For the past 5 and a half years I have gained interests in several different disciplines and topics. I like playing guitar, gaming, writing, creating and designing websites, programming, biking (bicycling, Harley dudes.), understanding economics, science, and math. I’ve come to find out that I am pretty good at some of these things, yet with most I am mediocre at best.

And because of this I start to talk myself out of everything that I have any ideas about.

The Inner Critic

Let me introduce you to someone. Her name is the critic, and if you are a knowledge worker or creative you know her quite well. She is the one that pipes up and tells you that you aren’t very good at something and because of that you should give up on everything.

Sound familiar?

The inner critic is something that we all experience and can lead talented and creative individuals to give up on their ideas without even trying them.

Personally, I have been visited by the critic too many times to count. And many of those times she has stopped me dead in my tracks on some idea about a website, article, or piece of software that I would like to create. Remember, the critic is sneaky; not only will she try to stop you dead in your tracks and force you to give up, she will sneak her way into your plans and and todo lists in the form of non-clarified next actions, forcing you to procrastinate on your goals and dreams.

Luckily there are some ways that you can battle the Inner Critic and take over.

  1. Define exactly what you want to accomplish – also what you don’t want to accomplish
    There is nothing worse than having a project or goal that is poorly defined. The Inner Critic loves this kind of “amorphous blog of undoability” and with it tells you that, “you don’t even really know what you want in ‘life/project x/goal x’, therefore you might as well give up”.Instead, identify exactly what being done looks like and also what is outside of the scope of what you are trying to accomplish. This will ease your mind and allow you to accept that you can actually get something done.
  2. Share your thoughts with others
    One of the fastest ways to shut down the Inner Critic is to run your ideas and dreams by others. There is something about getting out of your own head; it allows you to more clearly see what you are trying to accomplish as you get instant feedback from a third-party.This type of response can prove to you that you ideas are actually good and that you can do something with them.
  3. Make constant progress
    There is nothing that the Inner Critic hates more than you actually progressing on your dream projects and goals. This type of action turns into a snowball effect where you can’t help but finish what you have started.If what you are doing is something creative, make sure to allot a certain amount of time per day to the task. No matter what give yourself this time and move forward on your project.
  4. Write, journal, diary, mindmap
    This sort of goes back to the idea of getting things out of your head. A plan that isn’t defined or at least out of your head is doomed to fail. Writing things down can help you clarify what you are trying to accomplish and can subsequently help you find what you need to do next.Also, writing every once in a while about your fears of what you are doing (or not doing) will help keep the Inner Critic at bay and allow you to concentrate on the tasks at hand.
  5. Iterate
    If you can’t seem to accomplish your tasks or keep thinking that you don’t have the skills to do so, then split them up even further, accomplish a small portion, and then come back to the next part later. Also, instead of making something perfect right-off-the-bat, make it good and then come back to it again and make it better. Keep doing this until you have accomplished what you were set out to do.Iterating in the manner can help you stave off procrastination and fear as you finish your project in smaller increments and with less stress.

The Inner Critic can take hold of your internal talk and make you think that you are not good enough. Just remember that it has nothing to do with being “not good enough” and everything to do with not giving yourself the support that you need to move towards accomplish what you need and want to get done in your life. Use these 5 tricks to shut down the Inner Critic at first blush and move towards getting things done.

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