“Results are an outcome of action, and action is an outcome of planning.
Planning is an outcome of thinking, and thinking is the outcome of your Inner Mentor dreaming.”
You don’t get results just by doing something, anything, a thing. For sure, you will get something done but it’s not likely to provide you with a clear understanding on how that one thing will help you achieve your goal¹. Before we unpack that quote go and get a cuppa… to get results for your Inner Mentor’s dreams I need you to focus. Reading time 15 mins.
Who is Your Inner Mentor?
Your Inner Mentor is your guide, your instinct, that gut feeling, your teacher, your decision maker and your most intimate friend. You also know your Inner Mentor as your subconscious but, meh, it’s more fun this way.
Your inner mentor is your third voice talking to you every single minute of every day, teaching you how to lead your life. What most people do not realise is that your inner mentor is absorbing knowledge from everything we see and do – books, magazines or blogs we read; shows, movies or videos we watch; conversations we have; radio, music or podcasts we listen to; advertising; the list goes on – whether those things are good or bad for us is irrelevant. Our inner mentor does not discern good from bad unless we consciously train it to.
Your Inner Mentor wants most for you to be the best version of yourself. To achieve this we need to bring a conscious process of guiding our inner mentor to learn things that are good, empowering and educational. We need to question the information we are allowing our inner mentor to receive – does it serve us? Are we going to be better for having absorbed this content? It’s not something you can do with absolutely every single impression but you can decide when you open a book or watch a movie, or talk to someone. Answering, ‘is this good for me?’ will guide your first and second voices² to make better decisions.
Your Inner Mentor Dreaming
It is from the Inner Mentor’s sanctum that our dreams are formed. Not only the dreams we have while we sleep, but the dreams we have that make our heart sing. The bucket list of things we’d like to do in our life come from ideas generated by our Inner Mentor.
In terms of an example, let’s use my dream of hosting a podcast.
Sometime in 2014, I first listened to Lewis Howes podcast, The School of Greatness. He hadn’t been podcasting for long so it was refreshing to hear the small nuanced improvements he made every week. My inner mentor began to dream about what it would be like to host my own podcast. I loved networking, I loved communication, and I loved storytelling so it made sense to try this new platform.
My dream of being a podcast host remained a dream. Until, that is, I resigned from an ill-fitted job and started this business. That’s when I introduced the dream to my second voice: my consciousness.
Thinking from Dreaming
The place where you think is your consciousness, it uses your second voice to talk to you about what the inner mentor is learning and dreaming of. It’s also the place of positive and negative messages, opinions and judgements. Your Second Voice has a complex relationship with itself because it is the voice of your ego.
According to Ruth Snowden, in her 2006 book, Teach Yourself Freud, “The ego is the organized part of the personality structure that includes defensive, perceptual, intellectual-cognitive, and executive functions. Conscious awareness resides in the ego, although not all of the operations of the ego are conscious. Freud used the word ego to mean a set of psychic functions such as judgment, tolerance, reality testing, control, planning, defence, synthesis of information, intellectual functioning, and memory.”
When we take our Inner Mentors dreaming and convert them to our conscious thoughts, we need to take into consideration the defensive logic our ego will apply. There is a problem though. Our ego is controlled by a part of our brain called the amygdala. It is the integrative center for emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation and is involved in both the pleasurable emotional learning as well as fearful emotional learning³.
For two years, I didn’t pursue the dream of being a podcast host because I was afraid of what people would think. My second voice said things like:
“You’ve got nothing to offer.”
“You lack credibility.”
“You don’t know enough people.”
“Your voice sounds crap recorded.”
“You’re not important enough for people to listen to.”
“You can’t afford it.”
“You can’t do it alone, you must have a team.”
“You can’t afford a team.”
On & on it went.
And I listened because I didn’t know it was possible to calm my fearful, amygdala-protected ego.
Not only is it possible, it’s essential. And you do it by getting clarity. Your ego is afraid because it wants to know now what it needs to protect you from. This functionality of our brain used to be used to protect us from dangers while our Neanderthal selves hunted and gathered for our livelihood. It hasn’t caught on that we do not need as much protection any more so we shouldn’t be too hard on it. Thank it for its guidance and clear a path to create a clear plan.
Planning from Thinking
In order to calm your ego’s fears, you need to prove there are no real dangers present. You need to challenge the stories you’re telling yourself and prove whether they’re true or not. Trust me on this one, you cannot do this on your own because your ego is emotionally very vulnerable and scared of change. It will, I guarantee it, find every opportunity possible to thwart your progress. The little bastard just wants to protect you too much. You need to seek help – someone who is capable of supporting you to identify your stories and challenge their validity.
As you work with someone to create a plan it’s important to understand the Inner Mentor’s dream and define why it’s motivated to achieve this goal. My motivation for hosting a podcast was to share the awesome things people I am fortunate to meet are doing with a greater audience. I felt selfish keeping these stories to myself. Also, to be really honest, I needed an affiliated marketing outlet for my services. I need to be able to reach as many people as possible, not just for my business, but to have a large scale method to assist with achieving my passion, legacy, and ultimately my purpose, as its currently defined today.
