A popular theme for my work is helping people to not just act differently, but to think differently. In their book, The Net and the Butterfly, authors Olivia Cabane and Judah Pollack focus on how to capture creative thinking.
Sadly, it is common to observe that many of the hard-driving, type-A persons that I work with dragged down by what the authors call the inner critic. This inner critic is a killer of creative thinking.
Upon examination of any great figure from history who found success, it would be impossible to not find critics who surrounded them. The greater the success the greater the opposition. However, there is one commonality in all those who found success, and one commonality in all those who have not. The power they gave to the inner critics.
How many times have you heard the phrase, “well everybody’s going to judge me… everybody thinks I’m stupid…everybody will hate this.”
While this might sound like phrases spoken by an adolescent, I hear them all the time from highly educated people who are paralyzed by what could happen if they take a definitive stand in leadership.
However, the authors states that the inner critic can be simply and efficiently killed with one step. Changing your “everybody”.
When you say, “everybody will judge me” who are you talking about? Who is the mirror talking about?
Please don’t blow by these questions! They attack the underpinnings of some of the most powerful negative psychology.
Make a list of the people on that “everybody” list. Now evaluate it. Does every person on there have your best interest at heart? Care about your success? Care if you thrive?
Again, do not blow by these questions! Confronting these negative assumptions is crucial if you are going to be strong enough to lead others. In fact, one of the reason people are poor leaders is that they spend too much bandwidth on defending themselves since they are insecure and therefore can’t take a stand.
If each and every person on your list doesn’t share the above concern. Why would you even allow them there? What would possess you to allow the group off which you judge yourself, to be anyone that doesn’t have your best interest at heart. It’s a waste of your time and frankly a waste of you.
Sad to say that most of these thoughts are born in our early lives, for a variety of reasons, and developed over time. While this is not a blog about deep psychology, it is a principle that deserves your attention.
Now you might be thinking that your critics fuel you to do better.
I’d venture to say that unless constructive, no critic has ever “fueled you”.
The constructive critics should be welcome guests on your “everybody list”.
Take five minutes right now to make a new list. It can be as short as two people and as long as twenty. Make that new list, include those who care about you… who have your success at heart.
Take one day and experiment with your new list of ‘everybody’. Your performance will not dull or decrease. It will sharpen and get to the point where you become the “everybody” others want on their lists.
As you practice this day after day, you will be amazed at how much ‘hard-drive’ space is freed up for better thought, which leads us to the next step….stay tuned in early December.
The next blog will be the Thanksgiving message, which, let me assure you this year, will be one you will not want to miss.