Episode 4: How I Learned To Stomp Out My Inner Critic
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[00:00:02] Hi I'm Victoria hefty and welcome to activate purpose where I talk about finding purpose through action while balancing motherhood and career. Today's episode is all about addressing that ever-present inner critic. You know the one that tells me I haven't really accomplished anything with my life or the one that tells me I'm not a good mom. Yep, I'm talking about that in a critic. So stick around to find out the simple embarrassing and yet effective tools I'm using to overcome my inner critic and insecurities.
[00:00:39] First let's talk about this inner critic thing. So as I mentioned in previous episodes I am using the book Success Principles by Jack Canfield to help kick off my activate purpose churning in the book, however, Jack mentioned that people have around 40,000 to 50,000 thoughts a day. So I don't know about you but that fact alone kind of blew me away. It was like No wonder I'm mentally drained at the end of the day. But it gets even worse. So a stunning 80 percent of those thoughts are negative. When I first read that I was convinced that couldn't be right. I mean I wasn't even actually sure what to think. I just it was kind of depressing, to be honest. But I did do some research online and found out that depending on the source you have anywhere between 14,000 to 60,000 thoughts today. And according to most of the sources which I will include in the show notes up to 70 to 80 percent of those thoughts are negative. So yes I'm fully aware first of all that I'm not a scientist or academic research person and that you can't believe everything you read on the Internet. But in this case, it doesn't actually even matter. I know for a fact that I have way too many negative thoughts in my own head during the day. So if I'm serious about reaching my full potential I really need to start addressing these negative thoughts. Like now today. So how am I going to do this? Well, I'm currently doing two specific things every day that I learned about in the success principles book.
[00:02:08] One tool is keeping a daily victory log and the other is doing something called the mere exercise. So every single night before bed I do this Mir exercise. But let's start with the victory log. So the premise behind this again victory log. I kind of love the name is that when you ask most people what they did well that day or accomplished that day. Most people have trouble coming up with something I know I certainly do. So we tend to say I didn't do much or I didn't really accomplish much. I can't remember. And then you start to feel bad that you can't remember or that you didn't accomplish anything and then that lovely inner critic takes over and before you know you just kind of feel bad about yourself. And I think that makes it even harder to think about the next time someone asks you that what you did well because then you feel like Oh now this question again. I didn't do anything well last week and I didn't do anything this weekend. What is wrong with me. And again it plays out the victory blog is a place where you write down anything that you did while that day. So nothing is too small or too big. You just write it down. So mine is actually this little small turquoise notebook that I carry around with me all day. It's actually in my backpack. I try and carry it around with me pretty much everywhere I go.
[00:03:25] When I do or accomplish something great that day I write it down and I'll give you some examples so you can see sort of the range of what I'm talking about. One of the examples is if I stay calm while my toddler is having a meltdown which again a lot of people can relate to I write that down I. Victoria great job staying calm today. When baby was having a meltdown you stood firm and then afterwards you really talked to her and she really appreciated it. Another example is if someone bought my book The Insider's Guide to maternity leave from Amazon for example and I get a notification I write down how lucky and proud I am of myself. You know someone out there in the world is buying your book. It's just one person but that's a really big accomplishment. And so you know don't worry that you know dozens of people bought it yesterday. Today one person bought it and that's a really exciting thing. Write that down and be proud of it. Another example is if I take a moment to sort of stop and notice a beautiful sunrise in the morning I jot down how present I am for being present. It sounds silly but it's true. I mean a lot of times you know we forget how hard it is to be present. And so if you are you write it down and you start to do more of the things that you congratulate yourself for. That's the whole point of this book is The point is that it's one place to yes write down all of your wins are victories for the day. But it's also a reminder to praise yourself for doing great things over the course of the day.
[00:05:03] And one other sort of like sort of practical thing is I mentioned that I'm an independent consultant. So one of the things that I do is you know I'll often book new consulting work. I think it's easy to focus on you know once the statement of work is signed it's like yes. OK great. That's a victory. But I've stopped doing that. I actually from the moment I get a response saying Hey Victoria this client wants to speak with you or they want more information or they want an interview. Literally each step of the way I am. Write those down as a victory that way. You know if five steps in they decide that you know they don't want to work with me and they work with someone else I've already stocked up a whole lot of wind so I feel good about so therefore that a decision to go with someone else isn't as devastating as it used to be. And so it's actually been a really good exercise. And so like I said I write down anything big and small. It does not matter. And then at the end of the day, I actually do my second activity which is the mere exercise the mere exercise is based on that principle and I quote that we all need acknowledgment. But the most important acknowledgment is the acknowledgment you give yourself. So as part of this activity, I actually stand. So ridiculous. I stand in front of my bathroom mirror. I do this after me.
