Inner Critic

The power of self-talk

Imagine pulling up to an appointment at a prospect’s home. You worked hard on the bid, but as you approach the door, your mind starts to whisper, “I can’t do this. I’ll mess it up. They won’t pay that much. I’m not qualified.” 

Self-doubt is common, but are you aware of your negative self-talk? Do you stand strong against it? At the end of the day, whether you sold the job or not, how do you feel about yourself?

Negative thoughts shape our self-perception, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors and financial well-being.

 A National Science study reports the average person has between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts every day. Most thoughts are negative (85%), repetitive (95%) and subconscious (90%). As a result, we repeat negative thoughts over and over in our subconscious and are not even aware we are doing it. 

 Negative self-talk leads to:   

  • Chronic self-doubt. This undermines your belief in your abilities and leads to missed opportunities, self-deselection, unexplored potential and low self-esteem.
  • Difficulty making clear and confident decisions. You “what if” your decisions but only toward the negative. 
  • Imposter syndrome. It leaves people feeling like frauds despite their accomplishments. This can lead to stress, anxiety, depression and a failure to acknowledge and celebrate your successes.
  • Diminished leadership skills. People follow leaders who exhibit strong self-confidence. The doubt and uncertainty brought on by negative self-talk erodes every facet of a good leader.

Negative self-talk perpetuates as unexamined beliefs that strengthen negative attitudes, contributing to negative action and outcomes while reinforcing the original belief. To break that cycle, we must listen to what we are saying to ourselves. 

Once we can identify our negative thoughts, we can challenge them by asking reframing questions.  

Is this thought based on fact or fiction?

What evidence do I have to support or refute this belief?

How would I respond if a friend said this about themselves?

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Am I jumping to conclusions and using all-or-nothing thinking?

Am I using extreme or absolute language such as “never,” “always,” “ever,” “won’t,” “everyone” and “no one”?

What’s the best/worst that could happen?

Are those my reasons or my customers’ reasons?

Is this situation as bad as I’m making it out to be?

How does this thought affect my mood or behavior?

By asking these questions, you will learn where you have been blindly following subconscious self-talk, and you will have the opportunity to reshape your subconscious beliefs and change the outcomes of your decisions.

Other tips

There are simple practices you can implement to challenge negative self-talk.

Pay attention to what you are saying. Absolutes such as “I can’t,” “people never” or “people always” are ideas ripe for reframing. 

Rewrite the conversation by reframing it to the positive. “I can’t,” becomes “I don’t know how yet.”  “People never” or “people always” becomes “People act a certain way for reasons I can understand and affect.”  

Visualize success. As author Brian Tracy says, “Act as if.” Even if you don’t believe your new positive self-talk, act as if you do. Focus on how things could go right, and they will. 

Remember, the way you talk to yourself influences every aspect of your business and life. By adopting a positive reframing strategy, you’re not just improving your mindset — you’re setting the foundation for success.

What belief is holding you back right now? What’s the first step you will take today to make a change?

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