Inner Critic Kryptonite: Gang Up on it!
The Power of Your Tribe
The Power of Your Tribe
“We live in a world that is toxic to art. A remarkable number of toxic myths about artists flourish. In addition to purportedly being broke, irresponsible, drug riddled and crazy, artists are also deemed selfish, out of touch with reality, megalomaniacs, tyrants, depressives and, above all, people who want to be left alone.”
–Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
Last week I actually met a sculptor who just wanted to be left alone, but personally, I can’t think of a worse fate. My students and clients agree. Most long to find their creative tribe–other Creative Sparks like themselves to learn from, work with, and just be around. This healthy longing is also highly effective Inner Critic Kryptonite. Do you remember your Inner Critic? That stingy voice in your head that always has a (negative) opinion to share? Yup, that’s the one!
Isolation serves your Inner Critic
One of your Inner Critic’s favorite tricks is isolation. When you’re all alone in your creative endeavors, there is a lot more room for him to have your ear and run the show. The more encouraging and successful people you have in your life, the less likely you are to listen to your Inner Critic and the less influence he’ll have over your thoughts, emotions and actions. You will have more passion, productivity and joy in your life in addition to less procrastination and self-doubt.
You need what you need
In our “Lone Ranger” culture of almost compulsive independence, it’s easy for your inner (and outer!) critics to shame you into feeling inadequate at your need for validation and support. I’ve felt compelled to “fix” this “character flaw” for most of my life–with nothing to show for it but frustration and failure to express my true self.
Take it from me and do what I do now: instead of trying to change yourself to suit other people, focus your energy on changing your environment to suit you. If you come from a family of Lone Rangers, and you need support, get support! Here’s how….
Finding your tribe
Your tribe is the group of people who resonate with you or just “get” you and what you’re into. You know a person or group is right for you if they fill you with energy and inspiration. Plugging into your tribe gives you huge validation and offers opportunities for support, learning, shared resources, and collaboration–all of which keep you energized and productive and your Inner Critic at bay.
How do you find your tribe? If you’re very isolated or your Inner Critic is running the show, this may seem an impossibly large and difficult task. The good news is that there are as many ways to find and be with your tribe as there are people that need one. No matter what level of support you want, there is always one small step you can take. Here are a few ways to find your tribe:
- Join or start a club or group (meetup.com can be a good place to start)
- Work with a teacher, mentor, or life coach
- Place or respond to a flyer at your favorite coffee shop or bookstore
- Ask a friend or classmate to be an accountability partner. You both commit to what you’ll do and check in with each other regularly for encouragement and support.
- Volunteer for people, places, or causes that inspire you
- Ask your friends and acquaintances. Not everyone will be helpful or interested, but you’ll be surprised how many other people want the same thing you do.
The Right Tribe
As you reach out and seek your tribe, remember to stay true to yourself and your vision. Empowering tribe-mates encourage you to live your dreams, not theirs, and they can celebrate your successes irrespective of their own. Finding your tribe is a process that will change over time. Follow your instincts and trust yourself to know when and if it’s time to shift alliances.
Finding your tribe boils down to discovering, acknowledging and accepting who you are, asking for what you want, and letting your tribe in when they come knocking. The specific actions you take are less important than simply taking action. Ultimately your tribe will find you, if you just start looking–inside and out!
I’ve got a Summer Coaching Group starting in June–that’s an incredible way to find your tribe–and a coach all in one! Click HERE for more info.