The book is progressing really well. After some challenges in finding headspace, I seem to be back writing regularly and consistently, and the word count is slowly increasing. And I’m getting some great feedback. As you know, I am passionate about Agile Project Management and love sharing my knowledge. I also recognise that there are lot of people who know a lot more than me. People with a lot more experience than me too. Of course, that’s not a reason to throw my hands up in the air and down tools. But every now and then, as I’m tapping away at the keyboard, sharing my thoughts and ideas, this little voice talks into my ear: “Just who do you think you are? Writing this stuff? What do you know?”
Introducing: Mini Me
We all have Mini Me by the way. Otherwise known as you inner critic. That voice that injects just enough self-doubt in you to stop you from doing things like going for that promotion, saying yes to that speaking event, or taking on that new, challenging project. Our inner critics are responsible for more anxiety and fear than any other source, I’m sure of it. Why does it exist?
Everything we do – both good and bad – has a positive intention. Think of some of the most unpleasant of habits – smoking, overeating, drugs, alcoholism. People only do these things (even when they are causing acute damage to their bodies) because there is something good attached to it. A feeling. An experience. An outcome. Your inner critic is just another one of those things. Although everyone’s inner critic differs from person to person, ultimately they exist to serve a higher purpose. I am absolutely sure that my inner critic (and possibly yours too) exists to keep me safe and happy.
My inner critic would much rather I sit on the couch, eat cookies and watch TV than head out for a run. So when I do head out for a run, thoughts come up like: “Are you sure we should be running this far?”… “Oooh, is that a knee injury?”… “We can always run tomorrow…” My inner critic is a bit of a chatterbox to be honest. And the thing is, my inner critic is not trying to sabotage my goals, but simply trying to do what it can to keep me safe and happy.
Silencing your Inner Critic
What does your inner critic sound like? Someone you know? This could form part of the purpose and reasoning behind your inner critic. Silencing your inner critic starts with listening to them first. What is the intention behind what they are saying? It’s not a matter of shutting them down. You wouldn’t do that to a much loved friend who was trying to help you. Get curious and wonder what they are REALLY saying and then respond (talking to yourself is totally okay but you can do this silently if you want). Your response could be:
“I know you have my best interests at heart, which is why you are telling me not to take on this new challenge. And I appreciate you looking out for me. I’m going to go ahead and do it, knowing you’ll continue to look after me and work to ensure my happiness at every opportunity”.
“Thank you so much for helping me stay safe and happy by questioning whether I should be writing. After all, putting myself out there could result in criticism. Not writing will keep me safe. However, I’m really excited about doing this and I’m okay taking the risk. But I appreciate you helping me like this”.
You get the idea. So the simple steps are:
- Listen to your inner critic
- Acknowledge your inner critic
- Thank them for looking out for you and working towards a higher intention
- Keep working towards your goals knowing you are being looked after
To your goals!
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