Do you ever stop and become aware of your thinking when you are in the moment?
Recently, I was invited to present at a webinar on confidence and I said yes! I was so excited to be asked, I love these opportunities to share with others what I have learned over the years. And then when I was left pondering, my unconscious mind would throw a few uncertain thoughts into my awareness. “ Really? You? Sure what do you know?”, “are you sure you are good enough?” These kinds of questions would normally rattle me if I let them.
So what did I do about this? Because if I listened to these thoughts I wouldn’t have turned up to the webinar! I wouldn’t have shown up for half of my life for that matter!
Let’s talk about these thoughts, “the gremlins”:
There is an inner dialogue going on with us all the time. The one when we are talking to ourselves. And there are 2 distinct conversations going on most of the time. We have the Self 1 and Self 2.
Self One is known as the inner critic or your “Gremlins”. Always watching and waiting for you to fail so that it can tell you “I told you so!”, “you are useless!”
The inner critic is that part of your unconscious that is trying to keep you safe, protect you from harm and will tell you all sorts to make sure that you play safe. Your inner critic keeps score of all the mistakes you have made and will remind you when you are thinking of doing something brave.
Your inner critic is not always right and sometimes it steps outside of it’s remit and starts bossing your around, controlling you. You need to push back and get it back in to it’s box.
Self Two is your true self, your inner potential, the one who is creative and full of hope and possibility. Your true self is untainted and can achieve anything you want if left unchained by your inner critic. Can you imagine if you could just be or do anything without the inner critic influencing you? What would you love to be or do?
Your best performance is when your inner critic is quiet and you are allowed to do what you are destined to do. No inner voice telling you that you can’t do it, that you should be something else. You are not worried, that you are in full flow, you are in your strong space.
When I started my own business, I made a decision that I would say yes to all opportunities that came my way. This took away the control of my inner critic as if I had listened to them I would have played small and missed out on so many great ideas and collaborations. Now it was not always plain sailing and the gremlins caught hold regularly as moving out of my comfort zone was far from comfortable! But with the support of my tribe and mentors, I worked through a lot of these fears to get me to the next level.
And you can do this too!
You can break the cycle of where you have a great idea and the inner critic tears you down so that you are in pieces.
It is based on 3 principles: Awareness, Choice, Trust.
- 1. Awareness means becoming actively aware of the internal dialogue between Self 1 and Self 2.
Notice your language, notice your thoughts as they arise. You can do some journaling to help you. Notice if there is a pattern, is there regular language that you used such as “just” “only”, “wouldn’t be able” “always” “never” where you play things down, where you play small, where you create doubt in your mind. This is your inner critic, your Gremlin.
- 2. With Awareness comes choice.
Once you become aware of the inner conversation going on, you will need to make a choice on who you want to believe. Always keep the choice with the choice -maker, sometimes the inner critic will want to take charge, but this is where you decide who is in charge.
- 3. And the last principle is about trust.
Trust in your Self 2. Trust your inner potential. Remember that you are capable of many wonderful things, as long as you make an active choice not to listen to the inner critic.
And be your own advocate. Put your hands on your hips like Peter Pan and challenge your inner critic- “What can’t I go to the networking event tonight?” “Why can’t I do this webinar?” “ Why can’t I change careers?” That is what I do when I am feeling a little scared about the decision I need to make. Because I promise you, your inner critic doesn’t think you can do it!
But your inner critic can be wrong, those thoughts that served you yesterday may not serve you today or tomorrow. So be prepared to challenge them and change them according to the direction of your future dreams.