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 immediately afterwards, ready to tear you apart with zeal.
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. We avoid putting our work out to the public. It’s 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.
Yet it’s risky to put ourselves out there. 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. My clients put themselves out there, and I do too, with my tours in Europe, my writing and my videos. And we all face the gremlin’s commentary afterward.
I’ve developed a simple tool that can take the sting out of the post-show gremlin that seems to want to criticize us until we decide to stay in a dark, safe spot in the corner.
My Post-Show Debrief can be used after any kind of performance or even for writing articles or blog posts. Here’s how.
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, or have a friend help you debrief.
- 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?
Add your own questions to this list. 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. I use this all the time to help me improve and gain confidence.
What methods do you use to keep your critic at bay? Share them with us below!
Bottom line: If you’re putting yourself out there, your inner critic is going to show up loud and clear. Use its input instead of being bullied by it.
Coaching Inquiry/Writing Prompt:
What helps you deal with your inner critic after a show or publication?