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Imagine that you are sitting at lunch with a friend. You start to tell them about how you were going to start building more of a social media presence for your business and were really excited about it. That friend then told you how you were not good enough to do something like that, that you’re not perfect, it’s audacious of you to put that idea out there, and that everyone was going to laugh at you.  Then imagine this happens time and time again with nearly everything you tell this friend.  What would you do?

When I ask this question in workshops, everyone always says how they would not be friends with that person, or they would not listen to them. Spoiler alert – you may be acting like your own terrible friend.

We all have that moment where we are getting ready to do something and suddenly that little voice in our head starts to shout out things like, “You’re not good enough for that”, “This isn’t perfect”, or “Everyone is going to laugh at you”. Often times we bow down to this voice and embrace its message to us. Somehow this voice becomes reason even though logically we know it is not true.

So why is it okay to tell your friend that they are wrong and to take a hike, yet you listen to this discouraging voice in your head that is saying such hurtful things? I am here to tell you that it is not okay! That inner voice is not always serving you and helping you achieve the things you really desire.

This voice is called the inner critic. We all have one inside of us and truth be told that voice is not going anywhere. Much to our dismay you cannot just make it stop. However, you can embrace it and help that voice change its message. You can also decide how you receive the information. Here are the three steps to deal with the inner critic:

  1. Recognize what the inner critic is trying to tell you. Think about what your inner voice says to you. The inner critic is always trying to protect you from something even if it is not serving you well. In the example above, the inner critic may have been trying to help protect you from embarrassment or failure.  Which can be valid, but if you have done your due diligence and you’re prepared, then why let this voice stop you?
  2. Name it to tame it! Pick a name for it, like Felicia or Snake (Just don’t name it after someone you know!) Then you can start to recognize that this is just another opinion and not your true self! Naming it lessens the power it has and separates the inner critic’s thoughts from your own.
  3. Thank it for its service. This is where the embracing part comes in to play. The inner critic has been around a long time and has overly enjoyed its job. So, in this step we thank it for pointing out the fact that we may fail at this and recognize that we have the power over the situation, not the inner critic.

Here is how it all plays out together. The inner critic is telling me that I am going to fail if I go live on social media this week, so I should just not do it until I become more of an expert. I quickly realize that is the inner critic, Snake, talking. I recognize that Snake is trying to protect me from failure so I say to myself, “Thank you, Snake, for your service, but the only way I certainly fail is by not doing the video, so I am going to go ahead and do it. So, thanks but no thanks!” Then let the show go on.

Take time this week to try this out and see how embracing the inner critic lessons its powers over you. Remember that you cannot make it go away completely, but by taking time to recognize it, name it, and thank it, you can start accelerating forward toward your real inner goals and desires.

Arika Clark Alejo, ACC is the Head Mindset Coach for BGSD Strategies. You can learn more about her work here