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4 Practices to Tame Your Inner Critic Starting Today



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Given the stress and challenges of this past year, your inner critic may be at a dull roar by now. This harsh internal voice can contribute to “imposter syndrome” or a feeling that you’re not worthy of success. This roommate you would never choose might sound something like this: “I’m not doing anything well,” “I’m not as smart as my colleagues and not equipped for this job,” “I should be further along in my career; I’m stagnating,” “That person is so together,” “I am overwhelmed!” And as you listen to this inner voice, you may be thinking you are the only one in the world wired this way. The truth is, you are not alone.

As human beings, we are in a never-ending internal conversation with ourselves. The average person has 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day. About 80% are negative, and 95% are repetitive from the day before. We catastrophize. We add drama. We add unnecessary significance. 

But despite the amount of automatic negativity, there is good news! The good news is you do not have to be permanently stuck with this awful roommate delivering non-stop cruel commentary. You can choose your thoughts and change the narrative. (Audible sigh of relief!) Get started taming your inner critic today, and take back control with the following four practices.

Practice 1 – Clear Power Outages

Everyone experiences a temporary loss of power or confidence triggered by unmet expectations, mistakes, breakdowns, conflicts, and other people. Some power outages are small, while others can feel like a city-wide grid failure on New Year’s Eve. It can be extremely difficult to function during a power outage, causing you to spiral, and then spiral some more. Fortunately, the severity and time spent in these power outages can be drastically decreased with our three-step model. 

  1. Take three deep breaths. 
  2. Find a person you trust to talk through the power outage. Make sure this person understands they are there to give you the opportunity to be heard and not problem solve/give advice. When you share all the details out loud, it will be cathartic and mitigate the drama while trapped in your head.
  3. Decide when you can let it go. Determine what actions you can take to help yourself reset.  

Practice 2 – Choose a New Story

People continually tell themselves disempowering stories — about their circumstances, themselves, and others. Then, we go about collecting evidence to prove ourselves right.

In my 30s, when I was in corporate America, I was layered under a new manager as a result of a reorg. This change was a complete shock and disappointment. I was angry. I thought the new manager did not like me and did not value my contributions. I thought it would never work.

During the next few weeks, I collected evidence supporting this belief — all of the reasons why this was a mistake and why I should not be reporting to him. I got screwed, and this manager was not right for me. After weeks of suffering, losing sleep, and venting with a select few about how I was feeling trapped and unmotivated, my husband finally asked me in a calm supportive way, “Am I going to have to listen to this every night or do you plan to get a new job?” 

That was a wake-up call. I didn’t want a new job. I appreciated my team, my clients, my compensation and upward potential. But currently, my sleep, job satisfaction, and sanity were on the line! I realized the cost of this negative story was steep. This could not go on any longer, but I didn’t want to make a career change. It was then I talked to my closest friend Wendy (Fast Forward co-founder) who gave me valuable counsel — I could either continue down this path, or I could choose a new story and be happy.

“If you gave your inner genius as much credence as your inner critic, you would be light years ahead of where you now stand.” – Alan Cohen

I chose the new story: “I can learn from every manager.” This new story provided me with a new lens to look through, which led me to take actions I would not have otherwise taken. 

I sought out my manager’s council on challenges, and, to my surprise, he was helpful. I set up breakfasts with him to get to know him personally and found he was not so bad, after all. I made recommendations to improve the business and culture, and he listened! Within months, I had evidence for the new story and was thriving at work and home. 

You, too, can choose a new story using our simple three-step process: 

  1. What is your negative story?
  2. What is the cost of believing the story? Understand the cost of believing in that story and how it is holding you back from progress and happiness.
  3. What is another story you can choose? Choose a new story that empowers you to move forward. 

Since we are often attached to our stories, it is quite valuable to get input from someone you trust like I did! The powerful practice of choosing a new story allows you to have an outlook that fuels you. You can choose to be right, or you can choose to be happy. 

Practice 3 – Run Your Own Race 

This expression comes from thoroughbred horse racing — jockeys put blinders on their horses so they focus on the track ahead and not the horse to the left and right. This is a powerful metaphor!  Comparing yourself to others is often disempowering and focuses you on what you don’t have versus what you do.  

Put your energy toward running your own race, so you can focus on your strengths and be your personal best. Here are some recommendations to do this: 

  1. Limit scrolling through social media: The phrase Instagram versus reality exists for a reason. Spending hours in a rabbit hole of the cultivated image of people’s lives and adventures does not move you closer to your goals.
  2. Focus on your strengths: Practice a glass half full attitude. Instead of focusing on your shortcomings, make a list of the valuable things you contribute — at work, personally and in the world! 
  3. Shift envy to admiration: If you see someone advancing more quickly in their career, reach out to them for advice. Ask them to be your mentor. Tell them they are a role model to you. You never know what those conversations can lead to for your personal and professional growth. 

Practice 4 – Journal Daily 

This simple practice takes only six minutes a day and creates a huge impact. Journaling is proven to help people sleep better, lower stress and improve confidence and relationships. 

  • Every morning, write down three things you are grateful for. 
  • Every evening, write down three things that you are proud of and/or did well that day. 

While there are many things in life we can’t control, you CAN control your inner critic.  Start using these four practices today. You have one life — you are worth it. 

Lisa McCarthy is the CEO and co-founder of The Fast Forward Group, a training and coaching company that gives people a proven system to think big, manage stress and achieve success and fulfillment in their whole life. They work with the world’s most innovative companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google, and JPMorgan Chase who believe when people are living their best life, they do their best work. Prior to starting Fast Forward, Lisa spent 25 years leading sales organizations at prominent media companies, including ViacomCBS and Univision. She experienced the toll of high-pressure workplaces where people feel professional success requires personal sacrifice. She and co-founder, Wendy Leshgold, set out to challenge this and through their vision, created Fast Forward Group. Lisa was named a “Woman to Watch”' by Advertising Age and Crain’s New York “Business 40 Under 40.” Fast Forward hosts a free Bold Vision Workshop with Lisa and Wendy monthly. 

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Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.



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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma



Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.


Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:


1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.


2. Persistent Pain

Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.

4. A strong need for control

It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
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3 Simple Steps to Cultivate Courage and Create a Life of Meaning

we cultivate meaning in our lives when we pursue our calling



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Our deepest human desire is to cultivate meaning in our lives. Our deepest human need is to survive. (more…)

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Grit: The Key to Your Ultimate Greatness

Grit is an overlooked aspect of success, but it plays a critical role.



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A grit mindset is an essential key to your greatness. It’s what separates those who achieve their goals from those who give up and never reach their potential. It’s also the difference between success and failure, happiness and misery. If you want to be great and achieve your dreams, then you need grit. Luckily, it’s something that can be learned. Please keep reading to learn more about grit and discover four ways to develop it. (more…)

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