Happy Super Bowl Sunday. I hope you enjoy the game, the party, the commercials, or, if you are not a fan, the last day of your weekend. I will be on vacation in Florida the next two weeks, so I will see you again three weeks from today.

Before I depart, I want to share an interesting experience I had this week so you can learn from my mistake.

I was coaching one of my regular biweekly clients on Zoom. My client was in a poor place. She was feeling overwhelmed. She was doubting her skills. She was minimizing her achievements at her organization, where she has worked for 18 years and risen to the CEO position. She was wondering if she is burned out. She was questioning her desire to remain at this organization through 2023.

Together, we explored her framing, her mindset, and her proclivity to give in to her inner critic. We examined potential origins for her emotions and uneasiness. We assessed potential strategies she has used in the past to arise from this kind of malaise. We reviewed her years of success at her organization and her acknowledged leadership position within her profession.

At the conclusion of our coaching session, we reviewed her main take-aways and the actions she committed to take in order to address her feelings and concerns. Nevertheless, I left the session feeling disappointed in myself as a coach.

I told myself I had not helped this client help herself sufficiently and had not used my coaching skills well. I was feeling down. I was questioning my coaching ability. What had I done wrong? Why had I failed?

The next day I emailed this client to tell her that I wished our coaching session had gone longer and that it had produced more meaningful results for her. I asked her if she wanted to do a follow-up coaching session within the next week.

Much to my relief, she responded that she had come away from our coaching session “with a lot more clarity and a renewed sense of purpose.” She also said that after our session she had delegated a lot in the two days since our session. She added that she has her administrative assistant doing a lot more for her now.

She concluded her email by stating that several times during the day when she started to “get frazzled,” she gave herself time to think before reacting and worked hard to talk back to her inner critic.

I realized I had been too hard on myself. I had been judging myself. I had been listening to my own inner critic. And I had been making up a story.

Please do not repeat my behavior.

You can tame your inner critic by:
-Acknowledging he or she is part of you and will always be part of you
-Refusing to go down the rabbit hole of self-criticism
-Noticing when your inner critic is arising within you
-Welcoming that inner critic with a knowing smile and moving it off to the periphery
-Making a list of all the positive things you have accomplished that day, week or month to help push your inner critic to the sideline

You can never completely escape your inner critic. Alternatively, you can learn to live at peace with it.

We can all start to achieve that goal by being mindful and observing ourselves and how we are showing up for ourselves and our colleagues.

If you believe this content would resonate with a friend or colleague, please feel free to forward it along! – Larry