.  We expect that we will magically be able to do something without struggle or effort.

One side of my family was full of artists, and I do some art myself.  Art is a particularly good example of a skill where you have to give yourself the time and patience to fail, experiment, and just mess up.

Long ago I was taking a beginning drawing class at a local college.  A young guy in his twenties had the easel next to me.  We were doing some kind of sketching, I don’t remember the actual objects.  What I do remember is that he kept drawing a bit and then wadding the paper up and throwing it on the floor.  There were grunts, gnashing, and colorful language that accompanied this endeavor.  The instructor noticed the pile and came over to talk to him.  I both love and agree wholeheartedly with what she told him.  She explained that every art piece goes through a very ugly stage where you just want to rip it up and start over.  I was delighted to hear that because I thought I was the only person who had that problem!  She also said that you just have to keep working at it and get past it.  It’s part of the process.

Along the same line, I recently read an article in Artist’s Magazine about starting a drawing practice.  The article, by Danny Gregory, had a box in the corner titled:  NOTE TO SELF which included these points:

  1. Never compare yourself to other artists… Let their progress inspire, but not intimidate, you…
  2. You’re making more progress than you think you are.  You may not see it, but it’s happening…
  3. Everyone struggles at the beginning… the struggle is normal, inevitable… and a positive sign that you are working through things.

I have several clients who feel like when they take a class to learn something new they have to do things well from the very beginning.  Maybe that comes from competition in school or the need to get good grades to meet family or cultural expectations, but it is not an effective method of learning something new as an adult.  What that idea is really good at is keeping you from even trying to learn something new or improve how you do things.  It distracts you from engaging, and that is a shame.  It’s a Perfection Trap, and none of us want to end up in a trap.

The real question is:  How would your life be different if you allowed yourself to be messy, awkward, and nowhere near perfect?  And even more radical, what if you could think of doing that as the ‘perfect’ way to be?  Give it a try!

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

Want some help getting out of the Perfection Trap?  Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.

Crossing the Finish Line

This year is almost done, we are about to cross the finish line — and begin again!  Like most of our finish lines, it’s an arbitrary thing.  There really is little difference between December 31st and January 1st.  Of course there are rituals around these two days, and traditions, and they still are each 24 hours long.

We actually celebrate this ‘finish’ every year.  The year will finish no matter what we do.  And yet there is a huge pile of goals we declare and never ‘finish.’ Why is that?

We distract ourselves, we procrastinate, we make up weird rituals around things… on and on it goes.

Recently a client turned me on to this very aptly named book called:  “Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done”, by Jon Acuff.  It’s a WONDERFUL book about the tangle we get ourselves into in ‘trying’ to get things done.  I highly recommend that you read it… NOW!  It’s fun and amusing and dead on.  He comes at this issue through the idea of Perfectionism, and how it scares us and holds us back.

Another book along a similar path that I find equally compelling is “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles”by Steven Pressfield.  He’s writing about the same result of not getting things done, only instead of centering it around perfectionism, his nemesis is Resistance.  This is a favorite ‘bathroom book’ of mine—a book with short bits to be read in several minutes!  He’s less outright humorous, perhaps more sardonic and witty, and absolutely on point!

Here’s my take on both of these books, and why we need them.  They are full of strategies and tactics for us to, at the very least contain, and possibly even curtail our “inner critics”.  This handy, dandy persistent nagging voice in our heads is responsible for us staying in ruts, and not embracing our dreams.

You’ve heard me talk about it before, and no doubt will hear my musings on the topic again.  I do so because it’s crucial to you living a life that is fulfilling.

A short review of your critic’s game plan:

  • It wants to keep you safe
  • In this moment you are safe (i.e., not on fire)
  • It wants to block anything that might create change (i.e., change could make things worse)
  • Distraction is a very good technique keep you where you are!

