I called him Ron because he was like my high school football coach who would scream at me if I even stepped wrong.
His mode of coaching was to scream and yell to make me aware of any mistakes I was making so I’d make less of them.
The funny thing is that even when I made less of them the yelling never subsided. All I wanted was one full practice of silence and a fist bump from him saying great job today.
It never happened.
Add to that Ron was always looking for something to be critical of me off of the field as well. He made sure I got the message through one of the other coaches one day that he didn’t think I was a “people person.”
For some reason that stung more than anything else. It wasn’t something I felt that was easily correctable, but more like a fatal flaw I would have to overcome.
It didn’t help that he had this whiny, raspy voice that pierced your eardrums every time he let out his rebel yell. I got used to seeing his scrunched up face all the time, his cheeks bright red and the veins in his eyes looking like they were ready to pop out.
He threw his glasses so much it got to the point where he stopped trying to fix them.
In those few days where he was nice to me and seemed to take an interest in what was going on in my life, I knew something was off. I was due for some extra yelling at practice that day to counter any kindness.
Ron retired at the end of my junior year in high school. In his place was a more introverted position coach who didn’t go out of his way to praise me. But he wasn’t on me every time I made a mistake either. He let me play and provided guidance along the way.
It was no surprise that season was my best year of football ever and the time I enjoyed the most.
But even when I never played another down, I heard Ron in my head analyzing every moment of every day. Saying why did you do that, why did you say that?
It got so bad that I started avoiding situations or environments where Ron would be the loudest. Over time I realized the huge impact that voice had in holding me back from living my life.
What changed for me was learning that I wasn’t alone.
I started reading the stories and hearing podcasts of others held back by the limiting voices in their heads.
Some to the point where drugs and alcohol were the only places they could turn. They wanted a little peace and quiet, even if it was only for a short time.
It led me to a long line of helpful books in search of a solution like The Inner Game of Tennis, The Surrender Experiment, The Untethered Soul & The War of Art.
I finally hired a mindset coach of my own.
I started paying attention to what that voice was saying and the vocabulary he was using. That’s when I gave him the name Ron.
He became this little old man screaming on my shoulder. Which allowed me to laugh at him a bit more often rather than held back by what he was saying. If I listened hard, most of what he was saying was ridiculous anyway.
As it is in real life once you ignore someone long enough they go away. I can’t say Ron is completely out of my head yet but he now has a muffled voice and I can sense the early signs of laryngitis.
I was able to overcome the voice of doubt in my mind and now I work with mindset coaches to help their clients do the same.