The Judge in Charge

I can’t find my neighbor’s key.

We watch each other’s cats when we travel so we exchanged keys about five years ago. This arrangement has worked very well through the years; my cats are crazy about her, purring and rubbing against her legs when she visits. It couldn’t be handier.

She’s planning a trip to Paris in a few weeks and I promised to feed and care for her cats, but the key is not where it belongs. I’ve looked in all the “safe places.” It’s just not here.

So of course, I feel like an idiot. How could I lose something that could put my precious neighbor at risk? What if it was stolen? What if MY key was stolen at the same time? What will she think of me? Am I losing my mind?

I finally summoned up my courage and knocked on her door to confess my sins. She said, “Oh, no problem. I have another one.” She continued, “I do that all the time!”

So much for all the energy expended over my misery and shame.

Shirzad Chamine in his lovely book, Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential And How You Can Achieve Yours, calls that inner saboteur The Judge.

He has an assessment online to help you identify your special judge from 9 different personality types of our Judge. You can take it here.

This particular saboteur, the one who beat me up so badly for making a human mistake, was channeling my Hyper-Achiever Judge.  I named her Priscilla. Priscilla Perfect. She wears her hair in a tight little bun and has a sharpened pencil behind her ear. She wears sensible shoes. She nags the hell out of me when I fail her perfection exams. Which is always.

Chamine says that naming your judge and calling it out when you feel it taking over can shift your life.   I think he’s right. Listen to how different these sound:

“I hate it when I’m not perfect!”

“Priscilla hates it when I’m not perfect!”

By shifting the blame where it belongs, to your judge, you are recognizing her as an unwelcome intruder. All her power over you disappears; the credibility of her ability to call it like it is fades away. You can’t trust her any more.

If Priscilla is the one with the problem, then I can focus on doing my work, on feeding my spirit with things that help me grow.

How about you? Comment below with your Judge’s name and how it likes to show up to give you grief. I’m curious how naming it caused shifts for you. Please share!

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