A big change is an identity change. To me, it’s the natural step that comes after first changing your values and views of life. You simply cannot be the same person anymore, so a big change in identity occurs. It usually comes after big life events, sometimes crisis like a getting your first job (becoming an employee as opposed to being a student), or getting married (not single anymore), or getting a divorce (single again) or becoming a parent or, like in my case, living 4 years abroad.
Some time ago, at the beginning of this year, I’ve started to realize I am going through a big change in my life. Living abroad has changed anyway the way I see my life, myself; has changed my values and my belief system. But this was different – I was changing who I am (going on my own and becoming a freelancer after being an employee for 10 years) and how intentional I want to live my life. I needed it and I wanted it, it was something that I was postponing for some time (years) already, but it was only until the end of last year when I realized it’s time to level up.
Leveling up, probably you’ve heard the term before, it’s the decision you make to consciously improve your life, in one or all areas. You can start with one area of your life, like the career, and don’t stop until all areas of your life are the way you want them to be. An all-round change. I wanted to become the best version I could me, I wanted to grow, to develop, to have control over my life and do only intentional things that would help me get where I want faster and better.
Now, this is not something you do in one month, it’s a change on all levels and it requires a bunch, a big bunch of inner resources and skills: time management, priority management, intentionality, accountability, motivation, constant check-in with yourself, determination, consistency, and a purpose.
It’s not easy and it’s a constant work in progress. It’s admitting to yourself ‘you could have done better, but it’s ok, you can do it next time.’ For me, it’s like working on a project where sometimes you schedule some time just to look at the status of the project, analyze the progress, take some notes, do a few tweaks and then try again.
7 months later, I am still doing it and it’s a learning curve. I had a lot of ups and downs, setbacks, times when I was questioning myself and the reason I choose to walk on this path and looking back at it now, one thing really helped me a lot and I want to share it with you as well.
There are times when you need to motivate yourself, encourage yourself, talk some sense into you, rationalize those fears that are running through your head. Other people might help you with that as well, but they are not there with you 100% of the time. There are times when you need to be courageous and you need to summon the resources to go through whatever it is that you’re going through on your own.
So, how do I do it? How do I find a way to activate my resources, get over my fears and analyze what’s the next potential step.
With Voice Memos. Yes, with Voice memos, on my phone, by talking some sense into me (by emotional/ subconscious brain). I am talking to myself, asking questions and answering them, calm myself down if I’m feeling apprehended and then find a way to encourage myself, exactly like when you’re talking in the mirror before a big event.
You’re probably already thinking ‘Woot? She’s talking to herself?’. Yes, but it’s not just that. It’s like I’m talking on the streets or responding to a hallucination. No, I am engaging myself in a brainstorming session or a pep talk, whenever I need it.
(An important note: Self-talk becomes concerning if it’s the manifestation of a hallucination. “Talking to yourself,” as we’ve defined it here, refers to knowingly engaging in dialogue with yourself versus engaging with a perceived external source.)
There are many benefits of practicing this, I am not going into details here (maybe in a future article together with how to do it well), but I’ll leave a quote below from a psychologist plus some articles in case you want to read more on the subject.
- NY Times – The Benefits of Talking to Yourself
- NBC News – Go ahead, talk to yourself. It’s normal —and good for you.
- BBC – Why talking to yourself is the first sign of… success
“If we speak out loud, it forces us to slow down our thoughts and process them differently because we engage the language centers of our brain,” explains Dr. Nicolosi. “By talking to ourselves we become more deliberate, and this creates a slower process to think, feel and act, instead of being bombarded by our thoughts.”
The suggestion to try this came from my coach and mentor (Andrei Rosca), some time ago this year and it stuck. I was already talking too much to myself, in my head, so why not try to talk out loud for a change? 🙂
Voice Memos is an app on my phone and I record a memo one whenever I feel that I need to address something, especially when going through big changes.