Can you see this pattern at work in your life?  You get close to doing something that might ‘change things’ and then somehow get distracted, or confused, or mired in the process.  That is very likely your Inner Critic keeping you firmly planted in the doldrums!

Part of the value of both the books listed is that they give you some practical tactics to break through that cycle and create the life you want.

Also, please note, this is NOT new stuff.  We, as humans, have always had these challenges in staying stuck in places that don’t work for us.  One of the main reasons for a ‘coach’ is to help us break through that and create the life we want.

So to finish out 2018 and start 2019, how about giving yourself some strategies through one of these books—or other ones you find—that will give you some new tools and perspectives?  It just might change things for you!

Ka-ching to  a Cool Yule!

Shell Tain, the Untangler

Feel free to share any other books that may have helped you avoid the critic’s traps.  Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.

Beware the “Yeah, but…”

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!

Ka-ching

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.

Whoa the Worry!

We all do it.  We worry, fret, agonize, brood, and get into a dither.  It’s a human thing to do.  The question is: When is it actually effective?  And when isn’t it?

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for most of is all that nattering in our heads.  That critic voice saying “you should — you must — why haven’t you…” over and over again, in every way possible.  And we get trapped in this land of defending, feeling ‘wrong‘, beating ourselves up, second guessing — you get the picture, right?

It’s hardwired in for us.  It’s very, very old, and has to do with safety and security.  There is a part of us that is obsessed with keeping us safe.  It sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?  And it would be, except that Inner Critic in our heads has a very narrow and somewhat odd perspective about what is safe!

It defines safe as where you are in this moment.  Frankly it doesn’t care about a bunch of things that make our lives challenging.  Things like piles of debt,  toxic relationships, being stuck in jobs we hate, etc.  It’s fundamental criteria is that you are not currently in imminent danger — like literally on FIRE!  Seems fairly safe to say our Inner Critic has some paranoia going on!

This critic voice in our heads is not a new thing.  It’s been around as long as humans have.  Monkey Mind, Gremlin, Sabatour… all sorts of names.  And we coaches are all too familiar with it.  It’s a big part of what keeps clients stuck.  See, whenever we try something new or different there is a chance we will mess something up.  Frankly, messing things up can be a very good thing because it leads to new ideas, possibilities, and results.  And trying something new just freaks our Inner Critic out.  It gets very activated and wants to reign you in, keep you safe, keep you right where you are in this moment!

It has a very simple and effective technique to get you off track: It distracts you.  There are many ways it does that.  A couple of classic ways are:

  • It gets you into a ginormous discussion in your head.
  • It lectures you on how bad, wrong, or stupid you are.
  • It berates, belittles, and ‘bad dogs’ you.

It’s really effective.  All this fretting on your part, fueled by the critic voice in your head, serves to distract you from any ‘new‘ idea and keep you right where you have always been!

Our Inner Critics are crafty. They know us really well.  They know the tender spots.  They will do anything to keep you safe—and again, they define safe as where you are right now.

There’s the real rub in this.  You cannot change, improve, grow, or attain new goals without doing something different.  T’aint possible.  All that time you spend nattering in your head with your Inner Critic is just distracting and sidelining you.  It’s not helpful, at all!

The most effective method I have found to stop the critic — and just in case you haven’t noticed, I think stopping it is a crucial thing to do — is to hold and think about it entirely differently.  Instead of engaging with it at all, think of it as a signal that you are doing something new and different.  Don’t try to calm the fear — instead rejoice and applaud that you are trying something new!  In a bizarre way, your job is to rattle your critic, isn’t it?  If you are just “drawing inside the lines” and “holding the status quo” nothing is going to change… NOTHING!  So instead of joining your Inner Critic in its lecture, judgement, and finger wagging, how about you celebrate that you are doing something different?  Revel in it a bit.  Know that you can change and make choices.  Thank the Inner Critic for the signal, while not falling into its distraction trap!

