As a friend, I try to support my friends when making any particular decision. And when they seem to be ‘making sense’ using what seems like a logical train of thought, initially I want to agree with them. I mean, why wouldn’t I agree when it sounds like they are thoroughly thinking things over, right?
But as a coach, I have to be very careful. I have to be cognizant of what is being disguised as logic when in reality it is fear or self doubt. Sometimes it is hard to know and identify between the two. But as a trained coach, I have the experience to see when people are using logic as an excuse from challenging themselves and I know how to ask probing and sometimes uncomfortable questions to help my clients explore and build self-awareness of what it is they are truly doing in their decision-making process. It is my goal and duty to make sure that they are not self-sabotaging so that they can realize the fulfillment they seek.
I’ve listened to people talk themselves out of money, higher paying positions, a date, a relationship, and even a vacation. All because they use what is fear masquerading as logic. It is a very real tactic many of us unwittingly use. Especially if you’ve been doing it all your life and making ‘logical’ choices is the standard story you tell yourself and others.
We can usually talk ourselves out of almost anything. Think about it. How many times have you had an opportunity or wanted something that would be extremely fulfilling to you but your comfort in ‘thinking things through’ and ‘being logical’ usually gets you to abandon your initial wants and desires or opportunities for happiness and a fulfilling life and you justify it with said ‘logic’.
*Hand raised* Me !
I can talk myself out of almost anything and rationalize it to no end. “I am a logical thinker. I am so analytical.” These were some of my mantras in self sabotage. I’ve grown to recognize this in myself. And in my practice of coaching and mentoring, I’ve come to recognize it immediately in others.
For example, I once had a colleague spend about half an hour explaining to me why she couldn’t go on a mini-vacation which truly was more of a ‘stay-cation’ anyway. She spoke of everything from a blown light bulb in an outdoor fixture in front of her home to potholes on the 40- minute drive to the shore might damage to her new car to her dog possibly getting car sick. In the end, I just had to stop her. I asked her if she realized what she was doing throwing up excuse after excuse. She said I didn’t understand because things aren’t that easy for her as they were for me. But she couldn’t see that she was rationalizing herself out of taking one moment to find peace of mind and to clear her head in a way that we have extreme benefits in her work and life.
We do it all the time. I’ve been there but I know better now. I know that in order to live the fulfilling life I want and deserve, I have to recognize the saboteurs in my ‘logic’. And some of them are very subtle. These saboteurs can truly look real and authentic and seem to be an absolute reason to NOT live authentically fulfilled and happy.
So, how can you identify limiting patterns and your own self-sabotaging ways? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself. And of course, you have to be 100% honest with you to be effective. If you’re afraid, just say it. And then push yourself forward anyway. Asking yourself these 4 questions will help you find an actual fulfilling life instead of just a logical one:
What am I resisting?
What story am I embracing to create roadblocks?
What is my inner critic always telling me?
What is the fear that is pretending to be logic?
Think about the last decision you made and how you used your logic to make a choice? Was the choice you made the one you really wanted? Did you talk yourself into liking or being OK with the choice your ‘logic’ made?
This is a very personal exercise. Be authentic and vulnerable here. Move towards being self aware in your life and your purpose. Most times we think others are judging us when it’s really us judging ourselves.
Make your decisions and be unapologetic in them.