How many voices do you have in your head? I believe we all have at least two voices in our head, if not more, that we aren’t currently aware of. Now, anyone who is reading this and saying that he/she doesn’t have multiple voices in his/her head… is a liar. We all have at least two voices in our head and if you are like me…you have more than two. You know the voices, the negative voice that tells us that we are too old, too young, not educated enough, not smart enough, that we don’t have enough experience, and we would never be able to do something. Then, there is another voice that whispers, “Yes, you can! You can do anything you set your mind to and you can make this happen.”
The first step is to become aware of your thoughts on a daily basis. Really listen to yourself when you think or talk. Some of us have that voice talk to us as soon as the alarm goes off in the morning. It says, “Sleep a little longer. Hit the snooze button. You can lay here for another few more minutes. You don’t need to wake up this early to go to the gym. You worked hard this week already. Stay in bed.” You know that voice, right? It’s the voice that talks to you and attempts to hold you back and stay exactly where you are. Many of us are not even aware of this voice and we listen to it all the time as it dictates all our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Challenge yourself and consciously focus on what you are thinking on a day-to-day basis. Journal how you are thinking as it relates to different aspects of your life. One of the biggest benefits that our clients say is that they have become more aware of how they are thinking and are able to redirect their thoughts when a negative thought arises and potentially won’t serve them.
Identify the voices
I started a fun exercise with my clients after applying this strategy in my own life. It’s simple, really. You must go back throughout your life and identify a total of six voices. Three will be negative, weak, and disempowering voices. The other three will be positive, powerful, and empowering voices. As you think and analyze your voices, I want you to identify three things:
1. An experience or situation
2. Age of the voice
3. If it’s a disempowering voice, give it a silly or insignificant name. If it’s an empowering voice, give it a powerful or significant name.
When you put a face, age, and name to your voices it becomes easier to identify who’s talking to you in a given situation. If a little seven-year-old child came up to you and started teasing you and telling you that you weren’t good enough or couldn’t do something, what would you do? Laugh at him or her? Dismiss the child? Maybe give him/her a quick smack on his/her ass and send him/her on their way? Well, you will be surprised that most of us actually listen to that little seven-year-old in our head. I have found that creating and identifying these voices is a fun and easy way to redirect what’s going on inside our minds when the voices begin to dictate our actions.
I do my best to share my personal experiences so I can connect better to my coaching clients and stimulate their thinking to discover their own voices. So here are some of my disempowering voices that I have identified. I will only share three:
1. “Easy Target Paul”
Easy Target Paul is about seven years old, short, has a low self-esteem, is not really good at sports, and is bullied by a neighbor. This kid doesn’t really believe he can do much, is constantly afraid, and lives in fear.
2. “Second Best Paul”
Second Best Paul is about twelve years old and is now a Tae Kwon Do competitor. He has some confidence that he has developed because of his training and fighting experience. He is a New York State champion, but he always falls a bit short when winning Nationals. He is the youngest and lightest on his tournament team, and he typically gets knocked around by the older and heavier teammates during training. His Coach/Instructor kind of favors the other fighters on the team and he feels that he is overlooked.
(I use this picture as a reminder how little and weak 2nd place Paul is. So when he talks… I can laugh at him and mentally kick his ass)
3. “Wise Ass Paul”
Wise Ass Paul is about fifteen or sixteen years old and acts as if he is confident. He is still a Tae Kwon Do fighter but he is super skinny because he needs to drop and cut weight to compete. Most of his friends in school play other traditional sports and lift weights. They are fit and muscular and at times, tease him because he’s so skinny. He’s challenged by his friends to take off his shirt during the warm weather so they can make fun of him around girls. He becomes a complete wise ass and attempts to pick fights or call out people to act tough to compensate for his lack of confidence in his external self image.
Master Melella is now around twenty years old, he is confident, humble, centered, and is completely focused. He believes he can do anything no matter how challenging something is. He wants to make a positive impact on people’s lives through the teaching of martial arts philosophy.
2. “Perfect Paul”
Perfect Paul is around twenty one years old and says to himself “never again will I be second best in anything I do”. He is now a business owner and an elite coach of national competitors. He claims that he will be the number one top ranked martial arts school in the country and that he will create multiple National Champions. He is fit and in shape and now loves taking off his shirt.
3. “Empowering Paul”
Empowering Paul is in his thirties and is a best-selling author, inspirational speaker, and sought after business coach. He is bold but extremely passionate, with the intention of making a positive impact on his students and clients lives.
Notice that I give each voice a name, age, and share an experience that identifies each character in my head. Now I’ve kept it simple in this blog. Believe me, I have so many more voices that I have identified, but I didn’t share with you including one of my favorites, “Darth Paul”. Okay, I admit it, sometimes I want to be like Darth Vader and just choke everyone.
