I had the opportunity to lead a yoga class this weekend. True, I haven’t practiced yoga regularly since I busted my knee and I am not a certified yoga instructor, but hear me out.
We were in Montauk for the extended weekend and signed up for a newly offered free yoga on the beach activity. It was the 5 of us (my hubby, step sons and a friend) plus a couple staying at the resort. While all geared up on the beautiful beach facing the crashing waves and ready to strike a pose, we waited. And waited. And waited. The yoga instructor was a no-show. Talk about bursting my Zen bubble!
The couple started doing some yoga poses on their own led by the woman (Laura), and our group did the same under my direction. I’m told I can be a bit (ahem) bossy and socially I’m often asked to make decisions about plans, so it was natural for my group to appoint me the “instructor” for the day.
The couple noticed our group movements and we all decided to join as one. When offered the opportunity to lead everyone, I ignored the voice in my head suggesting I pounce on the chance and instead deferred to Laura. The freedom of following after making most of the decisions for the weekend was super appealing. No responsibility!? I can just relax and follow the lovely Laura!? Hallelujah!
The celebration in my head quickly dissipated. I found myself wishing for particular poses and different pacing. I was judgy and anxious and frankly ridiculous. Overall it was a wonderful experience, regardless of the voice in my head telling me I should have led the group.
That naughty word “should” spoke up and I couldn’t shake it.
In my workshops I often talk about the “saboteur,” that little voice in your head that says “I’m not (skinny/smart/strong/good/etc. enough.” In this instance, mine was telling me to back off and let someone else lead, which was ok for the silly yoga on the beach. But it got me thinking about how I would respond in more important situations. When the inner voice says one thing and I do the opposite, what have I lost or gained?
The voice in your head can whisper life affirming or life draining advice. It can open you up to possibilities or shut you down. Provide hope, or desperation. Be the difference in taking a scary yet brave and positive leap, versus cowering to the negative and staying stagnant.
You often know the answer, and the voice can provide the point/counterpoint narrative. Are you courageous enough to listen?
Try the coin flip test:
- Think about a situation you have been procrastinating about making a decision.
- Take a coin and determine what happens if it lands on heads, and what on tails.
- Concentrate on the situation, and flip the coin.
Did you get the answer you wanted (c’mon, you know what answer you were hoping for!)?
Imagine you will go with whatever decision the coin pronounced. How does that direction feel? Is it what the little voice in your head has been encouraging you to do, or badgering you to run from?
Are you ready to embrace the answer?
Perhaps you want to flip the coin again, which is ok – the test is only a guide to get off your butt and move in a direction.
Now it’s also important to know when to tell that voice in your head to shut the heck up. Either way, acknowledging what it’s saying will allow for a conscious and considered response. The bottom line is to be true to yourself, and to keep moving in a direction that will lead to your happiest, healthiest best self. You’ll get there, one baby step at a time.
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™