Celebrate the small wins and tell your inner critic to shove it!

Above: Icelandic horses, Akureyri, Iceland shot on Canon 5D MK 11 @100ISO F3.2 @ 1/8000th sec on 70-200 IS L series lens at 180mm
Above: Icelandic horses, Akureyri, Iceland shot on Canon 5D MK 11 @100ISO F3.2 @ 1/8000th sec on 70-200 IS L series lens at 180mm

If your inner critics and your inner support crew were in a brawl, fight club style (dibs on Brad Pitt), who would win?

If you asked me 10 years ago I’d have to confess that my support crew wouldn’t even get in the ring. Nope, they’d be cowering in the corner or curled up in the fetal position.

My inner critics are a team of five. Doubt who joined the crew when I was about 14. Self-consciousness came along the same time. Fear and I have been besties my whole life. That’s my core group. In my 20s I met complacency and envy and the final members were added to the team in my 30s when burnout and boredom moved in.

At first my support team was tiny hope and trust. It was the times that hope managed to sneak into my mind via the side entrance (usually while the critics were asleep or distracted) that I managed to get the most done.

It was hope that suggested I was ready to shoot my first actors headshot. Doubt and fear got into my head just before I started but hope and trust managed to get me across the line.

Things got much easier when I brought in resilience, experience and perspective but the biggest improvements started to happen when I started to train my support crew. Yep, we all worked out together.

Having a strong support crew especially trust, and self belief changed everything. I still have moments when I’m nervous, feel insecure or am tough on myself and my work, but the nagging or sense of lack isn’t constant.

How strong is your support crew? Try these simple exercises to toughen them up and help tell your critics to shove it!

1 . Celebrate your victories
By celebrate I mean take the time to reflect and acknowledge how far you’ve come. Compare the shots you’ve just done with the ones you were doing six weeks, six months or six years ago and give yourself a big pat on the back. If you don’t like pats on the back try that thing that soccer players do when they score a goal.

Each time you notice your work improving it helps your support crew grow stronger.

2. Everything you focus on will expand
Spending all your valuable time and energy worrying is a complete waste of time. Your inner critics love it when you worry. They will give you plenty to worry about too.

Instead of spending every waking hour worrying about how many ways you could stuff up the next shoot, try putting the time into visualising all the ways you’re going to nail this shoot.

Pre-visualising how an event will work is a technique used by many elite athletes and performers. Daydreaming kicking the winning goal combined with regular practise makes them physically and emotionally prepared for the task.

3. Try a different backing track
Most of the dribble our critics feed us is repetitive mindless nonsense. They play the hits from the soundtrack of the musical You Suck including the #1 smash hit, “you ain’t good enough” or my fave power ballad “why bother, you’ll just stuff it up anyway” and the sleeper hit “what’s everybody going to think of me?”

If you let this soundtrack play 24/7 you’ll know the words off by heart, believe them and eventually become them.

Next time this soundtrack plays – recognise it for what it is, a load of caca and try and pick a better tune.

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Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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