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Doctors at Work Podcast.

Episode #67

Taking you inner critic to court. With Natalia Cerezo Martin

Mat Daniel


How do you deal with your inner critic? In this episode, Natalia tells me that the inner critic is a sign that there is a need for growth. It’s important that we don’t get bullied by it, and I love her suggestion of taking thoughts to court and examining factual evidence. Her tips for dealing with the inner critic are to identify it, accept it, and then convert it into a force for growth.

Natalia writes: I’m a Spaniard who has called London home for over two decades. My eclectic professional journey has whisked me through the realms of entertainment, hospitality, and cybersecurity. With a Certified Customer Experience Professional and Project Management Agile certifications under my belt, I’ve had the honour of leading global, multicultural, and diverse teams—up to 40 members strong.

Throughout my 15-year tenure in customer-facing roles, I’ve been committed to nurturing both individual growth and team development, always aligning personal goals with business objectives.

My career trajectory has been a steep climb, leading me to the senior leadership team of a cybersecurity company. With experience in both B2B and B2C sectors, I have navigated companies through complex changes including acquisitions, mergers, rebranding, and restructuring—basically, if it involves change management, I’ve done it.

Committed to professional excellence, I hold a Level 7 Certificate for Executive and Senior Level Coaches and Mentors from the Institute of Leadership and Management. I’m also a member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council.

I’ve battled anxiety, taken purposeful career breaks, and never shied away from redefining my professional path. These experiences have not only made me a lifelong learner but also a leader focused on resilience and adaptability. I believe in a non-hierarchical, action-oriented approach to leadership. Throughout my career, I have been particularly effective in male-dominated environments and have always been a proactive challenger of imposter syndrome.

You can find Natalia at, on LinkedIn, and at

You can also watch at
Production: Shot by Polachek.

Podcast Transcript

Mat: [00:00:00] Welcome to Doctors at Work. This podcast is about doctors’ careers. It’s part of my mission to help others create successful and meaningful careers. Today’s podcast is about the inner critic, and I’m having a conversation with Natalia Cerezo Martin. Now how do you deal with your inner critic?

Natalia tells me that the inner critic is a sign that there is a need for growth and it’s important not to get bullied by the inner critic and I love her idea of taking Your thoughts to court and examining factual evidence. Her top tips for dealing with the inner critic would be to identify it and to accept it and then to convert it into a force for growth. Welcome, Natalia. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Natalia: Thank you, Mat.

So I’m Natalia, Cerezo Martin. I’m Spanish, And I’ve been living in London for around 20 years. I am a leadership coach, and I work with female leaders to empower them and supercharge [00:01:00] their growth And to embrace challenges and lean into into the uncomfortable. So making sure that we can keep progressing within our professional life Confidently and making sure that we truly step into our power. But, um, before, My my background actually comes from from a corporate background in a variety of sectors from Um, entertainment, hospitality, and my latest, uh, experience was in cybersecurity.

So quite varied.

Mat: And the topic for us today is the inner critic. So tell me about the inner critic.

Natalia: So the inner critic is that Nagly boys that we have, all of us have it, um, and keep Talking negatively ourselves, uh, but it can get really loud and it can Stop us from doing things [00:02:00] and moving forward and keep growing.

Mat: And where where does the inner critic come from?

Natalia: Uh, it it can come I mean, it definitely can come from a from a from a very big variety. Uh, it can it can be down to To your childhood and the way they raised, and it can come up from from fears. Um, it brings like, It kind of taps into those insecurities that you have, and it comes from also a perfectionist, Uh, aspect to to life and wanting to make sure that you have control. Mhmm.

Mat: And how does how does it show up in the workplace?


Natalia: It it show up when well, in workplace, actually. See, if we go for an assumption that in any work Like, the only certainty that you have is change because there is no 1 day that is the same. [00:03:00] Obviously, in as doctors, you can never know what’s coming your way. And it’s it show ups by saying you’re not good enough. Did you actually say the right thing?

Are you searching about that? Can you manage that? So is that critical voice that doubt your abilities, and it will Make me may maybe doubt yourself on how to, uh, go forward and actually will stop you maybe from doing things Of, um, you can’t do that new role. Why would you apply for it? No 1 would want to hear about what you have to say.

So, therefore, why would you go into a conference to be a speaker? You will not succeed if you write that white paper. It won’t be published. So it can really show in in a true variety of ways. For me, if I think back or if I think actually back and now, Um, that [00:04:00] I decided to set up my own business.

