Have you ever done a performance, mounted an art show, given a speech, taught a class, or any other scenario where you are in front of a group, doing your thing? If so, chances are the performance gremlin has shown up right afterward, ready to tear you apart.
This mean-spirited or judgmental part of yourself may pounce on your efforts with words like:
- You blew it!
- They hated it.
- Why did you say that?
- No one bought anything – see, I told you…
- Don’t ever do that again!
Sound familiar? This voice lures many of us to shrink down and play small in life. It’s exactly counter to that part of us that wants to soar, that wants to express our deepest self, that wants to go out there and share our work with the world.
Yet doing so can seem risky. When we put ourselves in front of others, we risk judgment. We risk flubbing up. We risk exposing the naked truth that we are not yet perfect.
But these risks are no reason to stop ourselves from launching our work into the world. Many of my clients are putting themselves out there, and I do too, with my tours to France, my workshops and my speeches. I’ve developed a simple tool that will take the sting out of that post-show gremlin that seems to want to criticize us until we huddle in a dark, safe spot in the corner.
I call this the Post-Show Debrief, and you can use it after any kind of show or public thing that you put out there. Schedule time the day after or even that same day to take yourself somewhere pleasant. You may want to go to a park, a café, your creative zone, a wine bar, whatever works for you. Bring a notebook and write your answers to these questions:
- What worked? What went well?
- What can you acknowledge about your efforts?
- What would you add or change for the next time?
- What have you learned?
- How will you celebrate your efforts?
Feel free to add your own questions and write as much as you want in your Post-Show Debrief. Notice that the only question that invites a smidgen of criticism is the one where you ask what would you change or add. Framing it this way allows for growth, but not a critical attack. The voice that wants to criticize gets to add its opinion but in a constructive way.
Use the Post-Show Debrief to continue to grow and hone your skills. Tell the bouncer at the show that your critic isn’t allowed backstage.
What methods do you use to keep your critic at bay? Share them with us here!