A good technique to distinguish between Inner Critic and something important for you to know or pay attention to is to ask yourself:

  • Is this ‘conversation‘ in my head distracting me from what I’m trying to do, or to focus on?
  • Is there a ‘tone‘ attached to the message I’m getting, like fear or shame?  Your Inner Critic always has a tone.  Your Inner Wisdom never has a tone.

See if you can’t say “Whoa there!” to all that worry, be kinder to yourself, and get more traction on your dreams!

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

Need some help with this? Give me a call at  503-258-1630 or leave a comment.  Happy spending!

Small Change?

What if both the idea of change, and its implementation could be less taxing than we imagine?  Actually not change as in coins, but change as in the verb.  Let’s explore that!

All sorts of things in life can be intimidating.  As humans we particularly like habit and routine.  It’s easier than looking at everything with “new” eyes all the time, truly!  So perhaps our inherent ‘risk aversion’ has gotten tangled up with an aversion to change?

Additionally our handy, dandy Inner Critics make change seem daunting and scary.  They tell us that all sorts of bad and complicated things will happen.  Then they tell us that we can’t change, that it’s too hard to change, that we aren’t capable of change—over and over and over again.

And big change is challenging, and arduous, I agree.  The new question is: “what if it’s actually about small change, instead of big change?”  Radical idea, eh?

One client I’m working with is in the midst of the discovery that you don’t have to change everything to be more effective.  A small change can be very effective on many levels.

Here’s an idea to embrace.  We don’t actually have to start over from scratch, we may just want to tweak things a bit!  We each have unique talents and strengths.  We are each a unique compilation of possibilities.  There is strength and value in that uniqueness.  Getting more effective results is more about small changes than trying to start from scratch.   Additionally if you try to change ‘everything’ about yourself, you are actually more likely to zoom right past and thus keep the part that’s not working, leaving it still not working.

When you lean on the support of what you are good at, it’s much easier to shift or change the parts that aren’t working well.   You are coming from strength, which is really effective.  One of the crucial aspects to making small changes work comes down to figuring out where the ‘sticky part’ is!

What I’m really trying to say here is that you don’t have to crawl through broken glass or become a different person to find more fulfillment or inner peace.  It’s more about narrowing in on small changes that can have a big impact.

Those changes are mostly around what we make up!   We make up stuff about:

  • How we are ‘supposed’ to be
  • What others want or need from us
  • What others think about us
  • How we judge ourselves

Which all comes down to a large pile of judgement (Inner Critic) which makes changes look big, hard, scary, and downright impossible.  And yet some changes are truly just small shifts.  Now those small shifts that make a big difference often seem to be in the land of boundaries.  Remember those?  Those handy little fences that manage everyone’s expectations!

So how about experimenting with making some small changes, and setting some simple boundaries between yourself and others?  What might happen then?  Oh and what might you do with those super talents of yours if you had a wee bit less distraction and judgement circling you?

Ka’ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

If you’d like to explore just what boundaries to set where give me a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.

Perfection is a Money Trap

Money is one of those areas where we have all made some mistakes.

  • We have bought things that didn’t work.
  • We have spent too much money on stuff we never used.
  • We have given people presents they didn’t like.
  • We have lost money on the sale of a house
  • We have gotten “taken to the cleaners” in a divorce.
  • We have run up charges and interest on our credit cards.

And yet we are mostly still here, and kicking!

Sure some of these things were and are avoidable.  And yet they also still serve to give our Inner Critic great fodder for berating us!

There are a couple of things I want to clear up about these ‘errors in judgement‘ and ‘mistakes‘ we all make with our money.

First, you got through them !  The problems may have been messy and costly, but you survived them!  It’s one of the things I think our ancestors that went through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl got trapped in.  They somehow missed that they made it through the troubles, and that they didn’t happen again in the same way.  We tend to practice “one trial learning” with many things.  We tend to either try and hide our head in the sand or decide it will always be like it was, and avoid getting anywhere near the part we think is scary.  We stay trapped.

