When will you be “good enough”? 3 tactics to mitigate your inner critic

  1. Are you a driven leader trying to bring about change in your organization? 
  2. Are you feeling like you’re pushing a rock up a hill?
  3. Are you feeling responsible for not being able to achieve more?

In my coaching experience, leaders often report a feeling of “not being enough” – not good enough or not achieving enough. They are charged with changing organizational culture, initiating a new program or achieving large scale change. When the organization falls short of their goals, they feel personally responsible. Their inner critic goes into overdrive. As well, many of them are not getting enough emotional support to deal with the related stress.

If you’re a high-achieving leader or change agent, you may know the feeling of wanting to “be more”.  As a leader of a professional development association, I often feel personally responsible when a presenter fails to engage the audience, despite my coaching them on how to successfully facilitate a workshop. It’s clearly not my fault, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling responsible! 

It’s exhausting. When are we going to give ourselves a break? When are we going to decide that we “are enough”? Having drive is a good thing, but too much drive and sense of being uniquely responsible drains energy which is better used to solve problems.

How can you tame your inner critic?

It’s all about mindset. My inner critic is a figment of my imagination, which means I can change my way of thinking.  Here are three (3) key questions to ask yourself to mitigate your inner critic:

  • Who sets the standard of being enough?  Who’s the person sitting on my shoulder? 

Sometimes we have a figure from childhood that we think we need to prove something to – they may have served us in the past, but we’ve outgrown them. Now that we’re adults, we can generate our own standards.

  • Who would I be without that thinking that “I’m not enough”? 

Our identity is often caught up in this sense of “not being enough”. If this weren’t primary to your identity, who would you be? How would you talk about your accomplishments? 

  • What would I see if I could “get on the balcony”? That is, what’s going on in the background that I’m not seeing? 

What is the mindset behind this feeling? For example, do you feel uncomfortable promoting yourself? What beliefs do you have around that? Some of us were taught that you shouldn’t toot your own horn – but imagine a continuum between boasting and not talking about yourself. Can you find a comfortable middle ground that will allow you to speak about your accomplishments with a sense of ease and appropriateness?

It’s all about mindset, your assumptions and beliefs. Letting go of old beliefs is part of the journey of adult development.

Your turn: What’s one thing that you could do to have more compassion for yourself? What one belief could you experiment with letting go of?  Let me know how it goes.

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