There is that voice of, like, what about if you fail? And that association with failure can be so paralyzing Yeah. That then you’re just stuck Into this hard stone on the wall where you’re like, I don’t know what to do. Um, and before when you’re a junior, It’s that in a critic, it would be like, you’re not good enough. You don’t have experience.

You shouldn’t be doing this. And Especially for junior doctors that they get placed in such a hard positions because they have to be dealing with the knowledge but also with emotions is That doubt of, like, what what what are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here. So so we need to be very aware When these inner critic that I it can it can be a little bit of a bully shows up. Yeah.

Mat: I certainly re recognize some of those things, you know, maybe both [00:05:00] in my career, past and present, um, and, um, and also in some of the conversations that I have with people in relation to, as you say, you know, those things about putting yourself out there or applying for roles, you know, going for leadership positions, you know, standing to be on a society council, something like that. And, you know, people, you know, again, me me included would think, oh, you know, it’s not for me. It’s not for people like me. You know, I I haven’t got the skills. Um, and I suppose the other thing also that that that where I think that really appears is in in kind of terms of the The the performance at work, and by that, I mean, procedures, I mean, whether it’s running ward rounds, running cardiac arrests, Surgical procedures that that that, um, sometimes, yes, sometimes people get people get paralyzed with worry so that They don’t do anything.

And if you can’t well, there’s a job to be done, and people are so paralyzed by by I don’t know. Whether it’s whether it’s fear or whatever it is, and people end [00:06:00] up not doing it. And and it’s it’s worst possible thing to do. So, yeah, I can I can I can sort of see how those kind of things are problematic?

Natalia: So you can you can miss on promotions and be overseen Or for jobs or even exciting projects because the voice is telling you, hey.

When In reality, what, like, you should be thinking is when you hear that voice, it’s going like, Oh, okay. So I have certain insecurities on those things. What are the the the areas of focus for development? But that requires almost a level of confidence. Right?

Because this is if we say it in that way, right, Is when you were at school and you were a little child and there was that bully that would come and push you around, And you would be like, oh my god. No. I don’t want I don’t want to get in any trouble, so I’m not gonna do anything [00:07:00] about this. So the idler critic is that bully that you can continuously the carry on your shoulders that is constantly saying you’re not good enough. You’re not gonna be able to do it.

So It it can get really, really heavy and especially and and tell me tell me what your opinion is of this. When you’re young, It’s hard how how it kind of, like, Show up so continuously that you’re like, oh my god. I really don’t know what to do. So, For example, when you first started, how do you make sure that you were showing up to your appointments and to your trainings and, Like listening but not being stopped by your inner critic?

Mat: So I think the the in terms of the practical things, It’s for me and maybe for lots of other doctors, it would [00:08:00] be there’s a patient at the center of this and and, you know, and and and it’s it’s that That that trumps everything else.

And I’m gonna I’m gonna come back sort of to this idea because because we talked About the inner critic and the bully, but you also you told me there’s a different version, which is, you know, not the inner critic. We’ll call it something else, but there’s a different version, which is This this is telling me something about what I need to do, you know, the inner friend or whatever rather than the inner bully. So so I’ll come back onto that in a second. But but for me, you know, it’s that Dealing with it is, well, you know, there’s patients at the center. This is a job I need to do.

These people need me, um, and and and that that I think overcomes it. Um, but I think sort of the the the other the non patient related stuff, um, I think I probably I probably gave in to the inner bully, but you know what’s changed now is is, um, I don’t care what anybody else thinks. That’s called

Natalia: aging. Yeah.

Mat: That’s that’s the beauty.

Thank you. Yeah. [00:09:00] The, you know, that that the patient focused stuff, you know, that was tough, but, you know, there’s a there’s a patient here. I’ve got to Do the right thing for the patient. Then no no matter what was going on for me internally, I’ve got to deliver that for the patient.

But the non patient stuff, I always say, what will they think? You know, they they won’t like me, whereas now I say, oh, who cares what they think? So

Natalia: So I like that. I like that What you’re saying is actually have an external motivation. So it’s not bound to you.

Actually, you’re showing up for your patient. And I think that’s a very powerful tool to carry forward when you’re starting as a as a junior doctor. Do it. Don’t do it for you if you can’t find that strength. Do it for your patients.

