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  • Valerie Hope

Ep. 1 - Time To Come Alive: "The Voices In Your Head"

NQS | Setting Goals

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Time To Come Alive: "The Voices In Your Head"

Welcome, everyone. What's important to do for all of you joining in is to read, experience, and get some feedback about something that's on your mind. Before we get into that, it's important for us to ground ourselves. Some of you might be sitting down in your office. Some of you might be on the phone standing somewhere. I want to take all that into consideration.

When I say grounding, it doesn't necessarily mean that you close your eyes, so please don't if you're not in a safe place to do so. For some of you, it may help. What I'd like for you to do is wherever you are and whatever you're doing, I want you to pay attention for a few moments to your breath and take three deep breaths. As you do, open your mouth slightly to let out the air, and then take a nice deep breath in. Go for three. Once you've done that, I want you to notice your feet wherever they are. Notice anywhere between your knees and your feet. Ground them to the floor. Meaning, feel the contact wherever your feet are placed. Make sure that you feel solid and supported. Continue breathing normally at this point.

We're going to focus on our knees through our hips. If you're sitting, that's when you want to sink into whatever you're sitting on. If you're standing, you want to relax those muscles so that you feel more supported from the ground up. Focusing from your hips to your shoulders, you want to make sure that those muscles are also relaxed. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and they're not creeping up towards your ears. Keep breathing normally.

Finally, between your neck to the top of your head or your shoulders to the top of your head, find any muscle or any tension and relax it. What we want to do is align all of those different parts of the body so it's either supported by the ground if you're standing or supported by the seat that you're sitting in. That will enable your body to be more receptive to the information I want to share in this episode.

Take another couple of deep breaths. Hopefully, you feel more grounded, and with that, more receptive. I thought that this would be a wonderful opportunity to share a moment with everybody. I know in the morning, sometimes, things get a little crazy as we're getting ready for work or if we're running to pick up kids or drop kids off, making breakfast, or going to meetings. There is a lot going on in the morning. I thought, “If nothing else, this would give you all a moment to focus on you and want to bring you all together.”

This will happen every Tuesday with the exception of holidays in the US. I'll announce those in advance so that you know. The idea is really to inspire you for the day and inspire you to take some sort of action, whatever action is most appropriate. In the first portion of our meeting, I have a few things that I'd like to share with you and some things I want to talk about. At the end, I'll leave it open for questions or comments.

I remember when I was a kid, my mom wouldn't complain necessarily. I didn't think she was complaining at the time, but she would have friends that come and visit her. Somehow, while she was getting something for them to eat or drink, they would drift over to wherever I was if I was playing or I was outside, in my room, or something. We'd spent a good chunk of time talking. She always shook her head and wondered, “What do these grownups have to talk to this six-year-old about?”

I realized that a lot of it is that I love asking questions and I like being curious about people. That was one of the things that I thought I needed to make sure that that's part of my career or my hobbies moving forward. It is that I'm always in connection with people. I appreciate and acknowledge you all for being with me and giving me the opportunity to connect with you and you to connect with me and one another as well.

The thought for this episode has a lot to do with goal setting. We're in the goal-setting season. Many of us either are completing goals for the year or, in some cases, thinking about next year and what next year should look like, whether you're going to add things to expand your life or things to move things forward. Typically, once we start getting that ball rolling on goal setting or even vision setting as I like to start with, which is setting a vision, some voices might creep into the process. They’re not always voices from other people.

Funny enough, they tend to be voices from our own minds.

I'd like to talk a little bit about some of the voices that you might be hearing or that might creep into your goal setting once you begin and let you know a little bit about the purpose of each voice, like what it's trying to accomplish as well as maybe some ways that you can address it. You can solve and remove the voice from happening or diminish the impact that it may have.

