When Your Inner Voice Leads You Down Narrow Holes
I’ve convinced myself that I was right only to find myself squirming to escape a narrow hole. The idea that your inner voice always leads you in the right direction leads to self-deception, self-justification, and eventually self-destruction.
Inexperience underestimates challenges and overestimates results – often with confidence.
A clear inner voice helps when reflecting on personal values. But intuition is fallible. Is your intuition right when your inner critic is on a rampage?
Reject your inner voice when:
#1. Hot emotion pollutes perspective.
Anger’s bosom buddy is blame.
You focus on things others should do, not on things you should do while anger grips you. Expecting more from others than you expect from yourself defeats leaders.
An angry person justifies absurd conclusions.
Question your inner voice when others always need to change, but you don’t. The easy question is, “How should they change?” The hard question is, “How might I be part of the problem?”
Anger seeks its own advantage. But leaders ask, “How might I advantage others?”
#2. Feeling superior contaminates judgement.
Reject your inner voice when it whispers, “You’re the smartest person at the table.”
All know-it-alls climb down narrow holes.
Confidence has little to do with reality when you feel superior to others. And remember, your IQ stayed the same and your EQ went down when you were promoted.
When you feel superior, tell your inner voice to say, “I might not be as smart as I think I am.” Or, “These people are, in some ways, smarter than me.” (If the latter isn’t true, find a new team.)
A leader who thinks others are always the problem is the problem.
We don’t see ourselves clearly when we’re acting in self-destructive ways.
When might your inner voice be wrong?
How might leaders protect themselves against self-deception?
When Intuition Misfires (APA)
Daniel Kahneman: Your Intuition Is Wrong, Unless These 3 Conditions Are Met (ThinkAdvisor)
Recommended reading: Thinking: Fast and Slow (Kahneman)
#1: It’s hard to “temper” reflexive intuition. It takes conscious work.
When I notice my frustration(s) rolling into anger, discipline requires me to ask (my Self), “What did I contribute to this problem?”
It first makes me accountable for my own feelings, then influences my thinking about it, then finds the correct meaning (never my first sense of it), then empowers the correct response (also never my reflexive one).
Always trust your intuition, but never express it w/o first examining it; it’s always right, just not the way you first feel it. Don’t let your fears drive you. And don’t deny/suppress it, or it will return at just the wrong time (when you are weaker.
Thanks Rurbane. “termper” 🙂
I get a feeling of informed intuition after reading your comment. Your last paragraph seemed inconsistent at first. But I think you mean always listen to your intuition, but realize a knee-jerk reaction may not be the reaction you end up expressing.
The point is, don’t be emotionally manipulated …
By your Self, or an Other.
Also, I don’t get “temper” … Pls. educate me.
Dam autocorrect: “TERMPER!”
Doh… termper should be temper… I liked the use of the word in the context of anger.
I find we can all use some tempering, from time to time.😁
The perils of “knowing it all” reminds me of the saying that “People who think they know it all are especially annoying to those of us who do!” You’ve consistently highlighted that we have selected areas of expertise where we shine and broad areas of expertise that range from incompetence to mediocrity. A dose of humility goes a long way in recognizing the illumination that others shine into our less than stellar areas of expertise. Thanks for the reminder! All the best.
Thanks Paul. Love the saying you added. I have to acknowledge that my annoyance is often rooted in my superior knowledge!! I suppose we should acknowledge that we may know more than others. But, as you say, a does of humility goes a long way. I smiled when I saw myself in that sentence.
I only trust my inner voice, when I have had significant experience in the area where the problem or opportunity sits.
No experience–do your homework. Get the facts, do research, conduct interviews, etc.
Thanks Paul. Your approach is supported by the research. Novices should avoid going with their gut.
The question to ask where is that inner voice coming from. Is it from your inner leader or could it be your sabatuer voice?
Thanks Lynne. Funny you bring this up. I think I have a whole chorus of different voices in my head, including a saboteur.