If we talked to other people the way we talk to ourselves we would have no friends, I have heard people say. And we do say horrible things to ourselves. This is the tiny internal critic, which constantly trips us up, pushes us down and makes us smaller.
Amanda Palmer calls our internal critic the fraud police.
Seth Godin calls it our lizard brain.
Author Steven Pressfield calls it the resistance.
I call it the tiny internal critic. The tiny internal critic is the constant little (or sometimes very big) voice in our head that says:
I am not good-looking/tall/thin/smart/brave/funny/good/expert/(add your word here) enough.
Or, I am too clumsy/awkward/shy/tall/fat/(add your word here).
Therefore I can’t finish/start/try/succeed/hope for/(add your word here) at this project.
Sometimes we build ourselves up and we start to feel confident and we can move forward. Sometimes others build us up and we feel confident and we can move forward. But the slightest negative input can tear all that down and we find ourselves stuck again.
Associations can build members up or associations can tear members down. I don’t think we think about our work, our interactions with members or our benefits in this way. So it is worthwhile to talk about this with the board, with the whole staff and with members. Especially in associations who serve professions and industries going through massive changes (these folks are already feeling beaten down).
What can we do to build members up? How can we tell them that they are awesome? How can we show them that they are smart/insightful/hard working/driven/brave/good-looking/(add your word here) enough to lead the important projects that need to be led?