Do you have a mean lady who’s always screaming at you from inside your head?
Or maybe it’s a male gym teacher with a hairy beer gut hanging out as he floats by you on one of those motorized vehicles they ride around on in Wall-E, yelling at you as he frantically pushes the stopwatch he wears on a lanyard over and over again.
Or maybe it’s the most evil version of yourself, dolled up in red horns, crouching and commenting on everything you do, say, or think.
Kimberly Vaughn calls this voice “the limiting editor”. It’s a voice that tries to limit and protect you from taking risks and exposing your humanity.
It can also mask itself as Perfectionism (please see the latest episode of The Long and The Short of It).
It’s also just straight up MEAN. The way we speak to ourselves is SO rude! We would never speak to other people that way or let other people talk to our friends like that. So why do we let ourselves behave this way?
How do we get rid of this voice in the studio?
Call its presence out. If you say it out loud, it helps purge you of the shame and guilt it causes, and it helps us help you.
Before a coaching, I’ll usually find myself saying something like the following:
“I’m super excited (and scared) about working on this new style of singing today. My mean lady is telling me I’m going to suck at it and that there’s no point in trying. So, I’m going to take her out of my head (as I physically pluck the imaginary tiny human from my brain) and put her over here on the shelf. She can watch, and she can know that she’ll be safe there. I will come back and get her after my lesson. But for now, I need brain silence so that I can play and try without judgement.”
And then after the coaching, I will literally take the small imaginary person off the shelf and put her back into my head. I might want her there to yell at me when I do other risky decisions like cross the street without looking both ways or fall into a vat of chocolate chip cookies and contemplate eating ALL OF THEM on the way out. But I don’t need her to protect me from creating art, experiencing the magic of possibility, and practicing letting go of expectations to remain in the present moment. We don’t need protection from those beautiful things.
Try giving your mean voice a TIME OUT during your next coaching or audition and see how you feel!