You hear it all the time. The voice in your head; you’ve heard it all your life. The one that tells you what’s right. The one that tells you what it thinks you ought to do. It can also turn nasty, whispering that you’re not good enough, that everyone sees through you, that you’ll never measure up.
The performance psychologist Dr. Jim Loehr, who has studied countless athletes and elite leaders, says this voice is the key to success. “I began to realize,” he said in an interview with Tim Ferriss, “what really mattered in a really significant way: the tone and content of the voice no one hears. I came to understand that the ultimate coach for all of us in life is that private voice.”
Where does it come from? Where did you get that voice originally? It came from your parents, mostly. As Loehr explains, we “know it begins to form as early as five years of age, and it comes principally from the authority figures in your life… however functional or dysfunctional.”
This should sober us up as parents. This is a cold bucket of water dumped right on our heads. We are responsible for the voice that will be inside our kids’ head for the rest of their lives. What we are saying to them, what we are teaching them, what we are showing them is shaping their conscience, their sense of self and then creating the discussions they’re going to be having with themselves forever. Our job, then, is to give them the best voice possible.
Are you filling your childrens’ heads with the right stuff? Are you helping them develop a lifelong coach of wisdom? Are those voices in their heads functional, or dysfunctional? Kind, or angry? Patient, or unforgiving?
Will you be the buoying voice of an ancestor, or the haunting voice of a ghost?