Have you ever wanted to do something really major - something stupendous - something totally different and so down right incredible that the fact that you created the idea has you stimulated and excited?
Like, for instance, you decide to open your own business. You have the idea of exactly what you want to do and how you want to do it. You are so excited you can't sleep because your mind is working overtime with thoughts and ideas.
But just as quick as the ideas come to you, a voice comes into your head that says, "Girrrlllll, just who do you think you are? You can't do that. What are you, crazy? That's just entirely too far out of your reach."
Or, how about this one: (This is the one that always happens to me.) You start a diet and you see some cake or candy or piece of fried chicken, something that you KNOW you shouldn't be eating if you are trying to lose weight. And that voice starts a-talkin', "Go ahead. That little piece of cake ain't gonna kill you."
Or, what about this one: You have a dream of the perfect home for you, or the perfect career, or the perfect car--something that you truly would like to have in your life. As you browse through a magazine or you watch "Cribs" on MTV, you see how the celebrities are living and you say to yourself, "Wow. I want to have that too." Then here comes that voice again, "How are you gonna have that? You can't sing. You can't act. Who's going to pay you that type of money to do anything? You will never have a house like that - or a career that you love."
Don't you just HATE that voice? It's always so negative.
You've worked for months on trying to find God's purpose for your life. You've done the exercises, listened to CD's, read the self help books, and you are now positive about your mission here on earth.
But that voice won't leave you alone.
It keeps telling you that you must be crazy if you think you can make a living doing THAT. Who do you think you are? You can't do it right now. It's impossible. What if you fail? What if you make a fool out of yourself? Oh, NO, we can't have that!
Eventually, if we don't do anything, that voice we hear will beat us down, wear us out, cause us to be defeated, allow us to quit, give up and throw in the towel.
Let me introduce you to that voice. That voice is actually your EGO.
Contrary to what it may seem like, your ego is only here to protect you. Although he might seem, at times, like a negative pest, his job is to care for you.
See, as a small child, you were fearless. You did things that most adults would be afraid to do. I see it all the time in my son. Even before he could walk, he liked to climb on the couch and flip himself over--backwards. Now, he's four and he loves to flip. He is constantly flipping off of anything that's higher than he is. This, of course, brings a lot of stress into my life because I'm always afraid he's going to fall and "bust his head." (Isn't that what our mothers told us would happen if we jumped off of high places? "Boy, you better get down before you fall and bust your head.")
He hasn't "busted his head" yet, and somehow I don't believe he ever will. He's fearless. And it's because he hasn't developed an ego as of yet. Some people develop egos early--like my daughter, for instance.
When she was first learning to walk, she fell down and hit her head on the table. It didn't leave a mark or anything, but she cried like her life was about to end. It took her several months before she would even THINK about trying to walk. Her ego was telling her that if she tried that again, she was going to fall and hurt herself. And since our egos are here to protect us, it wouldn't allow her to even try to walk. So, she didn't--for a long time.
Even until this day, if it looks as if she may fall and hurt herself, my daughter simply won't do it. She watches in awe as her brother flips off of beds, sofas, walls, monkey bars, whatever. She gets really excited for him. But if you think she'll even try, think again. She's experienced the fall, and in return has developed an ego.
Our egos are designed to protect us. Like, for instance, when you were in high school and you met a girl that you were really attracted to, but you were very afraid to approach her because your ego told you that if you did, she would reject you and you would be the butt of all the jokes from the guys during gym class. So, you never bothered to approach her. You simply admired her from a distance.
Your ego wasn't trying to be mean, or nasty or negative. No, not at all. It felt that it was doing the best thing for you. It doesn't want to disappoint you. It doesn't want you to be hurt. In fact, it has a very useful function. For instance, the first time you touched a hot stove when you were young, you immediately withdrew your hand. The next time you came near a stove, your ego kicked in and says, "Hey, GET BACK! Remember what happened the last time?" You didn't touch it and you started to depend on your ego to protect you.
Sometimes the ego takes its job a little too seriously. It's so protective and its biggest fear is that you will get hurt--destroyed in some way. So, whenever you try to do something like step out of your comfort zone, your ego will try to stuff you back in.
How do you get around that ego? You can't.
It's going to do its job because that is why it is here. The same way if you ever worked in sales, and you are making cold calls, trying to get in touch with the decision maker at a particular company. It's really hard to get around the secretary or the gatekeeper, as sales people like to call him/her. No matter how many times you call, and no matter how many situations you create to try to get that phone call through to the decision maker, the secretary will NOT let you through. Why? Not because s/he hates you or has something against you, but because that is his/her job. It's just not going to happen.
But, as with everything, there is a way to get around it.
However, you've reached the point in your life where you feel there has to be more to life than what you are presently doing. You stumbled on a website that teaches how to live your life with purpose. You subscribed to the Your Life's Purpose newsletter (shameless plug). You've self help books. You are at the point where you believe that sharing your talent as a dancer is why God put you here on earth. So, you entertain the thought of opening a dance school.
EGO: "How are you going to open a dance school?" YOU: I'm not sure right now, but I believe that if I pray on it hard enough, God will send me the information.
EGO: "You're a bank teller? You're not a "real" dancer." How are you going to open a dance school?" YOU: "I am a real dancer. I've been dancing for 25 years now. I dance all the time. I may not be making a living as a dancer, but I AM a dancer. And I have made up my mind to live my dreams, my passions. And that is to live my life as a dancer. I want to share my talents with others by teaching young children how to dance the ballet."
EGO: "This is just too big for you to handle. You are going to fail. You will waste all of your time and energy and it won't work." YOU: "What if I got someone to help me? What if I found a person who is presently working as a dancer and is willing to help me out, perhaps even become a partner? What do you think about that? Does that sound like something I could do? And what if I took my time and didn't rush into it but did a lot of research first? What if I started off really small and took baby steps? I'm not going to quit my job or anything like that, at least not for now. Does that sound like it can work?"
EGO: "Ok. That sounds a little better. At least we have someone with more experience helping us out and you won't go and quit your job and leave us to starve to death. I think this might work."
See how it works. Instead of totally ignoring your ego and hoping it will go away, or instead of listening to it and letting it continuously hold you back, you simply talk to yourself until you find a solution that both you and your ego are comfortable with.
ACTION POINT: If you haven't really noticed it before, take some time today and listen for that "other" voice that's in your head. If you are fully aware of that voice, make a note today to NOT let it have its way. If there is something that you desire to do but you talk yourself out of doing, make it a point to remember that the voice that is talking you out of doing whatever it is you desire, is the voice of your ego. Talk back. In your most convincing way possible, talk yourself into making a compromise. Perhaps simply taking things slowly might ease your ego. Oh, and make sure when you are talking to yourself that you are alone.