Shaun Usher of Letters of Note wrote a nice post about a letter from Pete Doctor of Pixar to Middle School Children following their own passions with determination to succeed. Reading this post made me realize that he was really talking about saying YES to his own offer. Often, it's hard to say YES in improv and follow other people's ideas - but it can be even harder to say YES to yourself.
We all have an internal critic that is ready to help chip away at our own ideas and dreams. The key is to recognize this critic and find a strategy to manage them.
Here are three ways to help quite the critic who lives in your head:
- CRUSH THEM - Every time you "hear" the critic in your own head or realize that he/she has voiced an opinion that has changed your direction, physically reach up and pull the critic from your head with your best mime work. Hold them in front of you, throw them on the floor and step on them - grinding them up like a cigarette butt like the punk in a bad 70's movie.
- GET OUT FRONT - Before you try the next step in something new you, have a short talk with the critic and inform them that Failure (and thus learning) is likely to occur soon and that you will rise triumphantly and try again until you get there.
- BELITTLE THEM - As you tread out into uncharted territory and the critic looks starts casting doubt on your intentions, keep moving forward telling them "Oh if you think it's going to be that bad, wait until you see what I do next!" and barrel ahead making things worse then they could every imagine. You know that on the other side is experience, wisdom, and insight for the next attempt OR quiet reflection and satisfaction on a job well done.
Now go out and say YES to 3 things you have been wanting to do, but have not done yet. What's the worst that could happen? You could learn something.