Today I was working with a client on self-criticism at work. We considered the sheer redundancy of it, in most cases.
In evolutionary terms, it’s our brain’s job to seek pleasure, avoid pain and conserve energy.
So, when it tells us we’re not doing our job fast enough or well enough, it’s just trying to warn us of impending risk. And it can get quite insistent about that. And quite snarky, too. It goes on until we self-correct, usually by giving up on whatever we’re doing. Not ideal, if what we’re doing is work.
Often enough, these “safety warnings” begin in childhood, when well-meaning parents and teachers urge us to achieve more, by suggesting we aren’t doing well enough. And we’ve been running those safety warnings ever since then. Just to be on the safe side.
I call that SCARCITY safety.
When we get scarcity safety, it’s a bandaid. We’re always looking out for the next risk, for more danger in our environment.
There’s another kind of safety
It’s a legit thing to create our own internal safety. One that’s always available. I think of it as emotional safety, although it’s sometimes described in a work setting as psychological safety. It’s where we feel safe to just be ourselves.
At work, it frees up creativity, innovation, the freedom to experiment and communicate honestly. It allows us to be curious, collaborate well, survive mistakes, learn quickly and ask lots of useful questions. It’s a massive boon to enjoyment, productivity, excellence, achieving big goals and team work.
This is abundance safety. We make it ourselves.
Think of it as having your back, believing in yourself and protecting your inner vulnerability. If we created our scarcity safety thinking in childhood, we’ve got a scared little inner child in there, fearing rejection. We can champion that child.
Choosing to create safety is choosing to accept every part of yourself
Here’s a couple of questions you can ask, if you doubt yourself:
Do I have a good heart?
Am I basically well-intentioned?
What if that means you’re good enough?
Chances are, if you’re reading this, that
– you’re highly skilled and experienced at your work;
– your drive and contribution are strong; and
– you incline towards supporting others and your organisation
You think this message is for someone else?
No, it’s for you.
Running yourself down for supposed imperfections doesn’t improve performance or motivation
Choose abundant safety.
Choose it now.
Choose it as if there was no other possibility.
Serve yourself. Serve others.