Coach or Critic?

Monday I was interviewed on a popular podcast on the subject of happiness. Two thirds of the way through the interview I was asked to share one of the secrets from my book “Seven Secrets to Enlightened Happiness.”

All of a sudden my mind went blank for a second while I thought, “Which ‘secret’ do I share—how do I pick one out of the seven!? That’s when the answer popped up for me—how about secret five, “There is no substitute for self-love.”

As I explained what self-love means, I mentioned our need to affirm and support ourselves. After all, if we don’t give ourselves what we need, what others give us doesn’t sink in very much.

Then I explained that most people criticize themselves far more than they realize and often their self-criticism is subtle. For instance, when you pepper your self-talk with “should,” “ought to” and “could have” you are almost always criticizing yourself.

Today (and this week) ask yourself if you’re being an empowering coach to yourself or a disempowering critic. Be a coach to yourself and give yourself the support and positive feedback you deserve and need.

I have two clients today going through exceptionally difficult work experiences (no fault of their own) and they are handling it with grace and dignity. Yet they weren’t recognizing that and giving themselves due credit for their tenacity and professionalism. And it’s no surprise they were feeling drained and discouraged.

You might be thinking, “I don’t need to give myself more support and positive feedback. I need to challenge myself more, expect more from myself and do better.” I understand that because that’s common thinking. However…

If you want to challenge yourself and get good results you have to have a strong relationship with yourself to do that from.

Think of having a boss that challenged you hard and often but he or she didn’t have the relationship with you to put the challenge into context.

He or she might have good intentions but good intentions can easily backfire. Instead of “motivating” you your manager unintentionally de-motivates you.

Now, apply that reasoning to yourself.

When it comes to how you relate to and communicate with yourself, are you “coaching” yourself or too often criticizing yourself?

Be the coach, not the critic and see what happens.

And if you’re a manager or supervisor, why not focus on being more of a coach giving the support and positive feedback necessary for your team to thrive?

P.S. My book is now available in softcover here: and as always, is available in kindle format.

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