You came up short on your life goal, you narrowly missed being selected for the promotion, or a gigantic roadblock appeared that you didn’t expect. Are you your worst critic, or best?
As people we often see the worst in ourselves. We punish ourselves for coming up short, making a mistake, or narrowly missing an opportunity. Here is the brutal truth, don’t be so hard on yourself.
Your Worst Critic
Yesterday a dear friend shared something very private with me. It was something that he has carried for more than 30 years. With his head lowered and a never before heard softness in his voice, he expressed some of his pain.
While his story was difficult and upsetting to him my immediate reaction was that this situation was not his downfall, but it was his gift. (Just for the record, he is quite successful but he doesn’t always see it that way.)
This situation shaped his life and has made him a very positive force in all that he does and all that he pursues. It is his motivation, his driving force, and he uses it for the greater good of mankind. I celebrate him by writing this, but he might have his head down still caught up in the moments of discomfort or pain that he still carries to this day. What do I believe? I believe he is truly great.
Here are a few tips to help you keep your life in perspective:
- Be authentic. You aren’t anyone else, and no one else is you. Own any mistakes, but never let them slow you down, you’re only passing up future opportunities if you do.
- Stay positive. Staying positive is not telling yourself, “I am positive.” Staying positive is living and viewing all of life through a different lens. If your self-talk is about everything that went wrong, or everything that you expect will go wrong, no amount of stating that you are positive will take you there.
- Perfect is unreasonable. Perfection like beauty is often measured in the eye of the beholder. While you may see something as perfection, others might find fault. Stop lowering your self-esteem by comparing yourself to someone else. Measure against your own past performances or strive for improvement.
- Remind yourself of past accomplishments. Your life will be full of ups and downs, highs and lows. I don’t know of a single success story that doesn’t include some of both. Any ups and downs during a 12 month window might only represent a little over 1% of your life. Pick yourself up and get back on track.
- Someone might tell you that you can’t. There are always people who will tell you that you can’t achieve more. Instead of listening to them and allowing their prophecy to manifest inside you, turn it around and allow it to be your motivation to prove them wrong.
I really don’t like the word criticism. It is one of the harshest and most demoralizing words used when people intend to help someone improve.
If you want to be someone’s critic, try being your own. Don’t be your worst critic.
This is one place (of many) where you can truly be your best.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.