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Executive coaches like tackling self-talk. It’s that internal dialogue, telling us (in most instances) why something isn’t possible.

I have only worked for large companies since graduating. There is comfort in this, with its processes and operating rhythm. And getting paid when you take holidays or are sick.

Working for yourself is different. There is just you.

In momentary lapses of doubt, my inner voices whispers:

  • Am I good enough?

  • Do I have the right credentials?

  • Is my website good enough?

  • I am not good at cold calling.

  • I hate rejection.

  • Should I just stick to the familiar?

What does one do in these circumstances?

First, understand this is normal.

  • The amygdala, part of our primitive brain is always on alert for danger. With negative self-talk, this region is activated in response to both external and internal cues.

Second, accept that this is a passing thought.

  • Mindfulness practices help frame this as such.

Third, label this emotion.

  • Language cues activate the prefrontal cortex and dampen the amygdala.

Fourth, reframe this positively.

  • Dr. Carol Dweck found that a person with a growth mindset thrives on challenges and interprets failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Finally, create some distance by referring to yourself in the third person.

  • This is a subtle linguistic shift that can have powerful effects.

So if you like me are considering career changes, be comforted that most of us fear change, are unsure how to make changes and unconsciously find ways to sabotage ourselves. Most career transitions take about three years and rarely take a linear path.

Give yourself permission to try something new. Finance planner and author Carl Richards is doing just that. Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time. After all, Leonardo da Vinci spent 16 years sketching and painting in Milan.


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