The first voice that you might hear as you create a goal is what I like to call the ANTs. ANTs are the Automatic Negative Thoughts. The thing about ANTs is that they are the things that you hear whispering, “You shouldn't do that. What are you thinking? You can't do those things. You can't go back to school. You shouldn't take the time off. You can't go on vacation. There's too much to do.” They're the cans, the can’ts, the shoulds, and the shouldn'ts. Those words are usually embedded in those thoughts.

The purpose of those Automatic Negative Thoughts is to confuse you. The idea is that where there's one thought, there are going to be more thoughts. I don't know if that's ever happened to you that you've thought about maybe starting an exercise program, changing jobs, or moving forward in some relationship and you thought, “I can't do that. That won't work. That's not for me. I'm not good enough. I'm not smart enough. I'm not sure.” They are all of those little thoughts.

The problem is when we start to entertain them, like ants, when you see one ant, you can be sure that you'll find other ants that are coming through. You have to keep looking. When we look and when we start to hear and engage them, then you'll find the ant hill. They're all going to start to stack up. They can build a mountain of doubt in your mind.

The thing is they want to keep you without action. They want to keep you still. They want to keep you stuck. The thing to do is to A) Make a mental note. They'll always creep in there. ANTs are always going to exist. Automatic Negative Thoughts will always be a part of our thinking process, especially when we're challenging something that we typically do.

Automatic negative thoughts will always be a part of our thinking process, especially when we're challenging something that we typically do.

The way to counteract their impact is by fact-checking them, like, “Are those thoughts true?” When I say, “Are they true?” I'm not talking about, “Are they true?” as in, “I've done it before and it never worked,” because that is a nice little sneaky way of ANTs doing things. They'll remind you of the past failure or what somebody else said in the past.

When I say to ask if they’re true, it is as a, “Can I be 100% sure that that thought is true?” That will give you a sense of whether or not you need to explore and get more information. The answer is about action. If you get into any action whatsoever to explore whether or not it's true, you'll start to notice how they start to fall apart or disappear. That's the first voice that usually comes in. They’re the cans, the cant’s, the shoulds, and the shouldn’ts. Those are the Automatic Negative Thoughts.

The second voice that you might come up with when you're trying to set goals or trying to expand your life in some meaningful way is what I like to call the gremlins. For some of us of a certain age, you might remember the movies from the ‘80s called The Gremlins. They are cute little cuddly animals, but then they wreak havoc when they are exposed to certain elements, at night, or if you add water. One was if you shine a light.

The gremlins are those seductive voices that you hear. They're the ones that say, “Don't go to the gym tonight. You've had a long day at work. You should eat that pie. Your friend baked it for you.” I had an encounter with that thought. The gremlins will say things like, “You deserve more from this job. They don't deserve how hard you're working. Take time off. Don't worry about doing that next thing.”

Unfortunately, with the gremlins, because they're so seductive, we can fall into the trap of listening to that particular voice when we are trying to accomplish something. The purpose is to make us complacent. The ANTs, the Automatic Negative Thoughts, are about keeping us out of action and confusing us. The gremlins are really about us maintaining the status quo. It is like, “You don't need to do anything. You deserve more.”

It appeals to our ego as well, so it makes it very confusing sometimes to know whether or not that gremlin is there to help or to hurt. They tend to wreak havoc. Imagine all the things that you put off, the procrastination that comes up, the things that you decide not to take any action on when you should have, or that extra mile that you wanted to give that you somehow feel like, “I’m justified in not giving.” It's all about justification.

The way to counteract the impact of the gremlins is to remind yourself of what you're committed to. What is it that you want to accomplish? It’s not just what you want, but why? What's the purpose? What is it that's going to provide for you, your family, your business, and the world if you were to go ahead and get into action? When you get clear on that commitment again, you'll see that the voice of the gremlins won't be as appealing. You'll start to find yourself reinspired and reinvigorated by the thoughts that you have because you've connected the thoughts to the actual actions and your purpose and inspiration.