The other thing I’d really like my readers to consider is the value of the messing up.  Huh, you say!  How can there be value in having gone through that terrible time, that mess?

It’s all about learning!  As humans we actually learn by making mistakes, by being imperfect.  You don’t just get on a bike and ride it the first time.  You wobble and pedal and fall off.  The same process happens a bunch in other aspects of our lives, including money.  We screw up, make mistakes, and learn.  If we don’t make mistakes we don’t learn!

But instead of accepting that we make mistakes, sometimes in order to try and avoid “errors”, we try to be — or appear to be — perfect… yipes!  Just how patient are you with yourself?  Do you keep trying to attain something close to perfection to avoid judgement?  And do you notice that most of the judgement come from your inner critic, instead of the people around you?

Many of us have this thing in our heads about trying to be ‘perfect‘.  I truly think it’s one of the traps our Inner Critics use to keep us stuck in a rut.  Somehow we think we are supposed to be perfect without practice, failing, or learning.  Instead I really like the perspective that Maya Angelou put forth:  “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

We do recover, we do persevere, and we do learn.

Money is just one of the assets that we ‘spend’ while we are learning.  Money, Time, and Energy all get spent.   And I’d like to suggest that Money is really just a reflection of the other two: Time and Energy.

Here’s the really interesting question.  How much time, energy, and maybe even money do you spend trying to be perfect, protecting the idea that you are almost perfect, or even hiding that you aren’t perfect?  What if instead of getting trapped by perfection, you actually celebrated your mistakes as ways to learn?  What if it’s really about focusing on the learning, and not beating yourself up about that mistake you made?

It’s really likely that your attempt at perfection is a reaction to some really ‘old stuff’ that actually is no longer present in your life, right?  Like avoiding being judged or lectured.

Seems to me trying to be perfect has us holding on to, and getting stuck in, our errors in judgement, instead of learning from them, perhaps laughing them off, and most certainly moving on… what say you?

Ka’ching

Shell Tain, the Untanlger

If you’d like some support letting go of trying for perfection, just give me  a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.

 

Rabbit Holes

While working with a client the other day, I hit upon this amusing way to conquer your inner critic.  Well maybe not exactly conquer?  More like avoid getting swamped by?

It’s all about Mr. Bunny here.   He’s a great example of how that inner critic (gremlin, monkey mind, whatever) works — it focuses on distracting you, big time!  Think about all those cartoons where Bugs drives Elmer and others wacky with distractions, interruptions, and wild antics.

The result is that the object of all this behavior just cannot think straight or function.  And that is exactly what your inner critic wants.  It wants to keep you safe by not having you do ANYTHING different.  After all you are currently safe, right?  You are not, in this moment on fire, so you must be safe.  What I’m pointing to is that your critic has an exceptionally narrow criteria for safety.  As long as you are not in imminent danger, it does NOT want you to do ANYTHING different.  Guess what — the best way to keep you from doing something different is to distract you!

This distraction technique can be very irritating, and hinder your progress.  I propose a new way to both think about it and react to it and it’s about the rabbit in two big ways:

First, it’s about the distraction technique of taking you down a rabbit hole.  Changing the subject, fussing about some detail, even getting angry — all examples of ‘falling down a rabbit hole’.  If you can imagine Bugs pushing you down that hole, it just might give you the idea of avoiding the hole!

Second, it’s all about the ‘Yeah, but…’ technique, which to my ears sounds amazingly like or at the very least rhymes with “Wabbit”.  You remember Elmer Fudd saying: ‘You wascally wabbit!‘  The ‘Yeah but…’ happens when someone has an idea.  Before the idea can actually get any traction the critic instantly blurts out a ‘Yeah but…’   Yeah but we don’t have the money for it.  Yeah but it will be hard.  Yeah but you’ve never done it before.  Yeah but…on and on it goes! The result being more distraction to take you off course, to stop you from getting anywhere close to going after your dreams or goals. What if when you said:  ‘Yeah, but…’ you could picture Elmer and the wabbit (yeah/but) in your brain?  It just might grab your attention long enough to help you recognize the ‘yeah, but’ as the distraction it is designed to be.

