Learning to quieten the inner critic

So I organised a meetup. Er, what was I thinking?!

Actually I was thinking it would be a cool way to meet new people in the local area who are interested in similar things to me. In this case, I wanted to do something around wellness. I also knew it would be a good opportunity for me to use my design, facilitation and training skills. And a small quiet voice was telling me to get my voice out there (dare I?) because I have valuable things to share.

What I hadn’t realised is that it was going to make an excellent battle ground between my inner critic and my hope and drive to find my kind of people.

When I was thinking about setting up the group I caught my inner critic telling me ‘you don’t know how to set up a meetup group. You have never done it before.’ Well, I gave it half an ear and learnt how to set up a meetup group and researched local groups to see how they worked and whether there was an existing one that I could tap into instead of setting up my own. I realised it was up to me to organise one.

I sorted out the practicalities and advertised the first Woking Wellness meetup. I decided that if one person came it would be a success. I chose my topic of conflict management and prepped for it as if it was for work.

Then, as the day of the first meetup approached, my inner critic surfaced again.

What if no one comes?

What if I forget everything?

What if they think it was a waste of time?

Oh no, you are not stopping me. How about I put some different thoughts there instead? It will be fine. People will come, will enjoy themselves and have learnt something. They will come back again, maybe bring a friend.

And even if that doesn’t happen, you are f***ing awesome for giving it a go. Now go dance to something fun. You know that’s better than worrying about it.

On the day of the meetup itself, I could feel the adrenaline pumping hours before even though I was telling myself that it will be fine. You did this sort of thing in your job often. And that was sometimes with less than enthusiastic managers. I then went into that whole pre-mortem of thinking through what could go wrong. No one could come. Unlikely, but if that happens, so what?

The venue could be locked.  Then we’ll go to the pub.

You could forget what you were going to say.  I have written it down smartass.

You could have issues with group dynamics. I know how to handle that.

I got to the venue and set everything up and crossed my fingers. A few interesting-looking people poked their heads into my room, only to be disappointed that I wasn’t hosting the acting class taking place elsewhere in the building. Then an amazing thing happened. Someone came to my meetup! I was expecting a few more who turned out to be no-shows, but as far as I was concerned, one person was a great result.

The meetup time ran out so quickly! As well as covering all the areas I planned to around the nature of conflict, different approaches to managing conflict, key dos and don’ts and a reflection exercise, we had some fantastic conversations about the impact of different contexts on approaching conflict. We even got into thinking about conflicts from a transactional analysis point of view.

When I got home I was buzzing. Great conversations are like that. And now that I have done one meetup, maybe I can do it again. And maybe next time I can get my positive thoughts running before my inner critic pipes up.

Onwards to the next meetup!

Thanks for reading. If you have any challenges with quietening your inner critic that you would like some support with, let’s have a chat about how I can help. I offer a free, no obligation, introductory session where you can experience my coaching firsthand.

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