Those are two big voices that might get in the way when you're starting to create a new life for yourself. Take a deep breath for the last one. I told you I'd give you three, so here's the last one. The last one is a little bit harder to pinpoint. The reason is because it's very insidious. In fact, it might not even be a voice. It might be a sensation. It might be a cloudiness or a lack of clarity. It is a little bit more subtle.

There are voices in your head that might get in the way when you're starting to create a new life for yourself.

That third voice that sometimes keeps us from our dreams and goals is the dragon. For any of us who remember stories where a dragon was featured, most of the dragons were not the most positive creatures, but if you left them alone, they were cool. They're hidden deep in a cave somewhere or high up in the mountains. Nobody sees the dragon unless the dragon is provoked.

The purpose of the dragon is to guard treasure. If any of you are Lord of the Rings fans, do you remember Smaug? Smaug is that dragon that was sitting in the cave surrounded by all this gold. The treasure, when you're thinking about goal setting or changing your life in a significant way, is your dreams. The treasure is your ideas. The treasure is those passions, those gifts, and those talents that you want to accomplish and put into the world.

For the dragon, the purpose is to protect us from being embarrassed. It might be to protect us from failure. It is protecting us from being vulnerable to others' opinions or ideas. We know dragons even in fairytales. They can be deadly. The dragon will do anything it can in its power to keep you from even touching that dream or that idea.

I'll give you an example because it can be so insidious. I remember I spoke with a mentor when I was thinking about starting my own business and becoming an executive coach and a professional speaker on my own. I hadn't even really thought about the idea. I knew that I was making a transition that was important so I reached out to this mentor and asked what feedback she had for me. She said, “You are strong and capable. You can do anything you want.” I was like, “Thank you. That's very nice.” She then said, “You should start your own business.” I remember as soon as she said that, the muscles in my stomach clenched. I felt it. I didn't have any thoughts because I was frozen. She said, “Do something that scares you a little bit.”

You might have some of that reaction if somebody starts to ask questions about, “What do you want to do next year? Where do you see yourself?” You might have some sort of visceral reaction like I did when you feel some sort of tension. We did all that work at the beginning of this conversation to calm you and ground you. The tendency is for us to get tense when we are challenged.

That dragon will do that. If you find some tension, pay attention to it. Notice it. You might also find there's another version. When I work with my clients, I often see that the version of the dragon could be that fuzzy, “I'm not sure what my goals are. I don't really know what I want to accomplish. I don't know what I want to do.” There's nothing wrong with not being clear, like knowing 100% what is there to do. Here's the thing that is really insidious. If being unclear keeps you from taking any movement, any action, or any steps to what it is in life that you want to do, it's likely a dragon trying to protect you or trying to protect that dream like, “Don't look. Don't even try it. Don't go there.”

NQS | Setting Goals
Setting Goals: If being unclear keeps you from taking any movement, action, or steps toward what it is in life that you actually want to do, it’s likely a dragon trying to protect you and trying to protect that dream.

Start to notice if there's any of that showing up for you. Those three voices are very powerful influencers on what we do, how we do it, if we do it or not, how far we go, how we start, when we start, how we stop, or when we stop. Consider that those voices serve their purpose, granted because they make us think through making logical, rational decisions in some cases. There's nothing wrong with being safe. The challenge is that those voices are usually activated in light of the things that we need and want to accomplish in the world.

To close that thought, the thing to do with any of those three voices is to keep noticing them. For any of those critters, whether it's an ANT, a gremlin, or a dragon, the best way to get them out of the way or diminish the power and influence they have is to shine a light on them. Do you know how we used the magnifying glass when we were kids with the ants? That's really cruel, but some of you may have seen that. With the gremlins, if you shone a light, they would get destroyed. Even with the dragon, although the dragon might blow smoke and blow fire, in order for it to rise from its slumber and get out of the way, you're going to have to poke it a bit.

