08 Feb Managing your inner critic during learning
Don’t you hate that voice in your head that undermines you? The one that pops up when you are learning something new and the voice says, “What makes you think you can do this?” or “This kind of stuff is way too complex for someone like you. Just stop now while it’s still safe to do so, you don’t want to look like a fool”. Or “Maybe you shouldn’t speak up and make your suggestion in a meeting. People are not going to buy into that idea, and you know you’re not good with thinking on your feet.”
Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so!
Our inner critic shows up when we are learning something new and pushing out of the known, the familiar, the comfort zone.
That same voice that alerts us to potential danger, kept us safe back in the days when we were hunters and needed to protect ourselves against or be the hunted. That was a long, long time ago. The problem is that our brains can very quickly alert us to potential danger as though we are still in that situation. The intention behind it is good – our brains want to ensure we are safe from danger. But it cannot discern between perceived danger and an actual one. It is our job to do that.
Here is what you can do to manage that inner critic voice when it shows up:
• Take a deep breath
• Break the task down into manageable chunks
• Remind yourself of past times when you were overwhelmed but achieved things despite feeling anxious
• Seek assistance
• Talk to your coach or mentor
• Assure your inner critic that you’ve got this!
• Take a break, do something else and come back to the task when you’re feeling more relaxed
• Invite your curiosity and explore in a playful manner