You were supposed to be the new vice president, but a colleague got the promotion instead. Instantly, a wave of doubt and humiliation washed over you. Your first thought was, “I’m never going to get promoted here.” Your next thought was, “This will thwart my life’s work.” You quit on the spot.
In that one moment, you again got caught up in the pattern of negativity that has derailed you from achieving your goals. You acted rashly—and you don’t get to go back in time to do it over again.
You still cringe when you think of the person you were and the choice you made. You’re wondering, are you just hardwired to fail?
The answer is YES.
But there’s good news, too. You get to make a different choice next time. You have the power to step off the treadmill that leads to negative thoughts and emotions and unveil a fresh new mindset that primes you for success.
Next time you feel the pressure to give in to negative emotions, here’s what you can do to change the outcome —in both big and small ways.
Step 1: Jot Down Your Fears
Grab a journal or notebook and write down the negative thoughts and emotions that are playing like a broken record, repeating over and over again in your head. You have to recognize that you’re stuck before you can begin to break free.
Step 2: Reality-Test It
Ask yourself, “How do I know this is true?” Seeing your thoughts and feelings for what they are— just beliefs and emotions that may or may not be true—means that you get to discuss, debate, and decide for yourself if they are truly important.
Step 3: If It’s Not True, Kick It to the Curb
–Negative thoughts and emotions only have as much power as you give them. When you kick them to the curb and let them go, you find new ways to connect what you think and believe about yourself to the things you’re passionate about. Be willing to see yourself in new and different ways, and evaluate what resonates with you positively. This primes you to see yourself more realistically.
Step 4: Commit and Act with Clarity
Success isn’t a linear path. Once you commit to making a different choice, be bold and act with clarity. Start small, and as you build momentum your inner critic will recede. Balance is key: you don’t want to overwhelm yourself and be unable to work through steps 1 through 3.
Your successes will rewire your brain to succeed. Staying there over the long term will mean taking risks and remaining intentional about your choices.