We’ve all had that nagging voice in our heads – ‘They’re going to find you out! You’re out of your depth! They’re going to realise you’re not as capable as they thought you were!’

Sometimes it shouts and other times it’s a quieter, yet still disconcerting reminder of our own self-doubt. Either way, it builds our anxiety, makes us question ourselves and feel more insecure.

So how can we quieten that harsh inner critic when it strikes and how can we better handle the imposter feelings it creates in us?

Here are five things to help tackle your inner critic:

Are you in unchartered territory?

If you’re doing something new, tackling a new project or stepping into a new role, it’s only natural to feel hesitant, a little unsure of yourself and even a bit vulnerable. After all, you’re operating outside your comfort zone. New challenges often cause anxiety and it’s okay to feel that way in those circumstances and perfectly normal to feel some self-doubt. Stop giving yourself a hard time about it. You can’t be an expert in everything all of the time!

What would you say to a friend?

If a friend told you that someone had been criticising them, saying they were incapable, out of their depth and had only got as far as they had by faking their ability – what would you say to your friend? You’d tell them it was all rubbish! - that they deserved their success, had worked hard for it and were clearly both skilled and capable! You’d rebuild their confidence in themselves and reassure them of their capabilities. If you’d say all that to rebuild a friend’s confidence, then you need to tell yourself that too, to rebuild your confidence. Show some self-compassion the way you would to that friend.

Are you the odd one out?

Look around and examine the circumstances you find yourself in. Are you the odd one out – for whatever reason – in that working environment? If so, this may be the cause of the critical voice. Everyone feels a little uneasy and unsure when they’re the odd one out. Of course, it’s natural to potentially feel a sense of not belonging and that, in itself, can cause us to doubt ourselves. But you need to recognise that it’s exactly because you’re unique in that setting that you feel so unsure – it’s normal to feel like a fish out of water. Recognise that your surroundings are allowing your inner critic to create imposter feelings – but you’re where you are because you’re successful and deserve to be there in the first place.

At PDT, our professional development workshops can help you take control of any imposter feelings and understand how to manage any thought patterns. If you are looking for dedicated skills workshops in Walsall and surrounding areas, register with PDT and our upcoming workshops will exceed your expectations and leave you with valuable techniques for positive changes.  

Challenge the critic

How is that inner voice making you feel? Scared, unsure, anxious, worried, panicky?

Notice that these are all feelings – and feelings are not facts. Feelings are only part of the picture, so we need to be careful not to focus purely on them and instead try to challenge the inner critical comments. What are the facts?

Whenever you hear that inner voice creating feelings, stop and question it. The voice may be making you feel emotional - anxious and unconfident – but what is the factual evidence you already have to the contrary? What actual experiences do you know that direct you to a completely different perspective? One where you are capable, confident and assertive. Don’t just listen to the voice and accept those negative emotions – if you can, pause and ask yourself what facts you already know that contradict the voice and can reassure you that you are strong, capable and in control.

Give the voice a name

Naming that inner critic – let’s say, for example, ‘Bob’ – can empower you to challenge what the voice is saying. It means you’re not trying to challenge what you think is your own negative voice, but rather that of a completely different person. This can actually make it easier to sideline the voice and silence it. Next time ‘Bob’ starts making you doubt yourself, it’ll be easier to tell ‘Bob’ to shut up, ignore the comments, question them, ridicule them and block them. I know…sounds crazy!...but making the voice a third person can make it so much easier to ignore.

Register for a PDT Skills Workshop

Our coaching professionals understand the impact that imposter feelings and self-doubt can have on your personal and professional development. That’s why we encourage individuals to enrol on our skills workshops and management training courses that can help to alleviate these pressures and ensure that you flourish in any career.  

This one-day workshop with PDT will help you deal with, control and even embrace your imposter feelings.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our professional development experts and we would love to help.

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