Who are your enemies? Do they have names? How often do they show up in your life? External and internal, we all have enemies; the worst are internal. My three biggest enemies are my inner critic, self confidence and temperament.
I’ve always been super confident in myself, which is great, but it can quickly turn into arrogance if not tempered with some humility. I remember once telling my mom that all I had to do was snap my fingers for things to happen for me; I was 18 years old! I’ve never lacked confidence, what I lacked was humilty. But I got those lessons as soon as I got older and started challening myself more and more.
Anyway, my other enemy is my inner critic; the enemy within. We all have one, some of us more than others. My inner critic rears its head when I don’t live up to my own expectations because I’m highly demanding of myself.
I saw this tweet from Dr. Julie Gurner last week and put in my two cents; it reminded me of my inner critic!
Yes, indeed. A coach I had years ago would always finish our calls with this: Jorge, pat yourself in the back. Everyone doesn’t have it all figured out, and neither do you. So don’t be so hard on yourself 👊
— Jorge Barba (@jorgebarba) September 17, 2022
She’s right! Beating yourself up is a very bad use of mental energy and focus. I used to waste a lot of it beating myself up, until a friend of mine started coaching me. Rather than try to tame my inner critic and shut it off, I learned to see it as my challenger; rather than my enemy.
You see, your inner critic can be harnessed to drive you to perform at your best because it demands more of you; and this is exactly what you want!
Ok, so how do you do it?
Engage with it. Look at yout inner critic as your coach and ask it questions to understand what it’s telling you; it’s not telling you things you don’t want to hear. Do you believe your inner critic wants to see you fail? Do you belive it wants to destroy you mentally? No. Remember, it’s your own voice in your head; no one else is in there.
It’s best to harness it while it’s in there. So, if you’re telling yourself to quit because you didn’t try hard enough, guess what? Try harder and don’t quit.
If it’s telling you that you suck. Guess what? You don’t. Don’t let it control you. Simply say, “I hear you. I’m on top of it”.
I can tell you wholeheartedly that I made myself cry more than a few times many years ago when I let my inner critic control me. Until I figured out it was me beating myself up!
Bottom line: Your inner critic is your inner challenger. Harness it and let it drive you to perform at your best.