Silence the inner critic

Last week, I let go of two big opportunities. And then breathed a huge sigh of relief!

I requested a leave from my responsibilities in the AGD council and, declined a speaking opportunity that was not offering a fair honorarium.

Just last month if you’d have asked me if I was going to do either of those two things, I’d have said no.

Why this sudden change?

One of the books I read earlier this month was ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ by David Schwartz. This book was recommended to me by my dad.

Written in the 1950’s, the book offered lots of little gems that are valuable even today. One teaching that really stood out to me was of trying to silence the critic in your head.

Chatter of the inner critic

‘Don’t let this opportunity go, you are so young, you should be grateful you were even asked about speaking here or writing that. Why would you begin charging an honorarium for speaking opportunities? Why should you raise fees for your Club? What makes you think you are so special?’

You know who said these things to me? Just the critic in my own head. What’s more, I let her in and believe what she has to say. I let her opinions matter. I sometimes let her run the show.

Stand up for yourself

It is obvious that if you don’t value and stand up for yourself, nobody else will. The truth is that when you put your heart and soul towards anything, you know that the final product you are offering truly has the best value. Why not be compensated fairly for it? Why not ask for what you deserve? People who understand the value of what you are offering, will always be around. Those who don’t initially, will come later.

We usually underestimate our audience when we say things like ‘nobody would pay that much, or nobody will want this content anymore’. It means, you don’t know your audience well enough and need to study them even harder.

Photo by Rowan Heuvel on Unsplash

Building yourself up

Why let our inner critic rue the day? Why do we not instead, build ourselves up?

One of the opportunities above required too much of a time commitment from me. Although I believe in the work they do, I knew I could not give them my 100%. And, if you can’t give an activity, any activity, your 100%, why even do it?

I led with the fact that I will be unable to give the Council my 100% at this time, and hope to come back to it later, when my career allows it. This simple wording in an email was met with respect and dignity. I was the youngest volunteer and they understood what it was like to be in my shoes. Juggling a new marriage, career, practice acquisition aspirations and everything else.  

The other was a speaking opportunity that would have required me to spend 3-4 hours preparing and rehearsing content, and a further 2 hours in delivering. Although I would have loved to participate, I realized I have to say no to opportunities that do not offer me a fair compensation.

There will always be opportunities at your doorstep, you don’t have to say yes to every single one. Have the courage and conviction to politely, but firmly say no to things. Have the dignity to stand up for yourself and mention why you are doing so.

Photo by Jason Hogan on Unsplash

Narrow your focus, maximize your impact

Maybe you will upset or distance a few people or a few orgs in this process. What is more important to remember however, is you are doing what it takes to protect yourself and your worth. When you’re at your absolute best, your impact in the community will be at its highest. If you narrow your focus, you will be able to help your community more.

Opportunities that are a HELL YES

Start with that- something small and simple, like believing in yourself and silencing that inner critic. Believe in the impact you are trying to make. Say no to things that are not a HELL YES.  

Maybe that can be your New Year resolution? It certainly is mine. Happy New Year!

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