#288: How to Tame Your Inner Critic

You might think your biggest obstacle is your demanding clients … a lack of great opportunities … or maybe the global economy.

But none of those are it.

Your biggest obstacle is YOU. Your inner critic. Your negative self-talk and criticism. The way you put yourself down. The way you doubt yourself and your abilities.

In today’s podcast episode, I describe how our desire for safety gets in the way of our progress—and why we should welcome our fears and obstacles instead.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts.

We’re Wired to Stay Safe

Why do we listen to our inner critic? Because we’re wired to stay safe.

Thousands of years ago, that safety instinct kept us alive. It stopped us from doing something that would harm or kill us.

Today, that safety instinct still exists. But it’s less about our physical safety and more about our identity. We fight to preserve how we fit in the world and how we view ourselves. Which is why we avoid doing things we know could improve our business.

In fact, the more something threatens our identity, the more we’ll avoid doing that thing. 

Fortunately, you can take steps to counteract that kind of thinking and self-talk. David Goggins outlines them in his excellent book Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds. He writes:

“We are all our own worst haters and doubters because self-doubt is a natural reaction to any bold attempt to change your life for the better. You can’t stop it from blooming in your brain, but you can neutralize it, and all the other external chatter, by asking, What if?

What if is an exquisite [F.U.] to anyone who has ever doubted your greatness or stood in your way. It silences negativity. It’s a reminder that you don’t really know what you’re capable of until you put everything you’ve got on the line. It makes the impossible feel at least a little more possible.”

So ask yourself . . . what if you let go of some of your clients who are no longer serving you?

What if you upped your fees . . . quoted more confidently . . . offered bigger, bolder ways to add value to your clients . . . and started playing a bigger game?

Give Goggins’ technique a try. Start asking yourself a different set of questions, starting with What if? . . .

Don’t Wish Things Were Easier

Most of us wish our problems would just go away. We desire an easier life and business with fewer problems and obstacles. Our natural inclination is to find the path of least resistance.

But growth requires us to take a leap of faith and try new things. We have to put ourselves out there, including raising our fees and sticking to our values and non-negotiables.

If we’re afraid to do those things, we’ll never accomplish anything worthwhile. Which is why we have to accept the fact that our problems will never go away. We will always face obstacles, problems, challenges. ALWAYS.

So the question is not: How can I eliminate obstacles and problems in my business?

The question is: Which obstacles and problems would I rather have?

As Ryan Holiday writes in his excellent book Courage Is Calling:

“What if there was certainty, if there was a well-lit, well-defined path? If life were like this, no courage would be required. The fear you feel is a sign. If courage is never required in your life, you’re living a boring life. [So] put yourself in a position that demands you leap.”

Don’t fear what will happen when you leap. Fear what you’ll miss if you don’t. Or, as motivational speaker Jim Rohn used to say, “Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.”

As much as I would rather avoid obstacles and problems, I know that the obstacle IS the way. It’s what makes us stronger, better, richer, more fulfilled.

But it all starts by understanding our biology—why we do what we do. And why we get in our own way.

Once you understand your MO, you’ll see your problems in a whole new light. And you’ll know what to do next.



By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1. Grab a free copy of my book.

It’s called Earn More in Less Time: The Proven Mindset, Strategies and Actions to Prosper as a Freelance Writer. The title says it all. 😉 — Click Here

2. Join my implementation program and be a case study.

I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’re earning $5k+/month (or the part-time equivalent) from your freelance business … and you’d like to grow your income quickly with better clients … just email me at [email protected]

3. Work with me privately.

If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll get back to you with more details.