How to Kick Your Inner Critic in the Pants and Move Forward

Your inner critic believes you’re a failure and wants you to stay that way.

An inner finger-pointer comes from two places. Inner critics are the imagined voice of accusing authority figures and negative family members from the past. The other place your inner critic speaks from is perfectionism.


Inner critics:

  1. Cheer when you keep struggling in the same old ways.
  2. Whisper, “Loser. You aren’t worthy.”
  3. Applaud stagnation.
  4. Pat you on the back when you don’t try.
  5. Smugly whisper, “I told you so. Don’t do that again.” when you fail.

Your inner critic sees you as you were, and snuffs out the light of who you might become.

Speak to your inner critic:

Inner critics do all the talking and thrive in the shadows. They don’t like it when you speak to them.

Perhaps you should talk back. Don’t bother arguing against your inner critic. You’ll lose. Instead, ask questions and say thanks.

Three questions for your inner critic:

  1. What are your aspirations for me?
  2. How are you helping me get ahead?
  3. I hear what won’t work. What might work?

Thank your inner critic:

Sometimes your inner critic is right.

The aftermath of a presentation is fertile soil for my inner critic. He loves to point out everything I could have done better. His favorite words are:

  1. You should have.
  2. You could have.
  3. Your forgot to.
  4. That didn’t work.

When your inner critic is right, say thanks and move to next time.

Inner critics love last time and hate next time.

Tip: Don’t allow your inner finger-pointer to make judgments about who you are, even if it might be right about your performance.

How might leaders get the most from their inner critic?

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