09/29/2014 12:57 pm ET Updated Nov 29, 2014

Am I My Own Worst Enemy?

How does it feel when you beat up on yourself? Remember those times when you heard an inner voice telling you:

You can't do that! Remember how badly you messed up the last time you tried it? You're not skilled enough... experienced enough... or even smart enough to get it right!

And aren't you often unsure or scared enough to listen, and agree? Another opportunity lost!

Why do we allow these inner voices/thoughts to get to us? I call them our Demons, who find joy in destroying our hopes and dreams. Why? We've all wondered -- why do we allow ourselves to succumb to them, and give them license to control us? Ask yourself: must I allow my apparent limitations become my absolute realities?

The human psyche is strange indeed. It will do almost anything to protect us from what it sees as potential disaster looming ahead -- at least in its "mind."

Once you really think about it, you realize: "Wait! My mind, my control!" Who knows you best? Those bullies, your inner Demons, who are set to keep you "safe?" Or your inner core/soul, which thrives on bringing and feeling joy from succeeding and helping others to do the same? Isn't that joy worth some risk?

I remember an "aha" experience for one of my team members -- my major partner in our "people-building" enterprise. One day, we were brainstorming about future plans. She began telling me about all her fears -- worried about whether she could handle what was coming her way.

I suddenly asked her -- "Do you see that empty black cage in the corner? It's waiting to be filled with ugly Demons who keep trying to destroy our dreams. We can lock them up, and then they'll be out of our way!"

She wondered about my sanity for a minute, and then decided to play along. "Oh sure," she said. "How do I get my Demons into that cage?" Easy! We began to focus on each nasty monster, one by one - identifying how it was holding her back, and then fiercely pitched them - one at a time, into that Demon Cage, shouting "Be gone with you! You no longer have any power over me!" And we slammed the cage door and locked it! (So to speak!)

As crazy as our adventure might sound, we had tons of fun, and she actually found herself feeling much better about her upcoming challenges.

You see, once you recognize that you have the power to choose how you want to live your life, the Demon's jig is up! Even when those stubborn devils creep back in to your head (and they'll try! They don't give up easily) -- the stronger you are in your resolve to take control, and the faster they'll turn back!

What creates a Demon? Where did they come from?

Seems we humans are programmed to default to the negative. But that doesn't mean we have to comply.

It's amazing the euphoric feelings we get when we start turning those old responses around - instead of simply reacting to everything, we start making our own best decisions for us. That's when we really start winning -- in so many ways! Not only do we see our Demons backing off, but also so many other exciting alternatives begin to emerge! We start thinking:

Wow! This adventure could be awesome! Sure, things could go wrong, but the benefits would be so worth the risk!

And an even bigger high:

I'm in control, and it feels so good!

Facing your inner Demons has an even broader, more important result. You begin to realize that you're capable of putting in perspective how the negative, even toxic people in your life affect your overall wellbeing and happiness. Your courage to dare to face challenges becomes more widespread, and you're more willing to risk people's "disfavor" or disapproval of you, if you disagree with them. That realization that you don't need everyone's blanket approval of your take on things is so freeing and liberating!

The New You doesn't need that constant reinforcement that you're okay anymore. You really like yourself. What a heavy load off you! Especially when it hits you -- those critics don't really care about you anyway -- life is all about them, after all. So, you've been trying to please others, who only listen to you for a minute, and then you're out of their consciousness. What a waste of your energy, and the opportunity to stretch and grow!

So, have I got your attention? Have a talk with your Demons ASAP! Here's my suggestion: Try this:

Demons be gone! Go find someone else to infect, because you're no longer welcome in this head and heart!

Go and grow!
My best to you!