If you find that you often give yourself a hard time - especially if it’s for ‘not being good enough’, or ‘not doing a good enough job at something’, then you are dealing with a nasty little monster - your Inner Critic. It’s that little voice that makes you doubt yourself, makes you criticise your own efforts, and makes it hard to feel content and at peace.
Everyone experiences self doubt at some point in our lives. It’s healthy - a sign that we care and have feelings, and that we want to be proud of ourselves.
Unfortunately, our Inner Critic is usually never satisfied. It seeks perfection, and anything less than that is fuel for it. But no one is perfect, in fact trying to be perfect is actually destructive.
Some people think their Inner Critic is a good thing, because they think that by being judgemental of themselves, they will try harder and keep bettering themselves. But we don’t need an Inner Critic to do that! If anything, the Inner Critic just takes our mature self-reflections (the bit that intelligently helps us identify real opportunities for growth), then takes a megaphone and in an obnoxious voice TELLS US WE ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
Wanting to grow as a person is incredibly healthy. Putting ourselves down is not - especially if we’re trying to run a successful business. We need to be able to perform at the top of our game to foster growth in that business. Giving our Inner Critic a VIP pass to our sense of self-worth is a sure way to damage your efforts and limit your opportunities. Here’s a few ways we can kick that little monster to the curb:
An Inner Critic is like a bully; a powerful way of stopping them is to confront them and call them out on their behaviour. When you have critical thoughts about yourself, stop and observe them. Awareness is a great step towards prevention.
As you become better at noticing and acknowledging the moments when your Inner Critic is trying to get in your ear, start to practice self-compassion and challenge whatever judgements it’s making. Start nurturing an Inner Champion to fight your Inner Critic. If you find you’re berating yourself for a task, try to actively look at things you can be proud of. Make a list of the clients who you know have had a positive experience because of you. Think of a recent project that was difficult and you found hard, but you managed to deliver anyway.
The little wins can make a more compelling argument than the rarer big ones, and more to the point, when they’re strung together they form a track record of success that you should be celebrating!
Some argue it’s important to have people in our lives who are critical of us - maybe a colleague who never lets us get too comfortable, or a client who only ever complains. But what about just getting feedback and motivation from people who respect us, support us, and give us their honest opinion in a compassionate way? Look out for people around you who put you down and echo what the Inner Critic was trying to make you believe, and maybe consider setting some clear boundaries on your relationship, or avoid interacting with them altogether if possible.
Life’s too short to spend it doubting ourselves or believing we aren’t good enough. Give yourself the best chance of happiness and success by banishing your Inner Critic, and surrounding yourself with people who encourage and support you.
Helix Planning: Resolve to Evolve