“You’re not good enough.”
“Nobody respects you.”
“Your colleagues wouldn’t have made that mistake.”
“You’re the only person who feels this way.”
“You can’t do this.”
In some way, shape, or form, we all experience these negative voices from our inner critic, and the words can be powerful (both negatively and positively). That’s why our work focuses on not silencing your inner critic, but learning to listen to it productively.
First, let’s highlight 3 ways we let our inner critic determine our career’s success:
We don’t validate the inner critic voice(s):
One of the most significant mistakes we can make is to not validate the inner critic as a real and powerful element of our personal and professional growth. According to Rachel Eddens, “Awareness is the first step to recognizing and letting go of your inner critic.” Our inner critic comes to light as a manifestation of our safety instinct, meaning that until we acknowledge these thoughts, feelings, and voices, and how they play a legitimate factor in our professional growth, we won’t be able to control it.
What does your inner critic say? What are the situations that trigger your inner critic?
We participate too long:
Think of your inner critic as rain falling on bricks. You’re strong in the moment, but with rainfall after rainfall, you begin to crumble. However, overtime, with the right tools – recognizing the voice, separating the voice from ourselves, and spending some time trying to recognize what the voice might be telling us – we can make the voice less prominent.
Our goal should be to observe negative thoughts but not participate in them.
When we begin to participate them, they become a part of us (and our belief system). However, when we observe them, they become an area we can grow in (i.e. using the tools highlighted above). Don’t be afraid of your inner critic, but be intentional about not participating.
We groom our leaders with negative thoughts:
The reality is there are healthy and unhealthy situations for every leader, and not every professional situation is negative. However, there are many experiences that professionals have where “negative” comments are the norm, whether you realize it or not. They may sound like this:
– Whatever you do, don’t do that
– Be quiet in this meeting
– Don’t trust Susie, she has a reputation
– This project isn’t going anywhere
The point is this: negative comments (even if generally okay within the right context) can have implications for an individual’s self worth. If you’re constantly told what not to do, or not to do something, it’s not going to create, and build up a leadership mentality. Because of this, it’s extremely important to develop our leaders with the appropriate growth messages; especially in times of professional development.
Whether you’re just starting your career or leading a team, be sure to acknowledge your inner critic, and how it speaks to you. By lessening its impact on you personally, it will also lessen it’s effect on you professionally.
Remember, you’re more than your own critiques.
-Wolfgang Career Coaching Team