We all have that negative inner voice. It’s an internal dialogue and a well-integrated pattern of self-destructive thoughts.

You might have several inner critics: the self-doubter, the martyr, the know-it-all, the judge and the wimpy kid with a diary. No matter how many or how loud those voices are, every person has them.

Your inner critic sits on your shoulder, telling you that you can’t, you’re not good enough. You wonder if you can pull this off, you wonder if you’ll fail – actually, you wonder when you’ll fail, not if. You wonder when people will find out you know absolutely nothing, you wonder how you will meet everyone’s expectations and needs and have some room left for yourself. The list goes on.

As a female leader or small business owner, you wonder if you are as good as your heart believes you are. You feel overwhelmed, stressed, and fear you will never make enough money to be “a success”.

We listen to our inner critic, but do we ever question it?

That inner voice means you alternate between confidence and self-doubt, getting on with it and paralysis. You continually ask yourself, “What if I fail?”

But what if you don’t? What if you don’t?

Too often, we simply believe our negative self-talk. We don’t examine it or call it into question. We need to listen to and manage our mindset and self-doubts, so we can get on with the task of reaching our goals and getting results.

We have a choice

The way we speak to ourselves can be unduly harsh. Imagine if you talked to your friends the way you talk to yourself. They wouldn’t put up with it!

You can choose which voice you listen to. Choosing the right voice – a kinder, more helpful and productive voice – can radically alter your mindset, which can dramatically change how you behave and the results you get.

It’s called “observer-created reality”. Your mindset influences your behaviours, which affect your results.

Challenge and change your inner critic

The first step is to notice your inner critics and observe how they play out. The most successful women are attuned to their inner critics, and they bring their tribe in to listen and challenge them.

Once you are aware of your thoughts, you need to ask yourself whether they are true. Where’s the evidence? Is that negative voice based in reality? Usually, it’s not.

Now, it’s time to reframe your brain. Change your inner commentary so it is helpful.

For instance, if you’re about to take on a job or task you haven’t performed before, and your inner critic says you can’t do it, ask yourself, “Why can’t I do it? Where are the facts?” 

This allows you to reframe that inner voice: “I’m learning something new; therefore, it’s not about not being able to do it – I just haven’t been given the chance yet. There’s no evidence to say I can’t do it. In fact, there’s every chance I will succeed.”

So, does your inner critic hold you back? What stories do you need to challenge so you can find greater happiness and thrive?

I’m Emma, and I’m a business and executive coach who believes wholeheartedly in the potential of women. My coaching philosophy is simple- taking action leads to results- and I love working with women in business and in corporate roles to take their passion and drive and transform their professional and personal lives.

Be enthusiastic, optimistic and energetic, every day.

Em x