As you sit in your office, there are often two people behind your desk: You and your inner critic. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, does a silent voice in your mind say, “How could you possibly have done that?”
Eliminating your inner critic requires you to be aware of her and the words that she chooses. If you hear a criticism expressed as “you,” it’s your inner critic speaking.
The inner critic is likely a remnant of an attitude that at some time in the past was designed to help you avoid a perceived risk. When you hear her voice, try asking her, “What are you trying to save me from? What’s your goal?”
Establishing her motivation can be helpful because it lets you discount her concerns and then assure yourself that her worry is misplaced. You’re the adult in charge, and she’s the anxious child.
There are several different techniques you can use to defang your inner critic. After you’ve identified her motivation, thank her for her past service and tell her firmly she’s no longer needed because you’ve got it handled. She can retire now.
If your inner critic still hangs around, open the door to the room and invite her to leave. If she won’t go, give yourself a change of venue. Literally. Get a cup of coffee, maybe work in an empty conference room. Tell her that you’re leaving her behind.
Another way to deal with a persistent inner critic is to turn down the volume on her voice. Picture the volume control on your remote and imagine tapping the down button again and again. Also, you can visualize your critic as an astronaut on a tether drifting away from your spaceship. Her voice gets more and more faint as she drifts away.
Exorcising your inner critic takes practice but eliminating this home-grown saboteur is one of the best things you can do to boost your confidence.