Dear Reader

You & Your Inner Critic: who is in the driving seat? On 7th January my first book ‘Master Your Inner Critic, Release Your Inner Wisdom’ went on general sale and so I thought that this month we would focus on the Inner Critic and in February on Inner Wisdom. If you want to order the book directly from me click here.

UK Book Launch – if you want to attend the UK launch on Wednesday 23rd January, 7 – 9pm at Wolfson College, Oxford there are a few places left if you email me at

New Zealand Book Launch – on Monday 10th March in Christchurch I will be launching my book. If you know people in New Zealand who would be interested in attending then contact me for more details.

See right hand column for information on:

  • Our public training programmes in Oxfordshire in early 2008

  • Association of Management Education & Development – a great organisation if you want to find stimulating reading and seminars.

Best wishes for an inspiring 2008,

Melanie Greene

You & Your Inner Critic: who is in the driving seat?

What is an inner critic? – From discussing the inner critic with a wide range of people it seems that some are not even conscious of the negative voice within their heads, which is constantly berating them, or they are only aware of the affects on themselves and their lives. For others they are more than aware of the constant chatter but are unable to stop the incessant nagging. And I meet the occasional few who say they don’t have an inner critic – they seem to be in a very small minority!

Are you aware of a negative inner dialogue? What form does this dialogue take?

When is it at its worst? Does it ever keep quiet?

What are the affects of it? – Through recent discussions on workshops and talks I have given on the topic, it seems that our inner critic can affect people in many different ways:

  • Undermining confidence especially in difficult situations, when making important decisions or communicating with more senior people

  • Increasing stress levels either because people doubt their competence or they are overly anxious about their ability to perform and cope with the pressures that they face

  • Stopping people from going for their dreams and goals, because they think they are not good enough or won’t be able to cope

  • Reducing satisfaction and enjoyment at work and in life – as the inner critic can often ruin any sense of satisfaction by always focussing on what still needs to be done or what could have been done better

  • Increasing a sense of failure, guilt and general dissatisfaction from the incessant negative dialogue

  • Spending so long beating themselves up when they make mistakes, resulting in no time or energy left to learn from the mistakes.

There can be some positive side effects for some people, although as they are achieved through the inner critic, the downsides usually outweigh the positives:

  • Ensuring that they don’t make mistakes by being overly cautious

  • Spurring them on to succeed – either to prove their inner critic wrong or because they fear failure and what that might bring in terms of berating by their inner critic

What is the affect of the inner critic on your life or on others around you? Do you experience any positive side affects?

What can you do to master it? – Buy my book, come on one of my workshop or get some 1:1 coaching with the author herself!!! Joking aside there are many practical things you can do to change the habit of a lifetime of beating yourself up and undermining yourself. However for techniques to be successful you need to bear in mind the following points:

  • You need to use the techniques on a regular basis – if you allow your inner critic to berate yourself daily or even hourly, you need to be doing something positive to counteract this on an hourly or daily basis

  • Regular use of positive techniques will create new habits in terms of how you think and behave

  • Support from a trusted friend (peer support is great if you both want to work on it), from a colleague, manager or coach can be very useful to keep you going and help you to see how much you have changed

  • Check in with yourself: how are you first thing in the morning; during your day; at lunchtime; on the journey home; during the evening. Get into the habit of being aware of what is going on within you

  • Reminders – because our negative inner dialogue is so habitual you need to remind yourself to stop and think as you go through your day and week. Put reminders in your diary, PDA, on your computer. A postcard that means something to you strategically stuck in your office or home can remind you to stop and take stock

  • Cut yourself some slack – what you don’t want is for ‘Mastering Your Inner Critic’ to become something else that your inner critic beats you up about eg: ‘You see you are hopeless you are still criticising yourself’, ‘See without me you’ll make mistakes’. So be positive, focus on the changes you do make, rather than any slip ups you have.

NB: The points above can be applied to anything you are attempting to change not just mastering your inner critic. Therefore, if you have made some New Year resolutions you might want to bear them in mind.

What can you do to encourage yourself to develop more positive habits in terms of your internal dialogue?

The book Master Your Inner Critic, Release Your Inner Wisdom has lots of practical techniques on the following and much more:

  • Changing the message
  • Listening to yourself
  • Being your own agony aunt
  • The wisdom of mentors
  • Debriefing using your wisdom
  • Changing your mood
  • Mastering your mind
  • How to handle criticism from others
  • Stop criticising others
  • Start praising others
  • Supporting yourself
  • Changing habits of a lifetime

For more information or to arrange a time to speak in confidence call 01865 377334 or email For more information about Grovelands visit our website:

2008 Public Programmes

Master Your Inner Critic, Release Your Inner Wisdom – this one day workshop will be run on Saturday 9th February and Saturday 17th May. Maximum number of participants is 8 for this workshop. Price includes a copy of the book.

Managing Challenging Interactions workshop on Wednesday 28th February. Maximum number of participants is 12 for this workshop.

These programmes include two follow up coaching emails to assist you in putting your learning into practice and cost just £100 plus VAT. For more information email me. If you would like to run these programmes in-house within your organisation then do get in touch as it can be tailored to meet your needs.






Association of Management Education & Development (AMED): a great source of CPD!

I have been a member of AMED for most of my career and find the people who belong to it inspiring, thought provoking and generous in sharing their ideas and experiences.

Whether you are a line manager, HR manager or training specialist it is worth taking a look at AMED.

It has a quarterly publication: Organisations & People, which provides practical articles on a range of topics and is well worth subscribing to (you don’t have to be a member to buy it). In February there is a special edition: Writing in Leadership and Change. As a writer and a developer I am interested in reading about the different ways in which writing can be used within organisations to inspire and support people’s development.

You can buy just single issue or subscribe to O&P for a year or join AMED and get your copies for free. See for details. November’s edition of O&P was on Sustainable Development.





Quotes to assist you in Mastering Your Inner Critic

‘My inner critics were and are ruthless, and there is almost no acceptance of accidents, mistakes or missteps.’


'I am always with myself, and it is I who am my tormentor.' 

Nikolai Gogol

‘The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his mind.'

William James







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