For todays task I want you to go back in time. Take a few minutes and list 3 enemies of your brave self-worth. Please be as specific as possible in doing this exercise. Your historic monsters are the building blocks of your core negative beliefs. Yes, that mean boy Eric in the seventh grade who poisoned your self esteem by saying that you are not good enough to join the game. Your father who told you your whole life that just idiots chase their dreams and that you must pursue a career in finance if you ever want to be successful. That girlfriend you had 5 years ago who cheated on you and told you that it’s your own fault anyway. They all matter. Put them in. Julia Cameron calls this list “your monster hall of fame” in her book The Artists Way. On your journey to find your inner brave you will discover more monsters over time. Julia says it is important to acknowledge those injuries and grieve them. Other wise they become scar tissue and block your growth.
Now select one out of the 3 enemies and write out one horror story. You don’t need to write long or much, but do jot down whatever details come back to you. The room you were in, the way people looked at you, their body language, the way you felt, what your parents said or didn’t say when you told them about it. Important is to write down exactly what hurt and annoyed you. Feel free to draw sketches from your monsters if you like. Trashing your monster with a cartoon sketch helps to take away it’s power.
My personal horror story for example happened when I still worked as a hairdresser over 10 years ago. It was the last day before my probation time ended when my boss and his assistant manager called me into the office. I remember them sitting both in front of me like it was yesterday. They were leaning back with their arms crossed. During the whole conversation they were sitting like this. My boss told me how he expected so much more from me when he hired me. He said that the other boy he hired is making so much more progress than I did. He could train me but that would take too much of his time. Than they both started criticise my work in detail. I felt like I was on trial. I remember I felt so incredible lost, judged and misunderstood. The assistant manager said that she thought that I was just playing a role and that I wasn’t authentic. I thought the same about her by the way. Not once they asked me about my opinion or how I feel. I felt so hurt that I just cried. This conversation was the first and last feedback I received from them. They told me not to come back the next day. Since then I am always worried that this experience repeats itself. Every time I start a new job and fear those memories. I worry that I am not good enough and that I will fail just like I did that day. Today I know that those 2 people didn’t know anything about leadership and that their management style was just poor. I mean who does such thing? I worked there for 3 months and nobody ever said anything. No hint, no redirection, nothing. Since then I always point out that I appreciate honest feedback and that I am more than happy to learn. I ask my team and boss for a regular feedback just to make sure I don’t get surprised like I did that day. It’s been working good so far but I am still paranoid sometimes.