Blog Post Cover: Inner Critic and Personal Growth

Inside each of us is the self-destructive internal narrative that repeats phrases like, “I’m such a loser!” when we mess up. Learning to silence the inner critic is one of the key requirements to experience breakthrough success. The best way to do that is through the three c’s for personal growth.

“Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchhill

Setting the Stage

Deep down, you know that failure isn’t final. Yet, it is an inevitable part of the struggle in life.

If you’re a parent, you’ve seen this countless times with kids. What would happen if, the first time my child tried to talk a walk, he fell over and I determined that walking must not be for him. I’d pick him up, vow to never let him fail again, and prohibit him from walking. I don’t want him to be a failure after all!

You’d call me crazy and think I’d be a bad parent … and you’d be right. When it comes to children, parents are keenly aware that temporary failure is a part of the learning process. However, parental insecurities also pass on to offspring and soon children internalize that failure is bad, and not acceptable. The first time I heard my oldest child criticize herself as a failure was kindergarten.

Let that sink in. Somehow, I taught my child before her fifth birthday, that failure was to be avoided because it was a bad reflection on her.

Ouch

All of humanity is embedded with the Inner Critic. Success happens, not just by battling the inner critic, but by overcoming it. Once you acknowledge it, you then want to dismantle the power it has in your life. How? Through the three c’s of personal developmentBlog Post Cover: Inner Critic and Personal Growth

Three Sources of Feedback

Competency

The first step in the process is competency. When I first started coaching, I labeled this as an individual’s calling. It was the answer to the question: what on earth am I here for? It’s a deep examination of you life, purpose, skills, abilities, passions, and goals in life. Your calling, as Frederick Buechner so eloquently put is the place where, “your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” You were put here for a specific purpose. You will only truly be happy when you are fulfilling that purpose. I’ve worked with entrepreneurs who were looking to start a business, stay at home parents, career professionals in a variety of backgrounds. Each and every one of them had a unique purpose and we structured our time together to help them achieve clarity in their calling. Then, they were called to action.

You are too. Your calling, your greatest competency, is a gift to bless others. That new product or idea, the time with your kids, your neighborhood involvement, it all matters. Your legacy will long outlive you in the thoughts and minds of those around you. The more effectively you engage your calling, the deeper the impact you make on the world, the more significant your legacy will be. By discovering your core competency, your calling, you embrace who you are and fix your mind on completing the deepest parts of your existence.

Compassion

The second part of the process is compassion. More specifically, self-compassion. You beat the inner critic by extending grace on yourself. Several times over the last decade, I’ve posted a simple question online: do you find it harder to extend grace to others when they mess or to yourself when you mess up? While no results are ever 100% clear, and Facebook obviously isn’t a scientific platform, the results are always heavily skewed towards a struggle with ourselves. The problem is that you know your own internal moral compass. When you don’t live up to that, it’s a frustrating and embarrassing failure. When someone we love screws up, it’s a forgivable oversight, when you screw up, it’s a violation of your own personal moral code and honor.

In spite of how hard it is, the journey towards self-compassion is a necessary one. During my master’s program, my wife made me a shirt that said, “Be Tender To Yourself.” It was a reminder that just as I have forgiven others, I must also forgive myself. I spent years in counseling unable to do so. It wrecked my life. While your own journey may not see you in counseling, I’m guessing you also struggle with it.

Here are two ways to begin the journey towards greater self-compassion.

The first part of the problem is to put yourself, more pointedly your mistake, into someone else’s shoes. I’m not saying don’t accept responsibility or blame someone else. The idea is to imagine that someone else committed the error. If Bill had promised you the expense report at 7:00 last night, but got distracted dealing with a sick child’s vomit on the floor, would you refer to him as a lazy, good-for-nothing, idiot? My guess is (my sincere hope is) probably not. Instead, you’d reassure Bill that everything is okay. Extend yourself that same grace. If you’re not bothered by someone else doing it, don’t be offended when you do it.

The second way to engage in self-compassion is through humor. When you screw up, learning to laugh at yourself is a vital and necessary step. Spilled your orange juice? Instead of criticizing yourself for being an idiot, make a comment on how far it got. “Man, this time I was able to get it on the floor, the walls, and the ceiling. I really am talented!” Shifting your perspective, and in the process finding a way to compliment yourself, destroys the power of the inner critic.

Community

The final piece of the puzzle is community. In community, you can discover who you really are. Friends, parents, coworkers, a spouse or life partner, a trusted boss, mentor, and former professor all have insights into what makes you, you.

Seek authentic feedback from others. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How can those who know you best affirm your calling? What does your support network look like? By examining the community you participate in, you can assess that you are on the right path. During coaching, you can also use that time to change or adapt your community. If you try to assemble your feedback team and realize that no one supports you then you need new friends! Having a well-rounded, supportive, diverse community is key to your success, and the only way to make sure you have one is analyze it! Community grounds and surrounds us in the difficult moments of life, giving us the energy and strength to carry on.

