Tag Archives: Self-Criticism

Is Your Inner Mean Girl Robbing You of Your Success?

08-26-11-mean-girlWhen you made the decision to start your own business, you probably got lots of advice on how to be successful, right? Solid advice like: keep an eye on your expenses, create a marketing plan, put yourself out there as much as possible, etc.

But did anyone warn you that the biggest and most likely threat your business faces is not out there in the marketplace, but instead living and breathing inside of you?

Let us introduce you to your Inner Critic or Inner Mean Girl as we like to call it (or Inner Bully for all you guys out there) That negative, self-sabotaging, self-critical voice in your head tells you big fat lies like “You’re not good enough,” “If you try, you’ll probably fail,” or “You’ve got to work harder if you’re ever going to make this business fly.”

Your Inner Mean Girl / Inner Bully is the slave driver, achievement junkie, doing addict, perfectionist and wishful thinker that keeps you working like a dog, doing all the work yourself, and spending money, time, and energy in the wrong places. It’s the voice that makes you feel less happy and successful than ever.

Here’s the truth; you can have the best strategies, the most stellar product, but if you don’t have the right mindset you will fail, and you’ll exhaust yourself in the process! Or maybe you’ll get lucky and reach your goals but be unable to feel successful or enjoy everything you worked so hard for. Your Inner Mean / Bully just loves to rob you of celebrating!

The best way to keep your mindset healthy, and your Inner Mean Girls / Bullies off your back is to know their toxic tricks and have an antidote in your back pocket to use when you find yourself in their grips.

After coaching entrepreneurs from all walks of life for over 17 years combined, we’ve developed processes that put your Inner Mean Girl and Inner Bully in their place.

Here are 3 super powered tools for turning your inner critic into your best business partner!

#1 Toxic Trick. Comparison
You find yourself going crazy, comparing yourself to every one else who is more successful, farther along, or more together than you. Your Comparison Queen / King is using the Inferiority Complex on you!

Antidote: Compliment the person you are comparing yourself to. Dig deep and find the inspiration. Yes, that’s right, reach out and tell that person how inspired you are by who they are and what they are doing. You’ll be amazed at the new connections you’ll create!

#2 Toxic Trick. Future Tripping
You achievement junkie is filling your head with lies like “When I hit that goal, then I’ll be happy!” or “When I hit 6 figures (or 7 figures or more!), I can finally relax.” Your Inner Mean Girl/Inner Bully has you running so fast to the future that you’re too exhausted to enjoy today.

Antidote: Get grateful for what you do have and get happy in the present. When you find your mind future tripping, stop, drop and do 10 gratitude statements. Write or say aloud what you appreciate about today. Notice how you can enjoy the moment!

#3 Toxic Trick. Unrealistic Expectations
You’ve just started your day and you already have a To-Do List a mile long that you are counting on getting done today. Deep down you know it’s humanly impossible to accomplish them all. But your doing addict has got you convinced that you can get through the list. So you work like an energizer bunny gone mad all day, and come 8pm you’ve not accomplished half of what you set out to. You set yourself up to fail, and now you beat yourself up with the “I’m a loser” lie.

Antidote: Take a pause and get real. When you feel yourself moving into overdrive to get it all done, pause, take a deep breath and decide on the 3 things that are most important for you to complete today. In your mind, move the rest to another day. Get real and honest with how much is reasonable for you to do today. With only those 3 things on your mind, you’re guaranteed to set yourself up for success, and find time to have a personal life too!

Here’s the truth – you have a one-of-a-kind gift to give the world through your great work. And if you don’t take care of yourself, if you try to do it all alone, and if you don’t enjoy the process along the way, you will never be able to reach your full potential.

We invite you to try these antidotes PLUS get started on transforming your own Inner Mean Girl.


Originally published September 2011

Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist – Top 10 Reasons to Chill Out

Not That PerfectionistIt was the end of a typical weekday at my house: a moving and shaking day at the office, home for some giggles and play with my young daughters, dinner, baths and bed. Finally, I get some time to myself – hooray! Out of the corner of my eye, I spot a massive pile of clean laundry that has been waiting to be put away for a whole week now. Momentarily, I consider putting it away, but … naah! Instead, I decide to grab my laptop, prop my feet up and work on some writing. I giggled to myself realizing that previously in my life I would have never been able to do that. That tiny bit of clutter would have gnawed away at me, making me super-uneasy and totally unable to relax in-the-moment.

You see, I am a recovering perfectionist. And, boy, I had it bad! Aside from my obsession with cleanliness and everything in its place, I would usually have multiple projects going on at any given point in time, agonizing over every detail, which, of course, needed to be executed juuuust right. Upon completion I would say in one long breath, “Woo-hoo, that was great, finally did it, okay, what’s next?” I used to pour over blog posts editing and re-editing them in the quest for perfect arrangement of the exact right words until they were finally worthy to be released (maybe). I used to work out 6 or 7 days a week and it would take an act of God for me to actually skip a workout!

