We’re Our Own Worst Enemy

By: ALLY IMAI, Shazam

We’ve all heard it before - we’re our own worst enemy. We can psych ourselves out before having the chance to succeed or fail. Heck, we’re human, and it’s normal. And because I’m human, I haven’t mastered the art of getting out of my own way, but being cognizant of it, I’m getting better at managing it.

I’m taking a slightly personal route here, but I promise there’s a point to the story that ties back into the professional world.

When I was in my early 20s, a good friend of mine, a guy, would often tell me I thought too much and I was overcomplicating things unnecessarily.

Of course I did, I am female after all. I feel women are wired to have millions of thoughts at a time & to multi-task because it’s a survival mechanism as child bearers.  (Not to say men don’t suffer from this as well, but think it’s more common amongst women.)

Although I’ve heard it before, for some reason, hearing it from him was eye-opening for me, and it really stuck. I guess because I didn’t like the way it made me feel to have these voices in my head.

I should back up slightly and say “thinking too much” for me meant my inner critic was made up of the worry wart, the overprotective big sister, the do-gooder, the people pleaser…all of it.

But because I was made aware of these voices I realized that I didn’t have to be this way and decided to remind myself to stop thinking that way. Like building muscle and strength, it took repetition - it takes repetition as I still have to quiet my inner critic.

I may never admit it to my friend, but it is because of him I took professional chances. Learning the lesson to not overthink all the time in our friendship, my personal life, gave me confidence to go for jobs that might’ve been “out of my reach,” to not spend too much time marinating on something that I just need to act on. And this has made me a happier person ever since.

So in closing, my advise on silencing your inner critic, is to be self-aware it’s there and to simply tell it to be quiet. Tell your inner critic to shut up as many times as you need to. :)