Tips and tricks to help you show up and create your best work
You probably are very familiar with your Inner Critics (most people have a few). They are the mean voices that put you down or tell you that you can’t do something – the inner voices that make you feel defeated before you have even started. I talk in depth about what they are and where they come from in my free PDF guide. Here, I want to give you some additional tips and tricks to help keep them in check.
Take very small steps
If you say you will sit down and draw for 5-minutes, your critic will likely leave you alone, because, hey, what can you achieve in 5-minutes? This trick works, though, because getting started is the biggest hurdle. Usually, once you start, you will keep going.
In general, small steps are less intimidating and much easier to do, and they always lead you to another small step. Lots of small steps = big steps over time.
Make more things, imperfectly
Spend less time on each thing, and treat it as play. If you’re stuck getting started or find yourself overworking things, or they feel stiff and aren’t flowing, try doing something small that sounds more like play than work.
For example, I often set a timer for 1-minute and do some quick gesture drawings on big paper, or pull out some inspiring reference photos and spend 15-minutes smearing paint onto a piece of paper to capture the scene.
It’s a great way to loosen up and to explore more things with less pressure. It’s also a great way to slowly build up confidence and skill, so that when you get to the bigger idea, you’re more prepared to take it on.
Separate the results from the doing
Having a space between the doing and the looking (and inevitably, judging) can help you to separate the doing from the results. Whatever it is you are wanting to create, once you have created a something, put it into a drawer. Don’t look at it or evaluate it. Just put it away for a while.
Leave it there until a determined amount of time has passed (a week, a month). Then, make a cup of tea and have fun pulling them all out and looking at them.
You can even make this a regular ritual and set aside the same time, place, or routine for looking over your creations. You may be surprised and encouraged by what you find when you look back through your work in this way.
Play some music that they would hate
My downer critic, for example, is a really mopey type. So why not some lively salsa music when she’s being bothersome? Poking fun at them is a great way to shut your Inner Critic up and make them seem small and silly.
Identify your Inner Critics and make them visible
It helps to identify them and give them names and a picture. This removes a lot of their power. I talk about this in more depth in my free PDF.
Brené Brown talks about giving her critics a seat in the arena. By giving them a seat, she is acknowledging them and making them visible, but she is not giving them control over her ability to show up and do.
If you like, you can have fun with their name – calling them something silly or using alliteration, ex. for an Inner Critic obsessed with perfectionism, maybe they are ‘Picky Picky’ or ‘Particular Patty’ or ‘Precise Prescilla’.
Talk to them as though they are small
I often tell my critics to stop whining, or talk to them as though they are a complaining child rather than an all-powerful figure who is in charge. Danielle Krysa swears by telling her Inner Critic to go sit in a corner, because she has work to do and doesn’t have time to listen to their griping.
Rephrase their negativity as positive comments
You can rewrite – or re-say to yourself – their negative messages with positive ones.
Begin to replace the messages you hear whenever they come up. Instead of “You’re going to look silly and awkward. You’ll be embarrassed and one will like you.” Think, “I’m a confident, beautiful woman who is kind and generous. I am calm and truly look at and see others. This is meaningful to them and they see me in return.”
You can write some of these in your journal or on post-its you keep at your desk.
* * *
You can learn more about this idea and about finding your Guiding Energy, by downloading my free PDF ‘Banishing Your Inner Critics and Finding Your Guiding Energy’. It’s a beautiful document that I hope is both inspiring and helpful to you – and it includes a ready-made template for creating your Inner Critic bio(s).
Learn more about Tuning into Your Guiding Energy on the blog.
Pin this post for later: