Do it anyway!
I recently read an email from my amazing friend Katie Snyder (a coach, photographer, writer and all-round fabulous woman) entitled "You Can Do It!"
She recounts the story of a recent anniversary getaway in an Airbnb overlooking a river, and they had kayaks available to use. Katie had never tried kayaking, so was excited to give it a go... And then the inner critic showed up - "you're no good at this"," your husband deserves to be with someone more athletic, in better shape", "what are you thinking?".
Now, I also tried my hand at kayaking for the first time this year - something I've always fancied trying, but always doubted whether I could do it; whether I was too old to try now, whether I'd look ridiculous, was too big to get in the damn thing. So I booked a family thing with the grownup kids and step-kids, and some of them were first-timers too. And we had a great time! That inner voice was there, however, telling me I shouldn't and I couldn't.
I did the thing, and had an amazing time (so much so that I'm went again over the summer).
Katie talked about telling her husband that she was "no good at it", another inner critic favourite, but - lightbulb moment - of course she was no good at, she'd never done it before! And I think that's something we forget. We become good at things through practice and perseverance. Remember your first driving lesson? The first time you tried riding a bike? When you took up a creative project for the first time?
In my first book, I talk about the inner critic in one of my letters:
One key thing I've learned is that the voice in your head, telling you that you can't, that you're not good enough, skilled enough; that you're not capable; that if you do or don't do the thing, you'll be letting people down - that voice that draws up imaginary and ever-shifting expectations and goal posts that you constantly measure yourself against - it wants nothing more than to keep you safe. It likes the Comfort Zone, where nothing bad will happen, there is no danger of you embarrassing yourself or failing. Safe from upsetting others and stepping on their toes. The thing is, I have found that when that inner voice is screaming "NOOOOOOOOO!" and I do the thing anyway, that is when the magic happens.... A sense of ... freedom isn't a big enough word. Liberation, from my own bullshit. And joy! A feeling of weightlessness in my soul.
Taking that leap of faith in myself to try the thing, even when my inner critic is yelling at me, is when I often find the joy. With kayaking, I could have fallen in and my family would have had a good laugh, but equally, they could have too! And the worst that would have happened is that I would have been very soggy, a bit embarrassed for a while, but if I hadn't got in the kayak in the first place, my soul would have been sad.
So, the point of this random musing is to remind you to take the leap! Do it! Even when your inner voice says you can't, that you're no good at it - DO THE THING!! You never know how much joy you will find, what passion will grow, and with each try, it becomes easier.
Tell me what brings you joy? What did you do despite your inner critic?
With much love, as always,
Anna x x