Before I get into my topic for today, I want to say thank you. As I’ve had a chance to speak with more of you lately, you’ve shared that you find these messages useful. And my gratitude is actually related to your feedback.
I’m sure I’m not alone in valuing external praise. I’m keenly aware that when I put something out into the universe and wait for people to react, it feels like both an act of faith, and an exercise of ego. After all, who am I to believe I have something meaningful to say?
Did you hear that? That self-questioning? I often second guess myself, doubt my capacity and hesitate in the face of my own negative thinking. And, I’ve noticed that when I am stuck in that headspace, external praise means nothing. The negative voices in my head are stronger and more influential.
When I was in a dark place and doubting my merit, a dear friend invited me to share what I was thinking. And with each disclosure I made, every time I spoke something ugly about myself, she gave me three magic words that have stayed with me and rescued me from a spiral of self-doubt and negativity: Is that true?
She helped me see that the answer was a clear “no.” It wasn’t true that I’d screwed up the whole rest of my life. It wasn’t true that I couldn’t get anything right. Most of what I was thinking wasn’t true! I was caught in a negative spiral of my own imagination.
This can happen when we are faced with fear, stress, or bad news we have no control over. So, I’d like to share a few real examples as they relate to a job search:
A client insisted she wasn’t qualified for a job I suggested. “They won’t hire me, I don’t have enough experience…”
Was that true? No. She got the job.
A client reported that she had completely blown an interview and flubbed an important answer.
Was that true? No. She made it to the third round – we’ll see what happens!
A client was concerned that if she went for a promotion, her children would suffer.
Was that true? No. They are thriving.
If negative thoughts are keeping you stalled, ask yourself, is that really true? Or is it simply a story your mind is telling you in its efforts to keep you safe – in other words to keep you exactly where you are.
The truth is that often our brain lies to us. We don’t have to listen.