Dreamtime license
Source: Dreamtime license

As we count down to election day, our heads are spinning from rousing rhetoric and personal attacks. But one factor is constant: Both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump are wildly unpopular; at least 50 percent of registered voters view both candidates unfavorably.

Polls are also asking: Who is most qualified? Who has the right temperament? Who is the most trustworthy? Who understands how Washington works and will change the way Washington works for the better?

But first, many voters wish that Clinton and Trump would change themselves for the better.

If I were coaching them, I would introduce an “inside out” dialogue that could lead Clinton and Trump to consider how over-dependent they are on the most highly-sculpted and magnified aspects of their character. Success validates the dominant parts of our personalities, and makes it harder for quieter, less-dominant voices to surface. These muted voices, or aspects of personality, have the resources we need for balance.

The "inside out" dialogue is based upon a new model of the human psyche, described in a new Harvard Health book, Organize Your Emotions, Optimize Your Life, which can be described as an adult version of the Academy Award–winning film Inside Out. We posit that the human psyche has nine internal life forces sculpted by evolution, speaking as our inner “voices,” with distinct agendas and emotions. I introduced the nine inner family members in “Nine Ways to Vote.” I do an inner roll call every morning to settle agitated emotions and get the wisdom needed for the day. I help my clients use the roll call to help them identify what and how to change.

Here’s how an inner roll call with Clinton and Trump might reveal the over-used and access the under-used members of their inner families.

Trump Inside Out

Confidence              
Boy, did the Trump confidence win big in the primaries. Even surprised me. I crushed the others. A whole lot of people really believe I can translate the Trump brand into being a great President. They are right.

Autonomy               
I am having a lot of fun. Just being myself, saying whatever I damn well feel and think, and they love me. 

Standard Setter         
The Trump brand deserves to be on top. I’m crazy good at finding anyone’s, I mean anyone’s, Achilles heel. Imagine what I could do as President.

Executive Manager   
Not so fast boys. What got us here isn’t going to get us to the White House. You’ve neglected your organized, disciplined bro forever. Bring me out of the back room. I am ready to serve, perfectly able to deliver a dose of discipline and order here. I can help us tone down the “big three”: bullying confidence, self-indulgence, and nasty critic.  

Adventurer                
I agree. The overpowering voice of Confidence is pushing us to take unsafe risks. We need to shake things up, but we need to be more curious, open, tuning into what’s too risky. If you give me a chance, I can tell us when it’s safe enough to rattle the china cabinet.

Relational                 
Boy am I exasperated. Do we really believe that we can win the presidency by insulting everyone not on our side? Really? We’ve let the “big three” run the show for too long. The only way I see any hope is if the rest of us step up to save the day. I’ve got a big heart. I am really good at compassion, connecting with everyone and respecting their interests. You need me to lead now.

Body Regulator 
I’ve been trying to speak up for inner balance for a while. Good luck in the Trump inner boardroom, with its one-sided dedication to winning and the emotional roller coaster ride that brings. How about we shift to helping everyone be a winner and connect with a lot more people?

Creative                     
I need a bigger job too, a promotion in this inner family. I am really good at assimilating others’ ideas into big creative ideas, really getting us out of the box. People would see us as competent to change Washington if they could see me in creative action.

Meaning Maker        
Well, well. The “big three” are being called to loosen their grip so we can be more disciplined, creative, and connected. We can take risks with more insight and care. Let’s do an inner reorg.

Clinton Inside Out

Confidence                
We’ve really got this election under our belt. Our competence has never been more robust. Lots of relevant experience. Even leading Republicans think we are more competent to be President.

Executive Manager
Boy are we organized – well-funded, solid ground game, sound strategies. Executive management is our top strength. Feels good.

Autonomy                  
And…my focus on self-determination has given us the drive to be President. I can't wait to sit behind, not in front of, that big desk in the Oval office.

Standard Setter        
Not only do we have high competence, great organization, and a fierce drive to be No. 1, I’m on top of the ambition part. Look how far we “inside four” have gotten together.

Relational                 
Hey girlfriends, you can all pat yourselves on the back all day long, but it’s not all that rosy out there. Lots of people don’t trust us to put self-interests aside, don’t think we are authentic and genuinely interested in their concerns. And many people don’t like us very much. It’s about time you brought me in to connect with people in a heartfelt, compassionate way.

Body Regulator         
I’m not happy either. We used to be grounded and down-to-earth. Now we are more like a chameleon. Can’t we get back there? I remember how. Then more people would like us.

Creative                     
It’s my turn to gripe. Glad the “inside four” running the show are letting the quieter members of the family get their turn for a change. Executive Manager has way too much power and has for a long, long time. Keeping everything disciplined and in order. I’ve got lots of new ideas that could really change us and the country. Just give me my voice!

Adventurer                
Real change would come if the “inside four” would step aside some of the time. I am the one with the wide-open mind. I know how to tune into people and the energy of a place and time. I can’t do that unless the “inside four” give up control once in a while. I could really help us read people and situations to nudge us safely out of our comfort zone and really be genuine.

Meaning Maker         
Good. More balance is emerging. We are bridging an inner divide. My subtle voice of wisdom is also outgunned by the “inside four.” Here’s my take as the inner sage and coach in the family: Let’s put our second string on first now.
 

About the Author

Margaret Moore

Margaret Moore is the co-director of the McLean/Harvard Medical School Institute of Coaching.

You are reading

Life Changes

To Judge or To Non-Judge

Both are valuable, choose wisely.

Gratitude When Values Clash

How to find gratitude when you disagree

Now What? Hallelujah, Come Together

Crossing our chasm together.