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The One Thing You Can Do Right Now to Achieve Your Career Goals

I love my work. And for a long time, I felt that if I was committed to my work, I should set big goals and achieve them. 

But when I didn’t achieve a goal, the negative loop would start: mood swings, negative self talk, drawn out conversation with my husband, friends or parents about why I just wasn’t cut out to do what I set out to do.

I’d let it all out then wait for some validation.

“No, you’re meant for this. Keep going,” say mom and husband.

This would last for days. Then I’d have to pick myself up grabbing at the validation, holding onto it tight, tight, tight.

In my mind, I’ve known for a long time this is the wrong approach to progress.

In fact, after my burnout in 2015 and shutting down my first company, I knew working from a healthier, happier place was critical to making any sort of impact, and I was committed to getting there.

And I did.

I learned a lot through that experience, one of the most important lessons being that living in the negative is the one thing we can cut out to make real progress and to make an impact.

The negative talk keeps us stagnant, and worse, often sets us back in more ways than we realize.

So here’s how to shift from a negative state to a positive one – so you can achieve your career goals and feel better while doing it.

Get Clear on How Negative Self Talk Harms You

There have been countless studies on how negative self talk is harmful, personally and professionally.

Below are a few ways I’ve noticed negative self talk is harmful.

  • Waste of time: The minutes, hours, days we spend beating ourselves up add up and become significant throughout our lifetime.
  • Loss of money: Time is money, and that’s all I’ll say here.
  • Lack of joy: Ultimately, I feel the greatest harm is done here. Life is short. And when we’re operating from a happier place, we’re not only adding value to ourselves, but each person around us.

Take Inventory of Your Moods

When do you beat yourself up? And how often does it happen in one day? Track this for one to two days to get a baseline.

My friend Jena Booher, Strategic Advisor, Ph.D uses the Daily Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts with her clients, a methodology used in cognitive therapy.

Clients learn to self-monitor changes in their mood, label their emotions and recognize the thoughts that connect to those emotions.

Jena says, “Some common negative thoughts we all experience include feelings of worthlessness, shame and guilt. One way to change that dialogue is to develop positive self-talk statements as a way to increase confidence and a positive self image. Telling yourself ‘I’m smart’ or ‘I’m creative’ is one way to change the dialogue.”

Sometimes we also just need to let ourselves feel down.

We need to feel the pain and the frustration so we can process it and move forward.

But to differentiate between these two scenarios ask yourself: Is this something I need to feel right now? If yes, feel it. If not, adopt a method to monitor and overcome the negativity.

Get Clear on Your Positive Triggers

What makes you feel good? (I’m not referring to shopping or Facebook likes or anything like that.) I’m referring to a routine you can build into your day to help you grow and shift from negative to positive.

For me, it’s Dr. Dyer’s podcast or reading spirituality books.

Or, I’ll write in my journal and meditate. These activities help me process whatever’s happening in my head while also helping me shift to a more positive outlook.

In Conclusion: To Achieve Your Career Goals

If you’re struggling in your day to day, I get it. I’ve been there. If the job search feels completely overwhelming and demoralizing, I also know the feeling.

The more you think about hating it though, the more you’re living in the misery of it. Take inventory of your moods to see how you can make incremental shifts everyday.

How does negative self talk play a role in your day to day? What’s one thing you’d like more of & how can reducing negative self talk help you get there? Share with us in the comments.

Belma McCaffrey

Author Belma McCaffrey

More posts by Belma McCaffrey

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Logan says:

    Love this article and the list of positive triggers included. I definitely see how negative self talk can hinder progress. I want to get further in my job search but see I spend a lot of time dwelling on the stress of it. Looking forward to trying out these tips and resources. Thank you Belma!

  • Amazing article, Belma! I believe this little sentence resonated the most with me: “The more you think about hating it though, the more you’re living in the misery of it.” Seriously, we all just love to wallow on sh*t. But it isn’t helpful at all. I’m gonna keep all of these great tips in mind!

    Adrianna Naomi

    • Belma McCaffrey says:

      Hi Adrianna! So glad to hear this resonated with you. Sometimes it’s easier to wallow in the crap hence why we do it. 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment and let me know how these tips work out for you!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello Belma,

    You really hit the nail on the head. I am currently in the process, of achieving my goal of entrepreneurship, via starting my own business. It is important to have clear goals and I am finding it’s challenging to be consistent. Since quitting my full-time job of 4 years due to burn out and lateral moves, I have never felt better. However, I didn’t realize the occasional negative self talk that rises from time to time, would be the biggest obstacle. Also, I’ve noticed the flood gate has opened of creativity, and I am aware of multiple ideas are coming to the surface. I do know, that I am interested in creating multiple sources of income, which actually helps me feel more positive instead of putting all of my eggs in one basket. I am also, paying attention to my intuition, which gives me a sense of peace. No matter what comes to the surface, I know that it’s coming from a higher source and I can trust it. I am constantly, reading any books, listening to podcast or positive affirmations to keep me on track. Like you, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s affirmations and guidance, has been a frequent source of contentment for me. I realize that I am my own worst enemy more so than anyone else. Dr. Dyer has mentioned before to be independent of the good opinion of other people. Now, I know exactly what he means. It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of only believing what other people say about me whether it’s negative or positive. I am open to receiving any information that will help me on my journey. I know that if God doesn’t speak it in my heart first, that it’s coming from a different source . It is easy to become confused when so many people give me advice that sounds good on the surface. But if it creates confusion, then I need to take a quiet moment, so I can connect with my higher self for the right direction.

    • Belma McCaffrey says:

      Hi There – Thank you so much for this thoughtful comment! I love everything that you highlight – how we are our own obstacles (so true and recognizing this is key so we can figure out how to tackle it), and how we need to be equally aware of positive opinions (I agree that when we become attached to these we move away from our intuition and what’s best for us). Thank you for sharing this. Keep us posted on your entrepreneurial journey. It sounds like you’re on the right path!

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