Next live online masterclass - Ditching Imposter Syndrome 29th May:

How To Tame Your Inner Critic In Under Sixty Seconds [DTDB037]


How to tame your inner critic in under sixty seconds’m curious: is it time to tame your inner critic? Does yours ever catch you out? How can you spot it, before everything falls apart? And how can you get back on track? Today I want to share with you:

  • why negative self-talk isn’t all in your head
  • the invisible cycle that means a single negative thought can last for weeks, instead of minutes
  • the real cause of Imposter Syndrome
  • why you can’t ‘think’ your way out of negative thinking or Imposter Syndrome – no matter what the ‘experts’ say
  • a practical strategy: how to tame your inner critic and press ‘pause’ on Imposter Syndrome in under sixty seconds

Here’s Today’s Episode:

Clare Josa's podcast - Dare To Dream Bigger - Is available on iTunes

And Here Are The Resources:


[Tweet “Want to tame your #innercritic? Here’s how – in under 60 seconds.”] [Tweet “Did you know your inner critic isn’t all in your head? Here’s how to tame it in under 60s. #entrepreneur”]

And It’s Over To You:

How had your inner critic been getting in the way? What shifted with the ABC process?

And how might you remind yourself to play with this technique?

Let me know, via the comments.


With love, Namaste,

Clare Josa, ‘Inside Work’ Mentor To Passionate World-Changers

P.S. Want to deep-dive on this and get to the root of your Imposter Syndrome issues? Is it finally time to tame your inner critic? How about jumping on my next Imposter Syndrome Mastermind or grabbing some one-to-one sessions with me?


Prefer reading? Here’s your transcript:

Close your eyes,” I said to my then-boyfriend-now-husband. We had been going out for over a year.

I’ve got a test for you – do I wear mostly baggy t-shirts or more fitted tops?” I asked, with a giggle.

He’s a visual thinker, so I figured this one would be easy for him. But the tiny signs of tension in his face showed he was having to play through his entire album of images of ‘Clare’, to get to the answer.

Baggy tops!” he announced, with a sense of conviction and a satisfied smile.

Open your eyes…” And he saw me wearing a fitted top. “I don’t own any baggy t-shirts,” I replied.

I had to get used to the fact that Hubs rarely notices what I wear. And to get over it! I learned that, if I wanted ‘feedback’ (aka, no your bum doesn’t look big in that, darling’) I would need to swallow my pride, ditch my preconceptions over how he ‘should’ behave and simply ask.

So, zooming forward 8 years, yesterday morning he surprised me. I was wearing a bright blue t-shirt that I was given by one of my business suppliers and was heading out to tackle the overgrown jungle we pretend is our veg patch. Totally unprovoked, The Husband says, “That colour really suits you.


I said, that colour really suits you.

Unfamiliar territory. Not only did The Man notice what I was wearing, but for perhaps only the third time in our relationship, he expressed an opinion, without being prompted.

My initial response was a slightly confused, “Thank you.

But, as I walked downstairs, my inner critic kicked in.

“Hang on – he never comments on what I wear. So if he thinks this colour really suits me, does that mean all the other colours I wear look terrible?!” And then my mind leafed through its virtual wardrobe, flashing up image-memories of all my favourite outfits – the ones my husband had never noticed or commented on. But perhaps he hadn’t commented on these because they look terrible? And he’s too polite to say? He didn’t want to hurt my feelings? And that’s why he waited until I was wearing a corporate baggy t-shirt to go out gardening before finally finding something I look good in?

By the time I reached the kitchen, I had half-convinvced myself that I was such a blimp that only tent-dresses would suit me and that I needed to chuck out half of my wardrobe.

How Did This Happen?

I generally have my inner critic pretty-much tamed, but sometimes it catches me unawares, especially if there’s an emotional ‘button’ hanging around, ready to be pressed (and released). So as I walked down those stairs, my brain fired off the neurons that fed ‘not good enough’ thoughts. These found the neural pathways in my brain that have rehearsed this discussion, many times, over the years.

