Be Brave - Blog Series

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Is a “Clipboard Guy” getting in your way?

How do you make decisions when there are so many options… which thoughts do you trust?

To be your best self in any situation, remember the quick acronym called N.O.W, to help quiet your inner critic. The “N” stands for noticing, which means thinking about your thinking. The “O” is for being of service, and “W” is to wiggle and get out of your head and into your body.

So last week we asked for your questions, and we heard from Marcy.

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“How do I actually discern this judgmental voice of the inner critic from my normal thoughts?”

I love the word discern, because that’s what we do as we choose and decide. You can ask “is this thought helpful or not? Is it healthy?” It’s a great question.

Another thing we do is notice and name what we’re thinking. If I can get into the practice of naming those thoughts, I hear myself say “Hey, this is not one of those helpful thoughts. This is an X thought or a Y thought.”

My friend actually came up with a name for those thoughts… he calls the inner critic “the clipboard guy.”

I was intrigued. I asked him to tell me more.

“I literally picture a guy standing there with a clipboard going check, check, check. Are you being perfect? Are you being real? Are you being accurate?”

He heard a precise and perfect voice, much like an inner critic. So that’s why he calls it the clipboard guy.

That’s his way of naming the thoughts that aren’t helpful because it tells him to be different than who he is.

It was easier to spot when there was an outside personality to that voice of criticism.

Could you name the critical voice in your head?

Another way to find out if the voice is yours is to think about the negative or worrying thought. It doesn’t have to be as extreme as something that’s not serving you. That voice might be helpful when you’re dealing with a serious situation or making a big decision.

Remember to be kind to yourself because not every negative thought is bad. We don’t always remember that. Strangely enough, if you think about the worst-case scenario, it could liberate you. If you can imagine THIS is the worst thing that could happen and you still survive it, then you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

The other thing you can do is set aside some time to worry on purpose. Start with ten minutes for the clipboard guy to do his thing, and then when the timer goes off you can move forward. Why not give that a try?

You could also make a call and reach out to a friend or someone you trust. Ask them for their perspective and see if you can get another point of view on the situation.

When you have people you trust in your life, their feedback is useful. Ask when you can do that for them as well. This give and take strengthens your ability to observe reality and see what can affect your life.

A great question from Marcy, so thank you. It’s interesting when we can slow down for a minute and really see what’s going on around us.

As easy as it is to forget this, you are the one in charge of your thoughts. With these tools and a little practice, you’ll forget all about the clipboard guy.

Be Brave, keep practicing and be sure to laugh today.

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