What are you afraid of? What is it that you wish you could do if only you were "naturally talented" like them? If you only you had the required experience? The right type of background? If you were smarter, prettier, skinnier? What dream do you keep pushing away; what is it that you're saving, for later? And why is it that you believe that you can't get there right now, using what you have?
Mine is creating. Writing. Photographing. Filming. Showing up, presenting. It doesn't matter how much experience I have; it doesn't matter that I have a Masters Degree in Creative Media, that I have over 15 years of experience in writing + photographing + filming. I'm scared of sharing, because I feel shame.
It's shame that originates in many things. Mostly in my perfectionism, how if it's not the world's best (insert body of work here), then it's not worth anything. Nobody will like it, nobody will get any value from it. Why would I show you what I’ve done if I know that it could be better?
I experience shame when I compare my work and my attempts at showing up to present them with others. Everyone seem to have their stuff together. They all have a style that works for them, they have a niche. I'm all over the place, too multidimensional. I want to talk about x, but I also want to talk about y and z and sometimes all of them at the exact same time. Who would relate to all that mess?
It's probably too late, anyway. I'm wasting time (shame). I should focus on climbing the ladder instead. I should focus on becoming smaller, not bigger. God knows I don't need to get any bigger (shame).
I'm incredibly scared of criticism. Of not being in control (again, perfectionist) of how people interpret my work. Of it being available to everyone, and not a selected audience. What, is my work just suppose to be here, for you to judge? To laugh at? To diminish?
I rarely focus on the amount of people that would potentially enjoy and connect with my work. I focus on the few that would criticise it, who would tear it apart. These "few" individuals are all shaped from my own inner critic: they're born out of fear and shame within me. I believe they exist, because for so many years my inner critic has convinced me of their overwhelming existence, and importance.
I am trying to actively battle shame and fear. To show up, do the things, present them anyway. Brene Brown was and is an incredible motivator when it comes to these subjects, and I'm always looking for more role models to add to my collection.
I have finally picked up Playing Big by Tara Mohr. It's a gift from myself to myself. Tara Mohr was a guest on Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker and they were talking about Mohr's idea of our inner mentor. How our inner mentor is there to fight our inner critic.
Your inner mentor is basically you, in the future. How do you imagine yourself in 10 years, what are you doing, where are you in life? What advice would you give your younger self? And for your present self, how can you grow towards her?
I haven't finished Playing Big yet, I just started. But I can't wait to explore more and continue to convince myself to just keep going.
For now, here's a short list of things I do whenever my inner critic takes over:
1. Remind myself that I'm always learning and growing. That learning is essential, and that I can't grow if I don't keep on going.
2. Investigate someone I look up to; explore what they published before they publish the outstanding content that I see right now. Rest assure they all started off somewhere very similar to the place I'm in. The only reason they grew into who they are today, is because (again) they kept at it.
3. Listen to something by Brene Brown again, or Hashtag Authentic (podcast), or one of my favourite podcast episodes of all time "Show up as if you're already where you want to be" from Make it Happen (podcast) by Jen Carrington.
Psst, all these images are from Stanley Park.