How many of us use alarm clocks to wake up each morning? The number is probably larger than we can imagine. It seems natural to use an alarm clock as a constant reminder of when to rise; but the habit of creating a consistent reminder to release self-imposed pressure is harder to cultivate.
I received that reminder recently when I read author Seth Godin’s blog. He said:
“Just imagine how much you’d get done… if you stopped actively sabotaging your work.”
“We must be talented, powerful and resilient creatures indeed given how much we manage to produce despite the constant undercutting, ridicule, and needless censorship we aim at ourselves.”
Clients often ask me how to stop that critical voice completely. I respond by telling them that’s never going to happen. That inner critic is a part of each and every human being. How? The reptilian brain, first proposed by American physician and neuroscientist, Paul D. MacLean, is the basal ganglia structures within the brain that originate from the instinctual behaviors of the first humans. It’s a mechanism we are all born with whether we like it or not.
What we can do is turn down the volume. When you’re working on a project, going into a meeting, or waiting in the lobby for an interview and that voice emerges: become aware of what it is telling you.
Then simply ask it one question: “Is that true?” (Thanks, Byron Katie)
You’ll soon recognize that you have tons of evidence to the contrary. When it emerges again you’ll also be aware of the fact that it’s just fear doing it’s job of trying to protect you from what it sees as an impeding danger: real or imagined. Then you can hear the message, turn down the volume, and move on.
When you recognize how much energy you are giving the inner critic, you’ll realize how much of your talent and energy is waiting to be used. Then you can flip switch, end self sabotage, and dive into the act of boundless creating and producing.
Laura Tirello is a Career and Life Coach. Her company, Core Life Design, works with people who are successful, but not satisfied, and are ready to reinvent themselves in the workplace and beyond. Get a copy of my *free* special report: “Career Gridlock: 4 Ways to Get Unstuck”. Visit corelifedesign.com for more information. Laura can be contacted at Laura@corelifedesign.com