Survivial Skills for Freelancers

How to ditch negative self-talk and grow in confidence

“I’ll never be good enough”

“I can’t do that!”

“How could I be so stupid?”

We can all be our own worst enemy from time to time – and we’re all familiar with the mean voice inside our head telling us we’re not good enough.

Perhaps, for you, the fear is that you’ll never be clever enough, funny enough, confident enough. That you’re not a good enough parent, or partner, or friend.

However negative self-talk shows up for you, it’s damaging your confidence and holding you back.

The corrosive impact of negative self-talk

Having a negative internal dialogue may seem harmless, but it’s not.

Shakespeare wrote, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”.

Our thoughts have incredible power, and our brain has a habit of believing what we tell it.

Constant negative self-talk can damage your self-esteem and have a permanent impact on your self-worth. It even increases the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which dents your resilience.

That mean voice can impact everything from your relationships to the chances of grasping exciting opportunities… even how much you charge for your work.

So – how do you stop it?

Be kind to your mind

We’ve all heard the quote “Work hard and be nice to people” – but it’s not just other people we need to be nice to.

The things we repeatedly tell ourselves tend to become our reality, so the first step is to become aware of the language you’re using when you talk to yourself.

If you’re in the habit of berating yourself when you make a mistake, and you’re unforgiving when something doesn’t go to plan, make a choice to be kind to you.

Try reframing mistakes as learning opportunities. Instead of saying, “You’re an idiot! How could you let that happen?!” tell yourself, “That didn’t go so well, but I can learn from the experience. Next time I’ll do it differently.”

Learn to silence negative thoughts and turn them into positives. Instead of “I don’t fit in” say “By showing up regularly I’ll soon get to know people”.

Rather than telling yourself, “I can’t do it” break the goal into smaller chunks and focus on taking the first step.

(Readers of a certain age will know what I mean if I mention Pollyanna’s glad game.)

As a golden rule, if you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.

Compare and despair

Negative self-talk can be triggered by comparisonitis. Social media is a common culprit, and time online has a habit of amplifying your feelings – good or bad.

If scrolling through Instagram leaves you feeling down on yourself – as if everyone else is smashing it, and you’re getting left behind – take a digital detox until you’re feeling stronger and more resilient.

Bye bye inner critic, hello inner coach

We all have an inner critic and an inner coach, but our inner critics are often so bloomin’ loud that our inner coach struggles to be heard!

You can change that.

Choose to be your own biggest supporter – using positive internal dialogue to encourage and coach yourself into grasping opportunities, trying new things, and growing in confidence.

It can take time to get into the habit of tuning out that destructive nagging voice, but it’s worth the effort.

Let me know how you get on.

Photo of the bestselling guide to self-employment, Survival Skills for Freelancers, by Sarah Townsend

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