…today’s secret…Talk to the ventriloquist.

The people you are helping are NOT coming to you for entertainment.

They make roller coasters and fireworks for that.

They’re coming to you because they’re stuck in the middle of nowhere and want better tomorrows.

Yes, it’s good you do what you do. You help them get a job…a GED…counseling…maybe church. Yes, you intervene into their lives to up their development. Worthy.

On the front side you collect their personal information. You take an application. You onboard them. You start learning more about them to better shake up their comfort zone.

But, this is where a lot of human rewiring goes south.

Marginalized populations lie and hide who they are. They do this to cover a troubled past or gain benefits. Some just don’t know how to open up.

The problem is that helping organizations tend to pitch the outside voice of the people they are helping when it is the inside voice that needs the pep talk.

Need a visual here?

Think of you speaking to the puppet instead of the ventriloquist.

Here’s the scoop. Regardless of your intervention, your relationship will slow if you continue to talk to the puppet and ignore the ventriloquist.

You know this to be true. Behavioral change that sticks first requires a change in thinking. Real change happens from the inside out, not outside in.

I’m not going into mind shifting fundamentals here. However, if you are interested, I will introduce you to the best ‘inside thinking change’ program on the planet. Tell me Willie.

What I’m going to do in these next few paragraphs is to demonstrate the power your inside voice has.


You know that your inner voice runs rampant in your brain. It never quits. It babbles almost non-stop.

You might even take a pill, read a bad book, or watch another Law and Order rerun to sleep.

One second your inner voice is feeding the wolf on your right shoulder and the next the angel on your left…and then it’s telling you not to do anything new because the same-old-way is just fine.

Today, I want you to ‘hear’ your inner voice. Right now. I want you to hear it out loud. I want you to bring your internal monologue to your external awareness.

Do this just for a bit. Not long. Just enough to consciously hear your inside voice.

The easy way to do this is to close your eyes and really really really try and listen to your inside thoughts. Think of any wolf or angel thoughts…just enough to hear it.

Did you hear it?

If you want to understand the power your inner voice has over you….sit quietly, clear your thoughts, close your eyes, and start counting from one to ten….one, two, three, etc. Slowly.

My guess is that you can’t get to ten before your inner voice interrupts you with some wild-ass thought you could care less about. When it happens stop counting and start over.

If you can get to four without interruption you’re doing good. If you can get to twenty-five you are getting close to advanced yogaville.

I could be wrong here. I’ve been wrong before. But I don’t think you can get to ten before a thought interrupts your counting!

So, the next time you are sitting with the marginalized person you are trying to help know that their inner voice is fighting hard for you to just go away. Their inner voice is where you need to start your real conversation. Not their outside voice. You can’t trust that.

Real human change is inside out. So, talk to the ventriloquist, not the puppet.