How Can I Stop Negative Self Talk?

By Chris Mitchell, Life, Career and Professional Development Coach for Artists and Creatives

April showers bring May flowers but gloomy self-talk and constant raining down of self-judgement on yourself does not support your growth as a creative professional! As creatives, we spend a lot of time in our own heads, talking to ourselves. What we say to ourselves matters! We have all experienced those moments when we are excited about a new direction or putting ourselves forward for a new professional opportunity, ready to take the risk. Then we start to ask ourselves questions like “what if I’m not good at it?”, “what if I fail miserably?”, “what if I embarrass myself?”,“what will other people think?” - I’m sure you have your own examples popping into your head that you could add to this list. The impact of asking ourselves these questions is that we begin to fill our heads with and focus on everything that could go wrong and we literally talk ourselves out of taking steps in that new direction, creating the proposal, sending the email. These questions limit our creativity, sense of possibility and opportunities for growth. We get stuck.

What negative questions do you tend to ask yourself repeatedly? Notice what is happening or not happening in your creative practice/business/life as a result of asking these questions.

Here’s how you can begin to stop raining on your ideas and opportunities:

Build Your Awareness
● Ask yourself "Is this what I want to be feeling (or doing?) about my creative practice, business or career?"
● "What do I want to be feeling (or doing)?"

Start Consciously Choosing to Cultivate New Questions
● Ask "How else can I think about this?"

Ask More and Better Questions of Yourself
Here are examples you might try:
● ”What are the facts?”
● “What assumptions am I making”
● “What’s important to me about trying this new thing or exploring this new direction?”
● “What could go right?
● "What is working?"
● "What can I learn?"
● "What do I need to focus on?"

I hope you’ll try planting some of these questions in your head this spring and see what germinates. Imagine what might bloom in your creative practice, business, career and life if you cultivate a habit of asking yourself more growth oriented questions!

Chris Mitchell is a professional coach who provides collaborative, results- oriented support to artists and creatives at pivotal points when they need help to take their practice or career to the next level or a new direction and helps them build sustainable and fulfilling lives as creative professionals. Her professional experience has evolved over three decades of leadership positions in creative and arts-based businesses and non-profit arts organizations. She holds a BFA and is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coaches Federation. Chris is based in Toronto, Canada and works with clients across Canada, the U.S. and globally. Learn more and contact Follow @chrismitchell_coachescreatives


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