Ditch the negative self-talk and inaction. Here’s your six-part plan for world domination.
My most ambitious ideas usually come in the shower. They first appear when the water runs over me, form into something interesting while I shampoo my hair, gain their grandeur as I shave my legs; by the time I’ve dried off, I’m ready to open my own grilled cheese restaurant. The problem is, like so many of us women, I’ve talked myself out of most of them by the end of the day. Or at least I used to.
Over the years since I left my corporate job, and especially since I’ve been coaching people through career transitions, I’ve become acutely aware of how susceptible we are to self-sabotage. As women, we are conditioned for negative self-speak. We talk ourselves out of applying for new jobs (I’m not qualified) or joining a new group (I’m not interesting enough). Then we ridicule ourselves for not having the guts to go for it. It’s a cycle that keeps us as women from getting where we want—and deserve—to go. Whether it’s building up the courage to take that big career leap or pursuing that new hobby, here’s how to be your own best advocate instead of your own worst enemy.
Say It Out Loud
It’s one thing to dream about something you want to do, but it won’t become a reality until you declare it. When I found myself at a career crossroads, I was swirling around a fear-of-failure cyclone and writing things on bev naps until a mentor coached me to stop hemming and hawing and just say the words out loud. So, I said it—I yelled it, actually! I’M LEAVING MY JOB AND STARTING MY OWN COMPANY! And then I cried because I felt this huge sense of relief that I was committing to something. It was now a real concept that had coalesced with my reality.
Engage Your Tribe
Believe it or not, there is power in being vulnerable and asking for help, because that can lead to a circle of people around you who hold you accountable. Tap into people you trust, such as mentors, friends, and family, by sharing your goals and telling them what you need. When the people around you are invested in your endeavors—no matter how big or small—they can help you navigate uncharted territory and keep you on track by encouraging you to do what you said you would.
Prioritize Your Dreams
My daily to-do list starts unfurling in my brain the second my eyes open in the morning. Sometimes even before that. We often get so consumed with our daily routines and responsibilities to others that our own personal to-dos fall off the list. Whether you’re trying to knock out your career transition plan or join a book club, carve out daily or weekly commitments to yourself, and stick to them. Whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish, put it on the calendar. (No, seriously, go do it.)
Don’t Yuck My Yum
Part ways with people who don’t lift you up. It’s one thing when your trusted accountability partners, who have your best interests in mind, push you to be your best even when they say things that are hard for you to hear. But moving on from people who are not a positive force or ally in your life is essential to moving forward and becoming your best self. It won’t be easy. I’ve gone through this myself, and there’s pain in letting people go, but I can promise you that you will feel lighter and more productive without those detractors in your life.
Forget the Joneses
You’ve seen it a million times, and you know it deep inside. But here it is again. Most of what you see on social media, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram, is a little bit fake. Maybe you see that a mentee landed a dream job or a friend is marrying her high school sweetheart, but that is only part of the story. Don’t live in the social media world—live in the real world.
Do Something Scary
If you want to drive out all the noise and voices trying to hold you back, push outside of your comfort zone, at least once in a while. You don’t have to jump out of an airplane, but reaching out to an old colleague or hosting your first book club is a good place to start. It will be empowering and create momentum.