Challenge Your Negative Self-Talk
We all criticise ourselves at one time or another, but we have to understand the difference between critiquing our work to help us improve and criticising our efforts which stop us dead in our tracks. The latter can be particularly harming to creative entrepreneurs who are challenging themselves to start a business. That inner critic and abundance of self-talk can often do more harm than good. It robs you of opportunities. It stops you from trying to reach your aims and limits your future potential.
When something goes wrong (and let’s face it – quite often it does), depending on our frame of mind and whatever else is happening around us, we can blow it out of proportion. When we are tired or stressed, in particular, a small issue can become a much larger one. When this occurs, we have to take a step back and put our negative self-talk into perspective. A problem is only as big as we make it. We have to try to adopt a broader view of the issue and realise that while it is a problem, it can be resolved one way or another.
Running a business can put a lot of pressure on us, so we have to keep a positive frame of mind. That inner critic can pop its head out without notice, so try to catch it when it does occur and reframe what is being said. So that task may be impossible, but does that mean it is unachievable? Probably not! Will people remember that embarrassing moment a year from today? Unlikely! It is up to you to turn negative self-talk into a positive and try to learn from it, regardless of how terrible you may have felt at the time.
There is something we all know deep down but often struggle to realise when we compare ourselves to others – this simple fact is that no one is perfect. Give up trying to aim for perfection. Aim for the best you can be – aim to please your clients as much as possible. Perfectionism is unattainable, and if you continue to try to strive for this goal which is most likely consistently out of your reach, you will become very stressed and anxious.
Any self-talk which is self-defeating needs to be stopped from the get-go. If left unchecked, the voice will get louder and make a point of commenting on any situation it is allowed. Challenge the negativity that the self-talk brings with facts if necessary. You are not stupid, useless, unreliable or whatever your inner voice is telling you. There may be areas which need to improve or change – certainly; but, that’s all part of personal growth and running a business. That is very different from consistent criticism for criticism’s sake.
Consistent negative talk can have an incredibly demoralising effect on your mind and body. Using positive thoughts to grow and change is a much healthier way to view your issues. So next time that inner critic raises its ugly head, take note! You may find that you don’t catch everything it says because much of it probably falls under your radar. Chances are you do it without thinking. Endeavour to be conscious of the words which flow, particularly those which are negative in tone. You may notice a pattern of thought. If you have time, write down the words of your inner self-talk in a notebook so you can start to analyse the pattern and use it for your benefit.
If you are unable to replace the negativity with positive thoughts, then surround yourself with people who will shower them on you regularly. They will help boost you up while you learn to challenge your negativity. The reality is that you don’t have to listen to or even agree with the inner critic. Choose kindness over criticism and watch yourself grow. A little bit of positive self-talk each day will help. If you find it useful, then put your positive points on a board where you can see them, so they drown out the inner talk. And one day soon, you will hardly even notice they are there.