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Naming and Taming the Critics (Part 1)

For this special blog post, you'll be getting content straight out of our induction series for The Transformation Program – which will also be one of a two-part series I'm doing.

I've taken this out of the program in order to create a part two, because, one of our program members has actually asked me to go deeper on this subject. So I was thinking, maybe what I'll do is share this with the general community and then create the rest of the content to help more bookkeepers around mindset, around naming the critics, around creating health, wealth, and happiness through mindset mastery, which is definitely what it's all about.

Naming and taming the critics - The Strategic Bookkeeper

I will let you know that in the background, I am just daydreaming and preparing to roll out The Healthy Bookkeeper, which will level up the kind of content that I provide everybody in this space. So what you'll be reading is very much from The Healthy Bookkeeper. When I put my Healthy Bookkeeper hat on, I absolutely want to inspire women globally to put themselves first. That is, put their physical, mental, and spiritual health first. And today's blog post is definitely linked to all of that. I would actually love to hear what you think after reading this so please feel free to shoot me an email or drop a comment into our private Facebook group.

Now in terms of helping you to step out of a place of any fear, anxiety and that kind of thing, into a place of courage and confidence in getting it done, I want to introduce you to the concept that I've come up with of the three critics. Now, we all go through periods of fear, anxiety, uncertainty, monster imposter syndrome, all of these things, okay? This is part of the human condition, which is shame. Completely normal.

The research by Brené Brown states that if we learn to embrace the fact that shame is the human condition and not try and bury and avoid it and say, I don't go through shame, that is key to success and finding that contentment in life where we are able to step into a place of feeling that, call it evenness. We all have the voice of shame that comes up on our shoulder and says, who do you think you are? You can't do that – and that puts us into a place or moments of anxiety, of fear, of uncertainty, of I'm not worthy of all of these things. Now, I'd like to connect that to the critics in my own words as I have come up with this over time.

From time to time, I've heard people around me say things like, the people say this and the people say that, and they say it in a way as in people criticising me. So for example, oh, people tell me that I can never achieve that. Or people said, I can't sell my house for this value. Or people said, I'll never be able to stick to that eating plan.

And I've found myself asking, who are the people?

And oftentimes I'm told, well, just people generally. And I say, well, hang on a sec, tell me exactly who it is, is it family, friends? Is it a particular friend?

I've asked myself, who are the people that are criticising you, Jeannie? Because, I would like to think – and I have observed in my experience is that on the whole, most people, family, friends, community, business buddies, colleagues, whatever – majority of people are actually cheering us on and are supportive of what we can do. So I believe it's really important to name and tame the critics you have.

I think, ultimately, there are three primary types of critics that we need to name and tame.

Number one is the accidental critic.

That is, more often than not, like a family member. And one of the primary examples I use is the parent-child relationship. You see it in sitcoms and in movies where the parent kind of throws bouquets with bricks in it.

Maybe they don't realise, maybe it's the dynamic, but the parent is critical of the child. This is in an adult relationship, and the parent becomes critical of the child. And, criticism from a parent at any age can be quite crippling. And so this leads to the people are criticising me, the people are putting me down, but realistically, it's often the accidental critic, as I call it.

I'll give you an example of what happened to a friend of mine. This friend had quite a lot of success and his father said to him one day,

"You are so successful, son, I'm so proud of you.

I am just absolutely amazed, immensely proud...

...and to think, I thought you were the child of mine who was least likely to do anything with their life."

That's what I call the accidental critic – because the father, without maybe thinking about it, has accidentally thrown a bouquet with a brick in it and criticised the shit out of this person, out this adult, by saying, well done on your success. And I thought you were never going to get there.

It's the accidental critic that can make us absolutely crumble and self-doubt and absolutely feeds the voice of shame on our shoulders. So that voice of shame is sitting there waiting to be fed. And this critic feeds the voice of shame who then says, haha, I told you you're not worthy. You're no good. Who do you think you are? Imposter syndrome.

