It’s funny how quick we are to let the risk of embarrassment run our lives. Even life coaches, who would like to think that they know better, fall into this trap. Just the other day, I asked my husband to iron something for me while I was at work. At the morning stretched on, I realized that I had forgotten to give him specific instructions on how to iron embroidery and quilting. I agonized over whether or not to call him during my lunch break to find out how it went, and whether he had figured out what I forgot to tell him.
All morning long, the voice in my head was whispering: He hates the phone – he’ll just be annoyed that I called. He’ll think that I’m nagging him, or that I don’t trust him to do a simple task. I’m sure he’s already done it by now, and he either figured out how to iron a quilt top or he didn’t – there’s no point in bothering him in the middle of the day.
In the end, I decided to call him. The ironing was fine and we had a lovely chat while I took a walk. In fact, the brief phone call greatly improved a rather blah day. If I had listened to my fears over how he was going to react, then I would have spent the entire day worrying, and lost a small opportunity to connect.
This is a very minor example, but if you think about it, we all do that multiple times in an ordinary day. And how much joy (even the mundane joy of a mid-day telephone call!) do we rob ourselves of when we listen to that voice? When we let ourselves be stopped by the urging of our inner worry-wart, we sell ourselves short. In that moment, we assume that we live in an actively hostile universe
This tendency is a fine example of the inner lizard at work. The lizard (named after the “lizard brain,” or the oldest part of our brain structure) is the part of your mind that wants to protect you. Its messages of “lack and attack” are very useful in life or death situations, but can get out of hand in our modern world.
You don’t have to ignore the lizard. It simply wants to protect you, and tends to be over zealous about it. And I’m not suggesting that you must run out and confess your feelings to your one true love, or that you should immediately go to your nearest open Mic night to belt your heart out (though think of the rewards if you did!). But consider paying more attention to your thoughts over the next week – how often do you pull back from taking a small risk? How many times does the lizard voice tell you to be realistic, or not to worry, or to keep your head down, even when the potential danger of acting is minimal? I challenge you to be aware of that tendency in yourself. And if you find yourself ignoring that inner critic and going for it? All the better.