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  • James Eves

The Crippling Fear of Criticism



If you have an active imagination like mine...it can be rather like a chimp’s tea party with them all enjoying espressos and cake before running wild.


There are upsides and downsides to such creative thoughts. The real positive is that the flow of ideas is energising, gives hope and positive new direction.


On good days, I need to write them down otherwise they may be lost forever!


But the negative is when you have a new idea, take action, and reach a point of wanting to explore it further and present it to the world.


Then the imagination begins to bring up thoughts of:

· I wonder what people will think?

· What if they don’t like what I’ve created?

· Is this actually good enough?

· Who am I to have an opinion on such a topic?

· Will anyone even listen? So, what’s the point?


The challenge with such a voice is that I have listened to it in the past.


The result?


Lots of potentially great ideas have been put in a mental ‘box’ and never seen the light of day. This has prevented me from developing, getting better at something and showing the world who I really am.


Blogs like the one you are reading have likely been sat in my head for months if not years in some instances.


Some may call this imposter syndrome or the belief that I haven’t earned the right to air my opinions or believe that no one will listen. However, I have come to learn that this critical voice is in fact a voice to listen to.


What it’s actually trying to do is look out for me and protect me.


So, when it is outlining the things that can go wrong with the next great idea, I make the time to listen to it and hear what it is saying.


You might view this as like a sounding board and steps to mitigate risk. Considering the worst-case scenarios and also the best-case scenarios, I have thought through what can happen and what that looks and feels like. Decisions aren’t just made on a whim.


What does that give me?


A real sense of empowerment, a feeling of being in control and less vulnerable!


This was put to the test just last week with the launch of my first vlog. Something I have been thinking about starting for at least 2 years now.


We fired up YouTube on the TV to get a cinematic full screen effect. When the innocent and brutal honesty of Michelle’s 10 year-old son – Oliver – casually noted that the Inspiration North YouTube account only has 17 subscribers! Shock horror! It was said with no malice but it was laid out there.


What would my inner voice think of that?


In years gone by, that could have been a trigger to insecurities emerging and taking up space in my head.


My reaction was first to laugh, and then to politely remind him that everyone has to start somewhere.


Even Justin Bieber and Tyler Blevins (aka Ninja – the world’s favourite Fortnite streamer) will have created a YouTube account at some point with no subscribers.


So, I side stepped that one with relative ease (although this is no doubt helped by years of working on figuring out who I am and building self-confidence and self-awareness).


And from an amusing standpoint, when you start something new it doesn’t really matter that you have a small following.


Why is that?


Well the small and loyal following includes our siblings, family and close friends who won’t be dishing out too much criticism anyway.


With supporters, it’s also worth having someone that allows you to air your thoughts and gives you any boost of proactive energy and non-emotional logic. Michelle is often nudging me out of the comfort zone and pushing me to stretch myself to new heights. Such support is invaluable.


So, the next time your inner voice is providing the worst case and potentially holding you back from doing something.


Thank it for providing an opinion that is just looking out for you.


Then get to it.


If you need an extra nudge, tag me and I’ll be a cheerleader for you (albeit minus the pom poms and outfit!)


Oh, and if you fancied watching my first vlog, here it is!



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