The project is intense. Everyone delivers at their best. You deliver at your best. You walk every extra mile – for the client, for the team, for your career. Mostly, you get positive feedback. But one of your deliverables gets rejected. The feedback feels horrible.
Instead of walking on and putting the one negative feedback in perspective to all the affirming ones, your mind plays a trick on you. The feedback regarding your work somehow transfers to you as a person. The sentence „the deliverable is not good enough“ echoes into a „you are not good enough“ – getting louder and louder.
If the self-talk isn’t stopped at this point, it can easily wander to „you have never been good enough“ and „why are you even trying“. The road further down is covered with self-destructive thoughts – and if they are run frequently, it is easy for your mind to recall these narratives again and again.
These are the moments, when you cannot fall asleep or wake up with a racing heart in the middle of the night. Nightmares of falling short join in and you wonder whether you will get this career-thing done.
Can you relate?
If so, let me affirm you that you are not alone. Very often we believe that we are the only ones that run through destructive self-talk which even intensifies the guilty feeling of being a failure.
But the truth is that everyone of us has certain narratives within us – and they get triggered in intense situations. Doing a career has a lot of these intense situations and therefore you will be triggered a lot.
In the long run it doesn‘t help to ignore the triggered narratives and emotions as there will be an effect in your body and soul – maybe not in the beginning of your career but over time. Stomach issues, high blood pressure, headache are just some symptoms that can be tracked to unmonitored emotional stress.
So – what can you do?
Awareness of the emotional trigger and destructive self-talk is the first step. Realizing and admitting that a ‚your work is not good enough‘ translated in a ‚you are not good enough‘ is not easy – it makes you feel weak. And in a world of ‚doing a career‘ weakness is still not acceptable.
Speaking the truth to yourself is the second step. What is the truth? ‚You are a loved, highly educated and well-trained person that did one mistake.‘ (exchange adjectives as you need it) Discern consciously what your mind thinks and what the truth is. It is very likely that your mind is trained from childhood that ‚you are not good enough‘. Face that narrative and confront yourself with the truth.
Positive affirmation throughout the day is the last step. Find yourself positive affirmations (small sentences and quotes) that you focus on. Whenever your mind wants to wander towards destructive thinking, focus yourself on the way you want to think about yourself.
It might feel funny in the beginning to challenge your own mind and thoughts, but soon you will see how much inner strength you can build by taking charge of your narratives. Depending on your age, your current narratives developed over 20, 30, 40 years… give yourself time to learn new narratives.
And if you haven’t heard it today: you are good enough.