Here’s the bad news: Sorry, our critic voices are not going away — AND — you CAN choose to not let them overtake you  and run your life!  A very effective way to do that is with humor.  Our inner critics want you to take them seriously.   And one of the techniques they use to help that along is to get you seriously distracted from anything that might result in you doing something new and different.  Humor is a very effective way to interrupt the critic’s game!

Frankly, my job and goal is to help you actually leap into doing something different because as the old adage goes:  ‘You can’d keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.’  See if a bit of Bugs can’t help you create new and different results!

Okay, it’s a bit cliche, but I can’t resist it ‘That’s all folks!’

Shell Tain, The Untangler

If you’d like some help in avoiding your own rabbit holes, just give me  a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.

Which Voice Are You Listening To?

Sometimes we forget that we always have a choice as to which voice we listen to.  These days we are bombarded with all sorts of voices all the time.  A bunch of them are angry, or at least fearful, aren’t they?  And those are just the external voices, the ones out there in the world.  The more important voices are the ones in your head.  Which one of those are you listening to?

It seems that as humans we often think of things in terms of extremes—good/bad, off/on, black/white, etc.  It’s no different in our brains.  We all have many inner voices which could be thought of as aspects of our personalities—and we DO have a choice as to which ones we listen and respond to. For now let’s look at the big two: The “Inner Wisdom” and the “Inner Critic” voices.

Most of us know the Inner Critic (also called the gremlin, monkey mind, saboteur, etc.).  It’s that voice with a “tone” and a pointing finger attached to it.  It says: “you should”, “you must”, “who are you to think you can…”   It’s nagging, belittling, and judgmental.  Functionally it’s there to keep us safe.  The problem is that it has a very narrow idea of safety.  Frankly it thinks that safe is where we are right now.  We aren’t on fire, the building isn’t exploding—so why mess with things?  Leave it like it is.  So what if we are in a job that makes us miserable, or up to our butt in credit card debt, or in a rotten relationship.  Frankly, this voice comes from the concept that any change is bad and might make things worse.  It’s fear based and loud, and laced with tone and drama.

The other voice I call your Inner Wisdom.  It’s also know as intuition, and for some the “God voice”.  It’s not so noisy, and it is completely without judgement.  It’s always neutral in tone, and just sort of plops into your head or consciousness.  Sometimes it feels to me that it is the the voice of my wiser future self—the one that has been through it all and knows what to worry about and what to let go of.

So here’s the deal.  In order to be happier, saner, calmer, and more successful, we need to stop giving air time to our Inner Critic and pay more attention to our Inner Wisdom.  That in itself can be challenging, so here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • It’s really helpful to start distinguishing which voice you are hearing.  Does the voice have a tone or energy to it, or is it neutral in it’s delivery?  Is it judgmental or loving? It it noisy or quiet?
  • You can’t actually ever make the Critic voice go away.  You can choose to listen to it or not.  The most effective technique with it is to see it as a “signal”.  When you hear it nagging recognize that it must be doing that because you are about  to do something different, and then lean toward that different thing.  Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?  Your critic wants you to stay right where you are, doing what you have always done.  It gets riled when you step up to something new.  Ah, so in an odd way what you want to do is make it nervous, yes?
  • You can encourage more communication with your Inner Wisdom by giving it some calm time, time when you are not tied up in thinking.  Ever notice how you get brilliant ideas in the shower?  It’s because you are usually in there enjoying the water instead of fretting.  Your intuition will show up when you are meditating, gardening, walking—in essence giving yourself some ‘down’ time.

Most important of all is for you to recognize that you always have choice.  You can choose which inner voice to listen to, as well as which outer ones to listen to.  It takes being more present and aware in order to make that choice, and it’s well worth it!