Then the bit of my brain that filters information – keeps you sane and free from sensory overload – sped through its hard-wired filing system to find examples from my history to support the thoughts I was thinking. It’s called the Reticular Activating System and it’s brilliant for those times when you don’t want to be consciously aware of the air pressure in your left ear, but not so great if you’d prefer your inner critic to take a break.

But It wasn’t All In My Head…

Then, with the current thought-story-drama being cranked up by the decades of memories of every time I had doubted whether I looked good or judged my body, those thoughts were triggering hormones that flooded my body’s cells with ‘not good enough’ emotions. Those cells have receptors that pick up on emotions (basically a chemical reaction in your body) and those cell receptors did a happy dance, because – at some crazy level – they are addicted to the ‘not good enough’ emotion and they were getting a fix!

The hormones / cell receptors sent messages to my brain saying, “More of this, please! Haven’t had this fix for a while!” and my brain obliged. And so the cycle grew until a throwaway compliment about a t-shirt colour mutated into full-blown body-shaming self-doubt.

The whole thing took less than a minute – to go from happy to inner-critic-fest.

It didn’t matter that the rational bit of my mind knows I’m not humungous. Or that I am perfectly capable of knowing what looks good on me and what doesn’t. The inner-critic-hormone-cell-receptor dance happens at a subconscious level and it quickly took on a life of its own.

[Tweet “Did you know your inner critic isn’t all in your head? Here’s how to tame it in under 60s. #entrepreneur”]

But It Doesn’t Just Happen With Clothes

When someone makes a throwaway comment about, say, a presentation or report you did, it can quickly trigger auto-pilot responses that leave you wishing you could run to the ladies’ and flush your own head down the loo.

A slightly ‘off’ look from a stranger can trigger us fast-tracking stories about how we must have done something to upset them. Maybe we’re a ‘bad’ person.

A snarky comment from one of our kids can trigger us diving into our inner drama about all the reasons why we’re a bad mum and wondering how much we need to save for their therapy, once they leave home, when actually it was just down to their blood sugar being low.

I’m curious: what are your personal favourites on this? What triggers you diving – without control – into your inner critic’s story-head?


Time To Tame Your Inner Critic?

If this ever happens to you, then you’re in great company. Yet we rarely ever talk to each other about this. Most of the time we pretend everything’s fine, even if we’re secretly falling apart, inside.

I work with senior business women and women business owners, who are passionate about making a bigger difference in the world, as well as being the best mum they can be. And one of the first clients I ever worked with, back in 2002, taught me about something I now know is rampant, in every boardroom in the country and behind pretty much every desk:

Imposter Syndrome – Feeling Like A Fraud.

It happens when your outside-world actions trigger personal growth – to become more of the person you really are – but your inner view of ‘who am I’ hasn’t caught up with that yet.

In mild cases, it’s annoying and you have to work round it. In worse cases, it leads to self-sabotage and subconsciously choosing not to take inspired action on your dreams.

Most of us go through life achieving and creating what we do, despite Imposter Syndrome. We work round it. We push through it. But it can be exhausting and demoralising and is the most common reason why we give up on our dreams.

If you’re prepared to put in the time and effort, there’s plenty you can do to release the root causes and set yourself free from Imposter Syndrome, as my Masterminders know. But when you’re stuck in the middle of a full-blown onslaught of ‘not good enough’ thought-drama, you don’t have time for navel-gazing.

And that’s where my simple, 3-step ABC process comes in. I teach it to students and clients for times when they need to press ‘pause’ on their inner critic. But if your inner critic is on the motorway towards a bout of Imposter Syndrome, then you need one extra question, to turn things around and tame your inner critic.

ABC – How To Press ‘Pause’ On Imposter Syndrome – How To Tame Your Inner Critic

You know that thought-hormone-chemical-reaction-cell-receptor cycle we talked about earlier? Well, you can press ‘pause’ at any of the points and you’ll stop that dance. You’ll set yourself free from the negative self-talk and the icky emotions.

