On Self-Criticism

In Week 20, I wrote about Self-Sabotage (here). The main saboteur agent that we have is the Judge, which we all have running in our head at all times. I wanted to revisit that Judge this week, because I have been practicing something pretty transformational these last 2 weeks and feel compelled to share. And the practice is this: to never ever criticize myself.

👿  The Judge in All Of Us

Self-criticism is actually a very normal motivational mechanism for many, many leaders. I remember countless performance evaluation sessions (on both sides of the table) where all that mattered was what the negative feedback was versus the positive. “Let’s skip the part where you compliment me and bladee blabla and get to the real shit.” Sound familiar?

How about these examples:

Didn’t show up well in a meeting? Boom, negative self-talk. Next meeting better be 2x better. (meme)

…Had a confrontational conversation with a colleague? Boom, negative self-talk. Create scenario plans for how to repair the relationship or save face. (meme)

…Not getting what you want? Boom, negative self-talk. Time to play the game better. (gif)

🌱 Why this practice has been transformative: By practicing never criticizing myself (still a work in progress), I am experiencing a whole bunch of benefits that make me believe there’s something to this.


Some of the benefits:


It doesn’t impact high performance: It turns out, you can still be a high-performer without guilt or shame or being hard on yourself. When did we get it in our heads that it had to be so intense?


Prioritizing my well-being: If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that our health matters. By getting rid of negative self-talk and self-criticism, we are able to prioritize our wellness and better manage stressful situations in the long-term.


Increased (genuine) confidence: Removing self-critical language and thoughts helps us build stronger inner confidence and sense of self-worth irrespective of outcomes.


And dare I say it: it’s more fun: Work and life become more playful (or less serious) when we ask our inner Judge to sit the F* down.

👉🏼 My challenge to you this week: If this sounds interesting to you, I would encourage you to try it for yourself: zero self-criticism. Bonus points if you can stop with self-deprecating humor too. Embrace who you are including your mistakes and missteps. See how it feels to let go of your inner critic through intentional practice and to re-program your negative self-talk into something you can use to grow positively.

💆🏻‍♀️  My Self-Care checklist score this week: 65%. My score last week was primarily impacted by increased social plans which led to more drinking which led to sub-optimal sleep and nutrition behaviors. Can’t decide if I regret it or not because don’t we all need a bit more socialization these days? 🥳 How are you tracking?

Wishing you a great practice,

Nancy

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