“Get out of your head, dude.” I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this expression while sharing my thoughts, ideas or stressors with friends over a cocktail.
The truth is, you don’t get far in business without training yourself to look at each challenge from every angle possible before making a decision. So, it’s no wonder how major decisions about your future can dwell in your mind for some time.
The problem with thinking, or over-thinking, happens when your mentality is naturally a negative one. That negative voice in your head is one of the most destructive forces that will keep you from your goals.
As a business owner or entrepreneur, part of the game is failure. We take risks, we stumble, and we learn from them. However, a negative inner dialogue can keep you from even taking a chance to begin with.
Here are 4 ways I help keep that negative voice in my head from running my life.
Pretend You’re Talking to Someone Else
Think about how you are talking to yourself in your head, and ask yourself if you would talk like that to anyone else. If not, why would you talk to yourself that way?
Personally, I tend to catch myself becoming extra hard on myself if I don’t work through the weekend or take a little personal time. This is an area I always struggle with. My mind always wonders if some unknown competition is out there working harder than me while I’m enjoying time with the wife. This negative outlook can make me feel like I’m never working hard enough.
Yet, if I were to take a step back and think about a close friend of mine working the hours I do, I would have a much different take. My advice would be centered on helping them become more efficient in the time they do work, so that they can peacefully check out without feeling inadequate.
Close Out and Reboot
You might be so caught up in your thoughts that you send yourself into a negative tailspin you cannot get out of. Just like when my Mac starts struggling with multiple programs and things start turning south, when your mind starts down that path it is time for a reboot.
Generally, if it is a large project I am tackling. I take a small break, come back, and dive into the little things that I can start checking off now. I find that building on those little successes starts boosting my positive outlook and starts making the answers to my issues more obvious.
Accept and Account for Imperfections
Not a single person on this Earth can be perfect at all things, all the time. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Instead of focusing on how your weaknesses might keep you from accomplishing something, focus on how you can use your strengths to account for them.
For example, sometimes I am horrible at writing content. Yet when I’m asked questions directly during a pitch meeting, the same content I struggled to type out comes out of my mouth without even a second thought. After meetings where I am happy with my message, or touched on a topic worth sharing, I quickly jot down a recap of the points I made so they can later become an article. This is using my strength in verbal communication to compensate for an inability to write at times.
The Past is the Past. The Future is Now.
Just because you had an inability to perform or accomplish a task in the past does not mean you cannot succeed in the future. Don’t let past mistakes haunt you and keep you from taking on challenges in the future. The beauty of failure is the ability to learn.
If you are given a second chance at a failure, use the knowledge you gained from that experience to give you the confidence to succeed. You already know the mistakes that can cost you, and you can now account for them ahead of time.