These words are bandied about a lot at the moment so let’s take a moment to pause and reflect on how I define them.
What is the one thing you would do for free if money were not an issue? That is your passion. That thing. That driving force that makes your heart sing when you do it. That’s your passion. If money weren’t an issue, I would travel, write and connect with people all around the world. And, I would never stop learning or teaching.
Imagine you’re a ghost flying over the crowd at your funeral. I know morbid right? Just work with me. There at the front is a dear friend who says something about you that makes everyone in the crowd nod their head agreeing. This is intrinsically who you are, this is what you’re known for. For me, that head nod goes to the act of teaching everyone I meet to hug on the left side of our bodies. My legacy will be that everyone I hug learns of the power that comes from connecting your heart with another, and that they then share it with their world.
The fact that we are alive is no small miracle. I learned after I had a miscarriage just how incredibly difficult it is for the body to create life. If you’re blessed with a perfect little being, you’re even more privileged. With the miracle that is your life comes an obligation to be of service to your world, whether that is your family, friends, community, country, planet, or all of the above.
There are only two definite things in life, death and taxes. Those folk in the 1% of the world’s population might be able to avoid a lot of tax but they cannot avoid death. And yet, your death will come at any time so it’s essential you work every single day towards being of service to others – in whatever way. It doesn’t have to be grandeur. It doesn’t have to be Oprah equivalent, but you do need an extrinsic motivation to direct your inner mentor’s education.
My purpose was defined when I realised that I’ve been a coach for a long time but never felt comfortable with the title. In essence, I have always helped people succeed in whatever they work on. People will often come to me for advice and guidance, tools and techniques to try and for self-improvement or self-design ideas. And that, in really simplistic terms, is all coaching is.
I learned more about what it meant to be a coach and found that many life or business coaches help with strategy and planning, but very few actually work with their clients to implement the changes they need to make. They can help their clients to define their purpose but they don’t necessarily help their clients to live their purpose, to put it into action and enable that purpose to motivate them to successful results. And yet, this is exactly what I’ve been doing. My purpose is to help people to live their purpose.
Can you see how even though I’ve defined each of the above quite differently they all come back to being connected to people through learning and teaching? Now, just because I’ve defined my passion, legacy and purpose doesn’t mean it has to stay the same for the rest of my life. I’m not a robot. I expect that as I develop I’ll grow and expand into a new and better version of myself on a regular basis. This process is continually evolving, as am I. What this process does is create clarity. It puts your fearful ego at ease because it has a better idea of why you have this dream and how it will help you serve your world.
From here we do what most coaches do: we plan out a strategy to achieve the goal. I have an extensive process for this so I won’t elaborate here. The only thing I think is unique about my planning process is the visibility and accountability that comes from working with someone who is has extensive project management experience and can work with you every step of the way. I applied my Goal Scaffolding process to my podcast aspirations to create the strategy for my podcast!
Action from Planning
In many ways, the action component of your inner mentor dreaming is the easy part. Once you know the plan of where you’re going – because you’ve looked to the future to dream up the vision, you’ve created the mission’s objectives and key results for the next year – all that is left is to take the Annual A-List and determine what you can achieve in the first quarter, the first month of the first quarter, and then in the first week of the first month of the first quarter. Phew, that’s a mouthful.
It looks like this:
(right click on image to enlarge in a new tab)
Through our Accountability Facilitation service we conduct regular check in sessions of 30 minutes, usually weekly or bi-monthly. These sessions discuss your prior week’s wonderlist of tasks and generates a new list from what you’ve achieved and what is on the monthly milestone and quarterly quest lists. This process is detailed to specifically counter the ego’s fears with consistent and clear actions.
I use the Accountability Check in Sessions with my clients, but also with my volunteer team for the podcast. It enables us to have a clear idea of what we’re all working on, but more importantly, why we’re doing it.
Results from Action
Remember at the beginning how I said: “For sure, you will get something done but it’s not likely to provide you with a clear understanding on how that one thing will help you achieve your goal”? Well now you will know, without any doubt, fear or uncertainty that the one thing you do today will be provide results toward your inner mentor’s dreams.
I know this for a fact because two weeks ago my team of volunteers & I launched the Your Third Voice Podcast, which should come as no surprise by now is all about educating and inspiring your Inner Mentor.
Go ahead and apply the Accountability Star Results Formula to your Inner Mentor’s dream – let me know how you go in our Accountability Star group. I’m here to help you live your purpose, in whatever way you need.
¹ I use the term “goal” to loosely mean something you hope to achieve. That could be a new job, a new business, a project, fitness or health lifestyle improvements, etc.
² Your first voice is that which you use to speak; your second voice is the voice in your mind, your consciousness. Both of these voices receive content from your third voice, your inner mentor.
³ McGovern Medical School Neuroscience Online: Chapter 6: Limbic System: Amygdala