One thing a lot of high-achieving founders (and VCs) don't like to speak about is their inner critic. Everyone has feelings of inadequacy, of "I'm not good enough for this." Of course, lots of times those feelings are more specific - like a fear of public speaking, social anxiety, fear of failure, a need to fit in, etc.
I sincerely believe everything has a purpose - and so does your inner critic. Each particular message from your inner critic has a particular purpose. So, for example, if you were embarrassed as a kid in school, you created that inner message of not wanting to be embarrassed to protect you in the future. That kind of behaviour could have been very useful in the cruel peer culture of school life, but now is simply a conditioned response that may be holding you back from taking the risks you want to take.
Once you're aware of your inner critic's specific message and how it may have been created, integration requires acknowledgement, acceptance and sometimes redirection:
- Why is the inner critic showing up today?
- What purpose is it trying to solve by holding you back / how is it trying to protect you?
Then you can give it a new job: since the old purpose is no longer appropriate, what could your inner critic be saying to be helpful today? I like to actually make this a little ritual: release the inner critic from its previous purpose and then affirm its new purpose.
Identifying, understanding, and redirecting your inner critic is an incredibly powerful method to move forward to become more of who we really are.