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Kim Morgan on Notts TV

Tough Crowd

A couple of days ago I was interviewed on live TV.

It was an exciting and challenging new experience for me. No green room, no hair and makeup.  Just 10 seconds to run into the studio, get on the sofa and straight into the 5-minute interview.

Today, thinking about it objectively, I did ok.  I did my best, given the circumstances. There were even a few bits I was proud of!

However, my objective and compassionate observer was not the loudest voice in my head that day.  It was the voice of my inner critic!  It had not had much to say for years, but here it was, back again!

It woke me in the middle of the night, telling me all the things I could have said, should have said, but didn’t.

It whispered in my ear that my colleagues were just humouring me with their positive comments but had secretly agreed between them that I should never be let loose on TV again.

It delivered some direct feedback, “You need to get some media training. Oh, and, obviously, voice coaching!  Did you realise how much you talk with your hands?  Now, what is going on with your hair?  And, just saying, but …maybe a little nip and tuck?”

For goodness’s sake!  I’m an experienced coach and have helped so many clients with this very issue over the years…I’ve written articles and books about it!  I thought I had seen off my inner critic long ago. So why did it show up again at this moment?

Maybe it was a perfect storm:

·      I was doing something I had never done before.

·      I was speaking to a new audience who had no specific interest in coaching.

·      I am naturally more comfortable asking questions than answering them.  I wonder if that is true for most coaches?

·      I felt it was my duty to represent the whole coaching industry well in my 5-minute slot.  Yes, I know! My overdone sense of responsibility is why my coaching supervisor once asked me, “Tell me, when were you first appointed Managing Director of the Universe?”

I did some rapid self-coaching.  Initially this consisted of giving myself a good talking to, mostly along the lines of: ‘Get over yourself!’

Then I asked myself some questions to shift perspective and reframe the experience:

·      If my inner critic was a real person, would I stay in their company for more than five minutes?

·      Would I even dream of speaking to anyone else like this?

·      How would I react if I overheard someone speaking to one of my friends or family in this way?

·      Whose voice is this, actually?

I revisited my previous successes and the positive feedback I have received over the years.

I applied logic and reason to the situation and came to some positive conclusions:

·      I really trust and respect my colleagues, so I should do them the honour of trusting and believing what they are telling me.

·      So, what if it wasn’t perfect? There are far more important issues which deserve my thought, care, and attention.

·      It was a new experience, and I feel I learned a lot from it.

·      I could turn it into a blog!

For any of us who are occasionally attacked by our inner critic, it is worth listening instead to the helpful voices in these three Ted/TEDx talks:

How Your Inner Critic is Holding You Back – Melissa Ambrosini

Know Your Inner Saboteurs – Shirzad Chamine

The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion – Kristin Neff

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