It’s been a couple of weeks now, since I left the day job and started working for myself. This decision wasn’t taken lightly, I can tell you. As someone that has a very conservative attitude to risk, I have had to go through the fear barrier with this, before plucking up the courage to hand my notice in on the day job.
And a big part of that pain barrier was Nobby. Now no-one, and I mean no-one, has ever heard of Nobby before because he isn’t someone I speak about at all. So, everyone I’d like to introduce you to Nobby…not so much a friend, as a constant insidious influence on my life.
That’s right, Nobby is the voice I hear inside my head telling me to play it safe and not follow my dreams, because I’m not good enough. Nobby is the voice that tells me, I’m too old for those jeans, that my hair looks terrible and that I need to stop speaking because I don’t have the first idea what I’m talking about and nobody will listen anyway.
Does Nobby sound familiar to any of you? Do you have your own version of Nobby playing in your head and doing a number on your confidence? To be honest I think we all do to some extent, even those people we assume are the very model of confidence will have something like this playing in their heads.
The technical term for Nobby (or whatever you choose to call yours) is a NATs (Negative Automatic Thoughts). I call them NIDs (Negative Internal Dialogue) because Nobby has been a constant source of noise in my head at various points of my life. So, less a random string of thoughts and more a bloody constant drone, especially when I was struggling with my fertility and told I would be facing a childless lifestyle!
Nobby never used to be called Nobby – he was just the nameless, very loud commentary going on in my head. He had become progressively louder over the years – starting when I was bullied at school, through my depression and beyond. I had just thought that the voice was normal, because you get used to the loud music in a nightclub don’t you? Same principle applies with your internal chatter to yourself – you get used to the volume, the themes and the tone of the dialogue.
I can’t recall the moment I decided that enough was enough. To be honest I don’t think it was a lightbulb moment, but a gradual tuning in to what was being said. It was then I realised how bloody toxic it was. I just remember thinking ‘would I ever speak to another person like this?’. Simple answer, no, so why do we do it to ourselves..? (a topic for another time). Anyway, that was when the voice was dubbed Nobby.
I chose Nobby, as it’s a rude name, just to turn the tables and undermine his confidence. This has meant I can identify when the dialogue turns less positive and starts to do a number of my confidence. I will acknowledge the thought, but I can then turn the volume down and stop the dialogue in its tracks. It also means I can start to change the track and put something more soothing on.
Now I don’t know whether the voice in your head has a sex, or even whether it ‘speaks’ or provides you with flashes of images from your past where you have done something ‘wrong’, but the act of naming that little shit, makes it easier to notice when they start to pipe up again. So, what do you tell yourself? Are you your best cheerleader, or have you developed a Nobby of your own? If you have, it’s time to start turning the tables on the voice and get yourself a new positive track playing in your head.
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