Ever notice how when you start making BIG changes in your life the self-doubt and voices of “I can’t do this” or “I’m not ready” scream extra loud?
That’s because the bigger the dream, the louder and more convincing your inner critic can be. It’s your self-sabotaging inner voice that holds you back. The internal chatter telling you that you’re not ready to lead. It’s what keeps you from dreaming bigger and exploring your “what-ifs.”
We ALL have an inner critic (yes, even that friend of yours who seems like they have it all together).
Your inner critic’s job is to keep you safe and preserve the status quo. It’s the safety instinct in us; a strong universal force.
Don’t worry, there’s some good news.
Quieting your inner critic isn’t about eliminating your self-doubt. You don’t have to dig deep and find that magic source of confidence (phew!) or figure out how to permanently banish that critical voice in your head.
It’s about learning how to let your inner critic do its thing and not let it determine your choices. To put it simply, it’s learning to not take direction from it.
Best news of all?
You can learn to quiet your inner critic quickly with some simple tools that are easy to implement!
Here’s what you can do about it.
Notice and Label it
Before you can stop taking direction from your inner critic or avoid letting self-doubt determine your choices, you need to recognize who’s talking.
Sometime this week, spend 72 hours recording what’s going on and keeping track of your thoughts (you can use an app like Evernote or the notes app on your phone). Doing this can help you identify your triggers and beliefs.
Next, label it.
When you hear the self-doubt talking, label it by saying, “Oh, that’s the inner critic I hear right now.”
Separate yourself from it and take the “I” out of the equation
You are not your inner critic.
Repeat after me: “I am not my inner critic.”
It’s not who you are at your core. You’re stronger, smarter, and more resourceful. YOU are the person aware of it.
Instead of thinking, “I’m freaking out a little bit right now” try “it seems like my inner critic is freaking out a little bit right now.”
Remember, you are not your inner critic.
Create a character that personifies your inner critic
During my coaches training at CTI, we learned a fantastic tool to help quiet your inner critic. After you’ve named, labeled, and taken yourself out of the equation, try creating a character that personifies your inner critic.
I remember during our class our teacher shared that his inner critic was Lucy from the cartoon Peanuts. She’s bossy, opinionated, and she bullies most of the characters. Mocking and intimidation are the norms for her.
She’s a fantastic example.
Who is your inner critic? What does he or she look like? The more descriptive, the better.
Also, don’t be afraid to use humor! What your inner critic is saying is usually ridiculous anyway.
Compassionately see your inner critic’s motives
Remember how your inner critic’s job is to keep you safe and preserve the status quo? How it’s the safety instinct in you?
Take a moment and try understanding the deeper motive. Ask, “What are you trying to protect me from?” or “What are you most afraid of?”
Once you get your answer, acknowledge it and compassionately say, “Thank you, but I’ve got this.”
It’s in the work.
Quieting your inner critic is ongoing work. Once you feel like you’re getting the hang of how your inner critic operates, it will shake things up.
It WILL be back. And it’ll start screaming again when you stretch yourself in new ways and as you continue to push yourself and grow.
Go back to the tools again and again as you need them. You’ve got this!
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