We each have an inner voice that either serves the purpose of guidance or ridicule. Every so often, I tell myself what an idiot I have been or discredited my experience by questioning it, loudly and unabashedly – I am my own worst critic. I often worry that I am smart enough, that I am not ready for the challenge before me, that I will fail. Failure is a great fear of mine – I guess because I have tasted it so often – you’d think I’d be used to the flavor by now! That damn inner voice: “You will fail.” “You will never be ready.” “No one cares about what you have to say or think.”
The hardest part is learning to listen less to the ridicule and more to the guidance.
Gut vs. Inner Voice
While similar to using your gut, it is not quite the same. My inner guidance counselor is my protagonist, my cheerleader. It tells me I can succeed, that I can do it – that I can achieve the success I dream of and consistently aspire to. It tells me that the place where I am currently standing is exactly where I need to be. It tells me I am smart enough to accomplish the task set before me and whispers softly that my weaknesses are merely areas left where I get to grow. Not have to grow, or must change, but areas that reveal challenge where growth is richly fertilized and not only encouraged, but unstoppable when given the right exposure.
The Gap Between Where We are & Where We Want to Be
We have a gap in our lives where our potential is separate from our reality – from where we are – and that this life, true life, is about closing that gap. We spend so much of our lives saying what “we can’t do“ that we have forgotten to see what we “can do” or of what we are already aptly capable. It is no surprise that our heads often step in and ignore the inner dialogue that can haphazardly clutter our minds.
A Hiring Lesson in Learning
Several years ago, as an executive recruiter, I created a template for Professional Reference Interviews. When I first started conducting professional reference interviews, I would take copious notes on a yellow pad. Headset on, pen at the ready, I would jot down illegible horribly-written text, trying to capture every worthy word. The new digital template I created was my successful attempt at removing the pen from my tired hand and using a keyboard, reducing what was always a lengthy transcription process. It worked, but there was one interview question which always bothered me, the dreaded and expected “What are this candidate’s weaknesses?” The Managing Director at the recruiting firm where I worked asked us to reword it by saying, “Can you tell me ways or in what areas where ‘Mary’ could improve?” It was the same damn question, on a slightly less negative note.
The responses were usually positive and ranged from, “She is too much of a perfectionist” to “She could be a bit more punctual.” By the time a professional reference interview is conducted, an employment offer of employment is ready to be extended. Not one person I ever interviewed as a candidate’s professional reference said anything like, “You shouldn’t hire ‘Mary’. She was a horrible employee.” Why would a job seeker ever provide a professional reference who would not say good things about him? One would never list someone with whom he had had a difficult working relationship.
Proof that prior listening (to ourselves and to others) throughout the hiring process is probably a good idea, for how can you truly trust a reference provided by the one bearing the greatest risk? Listen with a strong understanding of purpose.
Your Daily Dose of Purpose
Listening is a challenge, but so is eating the recommended daily allowance of the right foods. Even more difficult? Be your own professional/personal reference. Say good things about yourself and to yourself, and then listen! Recognize your recommended daily allowance of purpose. I’m working hard these days to get some – you should to. Trust me, it’ll be good for you!
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