‘Voices in the head’ were given a wider definition than the original sign of mental illness when inner dialogue became part of Assertiveness Training in the 80’s. I can remember the discipline of writing down the negative voice about a situation on one side of a page and then changing the language to a positive voice on the other. This is classic reframing of thoughts from a negative self esteem to positive ones which open up possibilities.
Inner Dialogue and Intuitive Career Management
Inner Dialogue goes beyond two voices in Intuitive Career Management. The definition of I.C.M. is ‘managing your career by listening to your inner voice, the one that inspires you to use your talents and giving it a voice in the discussions that help you decide what work to do’. By voice I mean the one or ones that are helpful, have your own interests at heart not those that are your saboteurs, the ones that stop you doing what you know is right for you. Ignore these at your peril!
Some of these internal voices have been external once, belonging to influential people, past and present, in your life. They may know the real you or they may only see part of you, or not who you are now. They can have good advice or belong to people who do not want you to change. These voices may mask the one that is unique to you, the one that is there from birth to guide your life and inspire you, igniting your spark. What a leap of faith it is to let our life and work to be guided by that one.
How do you know which voice to listen to? How do you know your own voice? The easy answer is to listen to the one that is positive and encouraging! But if you take on the philosophy of Dialogue you carefully listen to contributions from all the voices in your head without judgement, allowing all to input in your decision about what work you do. This allows you to be in control, a new perspective or way forward to emerge from your own wise voice and a perspective on handling the saboteurs.
How to do it: Space and ‘Post-it’ pads
When faced with a career or work dilemma, engage your healthy self interest voice and create time and space to hear all your voices, externalise them and look at them on ‘post-it’ notes. Different coloured ones is a playful, creative treat!
Write out each voice on its own ‘post-it’ and divide them all into insightful and not helpful.
Order the insightful ones. Reflect on them quietly; allow your own insightful voice to emerge. Write it down.
Look at the not helpful ones and befriend these voices. They represent your fears, your saboteurs. Ask what they need to be transformed into helpers for the future.
Harvest your internal thoughts to create a plan to take the insights further in an external way which could cover: do nothing and wait for more insight, research, talk to more people or create an action plan.
©Judith Mills 2008