It's even more discouraging when the answers people give you about how to deal with this critical inner voice sound good in theory but are difficult in practice.
No doubt, you've already had to contend with "The Critic" when you try to venture out or move your business forward. The following remarks by The Critic may sound familiar:
- Where are you going to get the money to do this?
- This will never work.
- You're just wasting time with this idea.
- What if you don't succeed?
- You can't pull this off.
Well, get ready to celebrate, because I'm about to reveal the secret that will solve this excruciating problem once and for all. And, relax. It doesn't involve that common but useless advice to "push through your fears."
The Three-Phase Process of Dreaming, Planning, Criticizing
Phase 1: Dreaming
Entertainment mogul Walt Disney called this first step "Dreaming." Michael Gerber, author of the E-Myth calls it "The Entrepreneurial Perspective." Whatever you call this first step in the process of turning your dreams into reality, it does not involve your inner critic.
This is the time when you allow your most wonderful dreams about your business to bubble up and hold off on allowing The Critic to come forth. Disney put a high value on the dreaming phase and put no limits or restriction on this part of the process. Instead, he encouraged those on his staff who were responsible for dreaming up ideas to imagine their story all the way to the end.
As you dream your dream about your business, you want to keep your critical voice separate from The Dreamer. There will be a time and a place for The Critic to come in and give input. But, first, have the courage to dream the dream.
Phase 2: Planning
Once you have dreamed your dream, it's time to put together a plan to turn it into reality. Michel Gerber says this is when The Manager comes into play. The Manager's role is to put a plan into place to realize the fulfillment of the dream.
During this phase, the detailed plans of creation come into being. Structure is added, the sequence of events is outlined, and the blueprint is laid out.
Still, no inner critic. Dreaming is for The Entrepreneur, the visionary, the far seer. Planning is for the realist. If The Critic were allowed to come forth during the planning phase, it would criticize both the dream and the plan and prematurely stall the process.
Phase 3: Criticizing
Your business dream has been dreamed. The plans to turn it into a reality are finished. Now, it's time for The Critic to come out and evaluate your plans.
During this phase, The Critic will do what it does bestâ€”find the issues in your plans that need to be resolved. Welcome The Critic. Don't be afraid of it. Earlier, it would have sabotaged your success and polluted your dreams. Now, The Critic plays a vital role in helping to turn your dreams into reality.
Then, when The Critic is done, do as Disney did. He would go back to the dreaming phase for the solution and to the planning phase for the action steps that would resolve the problem his critic brought to his attention.
Take a deep breath and understand this: Pushing through your fears is not the way to turn your business dreams into reality. Neither is listening to The Critic before it's time to do so. The secret is to separate The Critic from The Dreamer and The Manager until the very end of the process. Follow the three-phases of dreaming first, planning next, and criticizing at the end of the process, and you can effectively turn your business dreams into reality.
About the Author: Dr. Susan L. Reid is a business coach and consultant for entrepreneurial women starting up businesses. She is the author of â€œDiscovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman's Journey to Business Success. To download a free PDF chapter of her book, go to Alkamae.
Susan is part of the Small Business Trends Expert Network.