Taming Your Inner Critic

Being Mindful and Present

Slow down and trust the process…



I recently returned from an inspiring trip to Sitka, Alaska, where I aimed to master photographing eagles in flight. I am delighted to say it was a successful trip, and the Achiever in me is happy with the final results.

The experience was not without its challenges. Some challenges were within my control, while others were not. Several factors outside my control included the weather, locating the eagles, and their readiness to soar.



As for the things outside my control, not only did Diane join me on the trip, but my inner critic, Walter, came along. Yes, my inner critic has a name and even a face, as I like to picture ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham’s Walter. He is a salty curmudgeon who can be critical of himself and those around him.



Walter draws energy from critiquing my strengths and weaknesses, often focusing more on the latter when he is particularly active. As I looked at my images from my first day and first experience of photographing eagles in flight, he had a lot of familiar material, starting with what I was thinking in even deciding to try this, pointing out to me that I had no clue about what I was doing and even if I had a clue he launched into the chorus of I’m not.



You may have a different tune, but you know the lyrics ”I am not good enough, talented enough, experienced enough, quick enough, skilled enough, or patient enough to do this well. I am nuts to think I can do this, and everyone around me is better and more talented. In fact, I’m an imposter.



I’d heard this all before, so I knew what to do. I needed to silence and tame my inner critic. As I saw it, I had two options: the first was to toss him overboard, and the other was to quiet him down and invite him to watch and learn with me.



The second option is preferable; it prevents frustration and allows us to learn and grow together.

Unfortunately, we had a few days of rough weather and limited opportunities for me to try again. I used the time to calm Walter down and prepare for my next opportunity.



So, as the ship rocked back and forth, Walter and I had a nice conversation. I thanked him for joining me on the trip and realized that despite his harsh tone and judgment, his core intention was to protect me.

I thanked him for his passion, interest, and concern and invited him to sit back and watch me work.



I looked at my blurry images and identified what I was doing well and where I needed to pay a bit more attention. I created the space to clear my mind and learn from my experience.



I realized I needed to be more mindful and present in the experience. The reframe was that I was not there just to take pictures but to enjoy the experience.



I learned the importance of pausing to ‘Slow Down and Trust…’.



Trust in my photographic skills, my thorough preparations for the trip, and the state-of-the-art equipment I was using.



Results followed when I slowed down and shifted into a mindset of trust.



Where do you need to Slow Down, and what or who do you need to learn to Trust to achieve the outcomes you are looking for?



As a coach, I work with clients to address these questions and others, helping them clarify their goals and create plans to achieve them.



I invite you to slow down, set aside 30 minutes, and schedule a call with me to discuss your creative aspirations and goals.



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If you are unsure you are ready for that, I invite you to subscribe to my monthly newsletter, where you can find more information about silencing your inner critic and unlocking your creativity in pursuit of defining and pursuing your highest goals and aspirations.



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