Killing the Inner Critic

by Dan Rockwell, a.k.a. Leadership Freak:

There was a time when I thought my anger was about the world out there. But, anger, frustration, and complaints are first about who I am and then about other people, circumstances, and environments.

Not liking my performance:

There’s always room for improvement. Translation, I fell short.

For example, I always see ways my last presentation fell short. There are always “could haves” and “should haves.” Encouraging compliments from audience members never silence my inner critic.

Here’s another example, reading past blog posts is disappointing. Like jello, there’s always room for more – more improvement.

Yet another example, I hate missing a coaching moment. I was too bold or too passive. I asked the wrong question or created distractions.

Dealing with the inner critic:

How can we keep leading, presenting, writing, or serving if our inner critic keeps beating us up?

  1. Better is good when it’s found in the aggressive pursuit of excellence. Perfection stands aloof mocking your progress, laugh him off.
  2. Be constructive more than critical. Ask what can be done more than what was done.
  3. Adopt systems. Systems stabilize, guide, track, and evaluate. Systemize coaching, presenting, meetings, problem solving, or leadership development. John Bernard’s new book, “Business at the Speed of Now” is helping me think more clearly about systems.
  4. Give and accept today’s best. You did what you could.
  5. Embrace the imperfect present while reaching for excellence. If you can’t define the problem progress is meaningless.
  6. Don’t make it personal. The “not liking my performance” moments I listed above indicate I make it personal. Improvement is about strategies, techniques, and methods.

Bonus: Keep learning.


How do you deal with your inner critic?

About gabulmer

Christian apologist, husband, father, runner, blogger, leader with LIFE Leadership.
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