Change your life. Master your mindset. Overcome Self-Deception.
Thank you for inviting me to this DX Done Right Webinar. What if you were limitless? What if every single day you knew that nothing or no one would get you down? What if self-doubt was replaced with unshakable conviction? Imagine how your life would play out over a week, a month, or even a year. Imagine the snowball of momentum and confidence regardless of external setbacks.
We all know those remarkable, sometimes obsessive people that really go for If they truly live their potential with conviction, what’s the key difference between this tiny subset of movers and shakers and a majority with equally lofty aspirations that never really get there? I’ve had the good fortune of working with thousands of leaders at some of the most influential companies around the globe.
My business helps them to boost their performance, and part of the process is as I engaged with more and more leaders, I started to notice a pattern emerging among those that operated with a limited mindset versus the limitless minority. It turns out, what held back most of these otherwise exceptional and talented people wasn’t a lack of skill, experience, or even resources; it was often rooted in a relationship. They would always appear to care, but instead would sabotage their progress and growth. You have such a person in your life too. They’re much closer than what you realize because they exist right here in your mind. I’m not talking about imaginary friends. I’m talking about your inner deceiver.
It’s that insistent voice in your head that judges you, demeans you, shines a spotlight on your weaknesses, and because most aren’t even aware of it, it can lead to destructive self-doubt and even self-sabotage. It was clear to me that the happiest, most fulfilled, and highest performers had figured out how to subdue their inner deceiver. In fact, in the patterns I observed, there wasn’t just one inner deceiver.
I identified five of the most common archetypes, and now I’m going to expose them to you because you won’t be able to subdue them without first recognizing them, and the prerequisite to operating with a truly limitless mindset is that you first need to free yourself from their clutches. Let’s start with the deceiver I call the classic judge. As the name suggests, the judge likes to when you think about past mistakes with an unforgiving eye, that’s not you. That’s the classic judge who keeps you from learning from the past and instead beats you up.
You received it when you were a child. If you have a critical, controlling, or demanding parent, you come to internalize this judgment and it manifests within you as an adult. You give yourself the same critical judgment. You develop an inability to acknowledge anything positive about yourself or your performance, and it’s extremely damaging. The second deceiver is the victimizer. She has a way of convincing you that the universe is rigged to conspire against you. She fills your mind with excuses and robs you of your willpower. Conversations with the victimizer sound like this always happens to you every time an opportunity comes up. You get screwed over. You’re never going to be good enough for them. So what do you do?
You stop trying because your victimizer says, “What’s the point?” You can’t win. You never win. “ Your misguided protector tells you things like, “Whoa, whoa, slow down.” Did you think this through? You don’t know enough. You’re not qualified. You’re too old or too young. You’ll mess up. Don’t do it. “
It tries to protect you from a risk of failure, judgment, or criticism by keeping you paralyzed so you don’t take any action, but you’re also stuck if your parents set high standards for you and excessively criticized you when you failed to meet these standards. For example, you got an a. Why couldn’t you get a plus, like your perfect cousin Julio? You may hear it as your misguided protector up here, which leads you to fear failure and never feel ready. Second to last is the ringmaster. The ringmaster is all about productivity guilt. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s when you have an unhealthy drive to keep working because you feel guilty when you stop. The ringmaster is very good at brainwashing you into believing that your worth and merit as a person are directly correlated to how productive you are.
You achieve a goal, feel no satisfaction, and immediately jump to the next goal, in an unfulfilling treadmill of achievement addiction. But the thing is, no matter how hard you push yourself or what you achieve, you will never be good enough or have done enough for the ringmaster. In our survey of 2,500 people around the world, we found that 93 percent of them feel guilty, which puts them at risk for burnout.
Maybe you haven’t met any of these deceivers yet but instead are well acquainted with this last one, closely related to the ringmaster. It’s the neglector. When you feel insecure in your worth, you anticipate rejection, so you constantly seek validation by prioritizing the needs of others. If you didn’t receive emotional validation as a child or you had a parent that was hard to please, you might work really hard as an adult to try and seek approval from everyone around you: partners, peers, co-workers, your boss; and then, whenever you don’t receive it, it’s an automatic trigger and you have a conditional need to win it back.
The neglector drives you to give beyond your capacity, leaving you exhausted, drained, and overwhelmed. The stakes are high if you listen to these deceivers. You buy into their lie, and give them authority over you. The good news is that change is possible. You can break free from these limits. The first step is awareness. If you have a classic judge hurling judgment and criticism at you for everything that you do, call it out. I know you’re trying to convince me that I’m incompetent right now, but I’m choosing not to listen.