This is an excerpt of my upcoming Shift. To receive news and alerts about its upcoming release, subscribe to my newsletter.

To get help through coaching, contact me.

Blog Post Cover with text overlay: "What Your Story?"

Over the weekend, my eight-year-old wrote a story. It centers on Kaid and Bob and their experience in a typhoon. Like any good story, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. There’s conflict, dialogue, character progression, a climax, and resolution. In ten pages, all handwritten and illustrated, he took the reader on a pretty spectacular journey. 

He was so dedicated to it, he spent almost all day Sunday putting the finishing touches on it. After he read it to me, you could see the pride beaming from his face. He felt accomplished. He knew he had done something hard, and seen the positive results from it.

More than that, it was actually a really well-written story. He’s clearly got a good grasp of what makes a story compelling and has started the long process of mastering it ahead of him.

I’m extraordinarily proud of him.

It also reminded of something we often forget ourselves.

What’s Your Story?

You are in the midst of a story.

Blog Post Cover with text overlay: "What Your Story?"

Right here.

Right now.

You are telling the world something about you.

2020 has been hard. Devastating for many. A huge setback at best and the fear of final failure at worse.

But your story isn’t over yet.

You get to author the end.

It can feel daunting. I get it.

I know you feel overwhelmed. Totally understandable.

I know you wonder about your business, your relationships, your family. That’s what great leaders do.

But I also know …. you got this.

Reframing The Possibilities

Recently, I had several conversations with individuals exploring coaching before the end of the year. 

One, a young twenty-something female was worried about her kids. The other, a late-career professional staring at the end of his working career both began the same way: “Justin, 2020 really messed me up.”

One had their whole career in front of them. The other only had a few years left before retirement. Both were worried that 2020 proved to be the end.

It’s helpful in these moments to remember that you own the rights to your story. You are the star. In the main drama that unfolds over your life, you are the lead actor, executive producer, and director. You have an incredible amount of power to dictate where your life goes.

I hope you find that liberating. Far from being over, your story is only just beginning. 2020 is not the end, it is a new beginning.

In my son’s story, the friends were displaced from their homes by a natural disaster. By the end of the book, they were off trying to find a new place to live.

Your story may be similar. Your life, your business, your family, your income, your routine has been displaced. You are working from home where you balance kids, a spouse, work, Zoom, a distanced social life, walking the dog, chores, and some quality downtime. 

That’s why I firmly believe that now is the best time for you to seize this opportunity and do something great.

Do Something Great

So what’s your story going to be?

There are 13 weeks left in 2020.

87 days.

2,100 hours.

126,209 minutes.

7,572,500 seconds.

Each one of those is precious.

Embedded within each is the chance to reclaim your life. You now have the opportunity to seize this moment, do something great, and transform your life.

Your day is over.

This month has just begun.

Your story hasn’t ended.

The plot may have shifted, but greatness is still in front of you.

Rise up, warrior, and seize this day. Reclaim your story. Rewrite your legacy.

Do something great.

 

To celebrate the release of my new book, I’m giving away copies for a limited time. To receive your free copy, plus my free 5 day course on productivity, click this link.

Podcast Cover - Episode 15 with Dr. Thor

Episode 15 – Interview with Dr. Thor

Welcome to the Leaderquest Podcast. This season will consist of interviews conducted for the Building With Purpose Conference I held back in May. This is Episode 15 – Interview with Dr. Thor.

If you failed to register for the full course, stay tuned for the rest of season two! I’ve got interviews coming up with each of the contributors. You’ll be able to glean wisdom from them and apply them in ways to grow yourself and your business. Podcast Cover - Episode 15 with Dr. Thor

For the conference, I assembled a diverse team of business professionals to examine the stay at home order and how we can achieve maximum productivity and success while in quarantine. The original conference was designed on the front of a newly issued stay-at-home order. Now, four months later, it seems all the more timely as the economy is looking to reopen.

This is Episode 15 – Interview with Dr. Thor. 

My Interview with Dr. Scott Thor

In this episode, I’m having a conversation with Dr. Scott Thor. He is a personal finance coach, helping individuals get out of debt and transform their lives through smart money management. He brings decades of experience as a coach and consultant in both the private practice and business coaching as a Lean Six Sigma black belt.

Be sure to subscribe, leave a comment, and share with someone who could benefit. 

What’s one takeaway you have from  Episode 15 and my interview with Dr. Thor from the Building With Purpose Conference? How will you take control of your financial planning?

I’m amazed at the knowledge he brings to the table. In the midst of COVID, many of us are struggling financially. This episode was originally recorded before the first stimulus checks and is rereleased here, as the government is now debating a second round. Many of us need help effectively using our money. 

Want more leadership tips? Be sure to check out the blog or #NextSteps Coaching on YouTube.

Man with muscular shadow and superimposed text: Capacity to change the world

All of us have a superpower that when unleashed have the capacity to change the world. Think Marvel, but much more incredibly powerful (and totally real!).

