man in the mirror

Why You Can Be Your Best (and Worst) Critic

Its tough when you are starting out as a broadcast meteorologist. You are trying to apply all your weather knowledge into a three minute presentation, trying to form complete thoughts off the top of your head, and pointing to virtual elements in front of a green wall. Its takes a little time to get ‘good’, and it can take a lot of time to be ‘great’. It’s all relative too, which is a hard concept for a meteorologist. There is no qualitative way to measure your effectiveness as a broadcast meteorologist, so it hard to know when you are making progress, and when you are just spinning your broadcast wheels.

So your inner critic gets to work, often in the middle of a show. He can be pretty negative sometimes and throw you off your game. Even worse, that inner critic can sometimes convince you that you’ll never get better, and you are not cut out for this. You need to be aware of what your telling yourself, and you can’t let that stop you from working on your skills every week. In time, that voice can be your friend. Here are a few tips to make the most of your inner critic:

If you think you’re pretty good, you’re not listening to your inner critic. You can shut him out entirely, and that’s not good either. Maybe you are afraid of hearing the truth. Maybe you are worried about the time and effort it will take to get to where you want to be. If you think you are great, then you are not listening at all, and you’ll likely be stuck where you are until you do. Yes, it can be painful to admit your last show was a disaster, but you need to learn from mistakes, and make plans to do better next time.

Watch every show, but give yourself a day before you do so. Bad shows always feel worse right after they happen. They also carry an emotional load that can be projected on the way you watch that show back later. Instead, give yourself a day to let it cool down. One day after every show, watch it back as a viewer would, detached from how it felt, and look for things you can improve on. Don’t make it personal, but be professional in the way you give yourself feedback.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Its very easy early on to compare yourself to others and feel like you are never going to be as good as them. Some broadcast meteorologists are naturals, and can get up to the wall on day one and rock out a decent show. For some people, it takes a lot longer, and that’s okay too. That is was college, and broadcasting classes are for. Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to how you were last month, or a year ago. As long as you are seeing progress, you’ll get there.

The longer you’ve been on the air, the quieter the voice of the inner critic gets, but that just means you need to listen harder. Viewers won’t be afraid to tell you how great or terrible you are, but only you really know what you can do better. You might get tons of feedback from friends and faculty in college, but you’ll find that it trickles off pretty quickly once you start working in local television. This can be hard to handle for some, and you’ll need to make friends with your inner critic to keep yourself growing. Always have something you are working on, and always give yourself a little credit for the hard work you’ve done so far.

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