Too many people suffer from what I call the “negative cheerleader” on your shoulder syndrome. For some reason, they seem to listen to its negativity. Most of which is untrue, or is not based on reality. Where does this voice come from, and why does it have such a loud volume?
Perhaps a lack of confidence is what brings on the negative self-talk? Or, possibly fear? Regardless of what is causing the negative voice you don’t want to hear, it is important to begin with acknowledging this is something you are contending with.
The good news is that you are not alone. Many people I know tell me they are continuously combatting this, and are challenged with trying to overcome it. However, the reality is that you have probably been dealing with your negative cheerleader for many years. I’ll also acknowledge it’s not easy to overcome, but it is possible to do so. Are you willing to give it a try? I did, and it’s really worth doing so.
As with many things we want to change in our lives, one of the first things we need to do is to acknowledge we have a challenge in front of us. Next up? Be prepared to take on the challenge. This is a mindset switch, and you need to be mentally ready to proceed. If you are not, you are not setting yourself up for success. Starting slowly is the best approach, as we need to see some immediate results to give us the momentum to continue.
Let’s think of a situation many of us find ourselves in. Starting a new project. It could be a work, or home related project. Since we tend to be more critical of ourselves in work scenarios, this example will be work related. As we get ready to begin the project, visualize the completion of the project, and how it turned out really well. Think about how great you feel with knowing your project was a success. When we begin with visualizing a positive outcome, the chances of this occurring increase in our favor.
So, back to taming the negative cheerleader. When you first start to hear, or realize it’s beginning to chant, what I mentally do is to visualize a positive cheerleader on the other side of my shoulder. I then think of the positive cheerleader literally having a much louder voice than the negative one, and drowning out what they are saying. I also consciously tell and remind myself that the negativity I am hearing is not true, and the volume needs to be turned off. Literally, turned off.
Finding the switch to turn off hearing the negatively in your mind is something I’m sure everyone wants to master and achieve. Here are some other suggestions you can try to help find your “off” button.
- When the negative talk starts up, think about your attitude. Is your mood not where you want it to be? If possible, turn on your headphones and listen to your favorite song. This can help to course correct and put you back into a more positive mindset.
- Depending on the time of the day, we might be more stressed or tired. These factors can contribute to turning on the negative talk. If possible, take a quick five-minute break, or restart your project when you are not stressed and tired. Caffeine can help too, but it can also contribute to making you feel more stressed. It’s a delicate balance, but an option to be considered as a temporary solution.
- Your diet and what you eat plays a large role in how your body and mind are feeling. If you ate poorly today, perhaps this is the reason you are hearing more negative thoughts? A simple solution? Go have a piece of fruit, or a healthy snack to make you feel better. Oranges and the scent of them are scientifically known to make you feel happier.
- Give yourself a pep talk. If you don’t have one, create a list of all of the things you are good at. Read through it, and then begin your project again. The negative cheerleader should have gone away, or have had its volume switch turned off.
- Keep a running list of the times you avoided hearing the negativity. Are the instances you wrote down similar? Perhaps there is a pattern to the type of projects which give you more confidence, and have the positive cheerleader showing up more often?
Give some of the suggestions above a try, and finally start to bench the negative cheerleader from showing up in your mind. Finding your negative voice “off button” will make an incredible difference in the quality of your work, and in your life. I promise you it will. It has for me, and Positivity is my number one Gallup StrengthsFinder Strength!
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.
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