Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’ve got a new idea that sounds exciting but you start to talk yourself out of it before you’ve even begun to truly consider it. Or, you’re pumped about an opportunity that’s been presented to you and can’t wait to dig into it when all of a sudden you’re overwhelmed with self-doubt and insecurity. You start to question your ability, your qualifications, your experience and your value.
You can’t pull this off!
You don’t have the knowledge or experience to back this up!
You aren’t qualified.
You’re not good enough.
All of us have an inner critic that shows up at the most inopportune times or lurks in the background ready and waiting for any opportunity to speak up. And what better time to be heard than when you’re considering a major change where you can’t guarantee the outcome? Typically, I write on topics related to replacing your 9-5 with a creative business, but in reality, dealing with your inner critic applies to everyone regardless of your life and career goals. So, whether you’re an aspiring creative business owner or someone looking for a career transition, this is for you…
Times of uncertainty are golden for your inner critic. This is their time to shine and they’re more than willing to take center stage and recite the plot-twisting monologue that leaves everyone on the edge of their seat. This is the voice that stops you in your tracks and keeps you from moving forward. Whether you call it your inner critic, devil’s advocate, gremlin, or whatever else you’ve coined it to be, the root of the message is ‘you’re not enough so you might as well give up now.’
Ignoring this voice is extremely difficult. In fact, self-doubt is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome when trying something new. However, buying into this narrative and believing you aren’t enough fuels your gremlin’s impact and influences your outcome. The likelihood of taking a step towards your goal is hugely diminished because any step you do take (if you take one at all) will be half-hearted and fraught with disbelief that you’ll actually get there. It’s almost a self-fulling failure prophecy that proves your critic right. “You tried and you failed. You should have listened to the voice. You shouldn’t have bothered.”
Even people who seem like they’ve got it all put together and confidence oozes out of their pores have this little voice. And in an effort to keep you ‘safe’, it will speak up whenever it feels the need to knock you down a peg or completely take the wind out of your sails. The first step to minimizing the message your gremlin sends you is to face it head-on and identify exactly what it is saying.
You’re not smart enough.
You’re not talented enough.
You’re not experienced enough.
You’re not _____ enough.
Whatever the voice is saying, it’s coming from an emotionally charged part of you that feels vulnerable and exposed. Like a small cub that depends on his mama bear to keep him safe and protected, this part of you counts on your gremlin to keep you hidden away and protected from harm. It’s a form of self-preservation to prevent you from taking a step into ‘dangerous’ territory by sending messages like ‘you’re not good enough.’ It’s trying to stop you from taking action that could result in embarrassment, humiliation, or failure, and choosing instead to make you feel insecure, self-conscious, timid or afraid.
Remember that you are the author of this voice. It’s time to write a new chapter.
Work on shifting your energy to more empowering thoughts. Thank your gremlin for coming out and reassure it that you’ve got this. Because the truth is, this message isn’t reality but a fear-based assumption. You don’t know how this is all going to work out, and you can’t control the outcome. However, you can control your effort, your energy, and your engagement as you get after it. Doing it with a half-assed approach isn’t going to get you far.
Counter the ‘I’m not good enough’ thoughts with something that feeds your flame and gets you excited to move towards the goals you have for yourself. Believe in yourself that you’ve got what it takes, and if you trip along the way, you will get back up and survive regardless. Place a high enough value on your dreams so you’ll be motivated to take steps to make them a reality. You need to show yourself through your words and your actions that you deserve to create your best life, and by extension, take appropriate risks to support your ideal vision.
Doing this is a great way to bolster your confidence, reinforce your ability, and reaffirm your personal worth. It also sends a strong message to the self-sabotaging bestie that lives in your brain that you’re done with their Negative Nancy messages and ready to take a step off of the wet cement that is creating a permanent footprint in the grey walkway you know as your career path.
Over time, your gremlin loses power and becomes a smaller piece in the bigger picture of your life with less control over your actions and outcomes. Yes, your gremlin will always be a part of you, but it’s not ALL of you. And just like you can’t expect your ears to taste your food, you can’t expect your gremlin to determine your success.
Contradict the message. Align your head with your heart.
Make a plan and gather resources to help you so you can take action from a place of empowerment rather than fear.
Hitting your goals is possible. But first, you need to believe it is. So thank your gremlin for coming and promptly show it the door.
There are only so many seats at the table. Your gremlin isn’t invited to the party this time.