When I begin work with a client I focus on helping him or her create a vibrant and robust vision of their life and career. A fundamental question I ask is “What would your life and career look like if you knew you could not fail? I ask them to picture themselves floating on the Great Salt Lake of Utah, where the salt density is so high they literally cannot drown. I ask them to imagine that not only can they not drown, they cannot fail. In addition, I ask them to envision the body of water filled with unlimited possibilities for their life. I ask them to give themselves permission to dream. During this exercise, which may be practiced for many weeks during our work together, no wish, no thought, no idea, no plan is too wild and crazy, too implausible.
I ask them to beware of their Inner Critic emerging from the closet of their minds and criticising them with comments such as “You’re too young, too old, you lack skills, you don’t have the courage, you’ll never change.” In my experience, in my own life and while working with my clients, I don’t see the Inner Critic as some demon, but rather as an aspect of our ego which is actually trying to protect us from stepping into the unknown and taking risks that are frightening to the child within us. It’s human to experience such thoughts and feelings, but it’s not fruitful to allow them to keep us imprisoned in our conditioning.
Growth requires change and taking some risks. We are entering the unkown. We cannot design and take charge of our lives without accepting our feelings and yet doing what needs to be done to experience fulfillment. Are you listening to your Inner Critic? Are you overwhelmed by your Inner Critic? Are you able to be with your fears and resistance and yet design and manifest a life of meaning and fulfillment?