How to be a STEMinist

14. How To Identify Your Inner Critic

August 12, 2020 Tiffany Dawson Episode 14
How to be a STEMinist
14. How To Identify Your Inner Critic
Chapters
How to be a STEMinist
14. How To Identify Your Inner Critic
Aug 12, 2020 Episode 14
Tiffany Dawson

Have you ever stopped to listen what that mean voice in your head is telling you? Most people don’t think twice about it, accepting it as just part of who they are. But the fact is, the more you tell yourself something, the more you’re going to believe it!

This episode is going to help you take that first and very important step to quieting your inner critic: being aware of it. I’ll be sharing 8 ways in which the inner critic most commonly shows up for women.

Did you have any big moments of realisation listening to this episode? If so, take a screenshot, tag me on Instagram with @tiffanydawson_ and let me know what you learned!

Resources:

  • Episode 7 on How To Have Difficult Conversations
  • Episode 6 on How I Overcame Impostor Syndrome
  • Want to learn more about the Impostor Syndrome 101 Workshops? Email me: tiffany@tiffanydawson.co
Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever stopped to listen what that mean voice in your head is telling you? Most people don’t think twice about it, accepting it as just part of who they are. But the fact is, the more you tell yourself something, the more you’re going to believe it!

This episode is going to help you take that first and very important step to quieting your inner critic: being aware of it. I’ll be sharing 8 ways in which the inner critic most commonly shows up for women.

Did you have any big moments of realisation listening to this episode? If so, take a screenshot, tag me on Instagram with @tiffanydawson_ and let me know what you learned!

Resources:

  • Episode 7 on How To Have Difficult Conversations
  • Episode 6 on How I Overcame Impostor Syndrome
  • Want to learn more about the Impostor Syndrome 101 Workshops? Email me: tiffany@tiffanydawson.co