For example, as a freelancer, I had days when I felt overwhelmed with negative thoughts like ‘this is not going to work’, ‘why did you want to take this road?’, ‘you have no clients?’, ‘why do you think you have something to say in this area?’ and so on. So then, whenever I start to be aware of my emotions, instead of keeping it all in my head, I am taking out my phone and hit record. I am basically letting myself say anything I want and feel, to unload first, addressing the thoughts I have, but then I am not letting things like that – I am trying to look for answers, solutions, looking at things from different perspectives.
When I’ve recorded my first voice memo, I was in the dumps. I had one of those days when you second guess your decisions and it was already a recurrent theme in my life. I really needed to talk to someone, but I was driving for another 2-3 hours, so I couldn’t call anyone. Instead, I’ve decided to voice out loud my own fears and concerns and to uplift myself, but on tape, so I could listen to it over and over again, whenever I needed it.
Who else can give me what I want and what I need to hear if not me? I know exactly what I need to hear.
So, here’s my mantra for low confidence days. It’s what I’ve recorded (in English!, for some reason) for the first time and I hope that this will inspire you to do the same and see what happens. It’s a powerful tool – you, hearing your own voice, it’s very surprising. But what is more shocking than that is that you think you know what you’re going to say – and then ‘boom’. You say something that you didn’t know you had it in you or that it’s connected to the current situation.
It’s amazing and I truly recommend it. Very important, you need to use your name. This is how you summon your subconscious mind. Here it goes:
” (big sigh)
Ok, first memo. Every time you feel down, you should remember this:
Andreea, You are in the process of a big change. You are changing your life, you are changing who you are at the core, you are changing your beliefs, you are ditching your limiting beliefs. You are building layer by layer, a new you, a stronger you. A more driven, a more happy, a more fulfilled, a more … everything new you than ever before.
And this process takes time, takes a lot of energy, takes motivation, takes a lot of resources and every time you do a step further, you are pushing your own ceiling up. More and more every day.
And it feels so hard and so heavy right now because you cannot focus on the future anymore, you cannot imagine your new future while you’re doing it.
You can picture the old you with a potential future, based on your old self, but now, since you are in the process creating a new you, like Christine Hassler (one of my favorite coaches) said ‘Stop projecting and be present.’
Be here for you, be kind, be authentic, listen to your needs, to your reactions, your inner talk. If you feel you are resistant to something, listen to it. Ask yourself ‘what is this? where is this coming from? what is the need behind it? what do I need to do?’. See your every action and listen to every thought that you have. Be present.
And be kind. Very important. Be kind and be patient. You cannot have the kind of future you want to have in one month. You need to learn how to develop new skills and that takes time. And research, and openness to accept where you are now and where you want to go. ”
And the memo goes on another 10 minutes – it’s just me being the best version of myself, my higher self, giving advice to my lowest self when I needed it the most. It was a remarkable moment in my personal development journey so far, and now I know it works. Even now, I listen to it whenever I feel down and not trusting myself. We all have those moments and it would be nice to have someone telling you everything it’s going to be ok and way, but if that someone is missing or cannot be reached, you have always someone to rely yourself upon. And that is you. You are your best motivator, your best friend and protector, the most important person in your life. And if don’t feel like this, if you don’t feel like you are your no. 1 priority, please contact me 🙂 I have somethings to tell you that might change your mind.
How do you feel about voice memos? Is it too crazy for you? Maybe. Strange? Probably, in the beginning, while doing it the firsts time. Weird? Not by my standards. Does it work? 100%.
By doing this, I’ve learned how to listen to my thoughts and how to arrange them so I can voice them, how to identify my emotions, how to unload some hard feelings, how to motivate myself and how to make decisions. Being always in check with how I feel, where I am, what I want gives so much more clarity to make better choices, I feel lighter and happier.
Contact me if this feels interesting, I can expand on the idea/concept way better though a conversation and we can work together to see how you can apply this to your situation.