[00:06:19] Usually my husband's gone to sleep or he's in the living room and my daughter is definitely asleep and I appreciate myself for all of the things I have accomplished that day. More importantly, I actually have to as part of this exercise you have to address yourself by name and say it out loud in the mirror. So here I am standing you know in my robe and I'm saying Victoria I am so proud of you today. And I basically again say out loud or if my daughter is sleeping or just fell asleep I whisper. But with confidence, I whisper What achievements I accomplished that day. Again this can usually be found in my victory log so either I'll read it directly from the log depending on how tired I am or I'll paraphrase. I'll mention any sort of personal disciplines that I kept up so if you know I've been waking up at 5 a.m., for example, every single day that I do that which I have no knock on wood I congratulate myself for that. That's no easy feat. On some days if it's meditating or if I said no to a second glass of wine or even wine at all or if I decided nope I'm not going to stay up that extra half hour. I'm just going to go to bed and have a really great day in the morning. Anything literally anything that you feel that you did that made you healthier or better person. Write it down. And more importantly say it out loud in the mirror. So it really is one of the strangest things to do. So the first few days I did it felt weird.
[00:07:47] I didn't want to look at myself in the mirror it was actually just kind of stare weird staring at myself in the mirror without you know putting on makeup or something or doing something just standing there. But as I began to do it I would say probably about two weeks in it started to become really normal and I started to actually in a weird way look forward to it. And one of the things that Jack Canfield mentions in this book is Do this every single night for at least three months. And if you find yourself in bed and you didn't do it get yourself out of bed and go do this and no lie. This probably happened to me maybe like three times that I have picked myself out of bed even though I'm exhausted and I will do the mere exercise and then immediately I always feel better and I go to bed and I sleep better that night. So there's definitely something to be said about that. And I will say that the change has actually been incredible. So I don't know why or how it works but I just know and feel that I'm so much kinder to myself. So as soon as I start feeling bad about myself I immediately think of all the good things I've done. Like without even trying it just kind of floods my brain. And on the days that I'm feeling really down and you know, we all have those. I actually go back and I will take my victory log and I'll read all of my past entries or for example, I'll ask my husband. I don't know. Give me. This is one of the ones we did recently I was feeling kind of down and I said Pick a number between 1 to 30.
[00:09:16] And he picked 24. So I went back and I said OK October 24th What was I doing. And there were these amazing things in it and I just by the end I felt wonderful and I was smiling. And it's just a really great way to feel good about yourself and it's really powerful. So I actually share one more example that I think will bring this to life a little bit more and I think one that a lot of moms can relate to. So I had a really important meeting with a consulting client potentially for a potential consulting client I should say and I really wanted to you know look good look professional and I kind of felt like my other work dresses wasn't doing it and I always like to have like one new thing for an interview I think it always gives you like an extra pep in your step. So I decided to go shopping for a dress. So over the last few months, I've actually dropped about you know 15 to 20 pounds and you know I'll talk about in a future episode. But I was you know as you can imagine really excited to get a new dress. I haven't bought one and you know quite a few months. So I took my daughter, put her in the stroller went to the store and I found two lovely dresses that were a size four. And I went to the dressing room you know maybe someone would say maybe the victory log has been working too well. But I was really confident that I was a size four again. I felt I looked good.
[00:10:34] At least I thought I look good. And I put on both dresses and can you believe like they were both tight like these were not for the boardroom. They were more like clubwear where if you know what I mean. So I took them off told the fitting room Lady that they were a little small and I left the store so I only actually left the store because they had run out of the larger sizes for both dresses and it was really only as I was walking home pushing my daughter in the stroller that I realized whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa wait a minute Victoria you didn't say anything bad about yourself. Like I didn't even see myself. I didn't feel terrible about my body. I was actually objective for once something I actually never am when it comes to shopping for a dress. I hopefully my husband doesn't hear that but it's true. It was like I put on the dress I felt beautiful but I knew I was too tight and I walked out still feeling great. I mean even like tell you how this stuff does that sort of thinking does not happen to me. Usually the old Victoria I would have walked past Whole Foods bought ice cream chocolate whatever stuffed my face and just like walked home feeling angry thinking like what's the point of doing all of this if I'm still not the size I want. I can’t even look good in a dress! Like why am I doing all of this. But I had none of that. And I actually felt amazing. I owe 100 percent to this victory log and mere exercise.
[00:12:01] I think it's something that is again. I don't know how I don't know the mechanics of why it works but it does work. And more importantly, I think these are two simple free and fast things that anyone can do. And so my challenge for you is to actually keep a victory log and do the mere exercise for seven days straight. Just try it. You know you can either go by you know a little notebook from the store or use one that you have or use your computer or whatever works but for seven days jot down any and all victories and then try the mere exercise in the evening. So before you go to bad list out loud all the great things that you did and address yourself by name. Try it. Don't overthink it. And please let me know how it goes. I am convinced that you will notice a difference in the way you speak to yourself.
[00:12:56] After that seven days and as always if you were up for sharing I would love to hear about your experience with this challenge. Send a note to Victoria@activatepurpose.com. And if you want to find the show notes and again that includes all the sources I mentioned in this episode. Visit activatepurpose.com/episode4.
[00:13:16] And lastly if you enjoyed today's episode and listening to my journey and overcome the inner critic make sure you leave a review and subscribe to next week's episode.
[00:13:28] I really really appreciate you listening and I look forward to speaking to you next week. Until next time.