THE BLOG
11/03/2014 11:16 am ET Updated Jan 03, 2015

Quieting the Inner Critic is Key to Playing it Bigger

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Have you ever wanted to feel more confident, be less afraid of criticism, and more willing to speak your mind? If so, then I've got the book for you. Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message by Tara Mohr addresses the challenge that finds women, all too often, "sitting on their big ideas rather than sharing them and holding back their most provocative questions rather than asking them."

An offshoot of her Playing Big leadership program, Mohr speaks directly to how to quiet the Inner Critic, manage self-doubt and better deal with external challenges. The internal voice that blames and shames us developed early in life when we were dependent on others for everything. As is so with many things, what was useful as a coping device in childhood is no longer helpful in adult life. Harsh inner tones of voice don't inspire feelings of love, security or any sense of well-being. It does the opposite.

So you may wonder: What actually does protect us and what works to motivate us? In her book, Tara Mohr explains how the emotional brain makes up stories exaggerating how bad things are, future predicting how awful it's going to be, and presuming worse case scenarios for what others think. Real protection comes when we separate out fact from fiction, develop more ability to extract emotion from our self-talk, and question the validity of our assumptions.

As I teach in my Strengthen the Voice of Your Inner Coach workshops, negative self-talk and the worry it generates, is one of the most powerful inhibitors of acting with courage, assertiveness and creativity. So what do we do about it? We get skillful at outsmarting our Inner Worrier, we re-direct how we speak to ourselves and become more selective about what we choose to believe . The voice of an Inner Coach is our internal source for encouragement, support and open-heartedness. It's the voice that says "you can do it," "its okay to make mistakes," and "you go girl." It's the voice that speaks with reasonable tones of voice, holds realistic standards, not perfectionistic ones, and counteracts fear and hesitation with grit and determination. The inner coaching™ voice is the one that helps us tap into our internal wisdom, open up to our generosity of spirit and take bold actions.

Applying the ideas in Playing Big will most definitely fortify an inner coaching voice with practical strategies to unhook from praise and criticism, become more skilled at managing self-doubt and judgment and practice an attitude of kindness and patience with ourselves. It will help us communicate with power, embrace our passions and claim more internal peace.

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