Those are the three voices that I want to challenge all of you to start looking at and noticing them. Make those thoughts conscious. That way, you can begin to identify them and decide, “Not for me.” Take a deep breath. What questions do you have? What challenges do you face in these particular voices? Don't be shy. Jump right in.

It's Felipe from Rio. Thank you for being available for us. I was really thinking about the dragon. It is very interesting to think about this association that you made. According to the movie, the dragon is keeping the treasure. That's a loud voice sometimes. I loved the sentence. I even took notes. You said, “Do something that scares you a little bit.” It's important most of the time to ignore the dragon and to trust a little more. I'm willing to try it.

I'm excited. It really does take courage to confront the dragon. Felipe, can you share with us something in your life where you noticed the dragons crept in?

Yes. I am also thinking about the future or plans for 2019 and maybe a career transition. The dragon keeps telling me, “Maybe you're going to a new place,” or, “You're not going to be familiar with the culture. Maybe be there in your comfort zone. You're going to be good. You're going to be fine.” This thought about scaring me a little bit excites me, so it’s nice.

It sounds like you're ready for that challenge then. You and I have had some conversations in the past about your ideas. That's interesting. What do you notice? Is there anything that's holding you back from any of those things that you've taken action on already or do you find you are slowing down or becoming discouraged or unfocused?

Thanks to some of those conversations, I'm getting more ready. I already started to take action on that. You mentioned that being safe is not a problem, but there's a limit to that. I'm getting more used to that idea and getting more confident with that next move. I don't think there is much more holding me back. It's much more about continuing to take action and wait for the results because they're going to come.

I'm excited for you. You got to keep us updated.

I will.

Is there anything you want to declare? Here's another way. It is shining the light. Shining the light is not this, “That thought is an ANT, an Automatic Negative Thought, a gremlin that is trying to seduce me into not doing anything, or the dragon trying to keep me away from my idea or the dream.” It's not just about consciously, in your mind, saying and acknowledging those thoughts, but it's even more powerful when you tell somebody, “A-ha.” You have a wonderful platform, Felipe. If you’d like, share one of those things that you want and are committed to accomplishing next or in the future. When you say it out loud, all the dragons and the ANTs are like, “Ah.”

NQS | Setting Goals
Setting Goals: It's not just about consciously saying and acknowledging those thoughts in your mind. It's even more powerful when you tell somebody.

They're flying around.

They’re like, “Don't say it. You can't tell other people.”

Let me tell you. Let me scare them away. By this time in 2019, I'm going to be feeling very grateful for the career change that I've made in the past months. I might still be getting used to a lot of things, but I'm sure I have what it takes to keep going.

Is there a specific career change that you've decided is the one? Are you moving away from Rio de Janeiro? What exactly is that change that you want?

I really want an opportunity where I'm able to align my personal values and purpose with my job. There is a possibility for me to find it where I am, but there's also a possibility to find it outside. It's going to be more of a change if it's outside. I'm getting more prepared for that if it happens. I can see it from a distance. Before, I couldn't. This time, I can. It's going to be important.

I'm going to peel back one more layer. Are you okay with that?

Yes, sure.

I'd love for you to declare what is the job that you're looking for. You know that you can have that where you are. You know that you can be someplace else, but there's something more about why you want this change that I haven't quite heard yet. What is it that is driving you to even look?

I want a job that brings me the butterflies inside my stomach again. I want that new job to compensate me financially in the way I think I deserve.

When you say butterflies, what does that mean exactly?

I want to go outside of my comfort zone. I want to feel like the song says, cheap thrills.

Do you want cheap thrills for your job?

I want to feel a little bit more of cheap thrills more often.

Correct me if I'm wrong. It sounds like over the last few years or months perhaps, you found, “I'm not challenged as much as I would like to be. There's a lot more that I want to offer.” It's not cheap thrills. They're quite expensive. They're valuable thrills. You want to have valuable thrills and be challenged. If you had clarity, is there a particular company that you want to work for that you find that would give you that valuable thrill?

