When you are running a business you need a good team. You may be the captain, but your partners, employees, assistants, advisors, and vendors all play critical roles on your ship’s crew.
There is another team on board too – your inner team. I’m sure you’ve noticed that sometimes you feel like you are at the helm and sometimes… well, it feels like some other creature has taken the wheel. You probably notice it through the conversations in your head (we all have those!).
Let’s say you are invited to speak at next month’s meeting for the association that serves your ideal clients. Your internal conversation might go something like this:
“Oh my goodness, this is a fantastic opportunity to get my message out to a large number of my prospects!”
Then another voice chimes in, “But are you really ready for this? The website is pitifully out of date. And you are so bad at presentations. You should just save face and decline.”
And still another inner voice says, “Oh, just wing it – you’ll be fine!”
And there is probably a whole roster of other voices too, if you are anything like me! Heck, it happens when I am deciding what to have for lunch: “I’m going to have a nice, healthy salad.” And then another part of me says, “But I’ve been working out. I deserve a treat.” And then, “You’re too busy for lunch, just forage for a snack and get back to work!” With all this going on in our heads, how on earth do we ever make the right choices?
Embrace Your Inner Teammates
We all have these various, conflicting aspects of ourselves, it’s very natural. Some would encourage you to quiet or ignore those clamoring voices, but I want to invite you to give them credence. Yes, these inner teammates are valid voices within you, and if you dig in and get to know them better, you can learn what special gifts each one has.
As a trained practitioner in The Inside Team process (developed by masterful coach trainer, Cynthia Loy Darst, MCC) I do this inner work with my clients. It can be a little tricky to do this on your own (one of your inner players could really throw you off the trail!). But a simple exercise to start getting to know your inner team – and begin to better manage the conversations you have in your head – is to simply identify a few of your players and write a short bio for each one.
Here’s what I mean – let me introduce you to some of my inner team! Now, I’ve done deep work on this with my coach(es), and I’ve looked at the healthy side and the shadow side of each player. When I call on the healthy side of the appropriate player for a given situation, things work quite gracefully for me. When I forget, and allow the shadow side of my players to blindside me… well, it’s not pretty.
So, to illustrate, here are just a few of my inner team players that show up in my role as a business owner.
Security Guard. Keeps watch over my decisions and actions, reminds me to vet new ideas and people I might engage with. Shadow side – Can become overly protective and keep me from taking even minor risks. Can strike fear in me when things get tough, morphs into more of a prison guard, locking me in.
Adventure Explorer. Leads the charge on new ideas, new engagements. Has the uncanny ability to solve problems with MacGyver-like ingenuity. Shadow side – Kind of shy. Needs encouragement to come out and play, needs space to roam. Becomes timid if the Security Guard is being overbearing.
Tech Geek. Unflappable when it comes to computers. Not afraid to click. Blends logic and intuition to flow with technology. Favorite book is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Could stay up all night tinkering with a tech issue. Shadow side – Could stay up all night tinkering with a tech issue, when it would be wiser to hire an expert to fix the problem so that I could get enough sleep and use my time for my paying work.
Creative Genius. Can see multitudes of solutions for every challenging scenario. Deeply believes in the inner wellspring’s endless supply of fresh ideas. Shadow side – Oops, let’s make that “mostly” believes in the inner wellspring – on a couple of trigger topics, that belief is fleeting, at best.
Artist. Adores artistry and beautiful visuals. Fondly recalls being in an art flow as a child and can call up that feeling easily. Shadow side – Scared to dabble boldly, wants to avoid the wrath of (self) judgment.
Camp Counselor. Fun, lighthearted, Pied Piper leadership style. Keeps everyone safe but encourages goofy play. Shadow side – Forgets to show up. Forgets that she’s adored. Forgets that she matters.
Okay, get the idea?
When you get a few of your own inner players clarified, start noticing when they speak up – do they suddenly emerge around certain situations or people? The coolest part is that instead of unwittingly giving them the wheel, you get to intentionally decide who’s in charge and which of these players will do the best job in the moment. You’ll have much more productive inner conversations with yourself and approach situations more solidly. And frankly, you’ll find it easier to be nice to yourself.
Let me know if you want to do some Inside Team work with me! If you are a current client, we’ll work it into an upcoming session. If you haven’t worked with me and want to try it out, let’s have a 30-minute coaching conversation (free) with me and I’ll give you a little sampler. Here’s my scheduling link. I look forward to working with you AND your Inside Team!