Starting a New Business – Overcoming Negative Self-Talk

Did you ever hear the saying ‘there is nothing to fear except fear itself’? Think about that for a minute – it seems to say fear creates itself and really has no basis – there is nothing to actually fear.


The same thing could be said about thoughts of doubt or skepticism. For whatever reason, there is a lot of low self-esteem going around. It can be the result of having harsh criticism from others, or of never being able to please our ‘authority figures’. They mean well, supposedly, and just want you to do your best.

However it appears your best is never good enough for them because they wrongly think that by telling you to always ‘aim higher’, or pitting you against someone who is more proficient to compete with them, that this will somehow compel you to be their champion! An “A” is not even good enough – ‘see if you can’t try harder and get an “A+” next time’; ‘See how well Molly does that? Maybe she could give you some pointers’; ‘Don’t you want to be like Jack? Look at those trophies he has!’

The problem is two-fold – everybody is different, with different talents and gifts – and we don’t all have the same interests. They say you do best what you like to do – so if whatever you are doing is ‘not your cup of tea’ you will likely not do as well as someone who breathes, eats and sleeps whatever it is. That doesn’t mean you are less of a person or in some way inferior at all – it just means you are different.

Whether it is sub-conscious or conscious, you hear all that negative self-talk. You just need to ‘deprogram’ yourself from believing negative things about yourself. Make an effort to think of something you do well and that you enjoy, whenever you hear ‘you can’t do this’ or ‘you could have done that better’, or ‘so and so does it better than you do’.

… and even if you can’t think of something you are proud of and that makes you feel good about yourself, then think about something pleasant that you enjoy – a memorable day you had at the beach – or even the beach itself – what you love about it – the smell, the sound, the colors, the warm sun. Just immerse yourself in it and replace the negative thoughts with something that makes you feel happy.

This is particularly relevant to starting a new business because most of the people you know that are not involved, will try to discourage you – again for whatever reason, they will try to make you skeptical – ‘are you kidding’? ‘That sounds like a rip off’; ‘Oh, it sounds like a scam’; ‘good luck buddy, I would never buy anything online’; ‘I know somebody that lost it all on a game like that’; ‘You probably don’t have the experience to do that’; ‘People are far ahead of you and you will never catch up’.

To reinforce this negativity, you likely will not see any tangible results at first – starting a business is not like starting a new job, where even though you don’t know what you are doing or where you are going they still pay you while you are learning. When you are brave enough and creative enough to try to start something of your own, you are not paid and you are spending long hours learning and trying new things; and frankly many of the things you try will not work – at first or even at all. This just means find another way, it doesn’t mean ‘I told you, you couldn’t do this’.

You have to be able to tell yourself ‘it is ok’- ‘I will learn’, ‘I will catch up’, ‘I will do it right’ – and you will have the faith in yourself to keep plugging away until you can see the results of your actions. It may not be today or tomorrow but if you are consistent and really determined, there is nothing that can stop you. Good job!

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Howard Whittington

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