How to mute those inner critics

September 9, 2007
Filed under: Coach's Corner — Tags: , , — jonimar @ 5:00 pm

Q:  When I complete a project, I get rave reviews from my supervisor, team and clients. But while I’m running it, I worry someone will discover I’m out of my league. I know it’s ridiculous. How can I  change my thinking?

A:  Most people get stopped by the Fraud Factor from time to time. The internal voices that  motivate our drive can also beat us down when we’re out of our comfort zone, in unfamiliar territory.

  • Keep the inner critics at bay. Recognize every new engagement has new learning edges — a unique set of challenges, expectations and measures.
  • Give yourself a break. Expecting to be perfect is a sure setup for failure because it is unattainable.  You wouldn’t be put in charge if you weren’t capable. To verify this, record your past successful projects. Document the key skills and abilities you will transfer to the new project. Write down your special qualities and strengths as well as the acknowledgements you’ve heard from others. It’s hard to refute evidence in black and white. Review this often during your project.
  • Don’t wait until the end of the project to receive motivating feedback. Solicit it along the way. Discipline yourself to hear and accept it.
  • Acknowledge yourself and your wins regularly. Allowing them to slide by, ignored, is a tactical error and gives more clout to the unrelenting negative voices that blow every minor slip-up into catastrophic proportions.

The inner critics will persist in wrestling for power over you. Reduce them to an annoying nuisance by magnifying your successes and refocusing your attention on your special value and strengths.

Originally printed in The Province, September 9, 2007.


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