How to stop your inner critic dumbing you down

Your inner critic has squashed your assertive skills and you have gone all people pleaser.

Why are you dumbing down – to your detriment?

Let’s start this exploration of ‘dumbing down’ with a quote from a rather beautiful book — ‘Untamed’ by Glennon Doyle.

Ten is when children begin to hide who they are in order to become what the world expects them to be.

So we start at your start. Your early years.

Not just you though.

Doyle’s argument is that we all get tamed in our childhood and it is down to us to unlock the cage as we get older.

What are the signs that, in your business world at least, that you are still in your cage? What is driving this ‘dumbing-down-hiding-out’ habit? How do you get out without going wild and frightening the living daylights out of everyone!

3 signs your inner critic is squashing your skill sharing

1. Not offering up your opinion when you would like to.

This might be in an online meeting or networking event — clock yourself if you sense this self-squashing internally or externally. Are you using a lot of ‘hedge’ language?

2. Feeling awkward about saying things that ‘seem’ like ‘bragging’.

This might be in your LinkedIn posts — you play it safe when you could stand out in a delightful way. You have a great story about a previous job or your research article — and it would be relevant to the discussion… but you hold back in case it looks like you are being a ‘clever-clogs’!

3. Being over-concerned about ‘fitting in’ — hiding your ‘individuality’.

This might be in your clothing, branding or content. Have you lost the ‘you’ part of all this? Are you holding on to someone else’s definitions of what passes for professional in the business world in favour of being authentic.

3 key drivers of your ‘dumbing-down’ habit.

1. Holding on to ‘rules’ and ‘conformity taming’ from early years.

2. Assumptions. Assuming you know what others will think about you!

3. Conformity and attachment needs — ancient survival wiring.

3 steps to stop ‘dumbing-down’ and start ‘showing-off’ nicely.

1. Get off the ‘naughty step’ and unpack your baggage!

2. List your achievements/skills/experience — good self-worth exercise.

3. Weave achievements into content in a RELEVANT way.

You are not being a ‘show off’ unless you are showing off.

You are denying people the chance to get to know you better by ‘blending in’.

You stifle others by stifling yourself — be a leader and create an environment where everyone feels free to share the good, bad and ugly — the human.

As Margie Warrell reminds us in her excellent book ‘Stop Playing Safe’ 

When all you do is conform, all you have to offer is conformity; when all you do is try to fit in, you negate the difference your difference makes.

As I put it — stop self-squashing.

This topic is just one of the ‘cases’ explored in ‘The Mystery of the Squashed Self’. Available on Amazon — other booksellers to follow.

I have a YouTube Channel with videos on this topic and other communication and confidence tips and I post regularly on LinkedIn.