Working with Your Worst Enemy - Tips for Taming Your Inner Critic

What would you do if you were completely untethered by expectations? 

How would it impact your decisions? 

What other passions would you pursue? 

All too often, we put internal constraints on ourselves that prevent us from being our best. We are often our own worst enemy. Thoughts like “that’s not realistic” or “I could never do that” pop up and squash unrealized opportunities in our careers and personal lives.  

In this article, we are going to share some simple tips and tricks for taming your inner critic.

Awareness of Your Inner Critic

Before you can take any steps to managing your inner critic, you need to recognize that it exists and increase awareness of when it creeps in. Start training yourself to recognize your inner critic when thoughts like the ones listed below pop into your head:

  • “You can’t do that, are you crazy?”

  • “You can’t be successful at work and have quality time with family.”

  • “You always screw up!”

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Make Your Inner Critic Personal

Inner critics can take different shapes and sizes. Your inner critic may sound completely different from my inner critic. A strong voice that pops up less frequently for me says “not good enough.” This inner critic leverages my perfectionistic training and stifles my creativity and getting projects done. I feel pretty strongly that this inner critic served me to get into medical school and even in driving many of my surgical skills. I am also aware that it holds me back from doing some pretty amazing things. That’s why it’s important to identify the nature of your personal inner critic and how it is serving you. CEO coach Shirzad Chamine has developed a great tool for identifying the specific types of inner critics. Take his free Self Sabotage Assessment here to find out yours.

Learn How to Manage Your Inner Critic

Once we have increased awareness around our inner critic and personalized it, taming it becomes much easier. We can learn to snuff it out, or harness it when it is serving us. Leah Weiss, PhD and I talked about the inner critic with regard to showing Self-Compassion on a mini-podcast. Leah highlighted just how important it is to recognize when it is holding back from our success.  I found it pretty difficult when I was first working on self-compassion and my inner critic, so I only did this in a very safe place - my growing yoga practice! When I got more comfortable with my kinder, gentler voice, I began to manage my inner critic in more challenging environments.  

The trick was developing a personal statement to replace or respond to the inner critic. Here’s what I say…

“I am amazing! I offer Love, Hope, Care and the Best of my many growing abilities.”

What is YOUR personal statement? 

Don’t have one? Write one!

It will change over time, as mine has several times. It will serve you and your patients

For more tips on how to manage your inner critic, join the SurgeonMasters mailing list. If you want assistance or coaching to make it happen even faster, contact the SurgeonMasters team today.