Yeah. Right? And To me is I I did it for me. Like, I also Like, my background is very much customer engagement, customer [00:10:00] eccentricity, um, and I always wanted to make sure I show up. But for me was My motivation was personal growth.

So how am I growing if I do this Even if I’m rubbish at it Yeah. How how can I grow? What what does this add? If I put myself in this position, if I try this This thing and I fail. If I implement this process and it actually doesn’t help us at all, what does it up to me?

And and that helped me to bypass that bully. But saying that, I’m 41 years old now. So I’m a little bit more in in that point of, like, I care less. Yeah. But when I first started to to focus on setting up my leadership Business, um, coaching business full time, and I had, uh, [00:11:00] to do a lot more posts on LinkedIn.

I had this inner critic, like, running in my head. No 1 will care who are you to tell them what they should think or what you they should do, why would they listen to you. And the reality is that 1 of the best tools that I got, um, given By, uh, my therapist was when those thoughts are running wild, Take them to court. Okay. Tell me.

Right. Yeah. So when you go to court I never been in court really. Well, actually, no. I was I was called to be, um, in court for as duty duty.

Duty service. Yeah. Yeah. So You have 2 sides. 1 1 defending [00:12:00] and and 1 accusing.

Right? So what you can’t bring to court are thoughts. Thoughts are no value. You need to bring evidence. Okay.

So when you’re taking a thought to court, what you need to bring is evidence. So No 1 cares about what you have to say. Okay. Cool. What are the evidence?

For and against. And you need to start making a list. And, you know, like, for me with LinkedIn, it’s like, Well, no 1 has interacted with my post. Okay. Cool.

But you can see how many views your Pose had had. So is that is that really true? Because I can actually bring this evidence that say otherwise. And you start going into this process, and I’m not saying it’s an easy process, by the [00:13:00] way. This is not something that you go, like, you fall into it and it’s super easy.

Because by default, when your inner critic is on, like is like, no. No. No. Let me take let me tell you. Let me show you.

Let me So you need to go through that process of like, okay. In reality, what else do you bring? And is this true? Do we have evidence that this is 100 percent true, that argument that you’re putting towards forwards and against? And it’s a really great exercise.

When I first started with my therapist on that, she actually made me keep a log. So I had to log everything, like My evidence against and for and then running through her and see what actually question a lot of my evidence because they’re like, no. This this sorry. This won’t pass. This won’t pass as as I’ve had evidence because it’s not had evidence.

And that was life changing for me. Yeah. You know, so when your body, [00:14:00] your mind becomes irrational, You have to balance it with rationality.

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Natalia: show.

Mat: Yeah.

I’m I’m I’m loving that and and I’m specifically thinking in operating theatres. Yeah? When sort of people say I can’t do this procedure, I can’t do this step, you know, I can’t move be beyond x, y, and zed, uh, and and and it’s like, you know, okay. So to what’s what’s what’s the thinking behind that? And and it’s, you know, There’s that sort of inner bullet that says you can’t do that, and it’s like, well, you know, you you’ve [00:15:00] learned another operation.

Okay. You you know, I can’t learn this operation here, but there’s The 700 other operations you’ve learned to do so you know so so so there we go facts, yeah. So so I love I love that. But, you know, the other thing I was really interested is you you talk about, you know, there’s the inner critic, the inner bully, But you you you converted that into into your own personal growth. So that that’s a totally different mindset, isn’t it?

It’s it’s not I I am being pushed around. I am being ruled by the inner critic versus I’m in charge of my destiny. So that’s a total mind shift.

Natalia: So the inner critic goes almost hand in hand with your imposter syndrome, right, where you’re like, shouldn’t be here. Yeah.

Don’t have enough experience. Don’t have enough knowledge. And that doesn’t change through our life. I would like to say that now I don’t have those questions, I react faster to to stop them. That’s what I do.

Right? [00:16:00] But I do believe that your inner critic And imposter syndromes are your detectors for growth. So every time You have a thought that says, Matt, you’re not able to make a podcast. Mhmm. Right.

It’s because these areas of making a podcast that you’re not Very good at it. You’re not an expert. Right? And this is this is that that balance of like, oh, I should know everything in order to do these things. So what is the very minimum you need to do?

What’s the minimum viable knowledge that you need to have to feel Confident. So when you go and say, hey. I don’t think I can do you I don’t think you can do a podcast. Why would you try? You go like, well, Actually, I’m very engaging.