Cheap thrills are actually quite expensive.

Yes, there is. There's Disney. That would be the one.

Let's talk about Disney and not just talk about value thrills. It might be the gremlins for some of us. Felipe, this isn't unique to you. It's one thing to say, “I have all these thoughts in my head as well as these doubts and ideas,” and another one to say, “I have this thought that I want to work in a multibillion-dollar company in the United States. That multibillion-dollar company is the Disney Company.” It's another thought to say, “I want to run a marathon. I want my body to be strong and capable enough to run a marathon.” Do you hear the difference between saying something like, “I want to run a marathon,” and, “I want to get in shape. I want to be healthy.”


Even though you may not know how to get to the specific, What you'll find is your mind will start to connect the dots for you. You'll hear information that all of a sudden seems relevant for running a marathon. You will hear people who have said, “I'm going to Orlando for the holidays because my uncle works there.” You'll notice things start to come to you. You will have a clearer hearing and be as specific as it can be. Is that helpful?

Definitely. Thank you.

Disney it is. We'll be pulling for you.

Thank you.

Anything else?

For the moment, that would be it.

Thank you, Felipe, for sharing. Who's next? We have some time left. I can take a couple of questions, or if you have something you'd like some coaching around. Adrienne, what about you? What are you thinking? When you hear me talk about those three creatures, what comes to mind or how do you see that having an impact on your life?

I don't have anything specific that comes to mind. The biggest part for me is to really figure out probably my why. There are 1 or 2 things I've thought about doing career-wise or professionally which way I'm going. It is figuring out my passion. I'm good at a lot of things or can do several things well, but figuring out the why is my focal point.

What makes you say the why is missing? What have you noticed?

I'm at that point of determining my purpose versus my passion. There are things I like doing, but I don't know that they're necessarily my purpose or my calling.

Tell us more about that. For example?

I don't know if it was Steve Harvey, but it made me realize that purpose and passion aren't always the same thing. That really stuck out for me. I figured out that I do have strengths and skillsets that are more task mastery, administrative planning, event planning, and things I do well, but I want a confirmation that's my purpose.

My purpose is probably more around service. I love advocacy, helping, and serving others. Probably more with my background and social work, I do a lot of what you're doing, like training. There would be some event planning in there, but training, group facilitation, and engaging others. I have a love for people. The purpose and passion are very different. Figuring out if there's a happy marriage of where those lie in between and what that looks like. Some delineation between the two.

It's interesting. I don't know if I've heard it quite that way before. Are you saying then that the things that you do well that you have a lot of experience doing, are you passionate about those things?

I am. I'm in the space of diversity and inclusion. I don't know that it will always be construction, but doing that probably in a training space to some degree.

Are you passionate about those things or not?


You say your purpose is different from your passion. Is that what you said?

I'm not sure, but it could be.

Say more about that.

I need some clarity on that.

I get that. When you think of purpose, in your body, your thoughts, and your feelings, how do you distinguish when you feel like you're getting closer to your purpose? What do you notice?

The thing that first comes to mind is more around serving leadership. I also really enjoy STEM activities. You posted on LinkedIn how Michelle Obama had the girls in the front row. My heart was warm. I'm very touchy-feely. Outside of my responsible duties through the organization, and I’ve talked about that in Toastmasters with WTSI, I enjoy the part of working with the girls, encouraging them, and creating access and opportunities that I do on a professional level for professionals and small business owner adults. I love doing that for teens. Being the first generation, I feel like giving back and that piece of lifting others up. It never feels like work when I have to do stuff volunteering with our girls.

That sounds like a passion when you talk about your heart being warm and it doesn't feel like work. It's interesting that you distinguish passion from purpose. It sounds as though in the experience, it's linked.

It would be nice. I could be overthinking it too.

