In A Shot Of Optimism, What's Holding You Back?

We all have a negative voice in our head. Arianna Huffington calls hers the obnoxious roommate. Willis Harman called it the voice of judgment (VOJ), and I call it the Triple J: the Jury, Judge, and Jailer. The voice that tells us we’re guilty (the jury), that passes sentence (the judge) and locks us up, (the jailer) preventing us from doing what we really want to do.

The Triple J is an amalgam of advice from people in the past who may have been trying to protect us. The parent who says: You aren’t big enough to accomplish that — or the teacher who says: You don’t know enough intelligence to take on that project.

At the time, these voices may have had a point. Our parent may have been trying to protect us from hurt feelings or getting injured. Our teacher may have been suggesting we acquire more knowledge to move forward. The people around us wanted to prevent us from becoming discouraged and frustrated.

Too many times, these voices from long ago still ring in our head and make us refuse even to try. The Triple J tells you that you aren’t _________ enough to do what you want to do.

Old enough, experienced enough, knowledgeable enough, strong enough, safe enough, creative enough, persistent enough, talented enough, rich enough, attractive enough, thin enough . . . whatever enough!

Enough already! How do we stop this endless cycle?

  1. Recognize your Triple J as the voice that shames, blames, kills our confidence and keeps us from being bold, innovative, and adventurous. Learn to distinguish it with your own best judgment
  2. Listen to what the Triple J is saying, make it conscious and ask yourself what part, if any, is true now.
  3. Look for evidence that refutes the voice of the Triple J. If the Triple J says you can’t do something, think of all the times you have successfully taken on new challenges. As you remember your successes in the past, you will also hear your own true voice of encouragement and discernment: You are up to this, you have enough experience, you have enough confidence, it’s OK to feel nervous, you’ll do a great job – go for it!
  4. Ask yourself what allowed you to be successful in past situations, this will help you gather resources for your next endeavor.

The Triple J may tell you that you’re not ready for a promotion, that you have to live with the bad situation you are in because you brought it on yourself, or you are not allowed to set out on the road less traveled because you don’t have the skills and resources to be a success. You could wind up losing or squandering opportunities that bring joy and satisfaction.

But if you can learn to recognize it, listen to it, find evidence to the contrary, and gather resources — you can get the Triple J out of the pilot’s seat so you can fly into the future unencumbered!

Until next Tuesday,



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