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CPA Now
Mar 25, 2016

Seven Strategies for Taming Your Inner Critic

Cheryl RiceCheryl Rice, MS, PCC, Your Voice Your Vision


In over 20 years of coaching wonderfully accomplished women, I have yet to work with one who hasn’t tangled with her inner critic. You know what voice I mean – the voice in your head that is yelling you can’t, you shouldn’t, or you shouldn’t have. And that’s how it sounds on a good day!  

PICPA and Womens History MonthThe inner critic can prevent us from taking smart risks, asking for what we want, or using our strengths to our best advantage. Worse, the voice can prevent us from feeling fulfilled and satisfied from the accomplishments. The good news is that with self-awareness and self-compassion we can learn strategies to quiet the voice of our inner critic. Here are seven strategies to accomplish this:

  1. Remind yourself that, contrary to popular belief, our inner critic often shows up when we are doing or experiencing something big in our lives.
  2. Give your critic a name. What we name we can tame.
  3. As nasty and gnarly as the critic can be, keep in mind that it is actually looking out for your best interests. Underneath it all, the critic is less evil monster and more like a frightened child in need of reassurance and compassion.
  4. Find the kernel of truth spoken by your inner critic and address it. For instance, “I’m going to bomb my presentation,” becomes, “If I don’t prepare, then it’s quite likely I will bomb. Best to schedule some time to prepare!”
  5. Talk back with disconfirming evidence. For example, “Well, that’s not true because I’ve actually done this work well before.”  
  6. Ask yourself what your best friend would say to your inner critic.
  7. Lastly, when I was challenged by my inner critic when writing my book, I would come back to this quote by Audre Lorde to remind myself of what I was more passionate about than afraid of, “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strengths in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

Cheryl Rice was a speaker at the PICPA’s Women’s Conference on May 11, 2016 in Malvern, Pa. Her session, “From Critic to Champion: Claim Your Leadership Voice,” is available On-Demand and will help you quell your inner critic and stop feeling plagued by self-criticism.

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Statements of fact and opinion are the authors’ responsibility alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of PICPA officers or members. The information contained in herein does not constitute accounting, legal, or professional advice. For professional advice, please engage or consult a qualified professional.