Taming your inner critic

Imagine what we could do if we had the confidence?

If we shut out that inner critic?

No one likes to be told they can’t do something, but most of the time it’s actually ourselves telling us we can’t do something.

The criticism that we believe about ourselves is the one that hurts the most.

“The criticism that most hurts us mirrors a negative belief we hold about ourselves.”

I’m learning to tame my own inner critic

It’s taking a lot of work. I’m still a work in progress. This has got me thinking about the way I handle criticism and feedback, or how I have handled it in the past.

In the past, if someone said: “you’re not ready to do that Ruth”. Or “you don’t have enough experience” it would set me off on a very determined path. A path to prove the naysayers and myself wrong.

I’d do a course, I’d get more experience or I’d go ahead and do what they had said I shouldn’t/couldn’t do.

For those who know me, will know that I’m a big believer in continued professional development. I’m always reading books, taking part in coaching programmes, joining memberships and doing courses.  

Sometimes we’re always striving to be the expert and we put barriers in our own way. We can’t possibly do “X” before we do “Y”.   

I always thought someone else was the expert when I already knew loads. I was focusing on what I thought I didn’t know rather than looking at what I did know.  Otherwise known as imposter syndrome, or limiting belief.

In human psychology, there are four stages of learning. They encompass the transition from the state of incompetence to competence in any skill. This theory of “Four stages for learning any new skills” was developed by Noel Burch in 1970. Also known as the Competency Ladder from the perspective of acquiring new skills.

The majority of us that are constantly learning new digital skills are in different boxes for different things.  Yet most of the people that I speak to don’t actually realise how competent they are. And how much they actually already know.

Why was I on that path?

 Was I was going down a certain path for the wrong reason, or because I thought I should do it? Or because I didn’t feel confident in my own ability at the time? I sometimes used the excuse of “I’ve got to do that course first”,  or “I need to get more experience” as a barrier to taking the next step with my business.

I’m certainly not saying “don’t do courses” or stop with your continued professional development.  What I am saying is, make sure it fits with your business or career goals. Look at what you do know and what you want to do. You are going to have so much more success doing something you love and enjoy and fits in with your goals.

As a digital marketer, in a profession that is still new, is this process inevitable?  This is a role that’s evolving all the time. There’s no way I could have said 20 years ago that “I want to be a digital marketer”, I wasn’t even on Facebook! I had to Google what a social media manager was in 2014 and then I trained to be one in 2015!

There’s also a common belief that people who work in digital suffer from imposter syndrome because it’s a profession that is ever evolving and changing.

I will always have a thirst for knowledge and learning. But I’m going to stop putting those barriers in my way and start taking more action.

Sara Wachter-Boettcher wrote an article about how more of us should be sharing what we know. The message was clear. You already know enough. Share your journey, it will be useful to others.

There’s no magic amount of experience that will suddenly make you worthy of sharing your ideas with the world”.

Sara Wachter-Boettcher

And sharing my journey is exactly what I plan to do here.

It’s so I can see what I have achieved, as well as help the people I’m supporting so they can see that what they want to achieve is possible.

So, let’s shut out that inner critic, let’s stop seeking approval all the time, and let’s focus on what we do know right now.

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