Tag Archives: self-doubt


“That’s it? Just figure it out?” Dalton tested.

I nodded. “You see, your inner critic doesn’t want to do the work. Your inner critic figured out, a long time ago, that you could get by with excuses. And the excuses worked, because everyone believed your excuses, including you.”

“They aren’t excuses, they’re reasons,” Dalton protested.

“Doesn’t matter what you call them,” I replied. “They get in the way of solving the damn problem.”

I could see doubt creeping back into Dalton’s thinking. His face looked scared.

“Look,” I said. “Your critic has a long familiar past with you. He knows all your buttons. But, you have more power. You have already taken steps, and those steps have been inside you all along. Answer these questions. Do you know what your resources are to fix this problem? Do you know what your budget is to fix this problem? Do you know how to figure lead-times into your schedule? Can you develop a receiving inspection process to prevent this from happening again?”

Dalton didn’t have to think long. “Yes,” he said thoughtfully.

“Thank your critic for sharing, trust in yourself and get to it.”


“Here’s the list,” Dalton announced. “We met last Friday, and here is the list. Some good ideas, some stupid ideas, some smart-ass ideas, we wrote them all down. Including this one idea that everyone thought was the best idea.”

“Problem solved?” I asked.

“You would think so,” Dalton replied. “We started with three problems that caused us to get behind schedule. Our materials were late, a machine broke down and Fred called in sick without actually calling in. We started work on the first problem, that our materials were late.”

“And, now, you have an idea how to resolve your materials problem?” I wanted to know.

“Yes, but,” Dalton started. “You see the original batch of materials arrived on time, but the whole batch turned out to be defective. We didn’t notice until we started the production run. Our first-part inspection failed, so we stopped the run. We found the defective material, checked the batch, all were defective. It was an easy fix for our supplier, but it took two days to get a replacement batch.”

“So, what was your team’s idea to fix?” I asked.

“That’s the problem. The team suggested a receiving inspection. You see, the defective batch was sitting in-house for two weeks before the production run. If we had checked the batch when we got it, we would have known about the problem with plenty of time to fix.”

“And, so?”

“But we don’t do receiving inspections. We don’t have the manpower, we don’t have the visibility on the schedule. Someone from purchasing just checks that we received the box, matches the packing slip, and that’s it. Even if they opened the box, they wouldn’t know what to check anyway.”

“Sounds like your inner critic is whispering in your ear again. And, if you listen to the whisper, that critic voice will get louder.”