How to Silence Your Inner Critic

By: Lisa Radist, theAudience

Throughout my career, my bosses have never had to tell me when I haven’t “measured up.” I’ve gotten to myself first. I’ve always been my worst enemy, the hardest on myself. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to ease off. I’ve realized that, beating myself up all the time for not achieving every goal, is not healthy -- in fact, it’s counter-productive. Recently, I’ve adopted a new philosophy:

1.     Start by treating yourself as a friend. Would you be overly critical to a friend who’s had a business loss or is facing a big challenge? Probably not. You would be encouraging. You would help them problem solve, figure out what went wrong, and how they could do better the next time. You might help them examine all the positive actions they did contribute, as well as what was beyond their control. Looking at the glass half full is far better than half empty.

2.     See failure as a positive. It’s one of the best ways to learn. Some of our greatest leaders have succeeded from loss. Not everyone wins the first time out of the gate. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and James Dyson all had early failures before they went on to become billionaires. We can take these learnings and use them to move forward, instead of belittling ourselves, calling ourselves “losers.” It becomes a self-fulling prophecy.

3.     Stop brooding. We all have the tendency to stew over situations that have occurred, replaying the events and telling ourselves how we could have done it differently. This doesn’t change what happened, it only creates negative energy. You must shut off that voice and re-channel it. Use that energy to engage in other activities like exercise. It will get your mind off the situation and release endorphins.

4.     Focus on your positive attributes. Look in the mirror. How do others see you? Do they speak to you the way you do? I doubt it. Write down all the wonderful things you have accomplished both professionally and personally. Keep this list and read when that inner voice is shouting at you. It’s a great way to drown out that inner critic when it’s out of control to emphasize your capable, wonderful self.

5.     Give that inner critic a funny name. Maybe it’s “the Bully” or “the Nag,” but it you refer to it that way, it keeps it light, gives it a sense of humor. “Oh the Bully is at it again…” It will give you the opportunity to laugh at it and not to take it so seriously. After all, it’s just an inner voice.