Starting a new career path can be thrilling and unpredictable, and part of that journey is having to deal with your inner critic. The inner critic is your inner voice talking in the language of self-doubt, creating feelings of less than and incapability within (Inner gremlin: Dealing with self-doubt, 2020). I recently had to deal with my own self-doubt and inner critic as I embarked on a new career path of becoming a Health Coach at Pack Education. I recall the first eight weeks of the course and hearing the inner critic whispering, “your classmates are smarter and better than you” and “your reflections are too simple, you won’t get anywhere with future clients.” These whisperings made me question my abilities and left me feeling that I wasn’t as good as my classmates.
I acknowledged my self-doubt, observed it, and noted what it made me feel like doing. For example, I felt like hiding, not participating in class, and questioning if I had taken the right path. I wanted these feelings and thoughts to go away, and I was driven to do something about it. This was the turning point. I need to focus and look for my strengths to get out of it, reframe what was being said, and work with the inner critic.
First, I found that one of my strengths was my values. I valued creating a life where I could lift people up to be their best selves. I’ve innately known that helping people is the purpose of each breath that I take. Another strength is my natural curiosity into why and how people do or say things. It gives me a framework of their life, to get a bird’s-eye view in putting the pieces together and solving problems. Also, being naturally curious about people leads to being ever-present for the stories they tell, which ultimately helps with greater empathy and genuine feelings of inspiration from speaking to people who want help. After shifting my mind to my values, I found strength in that. I learned that I am enough.
Next, after mitigating my feelings of self-doubt, I felt stronger, and I came up with a plan to do something. I began working with the inner critic to reframe what it was saying into something productive and positive. For example, when the inner critic said, “your classmates are smarter and better than you,” I consciously reframed it as, “you need to work harder on certain skills and rely on your strengths.” Also, something that helped was sharing our self-doubt in class or areas that needed more work. I realized we all have something different to offer — and that is what makes us distinguishable and invaluable as future Health Coaches. Overcoming self-doubt requires navigating, mitigating, and ultimately learning to work with the inner critic. The inner critic doesn’t have to be your nemesis; it can be reframed to recognize areas that need work or the realization that you are enough.
Post written by: Vira Griffin