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Who Is Advising You about Your Comfort Zone?

I Started Out Ready to be Special!


I am 5 1/2 years old, the oldest of 4 children in the family and I have just started 1st grade.  I am really excited about dinner this evening because my dad is bringing home a guest for dinner and for the first time I am going to be part of the adult conversation! We are all seated around a big wooden table – Mommy and Daddy, my younger brother and sister, the baby, and THE GUEST!  We sing grace and then I puff my chest and sit up really straight and I tell them what I have learned in school…..and then I wait.  I wait for them to tell me how smart I am, to tell me I am special …BUT they laugh – they laugh at me!  They laugh at this stupid girl who thought she was something special; and I am so ashamed.

I crawl under that big wooden table out of sight to hide my shame.  And the voice in my head is saying – you see, you thought you were so smart but you were wrong.  I am warning you, the world is a very dangerous place and the only way to avoid being laughed at is to make sure you stay in the background, out of site.  Trust me – just stay here under the table and you will be safe!

Dad leaned under the table and said “Come on gal, come out from under there”; and Mommy said: “Its OK sweetie, come back and sit at the table” – but I trusted that voice more than I trusted my parents and stayed under the table not only for that dinner but for several decades!

Then My Advisors Took Over

This is one of my earliest memories of a voice in my head, an advisor that set the stage for how I would avoid personal risks and keep myself playing small for a good part of my young adulthood.

Get to Know the Team

There are simple ways to get to know your advisors and create a team that really supports you in being unstoppable in creating your success

The first way is to STOP and LISTEN and get tuned into your advisors!

Recognize the Gremlins Posing as Advisors

You may recognize them – the loud and critical advisors – the hecklers, gremlins, or naysayers – They are the advisors that stop you from asking for what you want; from pursuing a promotion or asking for a raise. They stop you taking the first step in mending a broken relationship.  As soon as you try to step outside of your comfort zone, these advisors get activated.  They get all stirred up and if you don’t listen to them – they declare a RED ALERT– This means that your Reptilian Brain is activated, the one that relies on fight, flight or freeze behavior.  By the way, when your reptilian brain is activated, your creative problem solving brain disconnects – you are in survival mode!

Embrace the Wisdom (if you can hear it)

Then there is the other kind of advisor – the quieter wiser advisor that is able to see the whole picture, and create the drive for you to pursue your best life.

These are the advisors that celebrate your uniqueness, honor your values, support you in having fulfilling relationships and trust you to make better choices.  These are the empowering WISE advisors.

These advisors are also the ones that exercise their intuition about whether you are on the right track towards who you are at your best.   When you are not on the right track these advisors will send up a warning signal – – not like the critical advisors – but a quieter voice that creates the awareness that something is missing.  That it is time to change tracks because the one we are on doesn’t use your best talents or gifts.

Here is an example – I was coaching a senior manager who thought her primary focus should be on the finances of the department.  Notice the word “should”! But she was very dissatisfied in this role because her strengths really came from generating ideas.  She would watch the program development team flounder and fail to generate ideas for creating innovative events and educational programs.  She finally listened to her wiser advisors and refocused on helping the team to generate ideas, leaving the financial matters to the person responsible for managing the finances.  This made a huge difference in her level of satisfaction and in the effectiveness of the rest of the team.

When we look at the roles we feel obligated to take on, are those roles really using our best talents or are we listening to our critical advisors telling us what we SHOULD do to be successful?

If Those Advisors are So Wise – What Happens?

We also have to be aware that the Quiet Wiser Advisors are often drowned out by the louder and more opinionated and critical advisors.

Most people have a whole team of advisors in their head and they are not there to derail you – they really think they are supporting you by keeping you safe.

4 Tips for Getting Your Advisors On The Same Team


These advisors will never go away – they are part of your brain wiring but when you follow these practices –
  • STOP and LISTEN to your advisors
  • PLAY with them – don’t take them so seriously
  • AND LISTEN for the 10% Wisdom – that nugget of wisdom covered up by the fear of risk!

You can retrain yourself to relate to them differently and ensure that you are hearing not only the Loud Critical Advisors but also the Quiet Wiser Advisors as well.

You can have the life you imagine when you align your internal Advisors on the Bigger Picture and CHOOSE which advisors to give the most influence on your team.

But You Are Special!

Let’s go back to that young girl under the table who thought the adults were laughing at her! When I step back and get a little perspective, I can see that the adults probably thought I was precocious or cute! And I could just laugh with them instead of hiding under the table! My quieter wiser advisors have the ability to rewrite that story and celebrate my capacity to be out there in life playing BIG and not listening to those dinosaur advisors!

And the fourth tip is to CHOOSE
You have a choice – which advisors are you going to give the most influence on you team? The ones who keep you safe and small or the ones who support your success?

Which advisors are you listening to?  Share your favorite gremlin!

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