Now, if we can name the accidental critic, we can more likely tame the accidental critic. Name it to tame it, an old school counselling tool. So if I name that critic, I can kind of turn it into something funny and I can say to the voice of shame,

"I hear you. However, I am also a human. I am worthy. I'm a human, and I know my values and my self-worth is attached to being human and my values. And so while I'm proud of my own success, I'm also just a beautifully flawed human being, stumbling along with the illusion of control like everyone else."

Now the second critic is the I'm not okay, you're not okay critic.

This is a psychology 101 concept. This happens for some people, alright? And I kind of have a joke in my head and I call them basic people. Because if you don't really fully understand "I'm okay, you're okay" and you just are at the mercy of your own emotions and feelings, you can easily let it spill over to others and project your stuff on them.

Some people absolutely do this, and what happens is if they're not feeling okay – like someone who's in a bit of a shame and vulnerability sh*tstorm – what they may do is kind of throw bouquets with bricks in them at you, which is like an insult wrapped in a compliment in order to make you feel shitty, because they feel shitty. And it is a psychology 101 thing. And when that happens, I think it's important to recognise the situation as it is.

The people who do this actually do it frequently. Whenever they're in a poor place, whenever they're in a difficult place, they will throw bouquets with bricks in them in order to "I'm not okay, You're not okay".

And when they're in a great place, they will be like, "I'm okay, you're okay".

They want to bring people down with them in order to make themselves feel better.

And look, I absolutely know quite a few people like this because, again, it's a basic psychology thing. They don't mean it to be horrible, but they do it because they're probably not as in control of their emotions and maybe their behaviour as some other people. So it's not something that I tend to think, that's a terrible person. I think that's a person doing the "I'm not okay, you're not okay".

So when that person criticises us, once again, if we can name it to tame it... let's say this person's name is Janet.

"I've seen Janet do this before. This is Janet's pattern. She's doing the "I'm not okay, you're not okay". It's actually not an attack on me – although it is an attack, but I'm going to name it to tame it and tell the voice of shame. I know you love this, I know it's feeding you, but I'm not going to buy into this."

The very last critic is actually the biggest critic of them all. Can you guess who that critic is?

The biggest critic of them all is ourselves.

And the two critics actually just serve to feed the critic that is ourselves.

And the critic that is ourselves is the voice of shame. It is the voice of shame on your shoulder saying, who do you think you are? Which is the human condition. If you have the voice of shame, if you suffer imposter monster, if you suffer anxiety, fear, congratulations, you're not a sociopath or psychopath.

Shame is the human condition and it is the biggest critic. It is ourselves.

So when one of these other people criticises us, it seeds the major critic waiting for confirmation bias that I'm not good enough, I can't do this, I'm not built for this, et cetera, et cetera. And so what's important is to name them to tame them, and to tame them is really just about self-awareness and breathing through it,

making room for shame and vulnerability,

and making room to kind of, for me, I try and have a little humour in my own head and just name it and go,

"That's kind of funny. That's the human condition and I get it. It makes me feel like sh*t, but it makes everyone feel like sh*t.

I can take heart in the fact that I'm just human."

So I just want you to think about, is that new to you? Do you relate to the three critics? How can you move forward in your life in order to name and tame the critics, in order to be able to move out of fear and anxiety and imposter monster and freezing and all of these things, in order to move out of that into a place of courage and confidence and vulnerability – which is very, very important. And, if you read Brené Brown's work, in a place where you can breathe, make room for shame, and simply take action and move past it.

How can you use what I've told you in order to do better in business and life?

If this stuff is hard for you, go back and read it all over again, as often as you need to. If it's not hard for you, great, but it is hard for the majority of people all over the world.

So what are you going to do next time you hear one of the critics? If you hear yourself say, the people tell me I can't do it. The people tell me I'm not good enough. The people say you'll never stick to that thing. Then, can you take a moment, breathe, revisit this blog post, and then actually say, well, let's sit down and work out who the people are. I suggest that's one person or two people primarily feeding the voice of shame, that is the biggest critic, which is ourselves.

Whenever you hear yourself say the people, I want you to stop and say there is no the people. Name the person, name the type of critic they are. Name it to tame it, make room, and grow personally and professionally.


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