Developing a strong Leaderstamp aka ‘leadership identity’ requires taking control of your relationship with your inner critic. Just google “inner critic” and you will find advice on how to kill, fight, tame and one even tells you how to befriend these critical little creatures that exist in our heads. The general consensus in popular psychology is that we develop our inner critics as a way of keeping us safe. You know your inner critic does more harm than good and the only reasonable strategy for dealing with it is to GHOST it.
That’s right.. the only solution for you is to shred all ties with your damaging inner critic and let them know you are in command! I have been trying to cut ties with mine for many years, and they are slippery, manipulative, little creatures with big voices. Keep in mind that if you commit to ghosting yours you will need to prepare for potential setbacks and resurgences. This is normal - these little buggers have a strong instinct to survive and eliminating them will require a Machiavellian mindset.
Ghosting your inner critic requires you to commit to a simple (not to be confused with easy) practice. The process will take as long as it takes for you. The key is to create a new set of processes for when you hear your inner critic pipe up. I use the word practice because that best describes how you need to think about this process. It is a practice that you will get better and better at over time.
Here is what the practice looks like:
Step 1: Observe - notice when you are hearing from your inner critic and observe what message it is trying to get you to absorb. Hold this message out in front of you and imagine seeing the words in the air. This is very important - holding the words out front keeps them separate from you and allows you to see and assess them more objectively. Initially, you may need to build in some intentional pauses into your calendar so you can listen - often your inner critic will whisper - they are almost like ghosts themselves...
Step 2: Neutralize - Once you have placed the ugly message in front of you, visualize it disappearing - kind of like how smoke dissipates. Some of my clients have reported having luck when they picture the words sailing away on a boat into the vast ocean.
Step 3: Replace - Imagine what you would say to a dear friend if he or she was saying such a self-critical thing. Say this positive message to yourself (outloud if the environment allows) until you feel the positive reframed words taking hold internally.
Step 4: Repeat - daily (or hourly when the stakes are high) for as long as it takes.
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