I was having a discussion with a friend this morning – actually one of my oldest friends and we were talking about the mutual feeling of self-defeat.

As with all good discussions we first talked about the symptoms and then dug into the problem and the solution. We really only got into part of the problem and it has caused me to think about the solution.

Negative self talk is a horrible natural tendency most of us have to fight. I don’t know the neuroscience behind it, but I do have some ideas as to how to fight off this tendency.

  • Celebrate small wins consistently – While it seems as ridiculous as posting a meal on social media there is value in this activity. We all tend to have looming projects or tasks that can overwhelm everything that is good that we do. If we continually log the good stuff that feeling of accomplishment carries over to these tasks we dread and make them not only get done faster and easier, but also add to that positive energy balance since ugly tasks/projects are also getting done.
  • Build a support network – We all have to be accountable to clients, bosses, families, etc, but having a trusted person or group of people that you can regularly not only get help from, but also help in return is healthy to not only move past whatever may be hanging you up, but also to keep perspective that you’re not unique or alone (sorry to burst your bubble).
  • Take time for yourself – I like to take care of people, it brings me satisfaction and joy. On the flip side (which sounds counteractive), if I don’t give myself enough time to do things that matter to me as an individual I start to lash out and become snappy and toxic, which is not caring at all. When we’re busy with work or personal commitments the person that always comes in last place is the person you see in the mirror. Make yourself a priority (without being selfish and taking away from others) and you’ll find positive feelings and actions start to take over those old self defeating and negative ones.
  • Keep it Short and Sweet – I’ve been (as most of us have) guilty of spending a great deal of time building out yearly goal plans that after 2-3 months are not coming together (if that long) and then just scrapping the whole plan and feeling like a failure. I’ve dialed things back to having an idea of what I want to see in a year, but only setting the specific goals with their tactics to achieve them in 3 month intervals to keep things fresh and in perspective. This not only allows for a great focus, but also gives the opportunity to pivot at intervals in between and by the end of the each interval and the year give a great feeling of accomplishment.
  • Fight the urge to be everything to everyone – I have a huge problem with this one. While I specialize in digital marketing, SEO, and websites it is always tempting to take on something new (like Amazon Marketing Services for example) and here’s the problem with that –
    1. It takes the focus away from what you do well and dilutes your effectiveness in those areas
    2. It can increase your churn rate (if you have clients) as they start to feel like their projects are not as important as they should be.

Just writing this has snapped me out of my self defeating rut that I fell into this week. Sometimes we all need to just be gently nudged (or swiftly slapped) to get back in line with where we need to be to achieve what we’ve set out to do. I like to distill it down to taking a couple of minutes to answer these 3 questions:

  1. What were your ‘WINS’ this day/week/month?
    (Regardless of anything that happened, what were the good things? What can you build on?)
  2. What are your ‘WINS’ going to be tomorrow/next week/next month?
    (Plan ahead. What do you want to accomplish?)
  3. What is ‘THE ONE THING’ that you are going to do today/this coming week/this month that will make the biggest difference to moving toward your goals (personal, business, etc – doesn’t matter)

Stay positive and keep working drip by drip to make a difference. These are the changes and steps that make real and permanent change happen.