For years, I would brush my neurosis off as, “I am just built that way. It’s in my DNA.” And, to some extent, this is true. I have a lot of passion and energy eager to pour out. But, what is different these days is my self-talk around this energy. The story I tell myself. I am enough, already. I still have high ambition and put tremendous amounts of love in what I do, but I give myself a break. I have loosened my grasp on expected outcomes and value peace and harmony waaaay more than flawlessness.

So, what was the wake-up call that helped me make the switch from high-strung to mellowed-out? These are the top 10 realizations that I made about perfectionism that helped me along in my journey to become easy like Sunday morning:

  1. “Perfect” is an illusion. It’s striving for the impossible. Even if this high-level of excellence can be met in a particular moment, don’t blink because it is a fleeting ideal. Perfection has an insatiable appetite, and the constant expectation of it sets you up for a whole lot of disappointment, stress, and unhappiness. All the while, the fun of life whizzes right by.

  2. Perfectionism stifles creativity and blocks the birth of fresh ideas. Sometimes we just need to throw the paint on the canvas, allow the notes to be strummed, or let the words pour out. When you mix intense worry into the equation, self-confidence erodes and the artistic flow becomes suppressed. Is everything just right? How it will be perceived by others? This type of thinking takes us out of alignment with our creative source and smothers the flames of imagination into submission.

  3. The ever-present quest for perfection is merely a shield from vulnerability. When we do everything perfectly, then we cannot be judged or criticized. It’s an excuse not to be vulnerable. Just as staying busy in the process of constantly trying to achieve the unachievable is a good way to avoid having to look at and deal with our “stuff.” (And we all have “stuff”). Unfortunately, the only way to heal is to deal (as in facing things head on). The shielding of perfectionism is merely a coping mechanism, which works temporarily, but meanwhile, whatever we’re suppressing only continues to gain more power over us.

  4. Vulnerability shielding inhibits connection. For me, I realized that if I really wanted to be a great writer, coach, mother, and friend who really connects with others then I’d have no other choice but to let down my shield and allow my authentic self to be fully exposed. This means being perfectly imperfect at times, owning it, and granting others permission to do the same.

  5. There is a big difference between striving for excellence and perfectionism. It’s called actually enjoying what you are doing! It’s okay (great, even) to have high aspirations. Shoot for the stars. Go nuts! But, go easy on yourself along the way. Enjoy the journey. Don’t get so tripped up in the outcome that it sucks every ounce of joy out of the process

  6. Perfection is to life what those plastic covers are too a really nice sofa.  Sure, it keeps the dirt off, but what’s the point?? The guitar whose notes are strum slightly off at times is better than the untouched guitar collecting dust on the wall. The laughed in, played in, loved in, house is better than the spotlessly clean one where you can eat off the kitchen floor. The published, yet slightly imperfect, blog or book that allows somebody else to have an “a-ha” moment or inspiration is way better than the “almost perfect” one that is still hiding away, never to be experienced by another soul. Don’t miss the point of life in pursuit of way-too-high standards.

  7. Self-worth is not determined by any outward measurement. This goes for any number on a scale, how clean the house is, how many feathers are in our cap, etc. It’s what’s on the inside that matters most. And, it starts with loving self-talk, not the “I’m not good enough’s” associated with striving for perfect.

  8. It’s even scarier. Yes, it can be scary sharing your passion with the world (whatever the medium). But, what’s even scarier is not sharing your passion with the world because you felt it didn’t meet your own ridiculously high standards. The reality is that nobody’s opinion of your work is going to be quite as critical as your own, anyway. And, even if it is. So what? It’s just somebody else’s opinion. Be passionate, create, love, share — this is living!

  9. Because what perfectionism really is: Throwing an amazing party and forgetting to have a good time because you are worried about some silly little details that nobody else even noticed or actually cares about! (Yes, I might have actually done this before *whistles*).

  10. Perfectionist parents create perfectionist kids. And, I want my girls to grow up knowing unconditional self-love, acceptance of what it is, and enjoyment of life. ‘Nuff said.

Perfectionism is a way of closing off and controlling things. It may look pretty on the outside but in reality it’s cold, isolated and dark. It’s the cracks that let the light in, anyway. So, go on and ease up a bit. Let some light in and shine on!

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6 Positive Affirmations to Change Your Life

You Deserve All Good Things... it's true!

Click here to read part 1 of this post.

The following are C. James Jensen’s six key affirmations from Beyond the Power of Your Subconscious Mind. These affirmations can bring about substantial improvements in your life. He says to use them every day for the first 30 days before adding your own affirmations:

1.) I like (love) myself unconditionally: This is a link to all other goals. It is an affirmation you should fully expect to use for the rest of your life, one that will continue to build high self-esteem. Start with, ‘I like myself.’ Over time this transforms to, ‘I love myself,’ which then turns into, ‘Now that I love myself, I find that I love everyone.’”

