If you follow this blog or have participated in our Women in Leadership Institute™, you’ve probably heard or read about Susan MacKenty Brady’s leadership development work around coaching the critic within each of us. Her honest and telling narrative about her inner voice reveals a common challenge that many of us face. That little voice in our head (for better or for worse) often gets in the way of how we show up with others—and can prevent us from engaging fully at work and at home. Below, Susan shares her most recent visit from her Inner Critic, which (ironically enough) occurred just moments after she arrived home following her recent keynote address on the topic. —Ed
I must confess.
I was the eye of my own storm just three days after my keynote address at our Women in Leadership Institute. I arrived home only to be utterly confronted by my absence. An overstuffed mailbox begging to be sorted greeted me at the outset. Wilted cut flowers in a vase that I put out the week before sat on the kitchen table.
No big deal, right?
Then came the complaints from the kids: “Dad made us eat macaroni and cheese all week.” I went to take a shower (and hopefully get some perspective!) only to find that there was no water (the latest gift from our in-progress home renovation). So, I lost it. I whipped up into storm-like energy and did what I am so practiced at doing: I started over-rowing the boat so that things on the home front could go back to some semblance of order.
My two kids stared at me, curious how I could be in such a frenzy only hours back after a week away. Oh—and they know what I speak about. It only took a look of concern from my 13-year-old to know it was time to practice what I preach and push pause. Thankfully, I have an inner coach and my own executive coach to remind me to make that return to compassion.
While it was only a few short weeks ago that we were together in Arizona for the Institute, I know all too well what the reality of “reentry” looks like after inspiring experiences. We have big plans, solid commitments, plans for action.
The only thing I know for sure is that we can’t do this alone.
So with warm regard, reminding myself that I’m enough and I matter, and with the help of my executive coach, I was able to weather and re-enter after my storm cloud passed. It’s hard work that requires self-awareness, practice, and sometimes an objective resource who can help you return to center.
Please know that you have a working partner in me who understands the real-life dramas our inner critics create, and that I hold you, and your inner critics, in warm regard.