Your inner arch nemesis (inner critic) can be very good for you or very, very bad.
In a lot of cases, it can tell you that you are an idiot for rushing into something that blew up in your face. Quick note: it’s never ok to call yourself an idiot. It’s your inner arch nemesis getting the best of you. Sometimes your arch nemesis can keep you grounded and prevent your ego from getting too big, other times he’s a jerk and needs to be ignored.
I like to think of my inner arch nemesis as a friend trying to protect me, like any good mom or dad would do for their child.
Sometimes parents go too far though. They protect you from experiences that are supposed to make you fall flat on your face so that you can learn to get back up and try again.
Finding harmony with your inner arch nemesis is like finding the perfect balance alone on a teeter-totter. Too much weight on either side, and the seat can hit the ground. Hard.
A few months ago it felt like my inner arch nemesis was trying to claw my eyes out from the inside, obsessively worrying about a coaching client that I wasn’t getting along with at the moment. I didn’t understand why I felt this way because she was smart, worked hard on improving her career, and had seemed to enjoy our sessions.
Instead of asking her what was wrong, I let this feeling drag on because my inner critic was speculating about all the things that could be wrong with me that were affecting our work together.
Then on our next session I ignored my inner arch nemesis for a minute and came right out and asked, “I’m feeling some resistance from you. Am I reading this right?”
She meekly said, “Yes.”
So I asked “Why do you think that is?”
“Well, I’m not sure. At first I was all excited, then we did the superpowers session.”
“Ahh. I see.”
“You’re having a tough time with the word superpowers.”
“Yes. I think you are right. I didn’t realize it. I like the concept, but having to think of myself as having superpowers is hard.”
So we talked it through and instead of using the word “superpowers”, we used the word “talents”. This made much more sense to her, and she could now process the information better and start to take action. We still talked about passion, focus, and strengths, but in terms of talents, not superpower. By bringing the issue out into the open, we were able to uncover and work through the problem.
The reason I had been afraid to say something is because I thought she would tell me she was disappointed in our work together because of something I did or didn’t do. That was my arch nemesis taking over. He was just trying to help me realize something wasn’t quite right with my client. No relationship is perfect and if I would have ignored this voice then our relationship would have continued to flounder. Communication is important to help bring clarity to the situation, making the decision making process easier. All it took was suggesting a change in my choice of words to solve the problem.
I thanked my arch nemesis for speaking up. The doubt that was there helped us make our relationship stronger.
Over the years of working with all different kinds of people, I’ve found that it’s better to bring issues out into the open and talk about them. Sometimes it happens that people are just not a good fit for my style, and that’s ok with me. Whatever the underlying issue is, I’ve found that it’s better to talk about it than to ignore an awkward or uncomfortable situation.
Understand Your Inner Arch Nemesis
We all have an inner dialog that is trying to feed or tear down our happiness.
How you choose to build a relationship with your inner arch nemesis determines your attitude and success.
Here is a 3 step process to help you gain insight into your inner voice that might skew toward the negative side during difficult situations.
Step 1 – Listen to your inner arch nemesis.
It’s kind of crazy how this works, so over the next few days, I want you to watch your thoughts. i.e. what do you say to yourself in different situations?
For example,if you are in a meeting and your inner dialog is saying, “Auugghh, I can’t believe I have to be here. This is such a waste of time,” then note this inner dialog.
I don’t want you to judge this dialog, just document it and watch it. I actually named my inner arch nemesis to make it the game a little more playful.
Step 2 – Watch how your inner arch nemesis makes you feel.
Remember the first post asking about how you want to feel at work? Well, your thoughts play a huge role in how you feel at work. If your inner dialog is negative, it can becomes your arch nemesis. It stops you from taking action.
So, your notes might answer questions like the following:
Where were you when you noticed your inner arch nemesis’ voice?
ex. I was in the weekly review meeting.
What did my inner arch nemesis say?
ex. My stomach hurts. My boss is such a dork. I wish it was lunch time. Oh, my, God! I can’t take this for one more minute!
How did this inner dialog make you feel?
ex. I felt angry and frustrated, and the more I thought these thoughts, the angrier and more frustrated I felt.
Step 3 – Plant seeds to improve your relationship with your inner arch nemesis.
Here is where it can get fun. You can start to rewire how you think about and deal with difficult situations. Try imagining you have a good friend or parent with you who wants to keep you safe and support you, then ask yourself the following:
What could I do differently next time?
ex. Next time I’m in a meeting like that, I could take a big breath and relax, or I could offer up a solution to make the meeting run smoother, or maybe find a positive thought like Mary tries so hard to make this place better, next time she offers up a suggestion I’m going to support her.
Putting It All Together
Do you want to create a happier life and career?
Watching, learning, and adjusting how you view a situation will go a long way toward improving your career. You are planting the seeds for a more positive mindset. We all have difficult situations and people to deal with — the key is to be open to finding solutions that can help us and the company instead of letting our inner arch nemesis hold us back.
I know many of you will read this and will want to try the exercise of watching your inner critic and then thinking about what you could do differently. This is exciting.
I also understand that some of you just aren’t ready to take on your inner arch nemesis, maybe because it’s been a strong part of your life for so long and you can’t imagine having a good relationship with your inner arch nemesis, but I would encourage you to give it a shot.
Are you ready to take the next step and befriend your inner arch nemesis?,
If you gained any insights, please share below. I would love to hear what you will try to do differently this week and next.
* This article is a part of the Unlock Your Passions email course that you can get access to by joining our community and getting free career happiness boosting updates.