Taming The Inner Critic

Young ginger woman plugging ears with fingers to ignore loud noise

Taming The Inner Critic

In the world of sports it is common to witness established athletes failing to live up to the high standards that they set themselves up for. We label them as being out of form, with a struggle to meet expectations. The athlete may still be following the same schedule, investing the same hours of practice, managing the same routine and everything else they associated with during their successful phase. What has then contributed to these string of failures?

The first few failures are generally attributed to luck, after a few more failures it is deemed to be a case of loss of form. After a few failures, we have people talking about a variety of reasons and despite the best efforts of the athlete to shut this noise, some of these do settle in their minds. Self-doubts start to creep in and suddenly the best shots that they played a million times earlier, now raises doubts in their minds. This is what leads to an inner voice of self-doubt. This example can be related to any sphere of life.

During important meetings, you may often go through this phase of self-doubt – a nagging voice that creates doubt in your mind. When you wish to speak, it cautions you whether you are right, and asking you to think through once again. This self-doubt starts impacting your performance. A key feature of this inner voice of self-doubt is that it becomes prominent and establishes itself as a permanent resident in your mind. When you attempt to step outside your comfort zone or take up a new challenge this voice of self-doubt peeps out. This makes one fall into the “imposter syndrome,” which makes people think that they do not have the skills, are not capable of managing their tasks and live in anxiety that this self-perceived lack of skills and understanding may get exposed.

The first step to manage this voice of self-doubt, also referred to as mental chatter, is to recognise it. How do you move forward to tame this voice of self-doubt?

1. Recognise that there is an inner voice of self-doubt – mental chatter. This emanates from past experiences and from people around you. Fear of failure adds to the anxiety, thereby stopping your ability to process information and take actions based on these information.

2. Stop feeling overwhelmed. Too much overthinking propels the self-doubt. Focusing too much on the micro steps creates doubts.

3. Journal your thoughts. Move these thoughts from your mind to the journal. These thoughts when moved to the journal will clear your mind and when read will appear different in context.

4. What will others think of me is a common voice that you ought to banish from your minds. Your success is your success and everyone around is interested in their own success.

5. Observe without being judgmental. You will learn to detach yourself from the inner voice

6. Reframe your self-doubt which is often a reflection of your limiting beliefs. This will convert your self-doubt into a positive belief.

7. Tame the inner voice. When confronted with this self-doubt , think about how success would look like. Shift your thoughts to how you would feel on succeeding. The inner voice will start retreating. This is called the power of visualising.

It requires a lot of practice to overpower this voice of self-doubt and there will still be times when it will still appear. This causes an established performer to start moving into a zone of uncertainty. This is where it is important to follow through the steps suggested. Remember it is you who has to tame this inner voice and this will set you on your journey to success.

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