NE Life Coach and Negative Thinking

One of the key areas of my work is supporting clients in developing their self-belief.  To do this we often need to overcome a lot of negative thinking.

Some of these negative thoughts are the result of many years of conditioning, of developing a negative thinking pattern that becomes an automated response.  Some are triggered by the negative comments and the judgement of our efforts by others.  These negative comments can worm their way into our minds, slow us down and potentially cloud our judgement.

Sadly, this often leads to people giving up on their dreams.  There are so many people who would not be the success they are if they had listened to the negativity of others.  Think of Walt Disney, as a young artist he was fired from his job at a newspaper because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”.  Ouch!  After that, Disney started a number of business that didn’t last long and ended in bankruptcy.  If he had listened to the negativity, if he had allowed that to take hold, think how different our childhoods would have been.  No Mickey Mouse, no Bedknobs and Broomsticks, no Mary Poppins, no Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (although the wicked queen did give me nightmares!).

So how do these people do it?

How do they filter out these negative and disheartening comments and stay focused on their goals?  I’m sure we can all give examples of people, often very close to us, who are keen to voice their doubt in our ability, doubt in our desire, doubt in our worth. These people are often friends, family or colleagues rather than strangers.  The comments aren’t always made from a place of negativity, they often ‘have our best interests at heart’ and are trying to ‘help us’.

We will all be able to recall examples of times when we allowed those comments to take hold, to take us away from our goals and dreams.

Now I should add a caveat here, I’m not talking about blindly following a dream when you really don’t have the particular talent required; we can all remember those moments in the early series of X-Factor can’t we?  I wanted to be an actor, much to the horror of my parents; in reality I had neither the requisite level of talent or resilience to pursue it professionally.  Thankfully though, I was able to satisfy that creative expression through my work in learning and development.

I cannot help but think of the first time I encountered “The Inner Game”.  This was a vital component in me becoming a high-performance coach.

Performance = Potential – Interference

This is finding out how to merge inner connection with outer performance. The interference comes from Self 1, essentially our inner critic.  You can learn more about this ‘Inner Game’ here.

There are ways to win this inner game, to overcome the inner-critic and indeed turn it into your very own inner-cheerleader; but how do you do that in the face of negativity and constant criticism and doubt from others?
It’s especially difficult to stop this taking hold when it comes from those people closest to us.

Here are some tips:

Avoid the Naysayers

This is particularly important when you’re working towards an ambitious goal.  Stay around people who will motivate you, people who have a positive energy.  Realistically, depending upon the relationship, you may not be able to physically avoid them so avoid discussing these goals with them.  Stay alert, these conversations can sneak up on you and lower your spirits before you realise.  Stay present and as soon as you notice the turn in conversation, calmly excuse yourself and focus on your own positive progress towards your goal.

Use the Negativity to Light a Fire!

“Tell me I’m wrong then watch me work twice as hard to prove you wrong.”  Heather Mitts, Olympic Gold Medallist

Negative comments can be some of the most powerful forces to push you to work even harder. One of the most incredible experiences is that feeling of confidence when you prove a naysayer wrong and as you realise that it was just as much about proving yourself right!  It’s a massive confidence boost.

I cannot help but think of Tiger Woods and his 2019 win at The Masters, which many commentators are now lauding as the one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history.  Yet is wasn’t long ago that the same commentators were calling for his retirement, writing him off and claiming he would never win anything again.

There is a video going the rounds of Tiger Woods watching a video of these clips of his doubters which you can view here:

Tiger Woods Video  

I should add that this video isn’t actually real, he was watching other players say incredible things about him.  Yet, the sentiment is the same.  All of the negative things were being said, they were on the news, sports programmes, newspapers yet he managed to prevent them taking hold and triggering self-doubt.  Did he filter it out? Did he avoid it? Or did he use it to motivate himself even more to prove them wrong?

Facts v Interpretation

This is something I often use, ‘what are the facts?’  Facts are clear.  They are unambiguous.  How we choose to interpret them varies.  Judgements we make on the basis of experiences are not always based on fact but on our / or others’ interpretation of the facts.  They become based on opinion, very often opinions that aren’t helpful. Stick to the facts.

Remember too, that even positive interpretation of facts is still only opinion and whilst it can be encouragement from others, the most important determining factor in achieving your goals is YOU and YOUR mindset.


To find out more about how I can support you in developing your inner-cheerleader, increase your self-belief and self-confidence, please contact me.

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