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, The Untangler

If you find yourself struggling with which voice you are listening to give me  a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com

Stymied Resolutions

Okay, here we are in the “Post Holiday blues”, and the New Year of 2017 is just around the corner. Time for resolutions… or not. There’s a couple of reasons I think our resolutions often fail to work, so let’s take a look.

My guess is that many of you are familiar with the “Law of Attraction” new age formula that comes from Hindu or even earlier thought. It says Intention + Attention = Manifestation. Let me clarify that a bit:

Intention: aim, plan, dream, goal, objective, purpose

Attention: action, application, deeds, movement, response, industry

Manifestation: results, outcome

So how we feel about something combined with what we do about it creates a result. Seems clear, doesn’t it? Well, I want to tweak it a bit, based on math. I think the action should be multiplication not addition. In math multiplication by zero equals zero, and I think that’s what happens here. Great dream, no action creates nothing. No dream, lots of action also creates nothing.

Here’s the deal. The reason this is called the Law of Attraction is that it doesn’t care whether you believe in it or not, it still applies. Like gravity, gravity doesn’t care whether I understand or believe in it, does it?

So why is this a big deal? Well because we often come at those New Year’s Resolutions without being clear on where we are in the Dream x Action = Results equation. For most of us, we are better at scurrying around doing the actions, than actually stopping and really getting clear on what we want—Oh, and why we want it.

That “why we want it” part is important—it actually leads to the real desire. Why do you want more money? Or more free time? Or more shoes? Is it really about those things? My guess is that they are just symbols for what it’s really about. Ask yourself what would be different if you had more time, money or shoes? Go deeper. Get clearer about what you really want. By having that Intention part clear you’ll be in a much better position to achieve success.

It’s really all about how we think about it, isn’t it? If I say: “Don’t think of a purple elephant,” the first thing that pops into your head is the image of a purple elephant, yes? Frame things in what you want, not what you don’t want.

One more thing to mention, and it’s probably the most important thing. It’s about negative emotions. That persistent inner critic voice in your head. The one that says “You have to make and keep resolutions because you messed up last year!” A resolution based on self-recrimination is not motivational. Guilt does not help us achieve our goals, we achieve them in spite of guilt not because of it.

Wanting to do better and improve is one thing. Beating yourself up for not having succeeded is very different, and not effective.

The trick to making your resolutions successful is getting clear on your dream and creating actions that support and align with that dream! The process itself is illuminating. Give it a try!

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, The Untangler

Want some help untangling what’s behind your intentions? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com

Being Greedy

Are you afraid of being greedy?  Are you worried that there is a part of you that might want to take all the dolls?  Eat all the cake?  Cheat others out of their share?

greedMany clients have expressed that fear to me.  Here’s what I know to be true: If you are worried about being greedy, then you aren’t really capable of it.  The worry itself points to your awareness of the greed.  I think that people who are truly greedy don’t actually think of it as greed.  They think of it as their reward, what they have earned, what they have a right to.

Sure as young children we all may have been chastised about being greedy or selfish.  It was part of how we learned to share.  Sharing is a way of supporting the group as a whole, and not being selfish.  All well and good.

Greedy is defined as:  “Wanting or taking all that one can get, with NO THOUGHT of others needs.”  So by definition if you are worried about being greedy, and worried about taking from others, you don’t actually have greed.

Think of the greed warning as yet another tactic of that voice in your head.  You know the one, the inner critic that is always on you about being good enough?  Its job is to keep you worried and fretting so you are distracted from being effective.  If you weren’t worried about being greedy what would you do differently?  And what might that bring?  What new thoughts and experiences might letting go of that fear and fret give you?

Who knows? One possibility is that by not worrying about being greedy you might actually amass more that you could then choose to share.  Hmmm…

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, The Untangler

Want to explore this idea about the fear of greed keeping you distracted? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website: www.sensiblecoaching.com