How to Put Your Negative Thought Committee to Work for You
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A guest post by Jennifer Boykin of Life After Tampons
So, this year is turning out to be a dream year for me. And, of course, only I could make that a bad thing.
In February, I launched my dream business. I’m finally giving myself the gift of doing work that matters. My project is going really, really well.
In fact, my work was noticed by someone “big,” and now I’m part of an incredible mastermind group of kick-ass entrepreneurs all creating game changing businesses.
And that’s where the trouble really began.
A few weeks ago, I went to meet my team in New York for the first time. As you’d expect, they are all amazing people. I kept pinching myself that I was even allowed to be there. (Hear the insecurity already creeping in?)
I learned a lot and, by the time the weekend was over, I was on fire to do my work.
But then . . .
. . . I came home.
And, waiting for me in my office was my entire Itty Bitty Shitty Committee (IBSC) — otherwise known as the “voices in my head.”
My IBSC has been with me a long time. So long, in fact, that I have to replay their negativity messages on 8-track cassettes.
My IBSC tells me I’m . . .
. . . too fat.
. . . too far behind.
. . . too old.
. . . too busy.
. . . too broke.
. . . too broken.
. . . too much.
. . . too different.
. . . too late.
My IBSC is particularly nimble. Sometimes, if I start to challenge them a wee bit, they change up their strategy and switch from “too’s” to “nots,” as in . . .
. . . not yet.
. . . not now.
. . . not enough.
. . . not you!
Because of my work, I am privileged to know and work with people who insist on breaking through their own limits, so that they, and those around them, can live more boldly and bloom.
It’s thrilling work!
But, at least to some extent, we each have to deal with our own messages about the “too’s” and “not’s”. That means we have to find ways to make our own negativity work for us.
Here are some trade secrets that will help you manage your own Itty Bitty Shitty Committee (those bad-ass negative voices) so that you can achieve more of what you want in life:
1. Resistance is Futile
Honestly, one of the worst mistakes you can make is to try and silence your own negativity. When it comes to self-doubt, resistance really is futile. In fact, whatever I resist persists.
When I stick my fingers in my ear and go “la, la, la, I’m not listening” to my own negative voices, they actually get louder. They feel truer, more powerful. Instead, I suggest you do the opposite. I suggest you go ahead and indulge in negative thinking . . .
2. . . . To a Point
Rather than trying to silence your IBSC, give it air time — in very small, controlled doses. Make 15-minute “appointments” with your negativity. When the time comes for your “meeting,” sit down and write out everything your IBSC wants you to know about why you should be afraid. When the timer goes off, that’s it. No more self-indulgent fear until the next appointment.
3. Act “As If”
Once you’ve taken time to listen to your IBSC, get right back in the game and act as if you’re an overcomer. Here’s what I’m NOT saying. Don’t act as if you know how to do things you lack the proper training to achieve.
If you want to be a surgeon but are sitting in your very first bio class, you don’t act as if you can perform an angioplasty and then try it out on your neighbor. But you do act as if you’re a person who overcomes challenges — a person who has a history of breaking through limits.
4. Silent Partners
The more you commit to overcoming your challenges, the stronger your silent partners become. These are the countermanding voices to your IBSC. (Can you hear that Rocky theme song? . . . gettin’ stronger . . . gettin’ stronger . . . gettin’ stronger!)
5. Don’t Compare
Avoid comparing your insides to other people’s outsides. The too’s and not’s can only exist in comparison – they tell you where you fall short relative to others. But your perceptions are rarely accurate. That’s because you can never really know what is going on inside another person’s life. Thus, your comparison models are inherently flawed.
More than that, they’re immaterial. We each have our own unique work to do. What someone else does or doesn’t do, to a very large extent, is none of my business.
With respect to too’s, not’s, and all other forms of Stinking Thinking, here’s the thing to remember — whatever you place in your magical magnifying mind grows!
That’s because your brain is essentially unintelligent. Picture it as a big ball of sticky tape just mindlessly attracting and reinforcing to itself the messages you tell it to believe.
The more you can tune in to your own thinking, the more you reach for the Mastery Secrets outlined above, the more you will be able to channel and redirect your fears and doubts into work that highlights your beautiful strengths, vision, and talent.
I’d love to help.
In the comments below, let me know what challenges you have with respect to your too’s, not’s, and not yet’s. We’ll see if we can’t un-knot them together!
Or, you can head on over to Life After Tampons and Reclaim the Sass with our eRetreat.