A hand holding a metal whistle

Motivation: Dialogues with my inner coach

Back in November I wrote a post inspired by reading Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski where I learned to identify my inner critic and dialogue with her. You can read about my particular inner critic here.

Since then, I have started calling her Coach, which is ironic considering I am opening a coaching business and I am nothing like her. At least, I hope I’m not. I’ve tried dialoguing with her, except, man, she is fast. She makes her statement and then disappears and is so subtle sometimes it takes me quite a while to realize she even showed up.

This morning, I caught her while I was journaling. I was writing about my upcoming comprehensive exam for my doctoral program and reassuring myself. Then, she showed up. I’m sharing what I said to her below. It’s kind of rough. It’s a journaling exercise. I’ll clean it up for clarity but that’s about it.

Oh! Hello Coach. She just showed up and said, “Don’t get too cocky. That will lead to you getting lazy. If you stay humble and intimidated you will work harder and do better.”

Thanks Coach. Thank you for always wanting me to be the best I can be. You’re goal has always been to motivate me. Let’s talk about how I am best motivated.

First, I’m trying to replace ‘lazy’ with ‘unmotivated’. If I get cocky, I will be unmotivated. You are right there. Cocky is not good. Is reassuring myself cockiness? Being real about how well I am doing step by step and not waiting to be validated by a trophy. Thanks for listening so far, Coach.

The thing is, when I am constantly criticizing myself without also acknowledging my goodness, it doesn’t motivate. Feeling like a failure is not motivating. When I feel like a failure I need to be reminded I am not a failure in order to get back on the track.*

Right now, I am highly motivated. This is a major stepping stone towards a major accomplishment that requires time and discipline and hard work, but it is also something I want! I’m motivated to do my best, I promise. But my best is no longer pushing myself past my God-granted limits to earn an extra half-letter grade. Because that is not my best. I am my best when I am well-rested, confident, and loved.

I am grateful to you, Coach, because you always want me to be my best. Remind why I am doing this. Being sure of what I want is highly motivating.

Can you imagine an internal conversation like this? Give it a try. You don’t have to wait for her to show up.

*It is very weird that my inner critic is a track coach considering I have never been on a track team and I hate competition.

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