Naming Your Inner Critic

Naming the Inner Critic - Morningstars ToastmastersIn Toastmasters, we are trained to be great listeners. But there is one voice that could use a bit of the silent treatment.

The Inner Critic.

The Inner Critic is the little voice in your head that casts doubt on your speaking ability. It is the voice that second guesses your word choices or phrases in a conversation. It is the voice that rushes in with “Why didn’t you . . . ” or “You should have . . . ” before the applause even dies down.

It focuses on your weaknesses without offering any props for what you do right.

The Inner Critic robs you of your confidence and leaves self-doubt in its place.

The Inner Critic comes from comments from others or ones we have said to ourselves that have been internalized unchecked. By unchecked, I mean we believe the harsh comments without evaluating their validity or truthfulness. It is persistent negative self-talk that spirals in our heads, keeping us stuck in our Toastmasters journeys.

Last week, one of our newest members, Lowery O., mentioned his Inner Critic in an Icebreaker speech. In fact, his Inner Critic had a name — Harold.

Well, that’s interesting. Naming the Inner Critic.

Does your Inner Critic have a name? No? Perhaps it should.

The best way to break through the cycle of negative self-talk is to confront the statements. Is this the time for critical thinking? Is there truth to what the Inner Critic is saying? If the answer to these questions is no — it is up to us to tell the Inner Critic to pull up a seat and wait.

Or, what I like to do, is send her to the corner until she feels she can join the party with a better attitude.

But the Inner Critic is a part of you. You are addressing yourself.

Naming the Inner Critic helps to separate yourself from the negative thoughts and hear them in a different tone. You would not allow someone else to squash your dreams — hearing your thoughts as if they are coming from a friend helps hear it in a different voice. A voice you can confront.

Evaluate the thoughts for truthfulness and whether this is the appropriate time. Then, confront the Critic.

“Harold, you are not helping in this situation. I will be okay. I will be able to cope with whatever happens.”

The key is to know when to challenge your Inner Critic and know that thoughts aren’t’ always true.

I’ve chosen a name for mine — Ethel. I think this may be the start of a whole new relationship . . . with myself.

A Second Look at Networking & Toastmasters

Networking Toastmasters BC

a group or system of interconnected people or things
synonyms: system, complex, nexus, web, webwork

My elevator pitch is underhanded and falls short of homeplate. I don’t see myself as the person that can change a person’s life with a flutter of business cards and a casual “call me.”  Networking, for me, was the downside to mixers, chamber meetings and social gatherings.

That was until fellow Morningstars Toastmaster, Andrea K., explained the true heart of networking . . . and Toastmasters.

The true essence of networking isn’t in how flashy your elevator pitch is or the creative design of your brochures. It is in the INTERCONNECTION of the people. Networking is about learning something about the people who inhibit your world, your town or the grocery store. It is about sharing a vulnerable aspect of you and listening to the heart in their story. It is the common ground, the connection that links you to them and puts you on the top of their go-to lists when a project or person seeks your expertise.

Authentic connections build the foundation to build other relationships. It involves expression, listening and critical thinking.

Every week in Toastmasters, members serve up a healthy serving of connections as they “speak their minds, speak their hearts.” This week, one of our newer members revealed his hidden talents as a folk singer and writer, sharing his first song with us. A member of our board offered a glimmer of her soul about weathering the worst of life’s storms to get to the Land of “Awes”.

Our connections are made by the stories we tell, the roles we execute and our willingness to push to the next level in communication. Each of us has an area of expertise that helps level-up the members. Some of us are “wordies” (as one member put it). Some are masters at structure and organization. Sharing our strengths with others, builds them up.

We are all connected via Toastmasters, not by being members; but we are each the network of the strengths of each member of the club.

Like networking — you get what you put into Toastmasters, and it wouldn’t be the same without you.

NOTE: Next week’s theme is In Flanders Field. Please take the time to sign up for roles in TurboBase! See you at Harmony Hall at 7am, Wednesday Nov. 11, 2015.

How to Succeed in Toastmasters

Do the Toastmasters ProgramNovember, to me, is translated into NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59pm on November 30. is there to help you every step of the way with encouragement, forums and even resources to kick start your creative juices every day.

It is the perfect personal challenge for writers and those aspiring to write their first novel to get their words onto the page. It can be a powerful tool for kick starting a writing career or even just developing the habit of writing.

It works if you do the program.

I feel the same is true for Toastmasters.

In an article on, “Toastmasters has the tools to begin to make the lasting shift that so many who are struggling with communication and leadership issues have longed for…but it doesn’t happen by SITTING in a meeting. It happens when you DO THE PROGRAM.”

Toastmasters program includes a series of projects laid out in two manuals — the Competent Leadership and Competent Communication. The projects help to give members skills and confidence in leadership and every day communication. But its not enough to just go to a meeting.

The beauty of the organization comes from the one-on-one interactions with the members and the sharing of knowledge that occurs during the weekly meetings. Don’t just attend the meetings. Share your experience, knowledge and skills by signing up for meeting roles. Participant in each meeting.

It works if you do the program.

Note: Special thanks to Sandy W. for suggesting the article as a possible blog posting.