There it is again. That critic in your life. How come every time something doesn’t go your way, it shows up? It’s right there with a quick comment saying things to you like, “This is too hard. You should just give up.” “What were you thinking taking on that project?” “You were bound to fail!” “You don’t have what it takes.”

Does this voice sound familiar? It’s self-sabotage, doubt, and judgment – the voice is your inner critic.

One of the most important tools to have in your arsenal to live a life of true success is a positive mindset. However, in over 20 years of working with exceptional leaders, I have found that one of the biggest roadblocks to success is the ability to manage emotions and maintain this consistent, positive mindset. So often, negative thinking creeps in and holds us back. As leaders in our organizations, everyone is watching our example of an optimistic perspective or one of negativity. Either one will affect the organization. So, how we “show up” to work is vitally important.

Here’s the reality. The only thing we can control, 100% of the time, is ourselves. We have the power to choose our mindset. Give these two methods a try.

Crush Your Inner Critic

You can shift your mindset by recognizing and then crushing your inner critic. One way to do this is by guarding your self-talk. If you think about it, you will realize you talk to yourself many times a day. Is that self-talk positive or negative? Are you being kind to yourself, or critical? When faced with a problem do you tell yourself, “I’ve got this – I will figure it out” or instead say, “I’ve messed up again – I never get it right.” It can be helpful to log your thoughts to determine how you are doing.

Unfortunately, negative, critical self-talk can be ingrained in us from childhood. You may have negative storylines you have told yourself for years. These have gotten hard wired into your brain so that new situations are viewed through a lens of pessimism.

For some people, it is easy to let go of this lens of how we view ourselves. For others, it feels like a constant battle with our inner critic. It takes time and work to change this perception that has been reinforced in our minds for years. The good news is that you can change your brain. By becoming aware of how your brain is working against you, you have the power of choice to “think differently.”

Shift Your Mindset to the Positive

When a negative thought arises, make the decision to replace the negative thought with a positive one. You can silence the inner critic by putting down the negative thoughts and chatter going on in your mind. Put down the self-criticism and judgment that you are allowing in your life.

You have the power to let go of these things a little more each day. Here’s how:

Throughout the day, recognize when negative thoughts begin to surface. If you pay attention, you’ll notice yourself sorting through unpleasant thoughts right before the unhealthy chatter begins. Recognizing when this happens is the first step to correcting this unconscious behavior. When it becomes conscious you have the power to do something about it.

Each time you trade negative thinking for positive thinking you re-wire the neuropathways in your brain. Soon a habit of positive thinking will be formed, and the new situations that come your way will be viewed through this new lens of optimism.

Build a firm foundation of health and happiness in your mind. You have the choice and the power to crush your inner critic.

Don’t buy into the lie. You have a choice.

Originally published on Quora.


  • Janelle Bruland

    Entrepreneur, Leadership Coach, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host, & Co-Founder of Legacy Leader

    Janelle Bruland is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and high-performance coach who inspires others to live impactful and successful lives. She is Founder and CEO of Management Services Northwest, a company she started in her living room in 1995 and has grown into an industry leading company, named one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies by Inc. magazine. The CPO of Microsoft, Mike Simms, describes her as a true pioneer in her field. Janelle is also the Co-Founder of Legacy Leader, a leadership development company that teaches business professionals how to build a legacy, transform their leadership, and love their life. She is the author of The Success Lie: 5 Simple Truths to Overcome Overwhelm and Achieve Peace of Mind.
    Janelle is a lifelong resident of Whatcom County, Washington and is married with five children. In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, golf, as well as keeping fit through various sports and activities.