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For as long as I can remember my dad has worked for himself. He has always been a hard worker both in his professional life and in his personal life. Whether working with clients, or working in the yard he has always pushed himself sometimes beyond his limits. To say the least he has a tough work ethic. Frequently my mom will get frustrated with him working so hard and will jokingly say to him “I hate your boss, he just never lets up on you, he is so demanding”. It is a loving way to remind him that he is the one driving himself to exhaustion, he is the one pushing himself past the point of comfort, he is the one who is setting his schedule, his goal, and his long term planning. It is also a great way to separate himself from his ‘boss’, to give him some perspective.
To some extent all of us have a ‘tough boss’ inside of us. Even if we don’t work for ourselves, we still have the little voice (the fear monger, the inner critic, the gremlin) that tells us we aren’t good enough. That tells us to keep working harder, be more dependable, more responsible, more on ‘top of things’. So frequently that boss voice plays there under our subconscious over and over again.
I am constantly amazed that I could complete the same amount of tasks/stuff on two different days and one day my ‘boss’ would be ok with it and one day my ‘boss’ would be riding me ass that I didn’t accomplish enough. The difference in the days depends on a lot of variables: how good I am feeling when I start out the day, how much time I had in the day, my expectations for the day etc. But the biggest variable I have found is how much credence I give to the “boss” in my head. The amount of time I let my boss just pick at me unchecked is frequently the key to whether or not I end the day happier or not.
So I have found a great way to combat my boss is to first notice him there. To be aware that I am being extremely harsh on myself, I am aware of that in how I feel about my work (usually negative), how I carry my body (I tend to get a tightness in my neck/chest), the words that come out of my mouth (usually more discouraged and down), the thoughts that toss around in my head (pretty negative and self sabotaging). All of these variable show me that maybe my boss is being a little too tough. And then I will say something to my internal ‘boss’. Letting my boss know that she is not in charge here that I have some say and that although I love her for keeping me on task I need a little more support if I am really going to be a success. MOST of the time she settles down and the ‘push’ decreases, occasionally I need to address her multiple times in the day before she will settle. It is this awareness of my boss and the acknowledgement that she is just a part of me not my whole being that helps me work with her instead of against her.
What about you? How does your internal boss manifest itself? What ways have you found to lovingly deal with him/her?