Mastering our inner critic and the stories that she/he tells us about not being smart enough, pretty enough, experienced enough, creative enough, whatever it might be – is tough! But getting a handle on your inner critic is essential for you to be able to move forward in both your career and in your life.
You know the voice that I am talking about. The little gremlin that sneaks up on you just as you are about to embark on something new. A fresh challenge. A new idea or opinion you are ready to share. Right as you are going to put yourself out there that little voice pops up.
It might say things like “are you sure you want to do this – you’ll look ridiculous if you get it wrong”. Or maybe it cuts deeper and says things to you like “who are you to honestly think you can sit at this table with all these people – they have so much more experience than you”. She/he is the voice that reigns you back in – keeps you stuck – holds you back from playing bigger. Maybe even from playing at all.
This inner critic, the voices that are designed to hold you back, they can pop up anywhere. For some of us, it is in our professional lives, and tries to hinder all and any career progression we strive to make. For others, it shows up in relationships, and challenges us to question whether we are really deserving of love. To question whether we are enough. For some, it shows up in motherhood, or perhaps with how we look, how we dress, and how we play, all with the objective of reminding us that we just aren’t enough. We should step back into the shadows. Lay low. Play safe.
We are so used to living with these voices, that most of the time we don’t even realise the impact that they have on us. What they are taking away from us. What they are actually depriving us of.
We’ve had them for so long, and for many of us we’ve never even consciously questioned the validity of what those voices are trying to say to us – and how true, or factual is it. We just believe. Believe and then act accordingly, which ironically, usually means not to act at all.
I’ve read so many posts in the past about getting rid of your inner critic, your Imposter, once and for all. To be honest though, I don’t believe in that for a second.
Your inner critic is part of you. It’s the voice in your head that thinks it is keeping you safe. Safe from harm. Safe from failure. Safe from your own ego . Getting rid of it completely is near on impossible.
Learning HOW to manage the thinking process behind her/him and being able to realise when these negative stories are in play to derail you, now that is a key trait to master.
As utopian as it might be, I don’t believe there is such a thing as being completely, unshakeably, unquestioningly confident in everything that we do. ALL. THE. FREAKING. TIME. There will be times when we hold doubt. We hold fear. We question if we can do something. And this will be the time when this little critic is in full force to try and disrupt you.
The opportunity now is to recognise that, and then manage accordingly. Most importantly, the opportunity is to still take action. Move forward. Seize opportunities. Do the thing that makes you nervous. Wear the outfit. Share the idea. Start the side hustle. Have the difficult conversation.
Being able to understand the difference in the moment between the irrational, critical voice in your head, and the fact-based, constructive and realistic voice, is essential to problem solving and forward movement.
“Where do I start though”? I am so often asked.
You start with you, my friend.
Your own unique story for your own unique life, and you take the steps required to understand your own story – what got you there, who have you become along the way, what you’ve achieved, what challenges you’ve overcome, and how your experiences have shaped you as a human being.
When we understand who we are, what we’ve done, and what we are capable of doing, it becomes easier for us to manage our inner critic and overpower the negative thoughts attempting to keep us stuck. We are able to reframe them more easily with constructive, rational and fact based thoughts based on our own lives and our own real and lived experiences.
If you know that your inner critic often gets in your way and prevents you from doing the things you want to, or worse yet, sucks the joy out of parts of your life and takes away opportunities that you want to seize, I encourage you to sit down and ask yourself these questions as a starting point:
- What experiences or achievements are you the most proud of in your life?
- Who has played a critical role in your life and helped shaped you to be the person you are?
- What significant events have shaped you?
- What challenges have you faced along the way and how did you navigate them? What did you learn from them?
- When have you felt at your best?
- When have you felt at your worst, and how have you gotten past it?
- What makes you, you?
Managing your inner critic is an ongoing journey and something you must consciously work at, but the reward of not letting yourself shrink, play small, or not play at all, makes it well worth the effort.
The above questions give you a starting point for you to kick off your own journey, and to start providing yourself with tangible evidence and proof of things you have successfully achieved before, even when that inner critic was telling you that you couldn’t.
Our Sell yourself with Confidence program has helped women all over the world manage their inner critic once and for all, whilst taking positive and practical steps forward to achieve greater career success and seize more opportunities.
If you are ready to take a positive step forward to help yourself and to take charge of your career, confidence and your own inner critic, check out our no B/S, transformational Sell yourself with Confidence program today. You’ll get a free downloadable PDF that will give you all the information you need to know if this program is right for you.