I'm coaching a client, whom I'll call Mark for now, who has been excelling as a manager for almost one year now. He's really good at what he does, has a great personality, loves people and his direct reports respect him and like to be around him.
You'd think he'd be walking on air with his recent evaluation and new responsibilities.
But he's not.
When he began coaching, he was really lacking in self-confidence.
That led him to second guess himself quite a bit.
"Is this the right decision? Maybe I should go with my other idea."
And then, when his decision proved to be a big hit with his boss, here's how he thought:
""Okay, I have to admit that was pretty good. But, it could have gone better. I should have put more time into it."
Needles to say, he wasn't the life of his own party! Instead, he was sucking the oxygen out of the party room.
His "Inner Critic" has been wreaking havoc.
It's time for Mark to learn how to help his inner critic learn how to communicate more effectively.
Maybe you can relate. If so, here's three ways to respond to your inner critic:
- Befriend Your Inner Critic
Just the other day, I was reading a blog from a fellow coach who was addressing this issue. He recommended that we just "stand up to our inner critic and tell it to shut up."
I couldn't disagree more, and here's why: What happens when you tell someone to shut up? Not much good, right?
Especially not when you do that to yourself. (Our inner critic isn't another person, it's us!)
That's no way to build a relationship, especially with yourself.
So, what do you do to build a better relationship, a better friendship with yourself?
Here are three suggestions:
- Thank Your Inner Critic
You can do that when you realize that your inner critic (you) is simply trying to help you. She's not out to make you miserable, hold you back or put you down. She's doing the best she can in the moment to help you improve, and that's the only way she knows how to do it.
So, thank her for trying to help you. Thank her for being on your side.
This will create rapport.
- Ask Your Inner Critic If He's Open To A Conversation
Begin to talk with your inner critic, being respectful and friendly with him. Help him to consider other perspectives on the matter. Help him to learn a more productive way to help you. Help him to see that you and he are on the same side and can learn to work together and be a great team.
- Write Or Type The Conversation Out
When you begin to talk with your inner critic, it will be easier if you get the conversation out of your head by putting in on paper on on your computer. This is how you'll gain mastery over the process.
Begin with five minutes. That's enough. Not that your inner critic would agree! That's okay, do it anyway.
You'll be amazed at what will happen.
Remember, your inner critic is really on your side, trying to help you.
She's probably been feeling disrespected, not listened to and frustrated.
You can change that.
Begin by thanking her.
Then talk to her, listen to her, have a conversation over coffee. (I do mine over a cigar, hey, what can I say, my inner critic loves cigars too!)
Make your inner critic your ally, your confidant, your consultant.
He'll thank you for it.
Even critics can be grateful.