self-criticism, exhaustion, work from home, entrepreneur“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” – Frank A. Clark

Self-criticism can happen without you even noticing it. Putting yourself down can be an unconscious habit that can undermine your success. It can also push you beyond your physical and mental limits. Negative thoughts and self-talk can twist how you see yourself accurately and how much of yourself you put into work.

The inner critic can really rear its ugly head when you’re tired and keep pushing yourself to get something done. The truth is there will always be something on your to do list. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you are not human. Driving yourself to succeed in business doesn’t mean you drive yourself into the ground.

Self-criticism can take the form of thinking people will find out you’re a fraud. It could sound like:

  • Someone will see through me and know I’m a fake.”
  • “If people knew who I really was they wouldn’t want to be around me”
  • “I’m such a loser. I’m never going to make money at this business”

Do you have clear self-perception?

Where did these thoughts come from? Maybe it was an ill word from your parents or some other important person. Self-criticism can happen so automatically and quickly. Catching these ill-thought and shifting to positive thinking is the key. Do whatever it takes to shift your thoughts: dance, sing, listen to a motivational speaker, do a mental gratitude list. It may seem like a battle at first but it will get easier. Remember, the one thing you can be in control of is your thoughts.

Get accurate in your thinking

Critical thoughts are venomous, cause distraction and keep you in fear for taking your next step. This can be the very time you are about to make a huge breakthrough when working on a project. Recognize it, shift your thinking and move forward. Suffering under the self-critic becomes a choice or unconscious habit. Using a journal can help you see how it is affecting your life. This might be the very moment you have been waiting for in your life and work.

Recognize you are one person, not a team of folks running your business. People that run their own business have a unique way of driving themselves beyond an eight hour day. You can easily tip over the edge of exhaustion and begin not to think clearly. Know your edge and listen to your body.

Self-examinations can be such a helpful tool. Know what make you tick. Discover your strengths and the traits you want to improve on. It’s all too easy to find those not so shiny behaviors to pick on. Always list the qualities you love about yourself, too. These are your truths and strengths, rather than someone else’s version. Guilt and shame related to your past can emerge, and forgiveness is the key.

As you grow personally, so will your life and business. Don’t allow self-criticisms to push you beyond your limits.

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30 thoughts on “When Self-Criticism Pushes You Beyond Your Limits”

  1. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing this post and the helpful tips.  Self criticism can be paralyzing! I agree with you…''As you grow personally, so will your life and business. Don’t allow self- criticisms to push you beyond your limits." Excellent!

  2. It's those old Negative Nellies that get the best of people!   I have to make conscious decision every day to quiet those little devils!  I even made several affirmation tapes for others to help them too! LOL  As for my business negative Nellies. . . . once I grew enough to hire a team of folks to do some of the mundane chores, the negatives weren't quite so loud.  Why?  Because I am too busy to notice and I can quiet them with "Really?  how did my business get so big??" haha!

  3. Great reminder here, Lisa. Self- criticism can hold us back. It's that fear of not being good enough. I agree that when we are one person running our business, we can often overdo. Sometimes, it's hard to know when to put on the brakes. Take care. 

  4. Amazing post, Lisa! Love this question "Do you have clear self-perception?"…most of us don't and that question is a real eye-opener. And I so agree with you that suffering under self criticism is a choice. Brilliant, thank you for these great insights!

  5. Negative self-talk is so pervasive. I continuously try to pay attention, but even then it sneaks in. I enjoy using EFT (tapping) when a thought is particularly sticky – I vent at myself while tapping and usually can then break its hold.

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  6. Hi Lisa, when you have grown up in a household where nothing you did was good or impressive enough it takes work to get the voices out of your head. The voices are the first thing that pop up in my head and I have to make an effort to shut them off. I know that with practice one day they will stop completely, for now I will continue to smile and ignore them.

    1. It does take time to turn off those critical voices. It sounds like a great step is not buying into what they say. Thanks, Carla!

    1. It’s amazing exercise to look back on your journey and see where you have been and continue to see the path before you. Thanks!

  7. Oh darlin, those voices in our head that remind us "nothing is good enough, YOU aren't good enough" can be the biggest block to us everrrrrrrrr truly stepping into our glory and Amazingness. I've started using an exercise I actually developed for a client: when my Inner Nag comes in for a visit, I tell her she can go play on the beach in Santorini until I call her back! 
    Smile…and thanks for the reminder!

  8. Thank you, Lisa, for this encouragement. Finding the right balance between acceptance and a healthy striving for excellence is not easy.

    1. You are so right, Lorrie. It has everything to do with being aware of where your heading and when it’s time to end the day. Thanks!

  9. Yes – our biggest (and toughest) critic is so very often US!!  Being aware of the inner voice(s) and steering toward excellence while being accepting of all of our own selves is quite a balancing act :).  Thanks for these tips here.

  10. This reminds me of the "failure syndrome" I learned in Psychology. We all have moments when we feel low – and a lot of times friends, teachers or random acts of kindness from strangers help us boost our self-confidence. We can think about those low times as passing moments, then get back to business. 🙂 

  11. What a wonderful post and thank you for such helpful tips, Lisa. As you wrote, "People that run their own business have a unique way of driving themselves beyond an eight hour day. You can easily tip over the edge of exhaustion and begin not to think clearly. Know your edge and listen to your body." And then comes the "inner critic!" Thanks so much for your help.

  12. I have always been my own worst critic…and to a degree it remains a struggle and one I especially face when business is not thriving! ANd ye, the pressure I apply on myself can easily lead to exhaustion…a warning I received just yesterday in fact!

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