I believe in continuous learning. That is the best way for me to continue to grow and to serve my clients. So, it should be no surprise that I jumped at the chance to join Dr. Srikumar Rao’s Creative and Personal Mastery (CPM) course. I was honored to get the invitation that went to less than two dozen MG100. Learn stuff with awesome people, yes please.
It was an enlightening experience. I built a few new habits in me and reinforced some of the work that I’ve already done. For example, the first module, a building block of CPM, is mental chatter. You may refer to it as your inner voice or inner critic. I call it self-talk.
The concept if from my first book, The 11 Laws Likability. In chapter two, I explain the Law of Self Image: Before you can expect others to like you, you have to like you.
Self-image and perception are opposite sides of the same coin. You have to believe you first, before you can determine and drive how somebody else sees you. The way we speak outwardly and inwardly greatly influences how we see ourselves. Research shows that our self-talk is somewhere between 77% – 90% negative! Now, if you had a friend that was not nice to you more than 77% of the time, would you still be friends with them? I hope not.
So why do you think it is OK to speak to yourself that way?
An exercise I give to many of my coaching clients is to pay attention to your internal dialogue. You can try it:
- Track those mental messages that cross your mind throughout the day. Capture both the thoughts and the circumstances.
- Rewrite the thought to something neutral, positive, or actionable. What would you have said to yourself?
The key is to increase your awareness of your use of extreme, judgmental, or emotionally charged language. For example, don’t say, “I am not good at…”, that is a conclusion. Simply adding the word yet makes it actionable. Or better yet, say, “I’m working on getting better at…” or “I am improving my skill at…” that puts the control back in your hand. It is important for you to feel that you can control and influence your outcomes.
Another way to tame that inner critic is to celebrate the small wins. Don’t wait until everything is done and perfect. Because it will never be good enough. Instead, create milestones and celebrate along the way so that you can feel that progress, that momentum and that sense of achievement.
The idea is to be your own best friend. Be kind to yourself. Think about what your BFF would say to you when you are feeling less than. They are your cheerleader, propping you up, telling you exactly what you need to hear, that they believe in you. But they cannot always be there in the moment, so be your own best friend and tell yourself what you need to hear.
We all need the reminder to be kind to yourself. What have you tried that helped rein in your inner critic?