I am 24, and I am a life coach.
And I have an inner voice that keeps asking me scary questions — “Who are you to teach people how to live? You’re 24, what do you even know about life?”
Well, that’s partly true.
I can’t teach someone how to raise their kids in a better way. I don’t have kids. I can’t teach someone how to work out their marriage. I have zero experience.
But I can teach you how to manage your emotions well. I can help you with making a daily self-care checklist. I can support you with your inner-resistance when you move forward 10X stronger to achieve your goals.
See, there are areas where I can’t help. But there are also so many things where I can help others. And this life is too short for me to wait another decade to do what I am already doing.
But this inner critic of mine — it’s telling me I am not good enough, I am not old enough, in fact, it’s telling me I’m not experienced enough. The 150-200 people I worked with in 2020 would disagree.
I am here to help others with what’s obvious to me.
Every day before working, before writing, before coaching, I have to gently silence this critic. On the days I can’t silence this critic, I can’t work my best. I can’t serve.
I can’t say I have mastered the way to silence my inner critic. The point that I feel I might have overexplained this — is perhaps my try to escape my inner critic. But over a period of time, I worked out different ways to work despite these challenges.
Become aware of your inner critic
Our brain wants to protect us. It lives in survival mode, by default.
That’s why we have this inner voice criticizing every move of us — trying to protect us from outer criticism. In a way, it’s trying to prepare us from the outer criticism.
This means my inner critic isn’t an enemy, it’s my friend — a crazy, over-protective friend.
Being mindful of its existence is our first victory. It likes to hide in the shadows, and as soon as we throw some light on this inner critic, half of its power goes away.
Take power away from your inner critic
Work with it. Ask some questions.
“Okay, if I am not worth being a life coach, what’s the worst that could happen if I write a post about how to heal your emotional suffering?”
“You will get criticism. People will tell you you’re an imposter and you’re faking everything.”
“Okay, cool. What if I choose not to accept this outer criticism because I know there are people who need to read this post. What would happen then?”
Having a dialogue like this will help you rationalize your inner critic. As we know, most of the fear of this inner critic is useless. Analyzing the criticism this way will help you recognize true criticism and let go of everything worthless.
Letting go of perfectionism
This is the most impactful way I have discovered to silence my inner critic.
Consider that your life is your journey to go from 0 to 100. You’re currently at level 5 and I am currently at level 28.
I don’t necessarily have to help you reach 100. I can help you grow from 5 to 15. I can help so many people grow from 5 to 15.
I am imperfect and I am growing. I don’t have my life figured out. But I have learned and studied and experimented with a lot of stuff that I can help you with.
I am here to help you with what’s obvious to me.
Focusing on the service
This inner critic is trying to protect me, and its focus is on my survival.
As soon as I shift my focus to serving others, to helping others live a purpose-driven life, my inner critic goes silent. Making the switch from survival to service always helps.
Accepting the reality
This inner critic is never going to disappear. That’s the reality.
The only way to live a meaningful life is to work with it, work on it, and work despite its presence.
Definitely, you can find ways that help you silence it, but we all need to accept that it will come over and over again. The key is to be aware of it, and switch to a love-based mindset when required.
Making peace with your inner critic is the best thing you can do to do some meaningful work in the world — for yourself and for others.