What do you think is holding you back?

I don't think anything at this point. I'm really in a good space, and we talked about that. There were some limitations this 2018, but I'm in a good place to process, plan, and execute to go forward.

What's the next step? As I said with Felipe, you got to shine the light on what exactly is that you're committing to. You have to declare it.

NQS | Setting Goals
Setting Goals: You’ve got to shine a light on what exactly you're committing to.

I am very analytical. I’ll probably try to write journals and things out after the call, but for me, it is figuring out the why and what that looks like. Tying in everything I said with purpose and passion and clearly being articulate about what that is.

Part of your process to get to that why is you're going to be journaling to reflect on that and analyze what your thoughts are. What else do you do to get clarity on your why and your purpose?

That's probably it.

Have you heard of Simon Sinek before?


He has one of the most watched TED Talks. He has probably one of the most watched TED Talks. It's about the golden circle. He calls this thought process a golden circle. He has written a book called Start With Why, which touches on what you're talking about, Adrienne. It's really focused on how to communicate your why. Let's explore a little bit. Let's peel back a couple of things. You said you serve at heart, especially there's something around working with young people. What is it about that that inspires you or drives you?

For me, it's creating new opportunities. It's access and providing those resources that you might not have otherwise had.

What is it that makes that important to you to provide?

Why do I think that's important?

For you, what is it about providing those resources? Why is that important to you?

I'm passionate. Education is important to me. I don’t know. It's hard for me to explain.

Take a look and see at what point in time did you notice that was something important to you. What do you see? What do you notice?

What do I notice about it?

About that being so important. At what point in time did that become important to you?

It was my childhood and upbringing. Being the first college generation, I was active in programs like Inroads. It was the key or the difference for me. I didn't really have a mom, auntie, or family to navigate that roadmap. It is through my church and going to church with doctors, lawyers, and Commissioner Price, but seeing beyond what my reality was. It was enough to connect the dots to aspire and dream for more.

I did an article once before, and I don't know if I was in my twenties or something, in Rolling Out magazine. Based on her interview with me, she said internships make a difference. Internship access to those resources and opportunities is key to whatever you aspire to be or go in life. Having access to those types of things is really important. For me, they help you to dream, see the impossible, and know that's obtainable.

You said that you're the first person in your family to go to college. You were the first generation, it sounds like, to go to college. You didn't have a lot of guidance. Since others hadn't experienced that, they couldn't tell you what to do, how to do it, and how to get to certain things. It sounds like you really surrounded yourself with people who achieved far beyond what others who are close to you may have achieved, at least in the career part.

It’s the village externally.

What would it mean to be able to provide that for someone else?

It’s priceless. STEM is a buzzword, but when we’re able to take the girls to see engineering at work, I'm probably as excited if not more excited than them. It’s very rewarding in a sense.

When you think about how you came through that process for yourself, what was the most meaningful part of having experienced those things that allowed you to see or do “what you said was impossible.”

What was the most rewarding?

Yes. What difference did it make for you?

It speaks to my story about being where I am and the opportunity to be in a leadership position or president of WTSI. It speaks to my roadmap. I'm struggling with answering that. I don't know.

When you think about the differences made in your life, it sounds like you've taken opportunities that you probably wouldn't have had you not had that. You have access to resources. I know you said you're more analytical, but I want you to think about the emotional side of this.

That's hard for me. I'm working on it.

It can be hard for a lot of us. I spend a lot of time up here. There's a book. I'm still in the process of reading it. It talks a lot about the heart and mind being connected. Where we think our brains drive our hearts, it’s the other way around. As you're in this process of getting closer to your purpose and understanding your why on a more visceral level, I want you to start to engage. Look at this conversation. What are some of the emotions that are attached to your serving other people?

Where we think our brain drives, our heart is actually going the other way around.

I have this chart with lots of adjectives, descriptors, and stuff.

Think of one of those words that fit best and share that.

