Do you have an “inner critic” that gives you a hard time? Come on, we all have that ongoing dialogue that streams through our consciousness while we go about our daily life. It comments, independently from our active mind, on the minutia of the day. As we are getting dressed in the morning, we are maybe half aware of the background noise that goes through our mind. It sounds a little like this,
“Wow, I knew I shouldn’t have eaten those two brownies?”…. “Look how fat I am in these pants— why don’t I exercise enough?”… “Everyone else seems to be able to do this, but I’m just a weak person and I can’t.”

Unless you are actively aware of these thoughts, you don’t even realize that they are busy tearing your self-esteem to shreds and making you downright miserable. More often than not, these streams of consciousness are negative. They spew all kinds of venom into our minds and contaminate how we feel about ourselves. This, in turn, affects how we approach our relationships, our careers, and our lives. As you can imagine, the key to changing your life is to take on the back seat driver that’s calling the shots.

A couple of years ago, I interviewed for a position in a top-notch organization. I believed that this job was perfect for me and I decided that I really wanted the job. The interview went extremely well and I believed that I had this one “all sewed up”. Two weeks later, I received the email explaining how incredible my background was but the company had decided on another applicant. I am sure we can all agree that letters that wax on about our wonderful talent yet make clear that they don’t want us to work for their company are not fun.

My inner critic immediately went to work, doing a grand job. It sounded something like this, “When did I mess it up in the interview?”…”I shouldn’t have brought up that one part of my_____”… “If only I hadn’t talked about that previous experience”…”Sometimes I don’t know when to shut up”…”I used to be an awesome interviewer but I must have lost my skills” Suffice to say, I made myself miserable.

Let’s jump to the other day when I was at a networking event. I introduced myself to a woman and shook her hand. She looked at me intently and stated that she felt that she knew me from somewhere. I laughed and told her that I always look familiar to people. I talked to other people in the room and about 45 minutes later, I went over to talk to her again. She suddenly got excited. “I’ve got it, I know why I know you— I interviewed you for that position at XYZ Company and you didn’t get the job because you were WAY OVERQUALIFIED for that position. She said much more but my mind was stuck on the way overqualified part. Really? I wasted all that time cutting myself down and that’s what it was? They were too impressed with my background?

So there you have it. The majority of the time, even women that are self-confident fall victim to the “back-seat driver’s” spewed toxin. Let this be a lesson to you, girlfriend. Make a pact to kick your back-seat driver out of your head!

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