Kaitlyn had asked me to be with her at the hospital for the delivery, in case she needed me. Of course, I said yes. What other answer could a mother give to this kind of request?
And, so it was that I found myself alone at about 2:30 in the morning, in the waiting area of our beautiful new hospital. Kaitlyn and Matt were together and managing well. I knew that when the time came, Matt would text me if they needed me.
Sitting in the silence of the hospital I had only my thoughts to keep me company. And although I felt and looked calm, it wasn’t long before my Inner Critic noticed that I looked lonely and she came to keep me company.
Although uninvited, my Inner Critic had no trouble settling right in and making herself feel right at home. She started off with what I believed to be some very valid questions and observations:
What do you know about this; you’ve never helped deliver a baby!
You should have read more; you don’t know what to do.
What makes you think you are qualified for this job?
‘Wait a minute!’, I thought. ‘Nice try.’ I recognized this as the voice of my Saboteur, my Inner Critic, and I knew that this voice did not represent my true self, convincing though it sounded.
As I sat with myself I was thinking about a coaching tool that I could use in this moment and then I remembered; My Inner Mentor.
Just as we each have an Inner Critic, who has the very specific, if often misguided job of trying to keep us safe by stopping us from trying new things (especially things that can be emotionally dangerous), we also each have an Inner Mentor.
Our Inner Mentor is like a wise version of ourselves. She exhibits the wisdom and the qualities that we are trying to grow into, 20 years in the future. We never actually become our Inner Mentor, this is not the goal. However, she always holds wisdom for us, and her wisdom often surprises us with it’s simplicity and uniqueness.
Whenever I get quiet and try to access mine, she shows up in running tights. She is often heading out for a run. She is self-assured, but not arrogant. She knows herself and she trusts herself. And she knows me and wants only what is best for me.
A huge difference between our Inner Critic and our Inner Mentor is how they show up. Our Inner Critic shows up uninvited and feels delighted to offer her thoughts and opinions without any prodding. Hers is the harsh, often rude-sounding voice. She speaks in black and white. She would never say, ‘This could be a bad idea’. She says, ‘What were you thinking? This is a disaster!’ She has no trouble stating the same thing over and over like a broken record. Although she doesn’t always sound truthful, she is so loud and certain, that we tend to believe her.
The Inner Mentor, on the other hand, does not enter our mind unless we invite her. She is never rude, she never interrupts, and never feels she needs to repeat herself. She is compassionate and sensible. She offers her opinion and allows us to ponder it. She may have a sense of humour; she always has a sense of safety and love.
And so it was in the quiet of the waiting area that I asked my Inner Mentor what I needed to do. ‘Do?’, she responded, ‘You don’t need to do a thing. Just be.’
And so it also was that when at five o’clock the text arrived from Matt asking me to come in, that I calmly gathered my things and made my way to Room 17, Highwood River Hallway. I had to smile as I read the overhead sign naming the hallway to which they had been assigned. Kaitlyn had been born in High River, through which travels the beautiful Highwood River. It felt like a full circle moment.
My Inner Mentor was right. For the next few hours I simply needed to be. It turns out that both Matt and I are pretty good at this. And wonderfully, there was no room at all for any Inner Critics in the room.
There is a lot of noise in this world; a lot of opinions and ideas and suggestions about what we should do and how we and who we should be. It’s easy to let these voices drown out the quieter, but surer, voice of our true self. This voice is always available to us, if we find a quiet space and invite it in.
Benjamin has been sleeping in my arms as I’ve written this blog. We’re trying to give his mom some time to sleep. The peace of a baby sleeping gives just the space we need to quiet our minds and hear some wisdom. He holds all the promise of the good things in life. I believe he already has all the tools he needs to do anything he desires in his life. I am imagining that this is the same feeling that my Inner Mentor has about me. True, deep, pure love.
This week, as you are facing a challenge, take time to get still with your thoughts. Invite your Inner Mentor to offer her ideas and listen carefully for her answers.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What would my Inner Mentor have to say about this?’
Elizabeth creates and facilitates custom workshops for corporate, public and private groups. She provides leadership coaching for individuals and groups. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to access your Inner Mentor as you travel your most important journey of all; the journey of your life.