We all have them, those voices in the back of our minds. We usually call it “thinking,” but the truth of the matter is we carry around a panel of judges with their “yes,” “no,” “that’s smart,” “I remember when,” and “just who do you think you are anyway,” litany of commentary.
We all have these thoughts, but what we commonly overlook is just whose voice goes along with it. We all carry around a panel of judges. And it is not a bad thing, as we all can benefit from the well-intended guidance of those who have care and concern for our well-being.
The problem is when we stack the deck against ourselves.
When we allow a seat on that august panel to the boss who never appreciated the out-of-the-box ideas we had, or the teacher who was more concerned with grammar than expression, or the ex-[fill in the blank] whose disappointment overshadowed their compassion. Sometimes, without even being aware we have done it, we stack the deck against ourselves. Give voice and authority to those who did not have our best concerns at heart. Indeed, strange as it sounds, we sometimes invite the harpy screech of criticism over the compassionate voice of critique.
What if you re-shuffled the judges on that panel in the back of your mind?
Re-shuffled to include teacher who saw your potential and asked the questions that tumbled you to a radically wider perspective. Fire the never satisfied ex-boss and replace him with your wicked smart uncle; the one with a keen eye toward how to transform chaos into opportunity, the one who funs his own business– and terribly successfully at it too. What if you included Pablo Picasso, or Walt Disney? Give the boot to that college adviser whose job it was to keep you in line, and invited Dr. Seuss or the fellow at the noodle shop who always manages to have you leaving just a bit more optimistic about the world than when you arrived?
We all carry around a panel of judges, a Parthenon of personalities that help us to chart a course and steer by it. Like any well rounded board of directors, we want those that bring the yin/yang of support coupled with a nudge in the direction that makes us tremble. Best to give a seat to those who care about you, and offer up their challenges based on the desire to see you bloom your utmost potential. The others— fire them!