I’m talking to people so I could have great [00:17:00] conversations, which are the basis of having a podcast. Yeah. You’re curious, which is also great. Okay. I don’t know enough about what technology They they use for podcast.

Can you what what can you do to fill those gaps? You know? So if you start being curious about Why this this voice is in your head? Then you start seeing the action plan That you need in order to feel more confident and keep growing. And normally, your inner critic comes because you’re out of your comfort zone.

And if you are a person that wants to remain all the time in the comfort zone, that’s that’s good. That’s valid. It means that your growth will slow down. That’s the reality. It goes 1 with the other.

The moment you’re stepping out of your comfort zone, You’re gonna doubt yourself more, and therefore, [00:18:00] this is your moment for growth. Mhmm. And you can Keep identifying what are the areas that will help you to be more confident in that area of growth that you just identified. So it’s kind of like a long intended process of what next. What do I need next in order to say that I can do that podcast?

And now if I answer this question and then you do, well, you need to do sound editing. What do you need to know about sound editing? I need to know also how to put some introduction pictures. So what else? And I’m pretty sure I’m I’m choosing the podcast as an example, but Did you have that inner critic when you were trying to build your podcast?

Mat: Uh, absolutely. And I said the difference maybe within me now when I’m when I’m 50 years is that, um, is that that I, you know, I don’t really care. So, you know, if 1 person listens, well, that’s fine. Great. I’ve helped 1 person.[00:19:00]

So so I don’t know, may maybe that’s my way of dealing with it is is that that that, you know, okay, may I haven’t got a million listeners, but if there’s 1 person that I’ve helped, That’s been worth my while, and I’ve had a good time.

Natalia: I know I was gonna get to that point, and I was like, but the most important thing is that You should also do it for for yourself. You know? What is what you have learned so far out of making a podcast?

Mat: So so we’ve got we’ve got the inner critic on 1 hand as something that that’s problematic because it stops you doing stuff.

It paralyzes you. And And but the paradox is that that it’s it’s it’s actually it’s the very thing that you need to do. You know? What you need to do, you need to grow and you need to develop. There’s something that matters, and I need to grow.

I need to develop, you know, whether that’s operating or podcast or whether that’s, you know, board rounds or exams, whatever it is for doctors. But, you know, there there’s something that’s important, something that you want to do, but the the inner critic is the [00:20:00] very signal that tells you that this is an area where you need to grow is the thing that if you’re not careful can actually para paralyze you and sabotage the very thing that you want to be achieving.

Natalia: Yeah. Exactly. So I think this if if you want My recipe for, um, the inner critic or Harnessing the inner critic, let’s let’s say it that way, it would be the first step is identify it.

Mhmm. Because if you’re not if you’re not identifying it, then you’re just letting it run over you. So so listen listen to yourself And give yourself that grace of, like, oh, hang on. What what is what is in the back of my head? Then is accepted.

It’s like, okay. I can feel the this this thing in me That is trigger triggering normally negative feelings. [00:21:00] And then when you’re accepting it and sitting in it, Create that plan of growth. Mhmm. So those those 3 steps, are they easy?

Absolutely not. You know, recognizing that it’s like, I’m being a bully taps on that vulnerability. It’s like I have fears. This this is triggering fears. This is triggering insecurities.

Accepting it is saying you need to be kind to yourself. And We can be kind to everyone, to people we don’t know, to our families, to our friends the moment it comes to be kind to ourselves because we’re holding ourselves to these Standards that are way higher than to anyone else. People might go like, you’re being weak? That’s not very good. But, actually, we just need to go like, hey.

I I see you. I [00:22:00] see you. I’m accepting you. And not only that, I’m gonna embrace you. Mhmm.

And that embrace Is that plan of I’m gonna reassure you constantly through this process that we’re gonna be fine. Wonderful. I I

Mat: I love that plan. What my final question, Natalia, what would be your top tips for doctors at work in relation to the inner critic? I

Natalia: think follow those 3 steps.

Take your thoughts to court all the time because You already have gone through such a in-depth training. You already have put yourselves so many times of your comfort zone That you have you’re living proof that you overcome that inner critic many times. So just remind yourself of how Strong and amazing you are.

Mat: Wonderful. Thank you very much, [00:23:00] Natalia.

Thank you

Natalia: very much, Matt.

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