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The Art of Winding Yourself Up (And Down…)

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realising that you are not the voice of your mind – you are the one who hears it.”

– Michael Singer

Over the weekend, I was laughing at the sense of humour life seems to have.

I’d been reading a book on Saturday morning where the author was telling a story about the power of his inner voice.

He was going to an event and had just parked his car on the street when he saw another car parked over two spaces.

You know the kind – the car is half in one and half-in the other.

Someone had obviously not been aware of how they’d parked but at such a busy event where the street was going to be packed with cars, the author knew that it was taking up a valuable space for someone else.

And his inner voice went off on one.

  • Who do they think they are?
  • How dare they!
  • Some people!

Then in a moment of clarity he became aware of what the voice was saying and how it was affecting his mood. But also how he realised that the voice wasn’t the real him.

And in that moment, he let it go. Completely.

Ironically, later that day, I went to a garage to get fuel for my car and something similar happened – something that has never happened to me before.

A woman in front of me, parked her car pretty much in the middle of the pump area, so that only one pump could be accessed instead of two.

I tried to inch my car into the space left but couldn’t do it safely. So I slowly reversed it back out.

Meanwhile the woman was on the phone the entire time, while holding a petrol pump in her car and she glanced at my car a few times.

Any reasonable person would have moved their car.

But not this one.

And as she disappeared into the shop to pay, my inner voice took off.

  • Who does she think she is?
  • How dare she!
  • Some people!

And I could feel my mood shifting with the negative comments as I started to wind myself up. But I caught it and I remembered what I’d read earlier that day.

So I dropped all of the negative chatter and waited patiently in my car, very much focusing on the moment, out of thought.

The woman returned 2 minutes later, still on the phone, and looked me straight in the eye. I was smiling by this stage at how amusing the whole things was.

She totally blanked me.

Nothing. 🙂

My inner voice kicked off again but it didn’t matter. I’d dis-engaged from it.

I’d managed to wind myself down.

One of the most powerful things I’ve discovered in a leadership context (be it business or life) is that we all have an inner narrator.

It’s that inner voice that’s commenting right now on these words.

When people or events don’t line up with the way we like them, you’ll find that voice is activated. Most will listen to that voice as if it’s the real them.

And if you’re interested in high performance, this is one area where you’ll find an edge. Especially if you lead people.

How we speak to others is important.

But how we speak to ourselves is even more vital.

It sets us up for sustainable growth.

What’s your inner voice saying about this week?



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