The word passion comes through as well as helpful, supportive, and encouragement.

Those could be emotions. They're tied to 'em. What about the times that you have been working with young people and the times that you have been able to provide those resources or direction? What emotion does that inspire for you?

I can't think of an emotion. I'm struggling with emotion.

What would it mean for you to tap into the emotion?


A little dragon in there.

My friends for a long time. They have been hanging out.

We have a tendency to want to protect what we think is most treasured. The challenge when we were talking about the dragon is that although it does serve a purpose, there are some things that we want to protect that we don't want to see negatively impacted. When you're talking about your treasure, you're also talking about your gift.

When I say treasure, I'm not talking about how I don't want anybody to know or steal it. When you think about a closed fist, a closed fist could protect whatever's inside the fist but it makes it very hard to give to someone, whatever's in that fist that you're protecting. Consider your treasure to be your gift. The vulnerability also points to how valuable that gift is.

NQS | Setting Goals
Setting Goals: A closed fist could protect whatever is inside it, but it makes it very hard to give to someone.

When it comes to dealing with the dragon, because it's so insidious, as we're having this conversation and I keep trying to ask these questions, you're probably having some sensations about it. Maybe there's some tension someplace or you find yourself wanting to deflect. You've been really generous. You've been sharing your thoughts and ideas. I would challenge you to start looking at what it is that the dragon is protecting. What exactly is that? Let me ask you. We have time. What is that vulnerability? Vulnerability is challenging. That's what you said. What are you vulnerable to? What is it that the dragon is protecting?

I'm in my own way at this point. That really answers your question.

Say more about that. That's a good start.

You're spot on. Not to belabor how you opened up with the ANTs and the dragons, I've been that girl. I've lived in that space. I feel like I've been able to do some things and accomplish some things but had all of that going on. I am ready to move forward, but that's where I have lived for the last couple of years.

What's been the impact of living like that?

Not feeling free and at peace and being able to walk in my purpose.

When you say not feeling free and at peace, what does it look like when you're walking that way? What are you noticing? What are you not doing or what are you doing that seems to keep you away from that peace?

By letting go of toxic people and some toxic behaviors.

You have done that?

Absolutely. That's been the biggest key for me in 2018.

You said you might be getting in your own way when it comes to your peace and freedom.

I meant that as far as what's next, moving on those things, action plan, and how we get there. The ANTs may come in and hinder me or hold up progress for some things I really want to do or have thought about doing.

What’s ANT? What's an Automatic Negative Thought that comes to mind?

For me, what I've really figured out is the fear of succeeding. It's not a failure. It's like, “What if it works? What if it does happen?”

It’s the fear of success. Say more about that.

The ANTs are the self-doubt or what has been the low self-esteem or self-worth. The ANTs have kept me from stepping out on faith and walking those things that I really know could be.

You mentioned the fear of success. Talk to me about that fear.

I probably always want to have the think-it-through piece. I wanted to have a plan and work out. As things evolve and better understanding, I know that it has to be on faith. There's another guy I know very well. He's like, “You always got to start somewhere. Don't wait for everything to line up and all of that. The thing is to get started.” That's what I think as it relates to the fear of success. Me not trying to overanalyze it and me not trying to be the perfectionist is the ANT for me. Some of it has to go with it and roll the dice and it will come together.

Your Automatic Negative Thought or your ANT is about, “It has to be done right. It's not ready yet. Think about it some more.” That's really good. Good catch. You have an opportunity like Felipe did earlier to declare. What is it that you're going to do that you're going to go for? It’s one thing that you know you’re like, “I'm going to go for it.” Let's give it a timeframe. It’s between now and the end of the week. It can be something small. The actual insects are small but powerful, so you have to do something that's small and powerful. What could that be between now and the end of the week? It’s a little baby step, not an ANT. We don't want an ANT.

I don't know by the end of the week.

Between now and the next call.

