This past week has seen my inner critic out in full force.

You might recognise this little sucker as that voice inside your head that whispers derisively (and in my case this week, shouts from the rooftops).

You are not good enough.
Who do you think you are to…?
OMG they think you are useless…(and they’re right).
No wonder they don’t choose you, you’re too…(stupid/introverted/unattractive, etc etc).

If you’ve ever experienced “the imposter syndrome”, that’s your buddy, the inner critic.

So when I received the following news, I considered it to be startling.

The news came to me as a Tweet, which said…

There it was in black and white (and blue).

My blog, The Leader’s Digest, had ranked in the 90th spot in the world on the list of Top 100 Socially Shared Leadership Blogs of 2013 by CMOE.

I should have air punched and jigged my way around the living room. It was most definitely cause for a ‘woop woop’ moment.

But instead, a series of disbelieving thoughts ran through my mind and I allowed my inner critic to take centre stage.

Maybe this is a scam?
Perhaps they’ve mistaken me for someone else?
Surely my blog couldn’t be in THAT list?
Who am I to be ranked amongst the legit blogging gurus – the big leadership guns who I look up to and admire?

I immediately messaged my PR manager who confirmed it was a credible list. And she responded instantly with a little ‘woop woop’ moment of her own, which consisted of an extreme number of exclamation marks!

Amy (my PR manager) and I, celebrating a previous milestone last year. We SHOULD have been doing this last week as well...

Amy (my PR manager) and I, celebrating a previous milestone last year…like we SHOULD have been doing this week…

It was only once I had been given the approval to accept, that I allowed myself to receive it. And of course I was subsequently stoked, humbled, and happy beyond belief.

So for me, there was a learning in this experience.

There is huge pressure on leaders in business to strive to be better, do better. An expectation to consistently go beyond our comfort zones, to meet some lofty criteria in order to demonstrate “good leadership”.

I have seen my clients work incredibly hard on themselves to be the best they can be.

But when achievements come to us unexpectedly, even if they are well deserved, sometimes our natural instinct can be to reject, rather than accept.

And that’s OK – after all, we’re only human. Self-doubt is always lurking just beneath the surface. And it can appear just as quickly as any emotion.

But being aware of how we respond to any situation, and learning to accept the small milestones in our individual journey, is important – and yes, you can give yourself a pat on the back without looking like a complete douche-bag.

So, the next time an award is given to you, receive it with acceptance, humility and gratitude – regardless of how big or small it may be.

And have yourself a quiet little ‘woop woop’ moment…you don’t need approval from anyone but you.

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Leader's Digest.