Want to be an Exceptional Presenter: Discover Your Self 2 and Fire your Inner Critic

“Secret 2 Meaningful Constructive Living is 2 apply the ACT principles of Awareness, Choice and Trust of natural strengths.” MWH

Recently, I started to re-read the Inner Tennis book by Tim Gallwey then I came across  a great article on a site called SelfMatters.org. The site and its programs are run by two inspiring women, Jane Shure, PhD. and Beth Weinstock, PhD.

Dr. Shure and Weinstock believe that we can learn how to “turn down” the voice of what they call our “inner critic,” and learn to “turn up” our positive and natural voice of  “inner coach.” Gallwey’s point of view was that people are vulnerable to negative shifts in mindset which can have drastic impact on one’s performance in many different situations that require focused attention.

Both Gallwey and Shure/ Weinstock are talking about the powerful unconscious and how the brain builds in patterns that are repeated through the process of self-talk. Self-talk is the inner dialogue between parts of our mind, and is influenced by these neural pathways from past behavior in similar situations. When we grow-up with negativity and criticism from inadequate parents, critical teachers or bad experiences, we internalize negative messages. Our brains literally develop dysfunctional pathways and patterns that blame ourselves not others for failure and mistakes. We build many obstacles that prevent us from access our natural abilities. Some of the obstacles are anxiety about our ability to handle difficult people and situations. Others include fears of failure or success, resistance to new endeavors or situations, test taking, , doubt about our ability to perform , etc. Gallwey teaches performers, managers and athletes how to tap into natural and positive potential for learning, performance, and enjoyment. Any activity can become an opportunity to improve skills, increase joy and heighten awareness.  Our Inner Critic ( Shure and Weinstock) or Self 1 ( Gallwey’s) are the center for negativity and criticism. These voices are not the only source of input available to us. Self 1 or the inner critic are powerful internal voices that over whelm our natural strengths and  are always in battle for our attention. The more we listen to it, the more we strengthen it and subject ourselves to its negative impact on our performance whether it be tennis,golf, singing, doing math, taking tests serving for “match point, word problems, making presentations “ad infinitum”.

Many of us live with the constant “self-talk” of a harsh Inner Critic. The critic’s voice thwarts our spontaneity, holds us hostage to anxiety, dampens freedom of expression, and keeps us feeling inadequate.  Let’s take a quiz to see who is in control of your self-talk.-

Test for seeing which voice is in control.

Sit quietly and reflect on these following questions:

  • Do you say to yourself when a ball is coming to your backhand -“Oh no, not to my weak backhand?
  • Put yourself down for scoring low on a math or science test?
  • Find it hard to accept a compliment for being a “good cook” or “creative painter?”
  • Do you have difficulty making a presentation or speech?
  • Do you compare yourself and often feel that you come -up short  or  inferior to others ?
  • Miss a shot at the net or an easy overhead and call yourself names like stupid. jerk etc.?
  • When approaching a “water hole” in golf, you say-Oh no, not water hazard. I always go in the water. I had better get an old ball to hit.

If you answer yes to more than three of these questions you may be listening too much to your “Inner Critic” or “Self 1”.

In the next blog I will provide some proven tips for overcoming the negative inner voice and help you begin to practice how to access your positive Self 2 to conquer performance fears. Stay tuned.


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