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Episode 091: What is Scarier Praise or Criticism?

Frequently when we refer to our Monger (inner critic) coming out to play it is in response to criticism, but she also gets loud when we are being praised too much! What is that about and what can you do about it?

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Transcript:

Hey gang, very excited as always to be back, welcome to August. I feel like this summer has flown by, even though we have taken a lot of trips and did a lot of fun things, created a lot of awesome memories this summer, I hope you have too. We have a couple more weeks before schools start back and we head into the fall and then the quick dive into the holidays. Let’s focus on August though, let’s not get into the holidays too quick. I was a little depressed yesterday when I was walking through the grocery store, and they were selling tick or treat candy already. Oh, how did we get there? But, I digress.

Today I want to talk about the idea of the Monger getting riled up whether we have praise or criticism. The idea of what is scarier, praise or criticism, because our Monger gets riled up with both of those. Usually when I talk about the Monger, I tend to talk about it in terms of making a mistake or when things aren’t going well, but in reality, when things are going well, and we’re experiencing a lot of praise, our Monger can get just as loud.

Recently I was talking to a friend, she got a new job, and she was feeling great, except her Monger kept beating her up all the time, because everything was going so well. Her Monger got more freaked out, and she was like, “Why does this keep happening to me?” And I had a couple of clients this week who were saying the same message, and so it had me thinking like, “Oh yeah, the Monger gets riled up whether things are going well or things are going poorly.” That is because there are three things the Monger doesn’t want you to do: don’t stand out, don’t be too vulnerable and don’t make a mistake. When things are going well we tend to stand out, we tend to be vulnerable, and we tend to make mistakes, so that tends to get our Monger a little louder than normal.

If things are going well for you, you may have a loud Monger, and it’s a sign to recognize, “Wait a minute, what’s going on here that my Monger’s getting loud?” Because inevitably what happens when our Monger gets loud is that our BFF comes in to save the day and to give us a little break, and that can be dangerous. Because when our BFF steps in when things are going well, her message is to get you to slow down, stop working so hard, stop pushing, take the day off, you don’t need to worry about that deadline, forget about it. Therefore we are less successful because our BFF is telling us to slow down to counter the Monger. That is the piece where the Biggest Fan can step in and give us some kindness and wisdom.

Here’s what happens. You’re in this season where everything’s going well. You start a new job; you’re getting all the praise, it’s working out well. Then your Monger steps in to be like, “Wow, this isn’t going to last forever, I’m gonna freak out here, we need to make sure you’re okay, hypervigilance, hypervigilance, hypervigilance.” The BFF steps in to be like, “It’ll be okay, don’t listen to your Monger, just slow down in what you’re doing, stop pushing so hard.” Then we end up not achieving as much success as we should and then we have all this anxiety. That’s one answer to why this is happening. But there are a couple more caveats that I want to throw down to you, that may be the belief system you have around work.

The one belief system is that work has to be hard, that I cannot achieve success without pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing. That isn’t necessarily true all the time. Yes, we need to work hard, yes, to achieve our goals we need to put some work out there. But sometimes that work is enjoyable; sometimes we’re just good at it. When we find work that we are good at, it comes easy; it comes easier I should say. So it’s easier to get success because it’s a gift we have. For example, for me, when it comes to teaching or counseling, those are gifts I have, those are things that I can do relatively easily, and so they come to me easily.

Now, if someone asks me to sit down and do accounting or math or economics or any of those business skills that does not come easily to me, so that would be work. For me to achieve success in that, I would have to work very, very, very, very hard. But for me to achieve success in teaching and counseling, as long as I’m listening to my gut and my Biggest Fan is running the show, that comes easily to me and that is very counter to what society tells us. I want you to ask yourself about your belief systems about work and what comes easily and when we should suffer.

The idea that our Monger keeps giving us is that everything should be suffering. We should constantly be pushing and striving, and that’s the only way to success. I have come to find that the more we can let go of that mentality of push, push, push and lean into our Biggest Fan, she can help us manage that success differently. She helps us see the gray; she helps us connect with our real selves and do the stuff that comes naturally to us. When we start connecting with ourselves and doing the stuff that comes naturally to us, it’s going to feel uncomfortable, especially if you have this default belief that work has to be hard. So start paying attention to that. I challenge you to notice what happens for you when you’re doing something that’s innately easy for you. Is it something that brings you joy or is it something that you question?

This friend of mine this week was saying how she finally found this great job, she absolutely loved it, all of her gifts were being used, and she was freaking out because she didn’t know the formula for how to do the job, because it was so natural to her, it just came out of her. And her whole life she had struggled and had to struggle with jobs and had to learn the formula. Once she mastered the formula, it got more comfortable, ’cause she always knew, “If I do A, B and C in that order, everything will go smoothly.” But when you’re living and working from your innate gifts, it just innately works, there isn’t a formula, you do it. So it’s harder to guarantee success because you’re innately doing something, you’re not following a root formula. That’s another thing that I want you to think about, is that a belief you have that, “I can’t be successful just innately, I have to be following someone else’s message, I have to be following some formula.” So pay attention to that belief.

The next belief that came up recently with this client; we were talking about her success at work, and she was saying, “I don’t really know what to do because you preach that we’re supposed to accept ourselves where we are, but there’s so much more I want to learn, there’s so much more I want to grow and develop on.” And I said, “Yeah, absolutely.” Accepting where you are and loving yourself where you are does not mean you’re not gonna grow and learn and become a better person. It just means that you’re gonna do both at the same time. Once we attach the belief that, “I will only be worthy once I become a manager,” or, “Once I become a VP,” or, “Once I earn that degree, then I’ll be worthy,” that’s when we get stuck in Mongerville.

But when we have the belief of, “I’m perfectly fine right now, and I wanna learn more about this topic. I wanna grow in this area,” then we’re acting out of the place with our Biggest Fan. Once we can say, “Hey, I wanna grow and learn, and I’m okay as I am, but I wanna keep growing and learning,” that’s when our Biggest Fan is stepping in and talking for us. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s really important to make sure you notice, “Hey, wait a minute, am I accepting where I am or am I believing that I’m only gonna be worthy once I do blah, blah, blah, fill in the blank.” That’s what I want you to be paying attention to.

To summarize, let me go over the highlights of what we’ve talked about today. The idea of what is scarier, praise or criticism? I want you to be paying attention to when your Monger gets riled up when you’re doing something that’s bringing you success because our Monger wants to prevent us from standing out, being vulnerable and making a mistake. We get into that nasty dynamic between the Monger and the BFF going back and forth and back and forth, stuck in this pattern. The Biggest Fan has to step in and give us some kindness and some wisdom and to remind us that when we are working innately and out of our strengths, then success will come.

Paying attention to your default belief around that, because that’s when we get stuck. We have been taught that we can only be successful if it’s a struggle and that isn’t necessarily the truth. And then also paying attention to your belief system around worthiness and achievement, and how those two are hooked in together and how you can accept where you are and still be striving for more, and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing to be striving for more, as long as it’s not attached to your worthiness.

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