Confidence at work: How to silence your inner critic 

Confidence at workThere’s lots of pressure at work to deliver results. Not to mention the pressure we put on ourselves! And of course pressure impacts our concentration, capacity, performance and of course enjoyment of the day.

Real confidence comes from your own authentic personality, talent and drive. Your passionate wish to make a positive purposeful professional difference. Confidence is knowing when it’s the right moment to boldly speak up – to decide, solve or champion a cause – and the right moment to be quiet. You can effortlessly voice your creative ideas and your feelings, you can ask for what you need.

The inner critic is a harsh, critical and opinionated inner voice. It usually tells you that have done the wrong thing, failed yet again and are doomed to failure or humiliation! It usually says that other people have got it all quite wrong too! It squashes you small – making you tense to take-up less space, reduce your presence and hold your breath. Sound familiar? We’ve all got an unkind inner boss!

The good news is you can liberate yourself from this negative saboteur, to reclaim your natural confidence! Here is a quick four-step process, that you can use to free-up yourself, at any time!

  • identify the critic
  • separate from it
  • silence it!
  • and hold yourself with kindness.

Identify the critic

Usually, we take the judgmental inner self-talk, to be just a part of ourselves, to be “me.” It is insidious! But just because you have lived with it for such a long time, doesn’t mean that it is YOU.

It may show-up as an audible voice, be the soundtrack in your head, or just be the way that you feel.

Can you notice an attacking storyline that is not new, but repeats, again and again? Perhaps it says you always make mistakes, are always to blame, will never amount to anything? Do you want to complain, are all men one thing or all bosses something else?

Become curious about the content of your thoughts… what will you discover?

Separate from it

Question is the self-doubt that you are feeling, really yours?

Does it actually originate from your parents or grandparents? Is it national or cultural? Maybe it belongs to an old workplace? Do you notice the familiar old attitude of perhaps your father’s anger, your mother’s frustration, your schoolteacher’s anxiety, or opinions of a previous colleague?

When you notice this bossy voice or feeling is temporarily in control, you can start to put some distance between you and it! You can begin to change your relationship with it… to not be a victim.

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Silence it!

Tell the voice or feeling, to stop! Be quiet! Go away! Aim to reduce its unconscious power over you.

Experiment. Use your strength, kindness or humour. Shout at it, hold up your hand, make a joke or turn your back. Thank it, for trying its best to protect you from danger and keep you safe.

Imagine speaking silently to it or speak out loud in a private space.

Realize it’s not telling you the truth about your current professional situation! It’s a relic from the past!

Hold yourself with kindness

Despite the attacking, undermining thoughts, be there with care and attention for yourself.

Slow your frantic thinking right down … sense your body and breathe… create some space.

Notice how your body is – sense your feet on the ground and your bottom on the chair. Notice the way you are breathing, if you are feeling hot or cold, tense or relaxed, and how your heart feels.

You are OK! Give yourself a virtual hug! 

Despite what the unkind saboteur sometimes says about you and your workplace, you can be confident at work, powerful, sensitive and performing well. You are not a production machine, you are an ordinary imperfect human. A person doing their best at work, together with other people.

Repeating this 4-step practice of silencing your inner critic will, over time, be very empowering. You will be able to work with less interruptions and distractions due to self-doubt and emotion. You will feel clearer and more focused, with an accurate perception of what’s really going on around you.  You will regain your confidence and authority, and actually be able to enjoy yourself while working!

Work doesn’t have to be exhausting and stressful, with some self-care, it can become a pleasure too.

About the author

Julia Paulette Hollenbery is a confidence coach, happiness expert and author of The Healing Power of Pleasure – Seven Medicines for Rediscovering the Innate Joy of Being out soon, priced £16.99. Find out more.

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