And my ABC process is one of the simplest ways to do that.

A = Awareness & Acceptance

They say that ‘awareness is the key to change’. If you don’t realise you’re thinking and feeling thoughts that make you feel bad, then you’re not going to be able to do anything about them. So it really helps to pay attention to your body and emotions. If you notice you’re feeling grumpy, stressed, tense, miserable or whichever other flavour is running, pause for a moment and notice which thought you’re thinking.

Become aware of it, without trying to change it or judge it or tell yourself stories about how {insert your favourite self-judging attribute here} you are. Allow yourself to simply observe this thought – accepting it.

This presses ‘pause’ on that hormone cycle.

B = Breathe

Yes, obviously I know you’ll be breathing, because otherwise there wouldn’t be much thinking going on. But this is about using your breath to get out of your stress-head and back into your body, getting grounded and coming back to this moment.

So gently close your eyes (assuming it’s safe to do so) and become aware of your breathing. If it feels comfortable for you, move your breathing from your upper chest back down to your upper belly / diaphragm area. Relax your shoulders, jaw and neck. Now allow yourself to become fully absorbed by your breathing and the physical sensations of it as you breathe in and breathe out. If you’re feeling really tense, you might find that the first few breaths help you to let go if you sigh as you breathe out.

If your mind needs a job, it can recite the following mantras, silently: In-breath: I breathe in.
Out-breath: I breathe out.

Do this for at least ten breaths, allowing yourself to let go of any physical tension with each out-breath.
You’ll probably find that your breathing rate has slowed. After a minute or so of this, you will have started the process of rebalancing your nervous system and your thoughts are likely to be slowing down. You’ll probably find that the tension in your solar plexus area has decreased, your jaw has relaxed and the area around your eyes will feel softer.

And now C is for choose.

When you’re in this calmer place, choose to let go of the thought that had been making you feel bad. You might want to imagine it floating across the sky like a cloud, or perhaps sitting on a conveyer belt, moving into the distance. Let it go. It is in the past, now.

If the story is feeling stuck or you’re resisting letting it go, you can ask yourself the question:

“What’s really true about this?”

Let the answers bubble up. It takes you out of the drama and back into hard facts, which pauses the emotional cycle and gives you back your power to choose which thoughts to feed.

And when you feel ready, pick a thought that lifts your spirits. You might want to think of something you feel grateful for, saying a silent, heartfelt ‘thank you’. Or perhaps choosing to re-experience a happy memory.

Or maybe you’ll just wait to see which thought bubbles up next. Do this one thought at a time. There’s no judgement. And the more often you practise it with slightly annoying, niggling thoughts, the easier you’ll find the process if a biggie comes up. It’s amazing how quickly this can shift your experience of life.

So there you have it – ABC – Accept, Breathe, Choose.

Simple, yet surprisingly effective.

[Tweet “Want to tame your #innercritic? Here’s how – in under 60 seconds.”]

More On The Baggy Blue T-Shirt, In A Moment, But First…

Would You Like A Workbook And Virtual-Mentoring Audio to guide you through the ABC technique?

It’s yours, as my gift! Register – free – below and you’ll get instant access to:

  • a deep-dive workbook for how to spot thoughts that might cause you to self-sabotage, without realising
  • plus an audio to guide you through the workbook, so it feels like we’re working together, one-to-one
  • and an inner critic MP3 you can download to guide you through the ABC technique, so it’s there for you, whenever you need it

Yes! I Want My Workbook & Audio!

Fill in your details to get instant access. Plus you'll get my weekly-ish Dare to Dream Bigger newsletter, packed with 'inside work' inspiration.

P.S. I hate spam, too. I promise to be very kind to your email address & you can unsub, any time, if you don't want to hear from me. x Clare 

You’re In!

Here’s your workbook:

Click the image to view it online or right click and choose ‘save as’ (or similar) to download it.

