Ugh. That voice in your head that creeps in and says
“You’re never gonna be as good as her, it’s silly to even try.”
“Why would people buy that from you, there's other people who are better.” or
“Don’t post that, people will laugh [or think it’s stupid or find you weird].
It’s the voice that reminds us of all the other times we’ve messed up or failed. It keeps us grounded. It keeps in perspective what we can ACTUALLY do. Right?
That voice is a liar, filtered through a lens that’s looking to protect your ego from pain or the possibility of failure. Keeping you safe from something you perceive as scary, but it isn’t rational. That voice keeps you stuck. It keeps you from reaching your full potential.
Do you know that nearly every person in business that you admire had to work through that ‘mental junk’ as well. They had to learn to quiet the critic inside, and create a voice of hope instead. You weren't the only one born with that voice, and the skills to overcome it can be learned.
Our brains can be tricky, they cling to the one wrong thing you did after you did 100 right. And that’s just not fair to us. Would you hold a friend accountable like that? I doubt it. So one way to overcome the negative is by reminding yourself of all the times you’ve done something well. Close your eyes and picture the times you’ve been proud of yourself. Did your boss give you kudos for a job well done? Have you gotten a raise or promotion at work? Accomplished a really hard project? Did you give your kids grace and patience in a challenging moment? Did you take time to connect with your kids? Did you do something kind for someone? Take a mental snapshot of each of those moments, and make a mental photo album. Or write them all down on a list, go back and read it when you are struggling. Those WINS show you can do hard things and you do it everyday.
There are 2 elements to look at when thinking about who you spend your time with.
If there is someone you are spending large amounts of time with, maybe a friend, family member, co-worker, spouse and they are negative, they only find the problem, or are critical of you, that will impact your ability to believe in yourself. We are the equivalent of the 5 people we spend the most time with. In this situation you have to find a way to reduce the time you’re around them or reduce how you intake their feedback. It’s tough to first recognize this and then even harder to possibly reduce your connection to a lifelong friend, but sometimes we outgrow people. You can still love them, while giving them less time.
Then there are certain people who’s opinions we hold in higher regard, often times it’s a parental figure, sibling or spouse. In situations like these it’s not about how often we are around them, it’s that these are the people we naturally want approval or ‘buy in’ from. Their voices carry more weight. When these key relationships don’t have the support you desire, it impacts your own belief system. You can’t always reduce the time around these people, so you have to filter their input differently than you would for supportive people. Let them say their piece (because we know they have to) and then let it slide on past you. They see the world much differently than us doers, and that’s ok.
Our thoughts can quickly take us down a rabbit hole of doubt and self pity. One loose thought, turns into a long string of thoughts and if we aren’t aware of our brain as a tool - a tool that we can control - we find ourselves believing this trail of negativity. Here’s the thing, our brain (thoughts) are not us, it’s another part of our body. When your foot falls asleep, that doesn’t make your whole being asleep - just your foot is asleep. When you have negative thoughts, that doesn’t make you negative, it’s just your brain being negative right now. When you separate yourself from the automatic thoughts that occur you are able to take a more proactive role in your thinking. For me, once I hear a negative trail starting in my head, I stop and say a prayer - this gets my brain to exit the negativity highway and routes it in a new direction.
Use an app like “I AM” to pop more positivity in the brain, you could also set your phone to go off throughout the day with a positive message to yourself. We can get so busy in the day that we loose track of the mindwork we are doing. When these alerts pop-up throughout the day, it increases our positive thoughts, it will likely interrupt negative ones and it’s a reminder to be intentional with our brains.
There are times we are just sad or doubtful or negative. It happens. We are humans living in a hard world. When it’s something heavier, repetitive or just can’t be shaken off -stop and observe it. Ask yourself ‘why’ you are feeling that. Then once you can name why you're feeling this, go deeper. It looks like this:
When you dig deeper you find that the thought is usually tied to something much different than we originally realized. You understand yourself on a deeper level and can take on new approaches.
I wanna hear from you! Try out these strategies and then let me know if any of them are helpful. If doubt wasn't an issue, what would you be going for?
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