The Voice – 8/12/2021

Do you ever notice a conversation or voice in your head that is mean to you, beats up on you, predicts doom and disaster any time you decide to do something outside your comfort zone? I do. I call it my Sabotaging Voice because when I want to do something I haven’t done before and/or outside my comfort zone, she is the voice of doom.

Chapter 3,  Part II – July 2021 –  Journey of Self-Discovery 

The Voice

Coaching helped me identify that voice in my head. I gave her a name and an identity since she shows up so often. Her name is Sara and she’s a petite young adult prima ballerina in a Swan Lake costume and toe shoes who loves to pirouette. And she is wicked and insidious and unflagging in her persistence.

When we declared to hike the Falls, she was there in a flash. “What?!?” she screamed aghast. “You’re planning to do what?!? That’s insanity. Get a grip – you’re 83 and he’s 85 – you will be 84 and he will be 86 next June. He just had a hip replacement. You had two surgeries for pelvic prolapse. Are you crazy?!?”

And as we prepare, she is right there. For example, when I am using fallen logs as balance beams. “You better not do that – you’re too old! Watch out,” she shouts, “you’re going to fall and break your ankle/knee/leg/arm/head… and then you won’t be able to hike anymore and you might even be brain damaged.” Wow Sara! What’s going on? She is concerned about my welfare. And if I listen to her, I am doomed to stay in my/her comfort zone and never try anything new or different or hard or unknown.

The Voice – Wisdom? Truth? Logic?

Before I identified her, I used to think it was the voice of Wisdom or Truth or Logic or the Universe talking to me. Discovering her and recognizing she is none of these, has opened the space for me to move forward. I don’t always notice that it’s her – sometimes she’s so sneaky. Her biggie seems to be my age. “You’re 83 – you’re too old.” If I listened to her, I would not be where I am today – preparing to hike the Falls.

The Voice – Shift Focus

And that’s the secret to dealing with the Sabotaging Voice. Looking for “what else can I focus on?” For me it’s preparation for our hike at every level. Learning and practicing what works best for me in hiking various types of terrain. Finding the equipment that best supports my venture. Following a nutritious program that supports my best health. Engaging a private trainer for the best possible program to build strength, endurance and flexibility. Tracking my vitals as I hike. Learning as much as possible about the hike itself and finding similar hikes for specificity of training. That switches my focus and now I can take the action necessary to move forward toward my outcome.

The Voice – Take a Break

Joan and Cami at Cambria
Joan and Cami at Cambria

In mid-July, my daughter, Cami, and I went on a self-created weekend business retreat to Cambria. She lives in Sacramento and I am in southern California. We work closely together all year as I am a staff coach for her year-long McLaren Coach  Training program. In my experience, this is a unique training. I took the training and became certified as a professional coach in 2019. This training stands out in providing quality, depth, personal attention, and on-going resources for the community of coaches. I became a staff coach for the 2020 Transformative Coaching Essentials class and am currently a staff coach for the 2021-2022 program.


Spending time one-on-one is special. As coaches and as mother and daughter, we explored our personal relationship in a way where each of us felt heard and seen as the unique individuals we are while treasuring our opportunity to work together. We explored new ideas for our businesses, shared yummy food and wine tasting, and walked 8 miles on Saturday on beach and boardwalk. I came home to my darling husband feeling grateful and appreciative for the life I am living.

The Voice – Taking Action

Joan doing Aligned Squat
Joan doing Aligned Squat

Getting ready to begin strength training with Nancy, I saw my uro-gynocologist  for clearance to do some sprinting, low jumping and squatting post-surgery for pelvic prolapse. She gave me a clean bill of health and I taught her a new way (to her) to do squats keeping your knees back over your ankles that actually helps strengthen the pelvic floor. I also had a bone mineral density (BMD) test which showed I have moved from osteopenia to osteoporosis. (Oh boy, did Sara jump on that one!) Nancy sent me an article regarding a study showing that high-intensity resistance and impact training improves bone mineral density and physical function in postmenopausal women with osteopenia and osteoporosis. This is one of the many reasons I am so excited to begin Nancy’s new Be Stronger classes.

Joan wearing weight vest
Joan wearing weight vest

I had been training using a backpack and I found it quite challenging because the weight is all on my back. Nancy recommended instead of walking/hiking with a backpack, I use a weight vest when I am moving because it evenly distributes the weight. I stand 5’4” and weigh 116 pounds. There are studies that suggest weighing less that 120-125 pounds for women, can be a factor in osteoporosis. I started wearing my weight vest with 3.37 pounds and I was amazed at the difference it made in how I moved  – particularly doing stairs and balancing on logs.

Next Installment: Chapter 4, Part I – August 2021


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  1. Fantastic Post. Loved meeting Sara, we all have one of her. Best of luck to you, you’re amazing.

    1. Hey Karen! Welcome back. And thank you. I believe we are all amazing – we just get to find out what is our “amazing” niche.

  2. Well written – and HONEST!
    At 85 my wife tells me time and time again how much I’m in denial about the whole aging process. I keep pushing myself to do more and then more again.
    Giving the inner voice a name could be a terrific idea. My inner voice has been hollering at me for decades.
    Each time a new idea for some extra form of physical activity comes up, my mind and body want to rebel. I took a simple hike yesterday and today I’m limping due to tender spots on the bottom of one foot. Whine, whine.
    I received an email asking if I was interested in moving one of our dragon boats from one lake to another, a total of about 2.5 hours of paddling. Since my normal paddling time is about 55 minutes, immediately my inner voice said something to the effect of “who are you kidding?” “you’ll reinjure your arm.” ” leave this move to the younger members.” Blah blah blah.

    1. Hi again Matt! Ah yes, that inner Voice is always there. Sounds like you are choosing to focus on what you can do.

  3. Hi, Joan.
    Finding our internal voice at any age is important. Many people, I would suggest are excellent at hearing the outside world (human, social world) but never hear their inner voice.

    At 67, I run with a local running club (where the next youngest is over 20 years younger); and a local club (where I cycled two weeks ago with four men older than myself) and have to remind others several key principles of movement while ageing.

    First, run/cycle don’t race! Second (more important in running than cycling) forget personal best (PB) and head for the finish line (FL).

    The more younger people who hear these two pieces of advice (which did come from some inner voice), the more they see the logic in them.

    It is never too late, nor too early, to learn our inner voice!

    Many thanks, Joan.


    1. Thanks, Brian, for sharing your experiences. Sounds like you know about your inner Voice(s) and are choosing to listen to the one(s) that support you in moving forward.

  4. Dear Joan,

    Just want to say thank you for these posts. I’m 62, 5’4, and around 106#. I have osteoporosis though my doc says it’s not of serious concern. Still, it’s a trick trying to figure out the right combo for strength without wear and tear on my joints, in addition to trying to “read” what impact various routines have on my energy levels. I really appreciate reading about your journey.


    1. Thank you, Amy, for taking the time to comment. And thank you for joining us on our Journey.

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