This is Episode 14 of how to be a STEMinist. This week, I'm talking all about how to identify your inner critic. So I will tell you what your inner critic is in this episode, and the ways in which it most commonly shows up for women. This is frankly, a topic that isn't spoken about enough. And we go on thinking that we are the only ones who have an inner critic running around our heads causing chaos. When in fact when I run workshops on this, so group workshops, women start to realise, oh my goodness, everyone else has this issue as well. I can guarantee you'll have some big realisations during this episode. So let's get started. This is the How to be a STEMinist podcast. I'm your host, Tiffany, a proud woman instead. To me being a STEMinist means creating a wildly fulfilling career without compromising your family or social life. Because when you live your whole life, you become a living example that a career in STEM is where it's at. I'm on a mission to equip women in STEM around the world with strategies to take back control of their career progression. navigate those difficult and awkward gender equality issues, and stop balancing what is life and stop enjoying it. If you want to learn all the things, no one else teaches you about being a woman in STEM, you've come to the right place. Let's get stuck in. Hello, I hope you are all surviving the COVID pandemic wherever you are in the world. I know different countries are in different stages of lockdown right now. So it's making it pretty difficult to understand what social norms are. For me, I I'm in the UK. And I feel so fortunate that last week, I was able to travel to the Greek islands for a week. So I was able to experience a little slice of normality for a week at a resort in the sunshine. You know, things were a little bit different to usual, there were some more restrictions in place. But hey, that does not matter at all right now, as long as we are being as safe as possible. We're keeping our social distancing in place and wearing masks wherever we can, and following all the rules. So yeah, feeling really, really fortunate to have gotten away and to have spent a whole week off. Now, this week, I'm talking all about the inner critic. So the inner critic is that little main voice in your head that tells you you're bad at stuff. You're a bad person. That person is thinking bad things about you. So yet that mean voice in your head. This is actually something I teach in my corporate workshops that I offer. And I have been doing these online recently. So I'm able to do them all around the world now. This is a one hour lunchtime workshop that I offer to stem organisations. So these could be engineering companies or tech companies, and also to academic groups as well. I also offer these workshops to women in STEM groups. And these workshops have participants that are all women. So this is a place really where women can open up to each other without fear of being judged. It's a really safe and wonderful place. And I know that all the participants who attend these workshops, they get so much out of it, they learn so about their colleagues. And sometimes they look at their colleagues in a new light, because, hey, we always think that our colleagues are super confident and we realise they actually have the same feelings as us, which often is self doubt. This particular one, our corporate workshop that I offer is called imposter syndrome. 101. And we really go back to basics about imposter syndrome. So the actual definition of it, what it feels like when you've got it, how to identify your inner critic, and a few tools that you could use to overcome imposter syndrome. Today, I'll be giving you a taste of the section of that workshop that talks all about the inner critic and how you can identify it. I know you're all going to get so much out of today's episode, so I can't wait to get stuck in as I mentioned. Before the inner critic is that mean voice in your head? Let's face it. If we let someone else talk to us like that, we would probably slap them in the face. In the last imposter syndrome, one on one workshop that I held, I asked the participants to tell me what other things their inner critic said to them most often. And here are a few of them. Let's see if you relate to any of these statements. you aim too high. You're not experienced enough. What if it's wrong? You can do better. Are you sure? You're too bossy and opinionated and challenging? You're awkward and unprofessional. You're just annoying. Your work isn't good enough. You're an absolute nob. Why are you even trying You should be smarter. That's a stupid idea. Your English isn't good enough. They can all see through you. Quick, make an excuse. Stop talking, you idiot. It's your fault. Now I could go on, there's so many more. And when these women started sharing what their inner critic said to them, the other women all jumped in saying, Oh my goodness, that is like, that's the most terrible thing. I can't believe you're thinking that about yourself. Because you're the total opposite. yet. We could all relate to these sentences and statements to ourselves. So let me ask you this. If it's not okay for someone else to say those things to you, is it okay that you're saying them to yourself? I mean, the definition of self love is the complete opposite To that, and I think sometimes we mistake self love for just you know, treating yourself to a manicure or making yourself a nice cup of tea. But self love is way more than that it goes deeper. It is the types of things that you say to yourself, how you treat yourself on a daily basis. Sometimes, when we let our inner critics run wild, we don't even notice that it's saying these things to us. And the more we say it to ourselves, the more likely we're going to believe them. So I think the most challenging thing for a lot of women and a lot of my clients is actually being able to identify the inner critic. So the first step really is awareness. If you're listening to this right now, I want you to start being aware of the negative thoughts that run through your mind. All of the things that your inner critic Same to you. But I'll be sharing with you a couple of ways that you can identify your inner critic. So what your inner critic actually sounds like, I want you to hit pause on this podcast if you're not driving or travelling anywhere, and write down all the things your inner critic says to you. So grab a pen and a blank piece of paper and just start brainstorming all the bad things that you say to yourself. So hit pause now and I invite you to come back after you've done that. Okay, by now you should have a page with some of the things that your inner critic says to you. Do you have a lot of things written down? Just a few? Are they all related to the same topic to the same theme? Or does your inner critic take jabs at you all over the place? Have a look at your list now. Now I'm going to go through eight common ways your inner critic will show up. So while I'm going through these eight statements, I want you to have a look at the list of things that your inner critic has said to you have them in front of you and see whether any of these statements relate to the things that you've written down. Okay, let's dive in. The first one is your inner critic sounds mean? As I said before, you know, it's a main voice. If your best friend said any of these things to you, you'd probably slap her in the face. You would not let anyone else say these things to you, but you say them to yourself. That one probably relates to most of the ones that you've written down, but maybe not all of them. The second where you're In a critical show up is that it plays like a broken record. So it repeats the same statements over and over and over again. One of mine is you're not good enough. This comes up in all areas of my life, you're not good enough at your job, you're not a good enough friend, you're not a good enough daughter, you're not a good enough wife. This comes up all the time. And if I don't work on creating a positive mindset, this broken record gets louder and it repeats things quicker. So this is definitely one that I need to keep an eye on myself. The third way your inner critic can show up is if it is talking in black and white thinking or binary thinking. So it's either one extreme or the other extreme. For example, you're pretty or ugly. You're the best or the West. You're good. At this skill, or you're bad at this skill, there's no in between, there's no, I'm learning to get better at this skill, or I've come a long way since I first started. It's one way or the other. That is a really, really good trick that your inner critic likes to play. Now, the fourth one is interesting for women, especially your inner critic might dig at your body image. So you know, it might say stuff like, your arms looks so flabby in that photo, or your stretch marks are gross. I mean, first of all, you know, if your best friend said something like that to you, would you let them? Would you let them get away with that? I probably