A while back, I had a vision of an entrepreneurial venture that I was inspired to start. I was so excited with all the ideas that were flowing freely from all directions that I took to keeping a physical notebook with me no matter where I went. I even put it on my nightstand so that I could write down the thoughts invading at times allotted for my peaceful slumber. I tell you, I was hyped and I didn’t want to forget a thing!
As I would come up with each idea, I would consult with someone very near and dear to me. Her opinion mattered above all else and it had a great deal of influence over which direction I would take. I was very open about what I wanted and shared fully my expectations for success with sheer joy.
Her responses about my vision were mostly negative. It shouldn’t have surprised me. Anytime I had a new idea, she was able to point out an inherent flaw in my thinking which would make me either go back to the drawing board or give up all together.
She offered no constructive feedback. She imparted her usual smart aleck quips, but this time some of what she said were downright nasty. She made comments like, “You already have so much on your plate.” which I originally mistook for concern. Then as I shared more, I heard things like “Are you crazy?” “What makes you think you can do that?” and “Well THAT’S just a dumb idea.”
You are probably wondering why I didn’t give up on her. The thing you have to know is that this person is closer to me than anybody else since my mom died. I love and trust her implicitly. So I couldn’t just ignore her. In fact, I found myself listening to her more and began doubting everything I believed about my abilities to accomplish this. I kept going with my vision but it was cloudy now. I approached it with less enthusiasm and more of an uncertain manner. My confidence had taken a big hit.
Then I took some news to her about my first success. It wasn’t a huge win by any measure, but I thought for sure she would see that I was making progress and allay her doubts. Instead she said, “But what if you fail? You would have spent all this money and have nothing to show for it.”
So I asked her, “What if I succeed? Or what if I learned something from it all?”
She – the voice in my head – was taken aback. I finally spoke back to her!
I had dared to counter her foreboding lack of support. She quieted as soon as I stood up to the negativity and misgivings I had besieged myself with on a minute-by-minute basis. You see sometimes, the biggest saboteur to your success is none other than you. You – talking you out of taking a chance, convincing you that you don’t already have everything you need, expecting you to fail, criticizing how you do things, and bashing you for every misstep.
You delay or even annihilate your dreams with negative self-talk. The voice in your head is known to lie to you at times. You wouldn’t stand for it if you found out someone was lying to you in real life. Call it out on its bad behavior! Respect yourself. Defend yourself against any onslaught that devalues what you have to offer. Even when it’s you. Practice challenging every negative thing you say to yourself with a positive counter argument. You will get better at it. Decide to breathe positive life into what you want. You will become less of a danger to your own dreams and goals.