3 ways to silence your inner critic.
3 ways to silence your inner critic in the office.
I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has an inner critic. That voice inside your head that tells you are incapable - at your job as well as everything else in life, that you're not good enough, or that you're a huge imposter that's only gotten to where you are because of a complete fluke, because of some kind of admin error or that someday soon, someone is going to find out and you'll be fired.
My inner critic is at it's worst in the office when I'm in meetings. Normally, it's when I have an idea or a thought to contribute to the discussion and just as I'm about to say it, I hesitate as the same voice in the back of my head shouts -
'Don't say it, it'll probably be wrong and silly and you'll look stupid.'
'If you say, everyone will think 'who does she think she is?''
'Honestly, just save yourself the embarrassment and just stay quiet.'
It can be really hard to overcome these thoughts, particularly if you've had your inner critic ranting at you for a long time. It's very easy to accept negative thoughts, isn't it? For some reason, our minds accept the negative as being more realistic than the positive. How could I possibly, actually be good at my job and know what I'm doing? No no, I'm definitely more just winging it and getting lucky. Sound familiar?
So, if like all of us, you find yourself having a particularly bad day, here are a few ways to instantly silence that inner critic of yours.
List out your achievements.
I experienced an overwhelming sense of imposter syndrome on my way to work one morning last week - it came out of nowhere, and made me question everything that I was doing, second-guess every decision that I was making that morning and had me wondering how on earth I'd ended up here. How did a girl from a small northern town like me bag a job for global brand in the big smoke?
By lunch-time, I was still feeling very shitty, however I knew that if I was going to get anything productive done that day, I needed to give myself a bit of a talking to. And so, I went for a walk, got some fresh air and did just that.
I then returned to my desk, and listed out all of the things that I'd achieved and accomplished in the last 12 months in this role. Unsurprisingly, by the end of it I felt so much better and more motivated. So much so, that I carried on and actually set myself some more goals that I wanted to achieve by the end of the year. Goals that, 12 months ago, I would've never even have envisioned myself thinking about them, never mind putting them in writing and making them official.
At that moment, I realised just how far I'd come in the last year, and that actually yes - I do deserve to be here.
Take a deep breath, think 'what if' and just say it anyway.
What if I do contribute an idea and it's shot down - what's the worst that's going to happen? Am I going to get fired? No. Is everyone going to point and laugh? No. Am I going to be remembered as 'the girl with the silly idea forever?' No. The meeting will just move on and everyone will have forgotten about it by lunch time.
However, will it give me more confidence for next time? Probably.
But, your idea won't be shot down at all. You'll be recognised for contributing to the group and your point will be discussed before taking it further or moving onto the next idea. If you're not used to speaking up in meetings, it can be mildly terrifying. I'm nearly 6 years into this whole world of meetings and office things and I still sit here now and can feel my heart pounding in my chest before I say anything. I'm not sure whether that feeling is ever going to go away, but what I have learned to do, is take a deep breath and say it anyway.
And actually, everything has always been okay. Nothing bad has ever happened to me after I've given my opinion in a meeting. Shocking, huh?
Ask yourself this question.
If you do find yourself having a bad day or a bad few hours, and your inner critic is shouting louder than normal - just stop for a second and ask yourself if you would say these things to your best friend, or even to your younger self.
Would you tell a child that they're incapable? That they're not good enough and that they're never going to achieve anything or get anywhere in life? No, of course not! So, why do we say it to ourselves? Why do we feed our minds all of this negativity and put ourselves down in such a way?
Instead, take some time to think about what you would say to your best friend if they were struggling like you are - you'd probably offer some kind, supportive and encouraging words to make them feel better. So, feed your mind these thoughts instead and see what a difference it can make.