I have always had battles with self doubt and a lack of confidence even though I am often the first to take up a new challenge, be it climbing a mountain or jumping out of a plane!Throughout though there was always that little voice coming to the front of my mind - quite loudly at times - that I just couldn’t get rid of.
The words weren’t always clear but the feeling was always powerful, sometimes it felt suffocating. I was overwhelmed by the feeling I should stop, stop taking risks, stop trying new things, stop trying to be more than I was - to be grateful for what I had and stop there.
I wanted to know why this happened and how other people didn’t appear to suffer with the same feeling. After coaching from my mentor and some good reading including the well known ‘Chimp Paradox’ and Tara Mohr’s ‘Playing Big’ I learnt all about the voice (my inner critic) and why it is there.
A brilliant technique I picked up is to give this ‘inner critic’ a name and persona, so… meet Frank. Why Frank? I have no idea but it fits and crucially it feels great to tell Frank to shut up! He is my security guard, my ‘danger detector’. He resides in the oldest, most basic and most powerful part of my brain and his one job is to keep me safe. Safe from physical harm (yes Frank that is useful but those situations are thankfully pretty rare - ok you may have had a point about the plane!) But on the whole my life is pretty safe so why is Frank so vocal?
Well he’s not lazy, he wants to be busy, so he looks out for danger in any form. Social situations where I may be made to feel like I don’t fit in or my professional credibility questioned and emotionally where I may be hurt.
Once I named ‘Frank’ and understood what he was doing things started to fall into place. The n ext step was to say ‘thank you’ to Frank. This isn’t about fighting your inner critic, they are just there to keep you safe. You get to choose if you listen - and sometimes you do need to listen. Or you can choose to say ‘thanks all the same but I’ve got this’. When I started to do this I felt my energy levels increase, I was no longer battling with myself.
When I decided to do the sky dive and to climb Machu Pichu Frank was there with me but shear willpower and determination got me though. What I’ve learnt is, that will power does get you so far but you need to accept everything going on in your head too and make a conscious decision to take back control. Then the options are limitless. This is what I share with my coaching clients and the best part is I get to see them achieve what they really want - despite what their ‘Frank’ may be saying!
Added: 26th April 2019