Controlling Your Inner Critic

Let's talk about one team member that could be really tricky if you don't keep them in check. This isn't a team member that you're going to be paying. Oh no! This is the team member that lives inside your head. We call this team member 'the inner critic' or sometimes the inner saboteur.

The challenge is controlling your inner critic!

You may be aware of those voices inside your head. Perhaps you even think, "Oh my gosh, am I really going crazy? There seems to be so much going on in there." It's totally normal. We all have the inner critic. Some of us might feel like we've got a whole team of inner critics inside our head. If we don't have some tactics to keep them in check, they're going to start running your business for you. Oftentimes, it's not going to end well.

Addressing Your Inner Critic

You've got to understand that we have approximately 60,000 thoughts a day, every single day. Most days, a few may be actually more negative than positive. They're fear based. They are what we don't want to focus on. Those thoughts are largely repetitive. Most people's thoughts don't really differ from one day to the next. We actually have a lot of habitual thought patterns, which is why we end up getting ourselves into the same actions. We often end up getting the same results as well. That is because we haven't started to shift our thinking.

Controlling Your Inner Critic

One of my favorite exercises that I was taught to do many years ago was to tune in. It's to imagine that inner critic. That is the only way to controlling your inner critic.

Tuning into your mind is like tuning into a radio station. You're actually going to tune in and listen for a while. Start to listen to all of the chatter. I think you're going to be actually surprised at the number of things that go on inside your own head.

Then you've got to start listening to what are some of the key messages that inner critic keeps telling you. Are they helpful or are they a hindrance? It's those negative patterns, right? The negative patterns that might be causing you a lot of self-doubts. A lot of anxiety.

The negative chatter may sound like: "Who do you think you are to do that? Why do you think this is going to work for you? You failed in the past before. You're taking far too many risks." All of those are negative self-talk. Listen in to the chatter of your inner critic.

How to Get Your Inner Critic to Become a Helpful Team Member

Here's the way to controlling your inner critic and really get your inner critic on your side.

The role of the inner critic is actually to keep you safe. That's what they want to do. The minute you start to change, they go, "Oh my gosh," hyper-alert. He or she is trying to change something here and I need to stop them. I need to keep them safe."

Any change, even when it's a really good change, is a threat for the inner critic. They see this as a danger and their role is to keep you safe.

3 Questions to Ask Your Inner Critic

If you can just be still and ask your inner critic:

  1. What is it that he/she's really worried about?
  2. What are his/her deeper concerns?
  3. What's the message that he/she is really trying to communicate to you?

Your inner critic has a voice. If you can be still and listen long enough, you'll often find that your inner critic has some nuggets of wisdom to share. Sometimes we've got to dig a little bit to actually find them! They're not always obvious, but it might be that you did make a big mistake in the past, and the inner critic can see that you're going down a similar path again.

Have you stopped to actually learn the lessons? Have you actually put some strategies in place to make sure that you're not going to make the same mistake again?

Oftentimes, that inner critic does have something helpful, and when you can tune in to the helpful messages, you're going to have a far more helpful member on your team too.


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