Do you ever feel like your inner critic is holding you back from achieving your goals? This can be a huge obstacle in the way of personal growth and success. But what if you could turn your inner critic into your inner coach – a champion for your success?
The inner critic is that voice in our head that expresses self-doubt. It’s often a strand of thought that says we’re not good enough, and it may be one of many critical thoughts or voices we have, some may even be conflicting. The inner critic could also be an expression of our safety instinct to keep us ‘safe’ from emotional threats and in our comfort zone.
Most of us are our own worst enemies when it comes to our professional lives. We’re quick to criticise ourselves and our work, and we often don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve. Unfortunately, excessive self-criticism can hurt your self-esteem and lead to anxiety and depression. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can learn to replace your inner critic with an inner coach, a more supportive and helpful voice inside your head.
To begin, it is essential to become aware of the differences between these two voices and to learn how to cultivate a more positive relationship with ourselves. How can you tell the difference between your inner critic and your inner coach?
The inner critic is often critical, judgemental, and negative. It focuses on what’s wrong with you and your work, and it’s quick to find fault. The inner coach, on the other hand, is supportive and positive. It focuses on your strengths and what you can do to improve. The inner coach is also realistic, recognising that you’re not perfect and that you can make mistakes.
The key difference between the two is that the inner critic can be destructive, while the inner coach is usually constructive. The inner critic undermines your confidence and makes you feel bad about yourself, while the inner coach builds your confidence and helps you to achieve your goals.
If you’re struggling with a particularly harsh inner critic, here are a few tips to help you quieten it down:
- Challenge your critical thoughts − When the inner critic starts up, ask yourself whether the thoughts are true. Are you not good enough, or are you just being too hard on yourself?
- Focus on your strengths − Don’t dwell on your mistakes − focus on your strengths and what you do well instead.
- Give yourself a break − We all make mistakes; make forgiving yourself the norm.
- Practise self-compassion − Be kind to yourself even when you are being tough on yourself.
The inner coach can be a powerful ally in your professional life, helping you to achieve your goals and helping you be the best that you can be.
The DNA of leadership is the ability to excel at the soft skills.
‘Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards,’ said the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.
Our brains are wired for certainty, predictability and safety. Yet, change is the only constant. Good leaders can bridge the divide between these two forces. We do this through a conscious focus on resilience and on a future that’s unwritten, limitless in shape and form and pliable to mould for the good of all.
Leaders – be bold and courageous. If we are brave enough to bounce forward, then every catastrophe holds the seed of something new and better.