Leading through our inner critic voice and self doubt
Over the Christmas break I read a book, highly recommended by my Board Chair, called Playing Big by Tara Mohr.
Reading this book has had a profound effect on my well being and confidence as a leader. Why? Because for the first time in my life it introduced me to my inner critic and helped me to develop an awareness and acceptance of its power and destructiveness!
I believe, like many women, I have developed over many years, a voice in my head that constantly criticises and undermines my confidence and abilities. Why have I allowed this to develop? Why is it so loud and dominating? Why can’t I ignore this inner critic voice? Why have I lived most of my life with self-doubt?
I could blame it on my up bringing (a dominant father), or as a result of my generation, or as a result of gender inequality. However, I learnt that the source of the inner critic is not important; how you manage it is the key.
Tara tells the goal isn’t to get rid of the inner critic. The goal is to learn how to hear those crazy thoughts and self-doubts, know them for what they are, and not let them determine what you do!
Working through Playing Big enabled me to develop a new voice in my head called my inner mentor! My inner mentor is a combination of all the attributes of the people in my life whom I respect and admire - teachers, principals, colleagues, family, friends, heroes … I visualise how they might handle the situation and what they would advise me to do. Combined, they help me to banish my self-doubt!
Tara Mohr, advises the reader, when faced with a challenge or stressful situation to acknowledge the inner critic voice and then to replace it with the inner mentor’s positive, calm and confident voice.
Just becoming fully aware of my inner critic voice and having a strategy to combat it is personally, very powerful. I check in with my inner mentor regularly and know, over time, my inner critic voice will fade and lose its power over me.
Finally, I have an inner voice of wisdom, calm and guidance. I can truly be a self-confident leader, positively aware of my abilities and empowered to spread the message!