CONTRIBUTORSElite AgentMindset and Personal Development

Shane Kempton: It’s not you or true

A common reason people seek coaching is due to self-sabotage.

They have become overwhelmed by self-doubt or overcome by imposter syndrome, something I personally experienced early in my career, and the catalyst of my journey of self-mastery to find ways to overcome it. 

A significant contributor to this debilitating thought pattern is less about external influences and more about your internal dialogue.

It’s not you or true

At some point, we all hear that voice inside our head, orchestrating our experiences and perceptions, telling, and guiding us to either go for it, or to hold back, criticising you, or cheering you on.

But here’s the punchline.

That voice is not you, and not everything it’s saying is actual truth.

Yet that ceaseless commentary plays a significant role in shaping our thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and ultimately our outcomes in life.

The good news, as the observing conductor of this voice, by understanding the concept of self, you can quieten or amplify its influence through mental fitness practices, and using a WISER approach to life.

Different aspects of self

Psychological theories, such as Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Transactional Analysis (TA), propose that individuals possess multiple sub-personalities or ego states, each with its own unique perspective and motivations.

These theories suggest that internal conflicts and dynamics arise from the interaction between these different aspects of the self.

Introducing your 7 voices

My own research and studies, especially with Secular Buddhism (shout out to Noah Rasheta where I discovered this cognitive framework) suggests that conceptually, individuals may experience seven distinct inner voices, each with its own commentary on life experiences.

As you read through the seven voices, see if you can identify with any of them and the times you hear them the loudest.

The seven voices are:

1. The Narrator, who gives an ongoing running commentary of your life.

2. The Analyst, who tries to make sense of everything happening.

3. The Critic, who attempts to keep you safe by making you play small.

4. The Cheerleader, who is your biggest fan and motivator.

5. The Child, who refers to your foundational beliefs from your childhood.

6. The Elder, who is your voice of wisdom and the bigger picture.

7. The Storyteller, who connects all your experiences and memories and creates a story of your life journey.

Each inner voice serves a unique function, from providing a running commentary of life events to offering critical analysis and motivation.

However, not everything these voices say aligns with objective truth.

Their commentary is often subjective, shaped by personal beliefs and memories, which may or may not be relevant to the current situation.

Therefore, you need find a way to discern them.

Through mental fitness practices you can get a better understanding of these voices and how you can tame them.

Physical vs mental fitness

Just like physical fitness prepares and gives you the capability to handle physical challenges, mental fitness prepares you and gives you the capability to handle mental challenges.

One of the biggest mental challenges you have is not reacting unskilfully or inappropriately to life events. 

It’s not the event itself that triggers our emotions, but rather it’s our interpretation of it.

This interpretation can be influenced by the, sometimes, inaccurate commentary of our inner voices.

Just like training at the gym, running, swimming, or yoga get you physically fit, mindfulness and meditation practices serve as invaluable tools for our mental fitness, assisting you in identifying and taming these inner voices.

By sitting in stillness and observing these voices before a life event happens, without judgment or attachment, you can gain insight into your mind and see the constant flow of their inner chatter.

Sitting still fitness

The practice of sitting still and quiet gives you the time and space not to react and grasp onto the thoughts created by this ceaseless commentary.

Plus, when a life event happens, your mental fitness practices help you discern and distinguish between the distorted perceptions and storytelling created by your subjective busy minds, with the actual objective reality of what’s happening.

Again, like physical training and fitness, there is a residual benefit of a regular mental fitness routine post the actual mindfulness practice.

Your mind becomes more accustomed to listening less to the initial, reactive seven voices when life happens, and seeks a more objective perspective.

It’s important to note that mental fitness is like physical fitness; you need an ongoing practice to maintain your fitness levels.

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Shane Kempton

Shane Kempton is the CEO of Harcourts WA and the network high performance coach.