Have you ever tried treating your inner critic/self-doubting voice as if it were a member of your esteemed board of advisers?

It works wonders for me!

Here’s how in five steps:

1. Awareness: Become aware of what the inner chatter is actually saying that is causing you to feel guilty, ashamed, small, fearful, angry, etc. Journaling the chatter is quite helpful in making it conscious.

2. Empathy: Listen carefully to its criticism, worry, and doubt. Turn up the volume so you can hear it clearly and consciously.

Repeat back what it is trying to convey slowly, out-loud. Show that part of you that you respect and honor its viewpoint, and that you are taking in its message.

Seek to empathize with what it is feeling and needing, in the form of a question. For example, “Are you feeling anxious and frustrated because you are worried that if I don’t get off the couch right now and look for a job that we are not going to be able to pay the bills?”

3. Gratitude and Closing: Thank that inner voice for sharing so clearly and generously, and tell it gently and firmly to sit down now, that it is time for the next advisor to speak.

Yes, you have the authority to do that, because you are the CEO of You, the one with the ultimate power in the company.

Often the critical voice has some gold in there for you, even though it shares it’s wisdom in a shaming/blaming/fearful tone.

But whether or not it has gold, the main thing to do is to stop resisting it, and honor it by giving it your full attention.

4. Now you are ready to move on to hearing the other members of your advisory board, like your loving inner parent, your higher power, and your intuitive voice. (the holy inner trinity!)

Your inner critic is much more likely to let other sides of you speak now that it feels heard and respected.

A lyric to a song I wrote in 1985 sums it up:

Sometimes your intuitive channel isn’t coming in clear

But did you notice that the volume is controlled by your desire to hear

To get maximum reception from your inner TV

You must be open to consult your own authority

And then you find what life is about

From the inside out

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