Here’s your exercise audio:


And here’s the ABC technique:

To download the MP3, so you’ve got it with you, whenever you need it, right click this link and choose ‘save as’ (or similar!).


Want More On How To Tame Your Inner Critic?

My latest book is Dare To Dream Bigger – the ‘inside work’ handbook for entrepreneurs and passionate world-changers. It is dubbed the ‘inside work MBA’ by its readers. And it takes you through how to step up to the next level on your passionate world-changer journey, in 7 practical steps.

Step 2 is all about how to crank up your confidence, without putting on an act or selling your soul! And page 131 onwards includes inspiration and down-to-earth strategies for:

  • ‘how to handle ‘sticky’ thoughts – the ones that keep coming back or that resist flowing on through
  • an exercise on the dangers of ‘don’t’ and how to choose a new thought to feed, so it empowers you, rather than accidentally sabotaging your confidence
  • how our negative self-talk turns into limiting beliefs
  • the little-known reason why change so often doesn’t work and we fall back into bad habits – and what you can do about it
  • how to set yourself free from limiting beliefs and – in step 7 – how to turn your inner critic into your biggest cheerleader

If that is resonating for you, you’ll love Dare To Dream Bigger. And I’m going to give you a bonus, if you buy your copy today.

Want My Imposter Syndrome Emergency-Quick-Fix Video Training – As My Gift?

You can order it from the Big Bookstore In The Sky or you can get a signed copy, straight from me.  Once you’ve got your copy (order it direct and I give you a PDF so you can start reading it in the next couple of minutes), click this link to get instant access to my Imposter Syndrome Emergency Quick Fix video training, which is normally £47.

It’s yours, as my gift, to thank you for taking action on your Inner Critic and Imposter Syndrome today.

Here’s a reminder of where to sign up to get my bonus video training:



And If You’re Ready To Deal With Your Limiting Beliefs?

Check out my training on Udemy: How To Ditch A Limiting Belief In Under 5 Minutes.

To thank you for taking action to step up and deal with those hidden blocks, here’s a coupon code that will get you this training for half price:


What Happened About My Baggy Blue T-Shirt?

Well, by the time I reached the kettle, I had spotted how my thoughts were getting out of control. I did the ABC process and got grounded, with a clearer perspective.

I remember that Hubs has been putting more effort in to connect and be kind lately and he’s moving out of a period of stress, so his comment was a genuine example of him noticing me and wanting to be kind. It was a spontaneous compliment.

None of the stuff about tents is true. But it was a reminder that it’s time for me to go and do some work on my ‘good enough’ triggers!

I went out to plant some veggies and show some cheeky weeds the sharp side of my hoe and was able to laugh at how quickly I had got stressed, by being complimented. And I said a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the part of me that had reacted, because she was showing me that it’s time to let those old stories go.

And my chickens didn’t care what I looked like. 😉


Do You Know Anyone Else Who Needs To Tame Their Inner Critic?

Please feel free to share this article – far and wide – with any fellow world-changers who need to tame their inner critic. If it has helped you, chances are they’ll love it, too.

And if you run a popular blog / podcast and would like to interview me or get a guest post on imposter syndrome and how to tame your inner critic, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.


And It’s Over To You:

How had your inner critic been getting in the way? What shifted with the ABC process?

And how might you remind yourself to play with this technique?

Let me know, via the comments.


With love, Namaste,

Clare Josa, ‘Inside Work’ Mentor To Passionate World-Changers

P.S. Want to deep-dive on this and get to the root of your Imposter Syndrome issues? Is it finally time to tame your inner critic? How about jumping on my next Imposter Syndrome Mastermind or grabbing some one-to-one sessions with me?

About the Author Clare Josa

Clare Josa sets Passionate World Changers free from Imposter Syndrome and their secret 3am fears, so they can make the difference they are really here to make in the world. She is the author of five life-changing books, including the much-loved Dare to Dream Bigger. Her sixth book and debut novel, You Take Yourself With You, has been described by readers as 'unputdownable'.

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