i love to help guide super-capable women to start trusting their instincts, let go of worries, and walk straight into their fears - so they can start living the lives they really want for themselves.
Being brave is not about some storybook idea of facing challenges without fear. Rather, practicing bravery is about confronting life in an honest and pragmatic way. It's about being real with yourself, exposing yourself to difficult feelings and experiences, and above all else trusting that you know what's best for you and that you will make it to other side.
To be brave is to be vulnerable and strong at the same time. To be willing to be in the present when things are scary or painful. To keep your heart open even when it wants to close. To have hope when the days are dark. To love yourself, be patient with yourself and take care of yourself, first.
Bravery is not easy. But it opens doors and windows and entirely new lives. Flourish on!
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Have you ever heard a voice in your head say “You can’t do that”, or maybe “You’re never going to get that” or maybe, just maybe “You definitely aren’t pretty enough”....
That voice saying that mean spirited stuff - she’s your Inner Critic. She’s been around a long, long time, so you may be pretty used to her and think she’s actually some real, true core "voice of you".
Well, she’s not. She may have been around a long time but she’s not a real, or true or any kind of core voice of you.
Because the inner critic can sound SO MEAN - the natural instinct - if you’re attempting to manage her, is to be mean back to her. To try and fight her down or tell her to shut up already.... If you've tried that route - I'm curious - how'd that work for you?
Even though our inner critics speak in a really mean spirited way - what she is actually are trying to do is protect us. The inner critic voice tends to grow out of a wounded place from sometime in our childhood, adolescence or young adulthood. A time that was difficult, painful, a time of suffering. Our inner critic’s job is to protect us from experiencing that bad stuff again.
For example - my inner critic really likes to protect me from getting my feelings hurt about my body image and looks. This one dates to about age 12. She likes me "safe", doing nothing new, and definitely not trying to pretend I can do it with all my masses of physical imperfection.
And I used to listen to her. In fact, totally believed her. (Sound familiar?)
Now, when she pipes up, I will hear what she has to say - but instead of believing, and then running the other way - I remind myself she’s just trying to protect me from possible injury... and I'm not say, really the fat, ugly, totally unlovable person she’s conjuring.
I work a lot with clients on their inner critic and we practice something I call “Stop, Acknowledge, Move on”. When they hear their inner critic voice they follow this practice:
1) Stop, take a pause and notice that it’s the inner critic speaking
2) Acknowledge her for what she has to say ie. “Ok, Inner Critic, I hear that you think I’m never going to be able to do that because I suck at “X”, but it’s important to me and I’m going to give it a try anyway.”
3) Then they move on with that moment, day, their life…. rinse & repeat as necessary.
What does your inner critic like to say about you? Drop me an email or leave a note in the comments below and let me know. I’d be more than happy to offer you some thoughts on how to manage her.
If you would like to learn more about your inner critic and how to manage her, we’ll be spending some quality time on this in my upcoming virtual course Your Courageous Purpose. Would love to see you there!
I met my ex-husband the summer after college graduation on the front stoop of my first apartment in San Francisco.
Now, more than 20 years later I’m dating for pretty much the first time. (I mean, who “dated” in high school or college of the 80’s and 90’s?)
There’s no front stoop where everyone in the building hangs out drinking Sierra Nevadas and Spinelli coffee anymore. At age 42, you get Match.com, OkCupid, and Tinder…
And it is HARD. And scary. And incredibly vulnerable.
And I’m doing it anyway. I’m feeling the fear of it all and doing it anyway because I’ve been doing a lot of work around my vision for my life and it includes a partner. Someone for me at some point. So I’ve got to at least try.
A few years ago I kinda tried, but the fear it brought up, along with the awkwardness of the dates led me to give up. This time around it feels different. It’s still not EASY, but I’m different.
This time around - after all my coaching training work around courage - I am totally aware that this whole process is going to bring up fear. It’s going to bring up my inner critic who gets very noisy and overprotective around new things. And it’s going to bring up all my outdated “Stories” about who I am as a person, with men, etc.
Fear is going to come up. And this is just normal.
Just because you become certified as a life coach, doesn’t mean you feel fear any less. You just recognize it for what it is and work with it differently.
And just because you’re a life coach who encourages others to step into their fear every day - doing it yourself can still surprise and delight with how deeply rewarding it is.
You see, about a month ago I had a Sunday afternoon drinks date. By the time Sunday came around, the absolute last thing I wanted to do what get dressed, do my hair and drive into the city to meet a random person I had never met before.
I really, really wanted to cancel. As I drove over the bridge and the sun was out and the bay was all pretty and sparkly, I really wanted to text that random person and cancel so I could call a friend instead and say “Hey, want to meet for a glass of wine at the Ferry Building in 10 minutes!?”
But I didn’t. Instead I drove around in circles for a long time and finally found a parking spot. Walked over to the meeting place with the sunny outdoor patio. I was a few minutes late, but he wasn’t there yet. 30 minutes later, still no sign. No email. No call. No text. I’d been stood up!
First I was annoyed, then mad, then... relieved! I got to go home and take out my contacts and read my book on the deck!
But also, I had tried. I'd felt the fear, and done it anyway.
I was super proud of myself for going through with it, and it helped me shake off some of the intensity of this dating thing.
And this experience reminded loud and clear that if I want to create my life vision, I’m going to need to try. And as I try, it will be hard/scary/vulnerable. But it’s important to me, and if I walk into that fear again and again, it will be worth it.
Next up is a weekday lunch date I’ve already rescheduled two times due to work-life challenges. (Honestly, between the scheduling and the vulnerability, I find myself wondering when the fun part shows up… but I digress…)
So I’ll keep emailing with these unknown men, and setting up awkward dates I don’t really want to go on. I’ll keep working with the “Stories” inside my head created at the tender ages of 12 and 15 and 19 inside that threaten to hold me back. I’ll keep hearing my inner critic, acknowledging her and all she wants to protect me from.
And I’ll keep walking into the fear because on the other side… is my life vision.
Are you interested in crafting your own life vision? Want to learn how to identify the “Stories” in your head for what they are? Ready to get to know your inner critic so you can work with her instead of do battle? Let's do it! Learn more about the Your Courageous Purpose Virtual Workshop