How to tell if you're listening to your Inner Mean Girl or your Reality Ally

My fear voice says

I had a great summer, I hope you did too.  My summer of 2013 was full of running, water-skiing, reading, sunbathing, writing, watching basketball, writing, reading, and basically enjoying my family and friends.  It was also the summer of working hard at learning what makes Fear & Doubt tick so I can have a few more weapons in my arsenal for when the voices show up. 

Y'all hear the voices right?  Please please tell me it's not just me.

Not the "I should be medicated" kind of voices. I'm talking about the voices in your head that give you 182 reasons why you can't or shouldn't do something.

The voices of Fear and Doubt.

Some of the things I've learned are almost laughable, I've placed such an importance on what Fear & Doubt say and now that I can actually see how they work I'm almost embarrassed that I ever listened to them.  Here's a few tidbits that you might find helpful:

  • I learned from Jon Acuff that fear and doubt are schizophrenic.  They will always argue both sides.  When you're afraid to start they'll tell you "it will never work".  When you are brave enough to start they will tell you "it has to be perfect, why bother finishing".  In short, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.  Gosh I wish I would have known this a long time ago!
  • Fear and doubt will always say no.  Always.  There is not a single project, endeavor, business, situation in life that they think will work.  Ever.  The answer will always be no.
  • Fear and doubt use voices of critique, not love and kindness.

If realistic thinking makes an appearance you'll notice a different language, a different tone and a different curiosity.  If your thoughts are moving you forward, looking for answers to your questions, and still wondering what the possibilities are...you're in luck.  You've got a realistic ally who really is just watching your back and helping you to make a sound decision.  Tara Mohr describes it as "Good, realistic, sound thinking examines the situation with a light heart and a focus on solutions."

Here are the things I hear most frequently from Fear and Doubt, they are most definitely not my Reality Ally:

  • You can do a lot of things but you're really not good at anything.  What in the world do you have to offer?
  • You never follow through, you're going to get started and not finish.  People know that about you so they're expecting you to quit.
  • People won't understand what you're trying to do, there is no market out there for your dream.
  • What if you get all the way through this project and decide you don't like where you are? What then?  All this work for nothing?

If I really stopped to listen I could rationalize each one of those thoughts and talk myself out of a really awesome life.  Sometimes I do, sometimes they get the best of me and I can't start anything.  I can't start a business, a blog post, a run, or even a conversation.  I know you've been there too because these are some of the questions and comments that I've heard from many of you:

  • What if I fail?
  • People will think I'm stupid
  • I don't know how to start
  • What if I don't like it?

Here's the solution.  It's not easy and probably not simple but I'm making you a promise that it will quiet the voices down - START.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

So friends, here's your first challenge - START.  And start small.  Start with a logo, a conversation with a friend, a training plan.  Just start.  I am challenging you to START and to let me know either in comments below or by e-mail, how you started.  Remember, a year from now, when you look back and say "that was freaking awesome", you will have your starting point right here.  Go.

With courage and kindness,