Harness your inner critic as your hidden superpower

Posted by Gaynor Topham

This is a very personal blog post for me, but one I felt I needed to share. I’ve learnt that I am not alone on this particular topic and it’s not an easy journey and sometimes a little uncomfortable...

Looking back a few years I now realise that my ‘inner critic’ in my working life had become a bit overbearing to say the least. The not-so-encouraging thoughts and snarky remarks (in my head!) had become standard practice for me in how I operated at work.

Hindsight is indeed an amazing thing to bring perspective, but that’s why I was so eager to share my journey for others with similar challenges.  I hope that others reading this might identify, acknowledge and can take steps to say “thanks, but no thanks” to their own inner critics and harness their superpower.



‘Banksie*’ (my aptly named inner critic) didn’t feature in my early career. I achieved some pretty cool things and opportunities opened up for me – I was fresh-faced and brimming with confidence. I find it interesting that the further I’ve progressed in my career, the more I’ve self-critiqued myself.

Skip forward a decade (or two!) and self-doubt teamed with perfectionist tendencies often left me feeling pretty demoralised. It almost felt like a secret that I had to listen to and deal with on my own.

I now see that this impacted my drive, my potential and ultimately my own success both professionally and personally for a few solid years. The additional stress this put on me and my awesomely patient better half can’t be overlooked!

 *For those not familiar with Banksie, he’s a British street artist, who’s worked hard to keep his identity and appearance completely secret.


I am not alone!

What I have learned is that everyone has an inner critic and while this is very normal, it’s sadly not talked about and shared enough.  

People are initially shocked about my experience as I’m generally perceived as a confident and somewhat gregarious person. But doing this encourages others to share their stories and more often than not, people can relate and feel more empowered that they are in fact not the only ones.

I now know how I deal with Banksie is up to me, and me alone!

It’s always going to be a work in progress but for now I’ve got a few techniques for managing it. These include: being open and honest, hearing positive feedback (and I mean really hearing it!), mindfulness, regular self-reflection and generally just being kind to myself.


Surround yourself with awesome humans that believe in you

When dealing with potential recruits for new jobs it’s common to come across a lack of confidence in people. In these situations it’s more important than ever to look for the talent behind the inner critic and my own experience has helped me do this in others.

I’m so lucky to be in a team of awesome humans who can spot Banksie a mile off, tell him to p*ss off and remind me how to turn the critic into a coach!


Does any of this sound familiar to you?

My challenge to you is to acknowledge your Banksie and harness your true awesomeness!

I have to call out Kate Billing on this topic and her Tune In - Unlocking the Power of Self-Talk workshop, which I was lucky enough to attend back in early 2018 and set the wheels in motion to handle Banskie - thank you!


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