Silencing the Narrator (Part 2)

I began to think about the Narrator, and its influence on our ability to lead, interact with others, or achieve our goals.  During this time of reflection, a few events stuck in my mind.

The first was a program on the History Channel called “the Brain.”  While discussing fear, and our brain’s reaction to fear, the show depicted Navy Seal training.  The show highlighted one of its hardest aspects: Pool Comp.  Pool Comp is a series of underwater exercises when a candidate is pushed to the limit while an instructor is systematically disrupting their air supply.  These candidates need to override what is happening in their brains.

In developing an approach that would lead to greater success the Navy realized that candidates had to tackle “self-talk”…that inner Narrator.  The difference between “Can do” and “Can’t” from the Narrator impacted a candidate’s ability to override the fear associated with the activity (trying to function while not drowning) and succeed.  

The study also concluded that a person’s inner voice or Narrator can speak somewhere between 300 and 1,000 words per minute.  I have been told that I speak quickly, but even I can’t compete with that.

The second event happened closer to home.  When my youngest was five, I heard her say something that I will never forget.

“I am just a bad girl.”

She was five!!!  Where did she hear this?  How did she come to this conclusion?  What was going on?  Who told her this?

I replayed the past few weeks and months in my mind.  I searched for what could cause her to reach this conclusion…and there it was.

To provide a little context, for about the six or eight weeks prior to this statement, she was trying to make her own breakfast each morning.  She was five.  She was trying to be more independent.  Each day started off the same:  get a bowl, a box of cereal, and a gallon of milk and pour them together.  The result was a huge mess.  Every morning the ratio between what ended up on the floor and what landed into the bowl was about 90/10.  I also pictured my dialogue during this time.

“Don’t spill.”

“Why are you doing it that way.”

“Just let me do it.”

“Why don’t you pour it this way.”

Unintentionally, I sided with and encouraged her Narrator.  Apparently, my daughter, potential Navy Seals and all of us have something in common: the Narrator.  How we deal with and silence the bad Narrator, while encouraging the good Narrator may make the difference between success and failure.  We will tackle some of that next.

Sorry for the many parts, but there is a lot of ground to cover.  Hang on it will be totally worth it.