"And it's hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake him off…"
Self-doubt. Fear. Anxiety. Stress. Not knowing. Unworthiness. In my life and coaching experience, even the most confident and capable people struggle with these challenges from time to time. I've written about some of the tools we use in coaching and today I want to share a little more about the Saboteur. Or, as I think of him: the mean monkey. The mean monkey is the voice that says, "You don't deserve that. Who do you think you are?" The mean monkey hurls insults at you and steals from your spirit. He swings from tree to tree -- thought to thought -- climbing to dizzying heights, taking you far away from your groundedness.
Whether you call him the mean monkey, the Saboteur, or the devil on your back, it's a different name for the same shady character. And it's one skill to observe that the mean monkey has taken over, but it's a whole other set entirely to know how to ditch that devil.
1. Don't feed the monkey. Step away from the monkey! Seriously. Just like you can't have a rational, logical conversation with a crazy person, you can't have a reasonable chat with your mean monkey. Because he's mean. He doesn't play fair and he doesn't have your best interests at heart. Do not engage.
2. Ask for help. Never, ever, ever worry alone. Promise me! Worrying alone gives the mean monkey free reign to sabotage and terrorize you. Saying that we need help and that we can't do it all by ourselves makes us vulnerable, no doubt about it. But it also gives the people who care about us the opportunity to show up. And what is worrying for one becomes connection, empathy, and problem-solving for two.
3. Come back to what you love. Honor what is good in your life. We don't do this to ignore what's wrong -- far from it. We do it build the resonance around what's right. Shifting the focus even a little bit in this direction will feed what matters most. What matters to you? What's important about the way you live your life?
4. Think of your future self. You don't have to have your 5 year plan all worked out to do this one. Even if the now you is totally lost, please know that somewhere within you there is a deep understanding of what you really need. Your future self is going to be just fine. I know that my future self has lots of space to create. Now, I don't know what that looks like in actuality and it still feel really far away sometimes. But I believe that my future self will have that. That it is accessible and attainable because I have the tools and drive to make it happen. I'm making choices in that direction, not just for the now me but for my future self.
5. Shake him off! Dance. Turn up the music so loud you can feel it rattle in your bones. Sing along. Do yoga. Go for a walk. Get your feet on the ground or up in the air. Shake your ass. Break something, burn something. Sometimes you need to destroy to create. Sweat a little. Cry as much as you need. Shake it out. Make time to breathe; to feel what you feel. Let it find it's way out. 'Cause it's hard to dance with the devil on your back...