Is your self criticism getting in the way of your professional growth?

Many mid-career professional women are overly critical and hard on themselves.  I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that!

They’re great at identifying what they could improve on, but not-so-great at identifying what they’re already exceptional at.

They’re skilled at setting high goals for themselves and ticking things off their to-do lists, but not-so-skilled at celebrating their wins along the way.

They’re phenomenal at seeing everyone else’s gifts, but not-so-phenomenal at recognising their own talents.

The most terrible thing about self criticism, is that it tends to hold women back in their careers – they question the worthiness of their contributions, keep quiet and stay small.

Because of this, they don’t get the recognition and promotions they deserve …


But don’t despair.  If you’ve struggled with being overly self critical, I have some tried and tested tips to help you.

One – Get clear on how your self criticism looks.

Everyone’s self criticism shows up in different ways. Recognising how yours is presenting itself is crucial if you want to put a kink in the cycle and choose a different path for yourself.

Is your self criticism leading you to speak unkindly to yourself?

Is it leading you to say ‘YES’ to anything and everything that is asked of you (even if your calendar is already full to the brim or the request is out of the scope of your role?)

Is it holding you back from sharing your innovative ideas in meetings?

ASK YOURSELF: How does my self criticism show up at work or in the way I lead? How is it influencing my actions and behaviours?

2 – Identify the impact your self criticism is having on your career.

We can sometimes be fooled into thinking that our self criticism is serving our careers …

“It keeps me focussed and drives me to take action!”

“It stops me from growing too big for my boots! I don’t ever want to be a leader with an ego!”

“It makes me likeable – my team loves me!”

But while all of this may be well and true, self criticism also has a way of hindering our career growth …

It can keep you stuck in doing mode, rather than being a strategic visionary.

It can lead to you not chasing new opportunities.

It can result in you staying hidden and therefore not being recognised for promotions.

And all these things get in the way of you being seen as the amazing leader you are. 

ASK YOURSELF: How has my self criticism fooled me into thinking it’s helping me? How does it hold me back from stepping into all I am capable of? 

3 – Get support

Having a community of like-minded women around you who understand the challenges of being a mid-career professional, who help you see when your self criticism is rearing its ugly head and who celebrate your gifts, makes a real difference.

Knowing you are not alone in this struggle is game changing!

Self criticism amongst talented mid career women is common, so let’s not beat ourselves up about it.  But at the same time – let’s agree to do something about it.  

Be reassured that with a little focused attention we can shift our habitual patterns of thinking away from being  self critical to focus on our achievements, talents and self worth.  

And simply having people around us who ‘get it’ and who cheer us on, can have the most profound impact on how we perceive ourselves.

In fact, it’s possibly the most profound module that has the biggest impact for the participants of IGNITE, my 8 week group coaching program for mid-career professional women! 

Interested in exploring this topic more?

Explore my group coaching program, IGNITE.

Have a read of these helpful articles – ‘If You’re Beating Yourself Up – Stop It!’ andDo you need to share the load?’.


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