Win the Mental Sparring Match
I share stories about how I identify with my voices to my clients all the time. At the age of 39, I set a goal to complete an off road triathlon called an “XTERRA”. Basically, participants swim 1/2 mile in a lake, mountain bike about 10-15 miles on the trails of a ski mountain, and run 3-5 miles in the woods. Now, at the time, I was an avid mountain biker, not really a runner and never swam, period. So, like most overachievers, I hired a coach to provide me with workouts and teach me to swim. My dear friend, coach Audra, was an IRONMAN triathlete, and was competing that year in the USA Triathlon Nationals. She was a beast! She basically had to teach me to swim and mentally get ready for this race.
In the meantime, my best friend and business partner, Chris Berlow, inspired (manipulated) me to compete in cross country mountain bike races in New York and New Jersey. He thought it would be a great idea to race weekly and get conditioned for the XTERRA race. So we did, and we both were kicking ass in our respective age categories. Chris had his eyes set on winning the USA Cross Country National Championship in PA. He was one of the favorites to win and was ranked nationally. He convinced (manipulated) me to go and do something against my will, once again. Great friend, right?
So we go to Bear Creek Mountain in PA for the USA Cycling National Cross Country Championships and they call my division to start the race. I didn’t realize that they call out the top ten ranked riders from one to ten. Then, everyone who isn’t ranked has to start in the back of the pack. So here is this strapping, tall, dark-skinned, number one rider. He has the five o’clock shadow, matching black race gear and a kick ass bike. Now I am a good looking dude, but he was straight out of a mountain bike magazine and from Miami to boot. Meanwhile, as I am sizing up all the guys…I get called. I didn’t even know it, but I was ranked number eight. Cool right? So we all line up at the starting point as the red, to yellow, to finally, green light hits and the horn blows to start. I take off as hard as I can out of the gate, but the number one ranked dude from Florida automatically takes the lead. Two more guys blow past me out of the gate, which I am not used to at my local NY and NJ races I was winning during the year. But this is Nationals, right? So as we finally make it into the woods, I drop in third and immediately hear second best Paul begin to say, “Here you go again. Second best. Maybe you will podium and get a medal. But you will never be first. You will never win Nationals”. As that little prick of a voice started yapping at me, the bolt and nut from my front brakes literally unraveled and the front brake came off. Are you friggin kidding me? No brakes? Really? You’ve got to be kidding me!
All of a sudden I hear Master Melella start talking, he says, “Do you know who you are? You are Master Melella! You teach perseverance and to never give up!” Then all of a sudden I hear Perfect Paul start talking, “You trained your ass off for months. None of these clowns outworked you. You are going to rock this and make this happen”. Literally, I was able to identify these voices as I was racing and began to choose which voice was going to be victorious. I continued to say to myself that I was stronger, faster and I was patient. I was on the third-place rider’s tail and waited for him to get tired on a hill climb. BOOM, passed that dude. I knew that there was another significant hill coming up and waited for the next guy to bonk, BOOM. Passed that dude. Now it’s just me and the number one ranked rider from Miami. Yes, that dude. I am on his ass the whole time, waiting for that very technical rock garden before the downhill. As my empowering voices are telling me that I got him, he’s going to mess up. I got this shit! Then as soon as he hits that one rock garden section before that downhill, he messes up for one second. BOOM! So long baby! And I pedaled as hard as I could making believe that the devil himself was behind me. I never looked back until I crossed that finish line. Thank God my front brake fell apart, because I couldn’t stop or slow down if I tried. The first person I called was my pop, I said to him, “Pop, you have two National Champions now. I am sorry it took so long to win one and I know it wasn’t in Tae Kwon Do, but you have a 40-year-old mountain bike National Champion”.
So how does this silly exercise benefit you in life or business? That’s easy. I’ve been sharing this exercise with my clients for years, as silly as it sounds, it works. Just recently one of my top clients, Todd, shared with me how he literally caught one of his disempowering voices actually talking to him and almost held him back from a huge decision on his new office he’s building out. His disempowering voice, let’s call him “Common, Comfortable Leaders Club Todd”, told him to cut back and be more conservative on the build out of his office to save money. Then, he heard “Chairman’s Council Todd” speak, and he said, “Dude, you are a high-level professional who offers top notch service, planning, and experience. You build this office out the way you want and provide a kick ass client experience”. He literally caught himself having the mental conversation in his head and was able to win that mental battle because we worked so diligently on protecting his mindset for high levels of success, even though some common thinkers were trying to talk him out of that decision. So have fun and identify your voices!
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It is my honor to serve in any way I can.
If you would like to find further information about how Empowered Mastery can help your personal life or business… please visit our website at www.empoweredmastery.com.
Live Life to the Fullest!
Master Paul Melella Jr.
Tips from this article
- Become aware and identify negative and positive thoughts that you have
- Put a face, age and name to each voice
- When the negative voices talk, imagine as if it was an insignificant child speaking to you and laugh at him or her