2.) I never devalue myself through destructive self-criticism: Some people with low self-esteem simply find it easier to accept a criticism than a compliment. You must immediately cease any and all destructive self-criticism. Never devalue yourself — or others.

3.) I have unconditional warm regards for all people at all times: This affirmation creates superior human relations. People who embrace this tenet focus on the essence (goodness) of the individual, which sometimes may be in conflict with that person’s behavior. People who have warm regards also have great empathy. They realize that everyone has had a different life journey and the variance of such journeys can cause people to act (re-act) radically different, often to the same situation.

4.) I am easily able to relax at any time and every day through every affirmation, I become healthier in both mind and body: Scientific evidence confirms that many health problems are related to tension, stress, and our inability to relax. You must proactively manage the stress in your life.

5.) I am completely self-determined and allow others the same right: Most of us don’t have a problem with the first half of this affirmation, but may put up a little resistance when our business partner, spouse, or others exert their right to do the same.

6.) I am completely responsible for all of my responses to all other persons and to all events: You must choose to control yourself. You are in command. You are responsible for your ship. You are accountable for your actions. You must take responsibility for what you do to the people around you and how you respond to the situations you encounter.

Rather than yearning for what we don’t have, by beginning with the above affirmations you will eventually learn to love, appreciate and see the value in what you do have. Health and happiness will be right there with you. And everything will be okay. I promise!

Why ‘Good Enough’ Never Is

Last week’s post focused on impeccability as a possible key to integrity. Raising the question of impeccability coupled with having quoted a reader who found inspiration from Carlos Castaneda on the subject seemed to inspire many while riling the sensibilities of others.

Some took inspiration from the aspirational focus of living to a higher standard, while others trashed the idea as impossible (given the implied notion of impeccable as perfect). Fortunately, this turns out to be another one of those cases where "you’re both right." Kind of. 

Kind of like one of my favorite quotes from Mark: "All generalizations are false, including this one."


Indeed, perfection is unlikely to be achieved on this planet, and yet striving for impeccability just might be worth the effort. As Dylene wrote to me in an email following last week’s article:

Several things came up for me around this great blog, and will most likely continue to do so. Impeccability is a goal for me in my work and my life. While I can’t pretend I always attain it, the standard is a good one for me personally.

  • Commitment to deadlines: This has created a more healthy dynamic in my life–in working hard to under-promise and over deliver, I am conscious of the commitments I make nowadays–it wasn’t always true. It helps me keep my work impeccable.


  • In the example in your blog of the appointment and searching for a reason to cancel: the times I have done this, it’s because I agreed to something that didn’t engage my passion. I’m a little more selective now about where I choose to spend my life, and that has increased the quality of my contribution to the places I do attend now. It makes it easier to be impeccable.


You can agree or disagree with Dylene and her approach. You can dismiss her approach to impeccability for any number of reasons. However, if you’re Dylene, you have made a choice (striving for impeccability) that has enriched your life, and, most likely, the lives of those with whom you interact.

If you keep playing with this for a bit, you may wind up at a collision point in your thinking: on the one hand, pursuing perfection can lead to perfection paralysis. If the goal is perfection, there will always be one more iteration, one more improvement, one more change that will help move things along. However, moving things along is motion, not perfection.

On the other hand, if you abandon the pursuit of perfection, you may then wind up settling for "good enough." What’s good enough? Is there a standard by which "good enough" could be determined? One person’s good enough could well be another person’s abject failure.

There is a classic story of Debbie Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies, who early on found herself on a visit to one of the first stores in her chain. Apparently, she was fond of saying something to the effect that you should set your standards so high that even your flaws are considered excellent.

On a surprise visit to the store in question, she came upon a long line of customers waiting for her freshly baked cookies. However, she also noticed the cookies that were coming out of the ovens were overcooked by her standards.

When she asked the manager to taste them before serving, he replied that they were "good enough." Legend has it that having more than a little pride in her products and her name, she replied "Good enough never is."

Debbie apparently took the whole batch and tossed them in the trash and told him to start over. She then went to each of the customers in line, explaining what she had done and why. She let them know that she wanted them to enjoy perfect cookies and offered them free product when it came back up.

Of course, Debbie Fields was acutely aware of the phenomenon, "you-never-get a-second-chance-to-make-a-first-impression" and just how competitive the industry already was. She did not want to risk her brand image with product she considered inferior.

And so "Good enough never is" became the watch word for Mrs. Fields Cookies. Eventually, this lead to a series of standards about cookies including how long they could sit on shelves before being declared "cookie orphans" and donated to local charities…


Photo: CC Flickr//scubadive67

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