wouldn't. So, yeah, your inner critic definitely digs at your body image and that can be traced back to the way that women have been brought up in society. If we go all the way back to caveman days, the only way a woman could survive is by being desirable to men, the men who were hunting and gathering their food and making sure the tribe was safe. Your main job as a woman was to, you know, bear children and to look after children and look after the community. So in order to do that you needed to be attractive to men. And that is why body image is something that we women still struggle with today, even though it probably doesn't matter as much because women you know, we can all survive without a man now. But in any case, we need to recognise that our culture and society has moved really, really quickly in comparison to how nature usually grows. So there's a part of our brain called the amygdala. We Which is, I guess responsible for the fight or flight, part of our behaviour. So the fear part of our behaviour and all it wants to do is keep you safe. That's all. However, because our society has changed so quickly. Our amygdala hasn't been able to evolve as much as we kind of need it to. So sometimes we are fearful of things that actually are dangerous to us anymore. Ay ay ay ay not being attractive to men, because who cares? Okay, I'm moving on now. So what are we up to? We've done four so far. So you know, your inner critic is mean, it plays like a broken record. It thinks in black or black and white or binary. it digs at your body image and the fifth one is, it sounds like the voice of reason. So our inner critic is very, very clever. It will try and pretend as if it's just on your side, which is I guess, you know, if we really dive deep into it, your inner critic is controlled by the amygdala and all it wants to do is keep you safe. However, because it hasn't evolved as quickly as society has changed. It gets the level of danger wrong. So our inner critic will start speaking to us as if it's on our side. So for example, your inner critic might say, you'll only embarrass yourself if you ask for a promotion. You won't be able to fulfil the role anyway. So why bother? Just save yourself the pain and embarrassment of potentially getting rejected? Or it might even say things like, Well, you know, you're not that confident in public speaking Anyway, you might actually make a fool of yourself, you might trip over and stage your face. We'll probably get really hot and sweaty and read, save yourself the public humiliation, and don't don't do that public talk. So it will sound like it's as if it's got your best interest at heart. The sixth one, especially for women is that it will doubt your masculine skills. So your inner critic might be saying stuff to you like you're bad at negotiation, or you're no good at the technical stuff. Again, as society has evolved and changed, women can now do these things adjust as well as men, if not better, and our inner critics have held on to that past belief that women can't do these masculine things. So your inner critic might be echoing some really old behaviours and thoughts about masculine skills, the same The way in which your inner critic shows up and this is my favourite to point out to all of my friends. I call it the double whammy. So it hits you twice. It'll say something like, don't do a presentation, you know, you'll embarrass yourself anyway, so just don't do it. You're not good at it. Then it will hit you again and say what the hell is wrong with you? Julia, she's two years younger than you two years more junior than you and she gets up on stage with out a shadow of self doubt. And she's great at it. You know, you're two years more senior. Why can't you do it? So the double whammy hits you twice. It will tell you to not do something that make you feel guilty for not doing it. The double whammy often shows up for me when I am probably supposed to have a difficult conversation. I am getting better at this and I've done an episode on having difficult conversations. Before where I do actually admit, it's not my strongest point. But because of that, I've learned some skills and tools that I can use to help me along. So if you haven't listened to that, and that's also something that you struggle with, go back and listen to that episode. So at times when I know I'm supposed to speak up about something, if someone's annoyed me, or if I think maybe someone's annoyed at me, and I should really have this difficult conversation with them, from time to time I back out. So my inner critic says to me, don't have that conversation. It's awkward, you know, although you probably should do it. Is it worth it? You'll probably make a fool of yourself and maybe your relationship break down they'll never speak to you again. So my inner critic really runs wild. When once I've made the decision to not have the difficult conversation by A critic will hit me again, it will say, Tiffany, you are such a worse. Why did you not have that difficult conversation? You really should have done it. It's the right thing to do. You tell all your clients to do it, you're such a hypocrite. The double whammy is really brutal. So watch out for that one. And the eighth way that your inner critic could show up is that it mimics other critical voices. So other people in your life who might have criticised you at some point, so this could be a parent, a sibling, a mean boss, a mean colleague, whatever it is, your inner critic might latch on to something that they said that was critical. And repeat it back to you for years and years and years after they did it. One of the things that kept coming up for me was a I once had a boss who told me I wasn't good at doing technical stuff compared to my male counterpart. Now, when I look back at this, in hindsight, I realised that both of us got very, very different opportunities. And you know, there were definitely ways in which I could have managed that better, but I was none the wiser. So I was given less opportunities to really grow in my technical skills. So my boss told me this, I was bad at technical skills, and therefore he was moving me out of his team. I latched on to this belief, I really believed that I was bad at technical stuff. Despite getting through four years of my engineering degree, getting through two years of working really hard to gain my status as an engineer in the construction industry, working on lots of successful projects in that time. As soon as my boss told me that technical stuff, and I was so bad that he didn't want me my in his team anymore. I really latched on to that I believed it. And for years to come afterwards, I told myself, I was bad at technical skills. So sometimes we will think, okay, our inner critic has said this to us, but it must be true because someone else has said it to us before. But you can't always trust that other people are saying things that are true. In the end, the only thing that matters is what you believe to be true. So watch out again for that really, really tricky when the inner critic likes to pull out which is mimicking other critical voices in our lives. So there you have it, there are the eight ways in which your inner critic will most commonly show up For you, just to recap, its main, it plays like a broken record. It thinks in black and white. It makes digs at your body image. It sounds like the voice of reason. It doubts your masculine skills. It hits you twice. It's the double whammy, and it might mimic other critical voices in your life. So as I said before, the first and most important step in overcoming imposter syndrome is awareness. So awareness of how your inner critic is speaking to you, what are the sorts of things they are saying, and that it is your inner critic talking to you? It's not just true statements that someone else has told you. Did these eight statements relate to the list that you wrote down at the start? I'd love to hear whether you had any aha moments, moments where You will like, Oh, I didn't actually even realise that was going on in my own head, but now I'm aware of it. If you did, I would love to hear from you. Take a screenshot of you listening to this podcast and tag me on Instagram. My handle is at Tiffany Dawson underscore, I'd love to know what you thought and if you related to any of what I spoke about today. Now if you want to learn more about imposter syndrome, you can head back to Episode Six of how to be a STEMinist where I talked about how I overcame imposter syndrome. There's also a little bit of an intro about what imposter syndrome is as well. If you work for a stem organisation, or you run a women in STEM group, and you would like to learn more about whether I could run a corporate workshop on imposter syndrome 101 for your group Come and let me know you can message me either on Instagram or email me at Tiffany at Tiffany Dawson Co. I will leave all those contact details and episodes for you to listen to related to this one in the show notes below. I can't wait to speak to you next week. And until then, take care.