Your “inner critic” is getting a lot of press lately. Brene Brown’s TED Talk has become the talk of the internet, as has her book — all surrounding the idea of daring to face down your biggest critic — you. We’ve all experienced our inner critic at one time or another. She tells you “you’re not good enough” and “who do you think you are.” She sabotages our success and tries to derail us when we feel strong. And sure, you can fight her, push her down, and try to get past her criticisms.
But The Glass Hammer recently published something that revolutionized the way I think about my inner critic, and I think it will for you as well. “Career Coaching for Your Inner Critic” tells us first to do something that might sound a bit strange:
A client of mine calls her inner critic “The Roberta Anderson” tapes, named after her mother. Identifying your inner critic and giving her a voice and persona helps her step out of your unconscious where she can create a lot of havoc and into the conscious where you can watch her. Describe what she looks like. Get creative and find her a good personality. Mine is called “Erma.” She dresses in large muumuus, has red hair, and a really sarcastically funny sense of humor.
This idea, among others recommended by The Glass Hammer, may change the way you think about your inner negative critic. Giving her a name might make it easier to quiet her when she speaks. Saying, “Hey there, Roberta, step off,” feels much more natural than saying your own name or talking down to yourself.
After naming your critic, The Glass Hammer recommends providing her with a coach and naming her as well. It’s similar to the advice we gave in the article “Dealing With Anger in the Workplace,” where we told you to literally put on the air of being your most respected person in business. Being an “actor” and acting as a coach can keep your inner critic at bay.