The Board of
Private Enemy #1

Board of Mis-Directors

These are the guys you don't want running your life - but all too often, they do. More...

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The Board of Mis-Directors PrimerBoard of Mis-Directors Primer
The Board of Mis-Directors - our internal dialogue, inner critic, etc. - takes us in all sorts of unproductive directions.  And they're just plain mean!  Yet, they are surprisingly, disturbingly effective at directing the course of our lives.

What to do about these guys?

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Board of Mis-Directors Tactic: Take It Personally!

On The Relationship between the Board of Mis-Directors and Distractions and Seductions

Just What Is a Raging Magma Life?

Distractions? Seductions?

Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute; what you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius and power and magic in it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sending Distractions on Their Way

We each have a particular genius that we bring to this world – what is yours? What unique gift or gifts do you possess, that no one else brings in exactly the way you do? Whatever they may be, such gifts require commitment and dedication, a real willingness to develop and polish them. Where do you do this in your life? Does it come through your work? A creative endeavor? A new invention? A community project?

The first step, of course, is the commitment: devoting time, energy and resources to it. You must actually sit down to work on or play with this gift of yours – to plan, write, make phone calls, practice, do some research – whatever it takes.

But what happens next? Is the going easy and straightforward or do you find yourself making less progress than you had hoped and not sure where the time went? Do you find that lots of unrelated things intrude on your consciousness – email, lunch, the clutter in your living room, the doodad in the garage that you’ve been meaning to give a thorough cleaning for months now – clamoring about their importance at this exact moment?

Honoring PhenomeNEWS

This article was originally published in November of 2007 in PhenomeNEWS, the long-running Michigan paper. PhenomeNEWS ceased publication as of the end of 2008, approximately. We honor their 30 years of good work, and send them best wishes for their future endeavors.

Alternately, do you spend inordinate amounts of time on fascinating tangents, such as creating the exact right letterhead, which requires you go off searching the internet for clipart and fonts, and learn some new complex, esoteric features of Word? Or do you get caught up in the latest new idea and never quite bring your last really great idea to completion?

Sometimes it's hard to distinguish the road to riches from the garden path (or, occasionally, which of those you're really wanting to walk down).  If you're finding that you are not quite getting where you want to go, look at the distractions and seductions in your life. 

Distractions and seductions are the ways we trick ourselves into playing small when we're right on the cusp of stepping into a brighter, more expanded, more powerful expression of who we are. They're a natural part of our evolutionary progress - one way we challenge ourselves to see if we're really serious about what we've set out to do, and if we have the maturity to handle it. By learning to recognize and defuse them, we can meet this challenge and more consciously and successfully shine. 

So, how do we begin to recognize them?  What are they?

Distractions are activities that reliably and habitually seem – and may actually be - important, but which do not serve our overall priorities or do not need to be done during time set aside for our project.  They can also be entirely unimportant but familiar activities that we simply take comfort in doing. (Computer solitaire, anyone?)

Distractions often appear when we have an imposing and unfamiliar task immediately facing us, and some (no doubt kindly) part of us is trying desperately to save us from the resulting anxiety:   How will I do it?  Will I succeed?  What if I succeed?  What if I fail?  What if I make mistakes?  What if I have too much fun?!?

Seductions are new ideas, activities, projects or directions that seem so immediately compelling that they divert attention from existing priorities, or that end up taking an inordinate amount of time relative to their benefit, just because they are so engrossing.

Seductions test our discernment and our ability to sustain the efforts that matter to us.  They often arise in the lulls between high priority activities or when we are in the vast middle - no longer energized by the 'just getting started' energy, and not yet able to see where and when the satisfaction of completion will occur, or even doubting that it will ever occur. They carry the energy of a new relationship: very, very exciting, but who knows where they will actually go?

The next step in recognizing distractions and seductions is to look at yourself:  What siren's songs are you particularly vulnerable to?  Which upcoming tasks make you sweat? Where does doubt sneak in? 
One technique for recognizing distractions and seductions is to imagine them as door-to-door salesmen.  Here you are, busily moving toward your highest goal - and there's the darned doorbell.  It's Mr. Distraction and Seduction on your welcome mat, selling products to solve problems you didn’t even know you had (or that you already had a perfectly workable solution for).  What words get him in your front door?    The next thing you know he’s plugged in his new contraption and there's a pile of dirt on your new carpet needing to be cleaned up - what did he say to bring this about?  Does he play on your fears, or guilt, or good nature?  Your desire for a quick, easy solution?

Once you know the lines these guys use to get in, you can identify them almost immediately when they come calling. 

Now, to rewrite your response, look deeper, into how you nurture this gift of yours.  How might you characterize your genius in this scene?  Is it an infant that needs you by its side?  A small child waiting to play with you?  Maybe it's a special concoction on the stove, waiting for its next ingredient, or a lover anticipating your return.    While you’re standing on the threshold talking to Distraction and Seduction, this is what’s waiting for your attention.  How much time are you really willing to give Distraction and Seduction?

Your passion, gifts and individuality deserve your attention, your protection, your loyalty.  Send those distractions and seductions away, and live your life, will ya?  The world needs you!

What's the relationship between the Board of Mis-Directors and Distractions and Seductions? Read more here!

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