Hello there!

I’m excited about this post because I think it’s a bit out there but also extremely relevant to anyone who wants to improve and develop themselves. Because growth is so much about getting outside your comfort zone and there’s often inner challenges holding us back from doing exactly just that. It’s also largely about aware and I believe this post is going to help you greatly with both of these.

We’re talking about the idea of these internal personalities (multiple) we all have, and how and what we can do to interact and “conduct” (as I like to refer to it) them towards the lofty and often scary goals we wish to achieve. I think most of us want to be better versions of ourselves. I think many of often know we are capable and could do better. But we have this momentum, this feeling of “weight” that prevents us from changing ever thing and doing every single thing.

And I think a big part of overcoming that inertia is better learning how to work with our multiple personalities.

The idea that people have different personality parts isn’t new, Frued spent decades documenting his experiences working with and treating dissociative identity disorders and multiple personalities. These were extremely dysfunctional cases but nonetheless largely simply amplified cases of what most of us already have.

These personality parts truly exist and they are powerful drivers of our decisions and actions. Think for a moment about the different parts you may have within yourself. Each of these parts can be striving for different things, different desires, and different motives. There may be a part of you that wants to turn off that morning alarm and go right back into that soft, cozy, lovely slumber, and then there’s a part of you (unless you’ve lost all drive) that wants to get up and get to it!

There’s a part of you that’s tempted to stay out and indulge in the social festivities and there’s a part of you that wants to scoot home to get to bed and stay on schedule and routine.

These “parts” are distinctive. But they can be “blended” together and share common values, goals and desires. Some parts exist to protect other parts – think about a part of you that wants to bite into that delicious decadent chocolate cake, while another part of you is focused on cutting and keeping you lean and protecting your health. But what about the part that is scared to death of failure, or that part of you that is terrified of rejection? Do those parts of your personality help you?

Well, of course they can and they probably have, but the reality is in today’s world of risk and uncertainty your ability to take control and “conduct” your parts in a manner of compassion and leadership will likely help you win much more.

But for us entrepreneurs who are often pushing under higher than normal levels of longer than normal stresses our defensive and offensive personality parts can get overzealous. We can see parts “snap” and “yell” both internally and externally pushing you to go forward or holding you back to a gridlock. You can become paralyzed and that conflict can create even more stress and breakdown in optimal performance.

In times of critical decisions where you feel pulled people can become split between polarizing parts. If you’re stressed, perhaps lacking sleep, dealing with trauma parts may get LOUD and SPLIT into strong conflicts.

The idea that you have “parts” to your personality that you’re not crazy is a model that lends itself to being quite useful.

Okay, so I’ve made my point. You have personality and you have different personality parts and stress can split them and put them into conflict.

Now the one of the keys in growing from anything is knowing exactly where you are and where you want to go. So say we know that we have personality parts that are limiting us, how can we deal with them?

Well a lot of people go through life through sheer brute force. Language like hustle, grind, work HARD, are commonplace for entrepreneurs. Personally I believe you have to work a lot, but it doesn’t have to be “hard” to be successful. Labeling the conditions of your work as a “grind” “hard” “challenging” creates inner stress and I’m not a fan of creating these negative labels.

I would much rather have these words removed from my vocabulary and replace them with more empowering language. But that’s a whole other discussion for a whole other post.

So, let’s introduce a modified model of Internal Family Systems [IFS] is a great for working with personality parts. Not only is it a great model for entrepreneurial decision making, but it brings a lot of relief when people realize that “no, I’m not crazy” that I do have different parts of me that want different things and it’s perfectly healthy to have them.

If you’ve studied any of IFS, what you’ll find is that you learn to work with your “parts” rather than against them. You learn to put yourself in a relaxed aware state and then focus on identifying and connecting with a specific set of parts you want to work with. You are the non-judgmental, unbiased, observer to the parts typically facilitating between the select parts allowing each part to share with you it’s desires, wants, concerns and essentially hearing them out.

This “facilitation” can be done all in your own head, on paper, or on a computer screen (my personal favorite). I’ll name the part and then hear it out and then name the other part and hear that part out. Then I’ll talk to each and find a middle ground.  Through practicing this you can create clarity and understanding not only for yourself and your parts, but more specifically you can help the parts understand and better work with each other.

You’re essentially conducting a therapy session on yourself observing and noting from different personality parts and steering that dialogue towards a resolution. Through back and forth dialogue you can facilitate a common objective and compromise.

Executing a self guided discussion starts with:

1) Identify the 1-3 parts you want to work with. Depending on the situation you may have more, but try out just a 2 parts. Keep in mind that a conflict will also occur between at least two personality parts. You wouldn’t have a conflict with your “self” as your “self” passes no judgement and only observes. So the conflict is against another “part” that wants other things.

2) Schedule a time perhaps 30 minutes, maybe only 5 or 10, when you can sit down in an uninterrupted session to allow for the parts to share and communicate between each other. As I mentioned before for me I’ll typically plan out 45 mins 1-3 times per month. Depending on how conflicted or challenged you feel you may need to schedule more or less time.

3) Label the parts. Document their dialogue and help them share their wants and concerns and talk with them. It’s important to avoid “forcing” or “pressuring” the parts to share their concerns. Instead give them space and time to discuss. I know we all tend to lack patience but it is truly a virtual in this situation. You will benefit greatly from unforced feedback.

4) Steer the conversation to a resolution. As with anything we do, we do want to have an outcome we’re looking to achieve. And this type of work is no different, if you’re sitting down and working through a session you should have an outcome of clarifying a conflict, resolving a concern or clearly defining what it is you’re being bothered by.

And that’s it! It’s a simple process with powerful effects. I’ve used it to make MAJOR business and life decisions and I can safely say, although I might be a bit different from the average person I don’t think people who know me would call me crazy. In fact I would say if anything through this practice I’ve become less crazy, much less internally conflicted and much more grounded and certain of who I am and what I am after.

Try it out and let me know what you think. If you have questions, comments, thoughts, would love to hear about those too! As always thanks for reading and keep crushing!

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