The dialogue you need to stop having with your inner critic
“Can I call myself a creative? I mean I write, I blog, I create content each day… so, can I then call myself a creative?” I asked myself one morning as I was journaling.
“You write but you don’t have any technical training! You’re pretty amateur and lots of people blog, doesn’t make you a creative now, does it?” – This is what my inner critic commented.
“Umm, I suppose you’re right! Maybe I should invest in a course and get more training in writing, that’ll make me a creative writer, won’t it?” – This is what I replied.
“Not really, I mean you just need to practice more, write each day and as long as people connect with what you write and talk about, you can call yourself a creative. You can do this! Have faith!” – This was the voice of my inner mentor.
I wish I could’ve just listened to my inner mentor more as I was growing up. I would’ve has this sort of inner dialogue with my inner critic so many times. Whether it was to buy that dress, to make new friends, to start my coaching business, to self-promote, to cook, to write, to publish that post... you name it and my inner critic has surfaced to tell me that I need to get better at it, before I actually start doing it.
Whether you’re a creative or a business owner, let me let you in on this secret, your inner critic doesn’t know any better. She is basing her facts and assumptions on either the fears you’ve been feeling or the previous event you’ve had, or heard someone say it’s not possible. But the good news is that you can change this by changing the way you talk to your inner critic, compassionately and realistically.
Have you ever heard your inner voice say something like –
"Are you really ready to do this?"
When I was first starting my blog, I was nervous because I didn’t know what I was going to write about. I remember I wrote an article and before I did that, I researched way too much, learnt the nitty-gritty of how to blog, how other people blog and how to sound good as opposed to just writing it down and hitting publish. I wanted to be fully prepared before I hit publish. But, is that even a thing?
"Maybe you need more training for this"
Most creatives make this mistake. They keep refining their skill and making it better and better so their work can look good. I love the idea of refining the skills but most people want to achieve perfection as soon as they’re starting out. I’ve worked with so many creatives who were still waiting to out their piece or art/content/work because they were still fine-tuning it which wasn’t necessary. And as soon as they got it out, they realized that it was appreciated by some and not appreciated by some. There’s always room for improvement later.
"You failed! You don’t know anything, you’re no good, so just stop!"
I swear this is something most creative business owners deal with, the dialogue that you’re no good just because you’ve failed at something.
I remember I once coached a woman in my initial days who didn’t think coaching was the best approach for her. She wasn’t ready to make the changes and felt that the coaching session was a waste of her time. I kind of went into a hole after that, I started to feel I was no good. This one comment overshadowed all the other praises I’d received for my coaching and content and I stopped. “Who are you to write about this? Who are you to coach again?” This dialogue kept coming in my mind over and over again. I must’ve cried too. Till I finally found the courage to start again.
"Your work isn’t any special or unique, why should they pay you? There’re so many people who do the same thing"
I was coaching a calligrapher and a hand-letterer a few weeks ago and this is something she was so worried about. She kept telling me she is nit creating anything unique and it’s all just the same as others do. It’s boring. And I understand this mindset. I’ve gone through this too each time I blog about productivity or introversion I feel as if it’s all been said before. But you know, you don’t have to stop just because your idea is not unique. There are so many people studying the same thing, starting the same businesses and doing the same kind of jobs but what makes it unique is you, your skills and strengths and approach makes all the difference.
"The timing is not in your favour – You’ve got to do this before that"
I once spoke to a woman who launched her handmade jewellery business while she was 6 months pregnant. She told me, “I’ve got two babies now!” I asked her if she was ready for this and her confidence and optimism really put me to shame. She said, “Yes! I can easily manage. Things will work out well, I’ll probably be slow till my baby grows but yes, it’ll work” This optimism was really awesome. Health issues aside, how often do you hear yourself say I’ve got to do this before that.
I recently spoke to woman who has her own business and a 9-5 job and she’s a mom. Sounds like a handful but she manages it all too well. Got to love her inner mentoring voice, right?
In my experience as a coach and helping women creatives and entrepreneurs these are the most common dialogues by the inner critic that I’ve come across. Please note that each person is different and each person has their own priority. But every once in a while, it’s important to stop and check with yourself. Is it an inner critical dialogue that’s preventing you to take the leap? If it is, how will you encourage yourself to get past the criticism?
If this is the dialogue you constantly have with your inner critic, pause and try to understand it, separate facts from criticism and replace it with a new thought.
I hope this article helps you take the leap toward your goals and success and fills you up with confidence to create more.