This from marketer and author, Seth Godin, writing that no matter the amount of external validation nothing can undo the drone of self criticism.

You’re beating yourself up so badly that “One little voice in the ether that agrees with your internal critic is enough to put you in a tailspin.”

Seth’s post resonated with me. I am as big a victim of self criticism as anyone.

I beat myself up so badly at times that rather than taking needed action I can be paralyzed waiting for external validation telling me that I am capable of doing the work I need to do.

The answer, per Seth, is not some praise from the outside world.

It’s a hopeless journey, and one that destroys the work, because you will water it down in fear of that outside critic that amplifies your internal one.

The remedy is accurate and positive self talk. Endless amounts of it.

Seth’s not talking positive delusion affirmations either.

No, merely the reassertion of obvious truths, a mantra that drives away the nonsense the lizard brain is selling as truth.

All you can do is surround it with positive self talk, drown it out and overwhelm it with concrete building blocks of great work, the combination of expectation, obligation and possibility.

The obligation to act, a history of strong work and knowing the possibilities that lie ahead by taking action are what defeats self criticism.

I tell lawyers afraid of bogging and social media that fear is merely an acronym for False Expectations that Appear Real. What I need to do at times of self criticism and self doubt is take a little of mine own medicine. And per Seth, tell myself the truth.

You could do a lot worse than the daily posts you can receive via Seth’s Blog.

Image courtesy of Flickr by dwayne.

  • Good post, O’Keefe.

    When I’m in doubt, I face myself honesty. My positive self-talk is optimistic but realistic. My form of positivity is based on understanding and anticipating the obstacles that are within or outside my control. I then think about how to overcome, go around or move through these obstacles. The positive people that I believe in know how to defeat their fears and get the right things done at the right time. From this approach comes confidence and from confidence comes an attitude of positivity. This is a great place to lead from…

    • Similar to the legendary Robert Schuller (who died this AM) who said “when faced with a mountain find a pass through, tunnel underneath – or simply stay and turn the mountain into a gold mine..”