Entrepreneurship can take a serious toll on your psyche. Seriously. It’s been shown that entrepreneurs can be more prone to mental illness than people who are not building their own business.
If you’re an entrepreneur, and you’re reading this, you’re probably not surprised.
Sometimes the entrepreneurial lifestyle can feel like trying to swim in the ocean through the perfect storm. We try to push forward despite the maelstrom of emotions that we go through each day.
Being an entrepreneur myself, I have run the gamut of emotions, and I’m still trying to figure out how best to deal with it. As a matter of fact, I recently wrote a post on being an entrepreneur without losing your mind.
But I felt I should take it deeper.
Yes, starting and building a business is difficult, but that doesn’t mean that we have to be at the mercy of our emotions. I believe that there are things we can do to make things easier for ourselves mentally. I’m convinced that building a successful enterprise doesn’t have to happen at the cost of our sanity.
This post will be the first of many that are designed to help other entrepreneurs become mentally tougher. For this post, I’m going to discuss self talk.
Keep reading, it’s going to be fun!
How Do You Talk To Yourself?
Do you talk to yourself? Of course you do. Even when you don’t realize it, you’re talking to yourself.
Everyone engages in self talk.
It usually happens in your head. You know, that voice that tells you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.
It’s like Jiminy Cricket whispering in your ear. You can’t turn it off no matter how hard you try.
Here’s a confession: I talk to myself a lot, and most of it isn’t good. Unfortunately, the things I tell myself are not very positive.
Usually, I’m castigating myself for not having made enough progress. Or I’m telling myself about the mistakes I make. Or I’m looking at successful entrepreneurs and comparing myself to them.
And there is absolutely nothing constructive about this self- talk.
I’m not happy about it, but I have to admit that most of the things I say to myself aren’t things that will help me grow. As a matter of fact, if I don’t fix it, I’ll just keep making it harder to succeed.
Chances are, you’re just as guilty of this as I am.
We’ve all been there. And it’s okay, because we can do something about it!
Start Being Nice To Yourself
The first step to improving your self talk should be to start affirming yourself rather than demeaning yourself. Increasing your positive self talk will make it easier to build confidence and minimize your negative self talk.
There are several ways to do this.
Be Your Own Friend
Would you ever talk down to one of your friends? If someone you cared about was feeling discouraged, would you respond by telling them all the negative things about themselves?
You would probably take the time to build them up with your words. You’d tell them how much you believe in them and how much they matter to you. You would give them a pep talk.
This is what you should do for yourself.
Instead of thinking “I don’t think I’ll be able to close this deal,” tell yourself “I can close this deal and this is how I’ll do it….”
See the difference?
The 2nd thought is far more constructive than the first because it affirms your ability to achieve your goal and gets you to start thinking of ways to do it. It’s what you’d do for a friend, right? You would help them brainstorm solutions to their problem. This is the type of self talk you should engage in if you want to get things done.
Also, how many times have you reminded a discouraged friend of the qualities you like most about them? There have probably been many times when you have told a friend how strong they are, or how likable they are.
Do this for yourself.
Remember your strong points. Focus on what your strengths are. It will give you more confidence.
Catch Yourself Doing Something Right
The “One Minute Manager” recommends that managers take the time to recognize when their subordinates do something well. In the book, Ken Blanchard says that the manager should make a point to catch their team members when they’re doing something well.
Why not do this to ourselves?
After all, we find it so easy to remember when we have failed, right?
When you have a victory, celebrate it! Remember the things you did in order to gain that victory and don’t allow yourself to forget those things. Not only will this make you more effective, it will give you even more confidence.
I created a small tool that can help you do this daily. Download it for free!
Say It Out Loud And Say It Often
Changing the way you talk to yourself isn’t easy. It will take time to develop this practice into a habit.
I think the best way to do this is to do your positive self talk out loud. If you’re being your own friend or catching yourself being awesome, you should do it out loud.
Verbalize your positive self talk. Hearing yourself saying these things will make them more real.
Of course, you want to do this when others aren’t around, unless you don’t mind looking a little crazy. Start your day out talking about how you are going to achieve the goals you have set out for the day. Then, throughout your day, verbalize the things you are getting right.
Following the steps listed in this post won’t completely eliminate your negative self talk, but it can help you counter it. Of course, there are ways to transform negative self talk into positive self talk. That can be covered in another post.
Right now, I’m going to focus on being nicer to myself on a regular basis. I’m going to be my own best friend, and I’m going to catch myself doing things right.
Download your free “5 Things I Did Right Today” list to start improving your self talk today!
This article was originally published on LinkedIn.