Controling the Inner Dialogue: Debbi Ballard Interview

Continuing in the Anti-Boredom vein for July, this week’s interview is with a woman who performs underwater weddings, fights for human rights and plays guitar while officiating ceremonies. How totally fun is that?

Debbi BallardWho: Debbi Ballard of My Personal Cantor
Debbi Ballard is a Jewish Maverick and lifecycle celebrant, who employs her passionate and spiritual presence to unite people of all faiths through unity of shared common values.

Name one moment in your life when you threw a pity party for yourself and the reasons why you felt you weren’t able to achieve your goals. Were you feeling stuck? Had you felt you failed? What wasn’t working in your life?
I had just gotten divorced, failed miserably at a new career path, and completely lost all financial security. I had 2 small children, and felt completely worthless. I threw myself a pity party, because I knew I was worthy of so much more than what my life situation appeared to be, and I felt like a complete failure at the time. Nothing was working for me. Everything I saw myself doing involved failure, and I felt so hopeless that I would never get out of the failure patterns. Truthfully – “I” wasn’t working in my life – or for my life. I was in a negative dialogue = negative results pattern, and I knew in my heart that in order for life to change, I was going to need to change first – but…how?

Even our lowest moments fulfill a need in us or express our desires. When you threw yourself that pity party, what did you hope to gain? What need did you fulfill?
Great question! I needed to console myself, and to validate myself for my own feelings. I felt as if the outside world was against me, but I realized that I just wanted to feel sorry for myself, because nobody else was. Deep down, I knew that if I made things bad enough in my life, I would be validated in my own pity party, and feel justified in having it!

Tell us what you did to break up the pity party. What actions did you decide to take? Did someone help you buoy your spirits? Push you along?
Honestly, as hokey as it may sound – I knew then that my own dialogue was creating the life situation, and that in order to change the life, I needed to change the dialogue. Instead of crying and complaining about how bad things were going in my life, I decided to pretend things were AWESOME. I told everyone that everything was AWESOME in my life – and that I couldn’t have been happier. I almost choked on those words at first, but they became my mantra. I can clearly remember the moment when I caught myself telling someone how AWESOME my life was – and it actually WAS! It was then that I knew that the conversation had finally changed my life! And, while I always had a great support system of people who were cheering for me – it wasn’t until I became self empowered that anything actually changed, so it had everything to do with me, and my own perception of life, and the actions I took for myself.

Can you look back on that moment and tell us how you felt when you did decide to take action? What results came about from your decision to take charge and move on?
I felt so empowered, because I actually knew that I could control this conversation, and the direction of my life. I began to see myself as being successful again in life, and it gave me an incredible feeling of power to know that I could change the course of my happiness. Instantly, everything began to change. My job started to produce more success, my living situation improved, my children’s happiness improved, and the more powerful I felt, the better life became.

Everyone has a Someday problem hiding deep inside, even little ones. What variety of the Someday Syndrome do you currently harbor? What would you like to achieve but haven’t yet?
I consider myself so fortunate to have turned my passion into my livelihood, and in my mind, I already feel very successful. But, even deeper in my mind, I see a hundred times more success is possible for me. However, my Someday problem is often an inertia – an almost paralysis in actually executing the tasks I need to perform to actually achieve that hundred times more successful state. I make lists in my mind of awesome ideas I have to take to reach those next steps, but when I actually sit down to do them – I manage to find a hundred other things that take me off course. Some days, I just don’t know why I allow myself to be taken off my path, and I get so angry at myself. Other times, I get overwhelmed by all the things I know I should be doing, so I just do something else, and tell myself that I’ll get to those important things “later”. It’s funny – I spent my whole life wishing I didn’t have a ‘boss”. Now I wish I did! I might be incredibly productive!

Examining your Someday Syndrome problem, what are you currently doing to resolve it and eliminate it from your life?
I wish I could list 10 things I was doing to resolve my Someday Syndrome. Perhaps I’ll do that – later….. No, all kidding aside – I’m not doing enough. My greatest change has been my utilization of different colored sticky notes all over my office. Some are motivational, others are task oriented, and others are goals. I like different colors, and when I see things up on the wall that I can move around or remove, then it makes everything seem more “do-able”. Therefore, I do them, or take action on them more often. If I have everything floating in my mind, they don’t appear to be real, or movable, or do-able. It’s beginning to work.

Many people suffer the same problems you do. You’re not alone, and neither are they. What would you tell people in your situation right now to help them avoid what you’re going through?
I can definitely see how and why people get stuck in this rut – but the best advice I received that I would give, is to do just one thing towards the goal. Just write one thing down, do it, and cross it off the list, because it gives you a great sense of accomplishment. My son, who is a physics major, always reminds me that a body in motion stays in motion. And that it is always hardest to take the first step. I know that when I take those first steps, the next ones get easier, and then I find I am just a whirling-dirvish of activity! (I love that phrase!!)

If you could ask for one thing, right now, to help you overcome your Someday Syndrome, what type of help would you ask for?
More accountability. To someone, I just don’t know who. I have found that just being accountable to myself doesn’t work well enough. When I have an article that is due to someone, I get it done. When I have a ceremony or a speech that someone is waiting for – it gets done. But when I am the only one who expects something from myself – it just doesn’t get done often enough. So, I guess when I said I need a “boss” – that is what I would wish for. I guess that is what life coaches are called now – for those of us Self Employed Someday Syndrome sufferers!

If you’re like Debbi and want to have a “boss” checking in on you, sign up to the Accountability Clinic and make Someday Syndrome your boss.

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3 thoughts on “Controling the Inner Dialogue: Debbi Ballard Interview

  1. I love Debbi’s comment about accountability. One practice I used to do was write a “gratitude list” and send it to others who were doing the same (it was and opt-in exercise). We all kept each other accountable regarding our priorities through that. Great interview questions as well!
    .-= Laura Cococcia´s last blog ..Attend the Movie Premiere of Pope Joan with Author Donna Woolfolk Cross! =-.

  2. Alex Fayle says:

    @Laura
    That’s a great way of doing the standard check-in without making feel like an exam or test.

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