The Biggest Takeaway: My Inner Critic

By Leslie Ayuko on 10 Oct 2019


The PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference 2019 was full of female empowerment.

The three-day event was full of tips on how to manage everything from your company to your heart. The encouragement that seeped through every session, while remaining educational, made each woman walk away with more assurance and confidence in her knowledge and value to the promotional product industry. 


The first education session, Is your inner critic designing your future, was super impactful and set the tone for the other sessions that followed. Carla Howard, the Professional Woman’s Mentor,  taught on navigating the mental, critical voice that limits us and our power to conquer it. Howard’s perception forced me to recognize my own subconscious restraints. Howard stated that the inner critic’s main purpose is to keep us safe, which can in turn become a means of stagnancy. The three step process to quiet your inner critic is:

  1. Get to know your inner critic.
    • What does your Inner Critic say to you?
    • When does the Inner Critic show up?
    • What does the Inner Critic look like?
  2. Shine a light on him or her – Call out and dispel the negative illusion 
  3. Reframe your story – counteract the critique

Who is my inner critic? I’m glad you asked. My inner critic’s name is Mildred. She is very critical, sneaky, and compliments with undertones of negativity. Mildred is an elderly woman, with silver hair – slicked back in a bun, she has slumped shoulders, hump in her back. She wears a pleated skirt, black orthopedic sneakers, and an itchy sweater. Mildred lives a lonely life, due to pushing people away, and is resentful to others for her mistakes.

Mildred shows up when I’m in uncharted waters, challenged, and meeting people who I deem of higher stature. Mildred typically questions my identity with statements like, “Who are you to take on this role or task? Should you really be in this space?”

Once I was able to pinpoint the identity and personify my inner critic, I was able to separate the negativity from my narrative. The criticism opposes my core desires, therefore, separation will give me permission to move away from those subconscious limits. This separation affected every interaction I had, and following sessions of the Women’s Leadership Conference. Any time I started to compare myself to others or started to question if my opinion was valuable, I counteracted the negative thoughts with positive action.

So now, I ask you, how is your inner critic affecting your future? What personal goals do you have that your inner critic deems impossible? If you are growing a business, what is your inner critic saying? Have you even recognized that he/she is there? Are you looking at your competition? Is that comparison hindering your growth, or motivating you?

Call out your inner critic. Look at what is fact. Make your confidence a habit. Move in positive action.



To learn more about the PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference, visit their website.

To learn more about Carla Howard, The Professional Woman’s Mentor, visit her website.


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