Dear Jess...my inner-critic keeps playing “Who am I…”
Every Friday, Jess Ratcliffe drops by to help us overcome the obstacles and worries that are holding us back. Share your questions with Jess anonymously at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Jess, I have an idea I want to bring into the world but my inner-critic keeps playing my “Who am I to do this?” and I can’t move past it. How do you start taking action when you’re constantly questioning yourself?
Our “Who am I” narrative is a humdinger. Firstly, it’s so common so please don’t feel like you’re the only one wrestling with it. We’re all here with you.
That narrative is often one of our loudest because it stems from our biggest fear…
What if we’re not good enough?
I highly recommend Marisa Peer’s talk “The Biggest Disease Affecting Humanity: I’m Not Enough", which digs into that fear in eye-opening detail.
“So often when we say we’re unqualified for something, what we’re really saying is that we’re too scared to try it, not that we can’t do it.” – Jen Sincero
When we explore why that fear is so strong, it makes total sense.
We’re terrified of being rejected - of not being clever, qualified or ______ enough for someone or something. That’s why we hold ourselves back from applying for that job or making that move, when deep down, we know we could do it.
We’re terrified of failure - of not “making it”. And we’re terrified of the (assumed) judgement that comes with failing. Even though, we know the only way we’ll never “make it” is if we never try.
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” – Oprah
To start moving beyond our narrative, let’s play with two techniques I like to call “Your dinosaur tail” (yep, that’s right) and “Consider the opposite”.
Technique #1: Your dinosaur tail
A few years ago, I was wrestling with my “Who am I” (...to start Unleash Your Extraordinary, to coach people etc.). I turned to a brilliant friend and coach, who asked me this question: “What makes up your dinosaur tail?”
As I’m sure you’re feeling now, I was confused at first. After confirming they weren’t hallucinating, they elaborated: “Imagine all of your past experience, makes up a dinosaur tail that you carry around with you. It’s always behind you and it’s made up of the experiences, ups, downs and lessons learned that have made you who you are today. So, who are you? What makes up your dinosaur tail?”
I love this technique because it’s so visual - you can imagine a massive, heavy dinosaur tail trailing behind you, filled with everything that makes you the perfect person to start your thing.
Let’s create your dinosaur tail
Draw a huge dinosaur tail - that’s right huge because I have faith you have a lot to fill it with - on a piece of paper. Here’s one a I made earlier… (don’t laugh)
Looking at your dinosaur tail, list everything that comes to mind. Everything you’ve achieved, experienced, overcome, started, learned...everything you can think of that feels relevant and has earned its place in your dinosaur tail.
The next time your “Who am I” narrative kicks in, remember your dinosaur tail. And feel the weight of experience you’re carrying with you.
Technique #2: Consider the opposite
When you next hear “Who am I to...”, take a moment to consider the opposite. Ask yourself: “Who am I to not do this?”
We put so much weight on being perfectly “qualified” to start something, when sometimes the fact that we want to start - and have the idea to - is more than enough.
You’ve got this!
I’d love to hear how you get on.
Jess is our resident coach and the founder of Unleash Your Extraordinary - a transformative coaching method and workshop designed to equip you with the mindset, tools and next steps to turn the vision you have for yourself into reality.
When she’s not coaching ambitious individuals, hosting Unleash Your Extraordinary or writing her Dear Jess column, she’s tucked away in a coffee shop enjoying a cheeky Cortado.
Would you like to join one of Jess’ workshops or simply say hello? She’d love to meet you. You’ll find her at email@example.com or @jessratcliffe