Calling it out in this way is a form of psychological distancing where you’re referring to this part of yourself in the third person. We know from science that third-person self-talk helps you gain emotional distance from your deceiver, allowing you to think with more rationality if you notice your victimizer making you feel like you should just give up because the world is against you and shift to an internal locus of control.
Accept the fact that you can choose what you focus on at any moment. You can choose to focus on things outside of your control and feel powerless, or you can control what you have control over. Instead of saying, “Look at what happened to me, look at what they did to me,” use a technique called cognitive shifting and consciously redirect your attention to What if you hear your erroneous protector in your mind attempting to take over your life?
I’ll convince you that you’ll fail, so you shouldn’t try at all. I have my own experience with my misguided protector. Chances are I wouldn’t even be here or where I am today if I listened to it back in March of 2020 when the world was suddenly in lockdown. All of our business bookings were either canceled or postponed, and our business was dead in the water. So I was curious about experimenting.
I wanted to create content and see if we could help people through that platform, but then my protector woke up and said, “People will think you’re ridiculous.” You’re way too old for that. It’s going to ruin your reputation. I listened to my protector for two months until I didn’t any more. I decided to take action instead. I created 40 pieces of video content in one day this way, I couldn’t back down for 40 days no matter what my protector said, and you know what, all it took was 40 days to see tens of thousands of followers start to accumulate. I didn’t make perfection the goal, I made the process the goal, and nearly two years later, we have a million followers on that platform and over 2 million across all platforms.
If you ever feel your protector taking over, get a blank sheet of paper and write down all of the protector’s arguments. Then ask yourself if this is likely to happen.
What’s the worst that could happen? Realistically, take time to rationally assess risk and you’ll likely find it’s just your protector being overly dramatic given that he tries to keep you safe by keeping you stuck. The best antidote is to take action. Don’t worry about getting things right the first time. Don’t make perfection the standard. Just act. Be consistent. Be open to growth. Make the process the goal.
Now to the ringmaster: if you feel undeserving of taking a break and feel guilt or shame when you do, change the narrative in your head. Value yourself for who you are, not what you’ve done. Stop wearing business as a badge of honor. Remind yourself of your qualities. The value you add to the lives of others. How you make a difference write this down and, with this sense of empowerment, pragmatically set healthy boundaries.
Working hard at times is not a bad thing, but risking burnout is counterproductive to performance. And finally, those of you who have a loud neglector, I know what you’re going through. Early in my career, my neglector was loud. I would constantly over apologize when I hadn’t done anything wrong, agree with people when I actually disagree on principle, and avoid any possibility that I was a people pleaser to the point of sacrificing who I truly was. I gave away so much of myself in my efforts to be approved of that I no longer knew who I was. You can’t be limitless if you have nothing left inside to give.
If you have strong neglect like I did, you need to overcome the codependency and acknowledge your worth is not linked to how you think others see you. If you let others’ perception of you dictate your behavior, you will never grow as a person. And when you do choose to give of yourself in the future, ask yourself, “Am I doing this out of compulsion for approval or is it in a true spirit of service?” So these are the five inner critical deceivers, the archetypes I’ve identified cross-culturally with people all around the world. And what’s really interesting is that we’ve observed that many high performers believe that these inner deceivers are central to driving their performance while outwardly they appear successful, allowing their core driving force to emanate from the fear of failure. What they didn’t realize is that seeking approval and status is a proven way to be unhappy, stressed out all the time, and feel like your life isn’t going anywhere.
It’s that they’ve become trapped in the obsessive prison of self-my needs, my pain, my success, how people see me, so they continue to operate through a desire to avoid negative states and outcomes instead of being in a limitless mindset. It’s a bad deal. Here is a better deal. If our reality is indeed our thoughts, emotions, and how we uniquely experience the world, then I invite you to: As you consistently put in the work to decouple from your inner deceivers, integrating the practices I’ve shared with daily routines of meditation, you will discover that there is a second side to us, our higher nature if you will, one that is intrinsically motivated by a desire to express excellence, confidence, being of service, love, creativity, courage, and justice.
This is the limitless aspect of our nature that is liberated from the prison of the insistent self as you consistently put in the work to decouple from your inner deceit. Journaling for prayer and reflection: I want you to remember that each one of us has the power to operate from our higher, limitless nature. The struggle to keep them at bay is a lifelong one, but I promise you that as you distance yourself from these voices, your life will begin to transform.
So I have a challenge for you: seriously commit to reframing your relationship with your inner deceivers. Acknowledge that they exist. Be aware of them.
And learn to discern between rational thought and the voices of the ego. Your prison of self-limits you when you break free. Your thoughts become limitless. You become limitless.