Some time ago I was participating in a creative coaching group and we were talking about taking tiny creative steps boldly.
We were talking about our Inner Critic and how powerful this little creature in our head can be.
Some describe it as a physical little being like a goblin or even a witch. Others describe more of a voice that is angry, scared, frustrated, unsure.
Here are a few tips for banning its destructive methods or just simply putting it to sleep.
- Befriend it:
Don’t fight your inner critic. It is not there to harm you. It is part of you.
It’s like having the hiccups: the more you try to get rid of them, the longer they last. Accept it.
- Learn from it:
Listen to it. Get to know it by what it is telling you. The better you know someone, the more you learn how to deal with it.
Note down what it is telling you. What kind of messages does it give you? Are they spelling fear? Or frustration? Or are they belittling and trying to make you unsure? In what kind of situations does it speak up?
- Use it:
Usually the inner critic goblin shows up when you are approaching the limits of your comfort zone. And that can be very useful. It teaches you about yourself and the boundaries that you have set yourself or that were set by your education.
Use the stop signs your inner critic provides to think twice about your project or action. Are his questions justified? Why? Why not?
- Answer it:
Now that you know whether your goblin is more of an angry little sucker or just a fearful little soul, you can answer him. Ask him ‘what is the worst that can happen?’.
If he throws the likes of ‘people will laugh at you’ or ‘you will get fired’ at you, ask him Why? Why will people laugh at me? Because my idea is stupid or because only part of it is a bit laughable? Why will I get fired? Because I have shown initiative and creativity by introducing a new idea? Really?
Keep asking why until you really get to the crux of it.
You’d be surprised how awfully silly the real reason for your inner critic is.
And if you know how to answer your inner critic, you are prepared to answer the outer critics as well.
When the above steps don’t work, I personally like to take my little goblin with me when I go jogging. We have our discussion about the pros and cons, the fears, the judgment and all that surrounds stepping out of your comfort zone. We ping-pong our way through the subject at hand as I struggle my way uphill through the woods.
When I get out of the woods and onto the clearing, my goblin has often decided to stay in the woods for a little while longer 🙂