I really have to think about that. I don't know. I'm not sure. Seriously.

It might look like something as simple as, “I'm going to schedule this meeting with this person.” It could be, “I'm going to start googling this particular organization.” It could be that type of baby step. Think about between now and next week. What is a bold step that you could do to get into action?

Start back reading. I've really been on my Brené Brown books. If not her, I have a couple of books to start back reading, which I have not done in quite some time.

Is that part of the perfectionistic?

No. I've gotten sidetracked. I don't multitask and I have lots going on.

Reading is great, but I want you to tax up something that you know your perfectionism has been slowing down. Don't try to buy them leave here.

Your perfectionism can slow you down.

That makes sense. I probably can think of 2 or 3 people to connect with. That's doable, for sure.

Write them down. For everybody else, part of this is to get to read about someone and what they're thinking about or what they might be working through. Listen for yourself and what that looks like in your life. Where do you see some of those automatic thoughts like, “This is not ready. I shouldn't do it yet. I have to wait for the conditions to be perfect,” or, “I have to wait for the right person or the right information to complete XYZ.” The thing to do with those thoughts is to fact-check them. Are they true? Are you 100%? How can you be 100% that's true that this has to be X before Y can happen? That's really where we need to look.

The theme for this episode was thinking about those voices in our heads that stop us from getting into action and stop us from doing the things that we dream about. They are things that we find are great ideas. It could be around anything. It might be something that you want to do for home improvement. You’re like, “I've always wanted to set up a garden and I haven't done it yet.” It could be, “I've always wanted to go to a movie by myself.”

I remember talking to someone. This is something so small. She had a family. She was married. She had older children, like teenagers. She's like, “I always secretly wanted to go to the movies by myself.” I'm like, “Why not?” The ANTs or the Automatic Negative Thoughts were, “It’s going to look weird. People are going to wonder. It's going to look so selfish for me to go to the movies by myself.”

I said, “Why is that a desire for you?” She said, “It's always such a production to take the whole family and we can't ever decide on the movie to watch. I miss the movies that I really want to watch because nobody else wants to see them. I have to wait for them to come out on Netflix or whatever.” A lot of the conversation was around, “Is it true that the people in the movie theater are going to look at you like you're weird because you're not sitting with four other people?” She's like, “They may not see me. I don't know.” I said, “How are you sure that they're going to be looking and judging you for going by yourself?”

We started to peel back some of those ideas. What's interesting is that a lot of these ideas come from our upbringing. What I want you all to walk away with is to challenge your thoughts. Shine a light on them. Sometimes, writing them down is helpful, but more importantly, when you speak to them, speak out loud what those thoughts are to other people as in, “I have this thought that I can't do this, but I've been worried waiting for this to happen.” That will help others also get on the same bandwagon as you to help clear those critters from their mind.

If you want to continue the conversation, we'll be here again at the same time, 8:45 Central Standard Time on Tuesday. Thank you all so very much for taking time out of your schedule to be with us. If you have questions, feel free to send me a text. I could follow up with you by email if you want something more specific. Let's shine the light on those crazy thoughts and start getting into action and getting your dreams and your goals accomplished. Thanks, everybody. Have a great morning.

Thank you, Valerie.

Thank you.


Important Links

When we create a vision for our lives and set goals, we set in motion an inevitable challenge that we must overcome. Those nagging voices in our heads that plant seeds of doubt like, "Seriously, you don't even know how to do that!" or a seductive, "No need to work so hard, you deserve a break." Even more insidious, the kind of thoughts that won't you even dare to think about your dream.


Let me introduce you to the ANTs, Gremlins, and Dragons. Learn about their purpose, what actions you can take and how to overcome them.


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  • How to make ANTs – automatic negative thoughts – fall apart or disappear

  • How to avoid the trap of the Gremlins or the seductive voices in your head

  • How to get past the Dragon that keeps us from our dreams and goals


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