Here are some of the amazing things that your superpower can do:

  • Increase Optimism.
  • Raise self-confidence.
  • Create greater levels of connection with others.
  • It provides the largest effect on trust. This is especially when it is tangible, personal, and public.
  • Activates your medial prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that experiences pleasure in things like drugs and alcohol. Meaning using this superpower gets you high like a drug. That’s right YOU feel better when using your superpower.
  • Using your superpower makes others more innovative, creative, collaborative, results, and productivity.
  • It increases longevity in the workforce. People stay longer where this superpower is used.

Any clue what it is? Man with muscular shadow and superimposed text: Capacity to change the world

Gratitude

Gratitude is your key superpower and it gives you the capacity to change the world. Expressing gratitude has been shown to not only bring value and service to others but to you as well. You get a chemical high, it blesses your employees and coworkers, increases your self-confidence, builds trust, and generates positivity.

Not bad, eh?

Expressing gratitude is a small thing that makes a big difference. Here are a few ways for you to express gratitude today:

  • Publicly praise a coworker or employee with words of affirmation and a job well done.
  • Write a note of thanks to a customer.
  • Create a social media post on your company page that honors an extraordinary effort or job well done by someone in your company.
  • Write a positive review of a business, server, or other public servant giving them praise and honor for their commitment.

Your Capacity To Change the World

There are thousands of ways to express gratitude. The important thing is to express it. Being thankful without expressing it is like not being thankful at all.

In our current world, this is important now more than ever. The world is longing for superheroes. You have the ability to be one. Your capacity to change the world lies in activating your superpower: gratitude.

Push Through Excuses and realize you can do it.

 

The measure of our success will always be determined by our ability to push through excuses.

A List of Popular Excuses

Tell me if you’ve heard (or used) any of these following excuses:

  • I’m Tired
  • The kids wouldn’t cooperate.
  • My boss was mean.
  • A bad economy.
  • No one listens to me.
  • My spouse doesn’t support me.
  • A team member (or business partner) didn’t work as hard as me.
  • I don’t have the time.

The list could keep going, couldn’t it? We’ve all been there. Longing for a vision of what could’ve been or should’ve been had things worked out differently.

They can work out differently. Things can always improve. We can always do better. Under no circumstances should we ever forego chasing our dreams.

Our success is limited only by our ability to overcome our circumstances.

Push Through Excuses

Early on in my coaching career, I had a not-so-good client. (That’s putting in nicely). I didn’t enjoy working with this person. They had a long list of dreams and desires and an even longer list of reasons why they couldn’t accomplish those dreams.

During one coaching call, he explained that he couldn’t send any resumes out because his ex-girlfriend wouldn’t have liked his resume format. Push Through Excuses and realize you can do it.

He didn’t apply for a job, because a former girlfriend wouldn’t have liked the formatting. Everyone else was getting to dictate the direction and circumstance except for him.

We worked on these issues for weeks. Stuck in a dead-end job, he wanted out badly (or so he said). Finally, after a month of inaction, I leveled with him. “Fix it this week or I’m sending your money back. I’m done working with you if you don’t want to change.”

After a few seconds of silence, he responded, “Yeah, I’m not gonna fix it this week. Thanks though.” Within thirty seconds of that sentence, we wrapped up our last call, I canceled his paperwork, and I never looked back.

I’m not sure what happened to him, but I learned a lot from him. I learned about my ideal client, staying motivated, having discipline, and the need to push through excuses.

Our ability to reach our dreams is directly related to our ability to push through excuses.

Determined At All Costs

High-achievers and success-oriented people have learned to push through excuses. Nelson Mandela remarked, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Leaders are determined at all costs to push through excuses. They choose to exercise courage instead of fear. Practicing commitment to their goals is paramount. They know how much is riding on it.

Here are three tips to give us courage as we pursue our goals and push through excuses:

1.) Create Clear Goals

Clarity breeds confidence. When we know exactly what we’re aiming for, and why it matters, we can muster up the strength to continue.

2.) Recall Your Track record

If no one has told you this yet: Good job. So far, you’ve made it through 100% of everything life has thrown you. Your strength, capabilities, and commitment have gotten you this far. You have no reason to think you can’t make it through the next obstacle, however daunting it may seem.

3.) Journey Together

Life is hard. It’s even harder to do it alone. Find a friend, mentor, peer, trusted advisor, or coach. Establish a relationship with the right people who are in your corner and push you towards greatness. The right people help you tell your story better. They are absolutely critical to your journey.

We’ve all been hurt. Everyone has been lied to. We all know the pain of fear, regret, pain, and failure. Successful people have learned to tell a different story. To rewrite their old history and chart a new path.

The journey to success is not a straight line, but it is one that must be made intentionally. Lean into those goals. Pursue them with passion. Give it your all. Don’t stop. In order to reach your full potential, you must push through excuses.

Start today.