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How to quiet the negative internal or external messages that seem to hold you back

Updated: May 4, 2019

Photo credit: Paul Mison (Flickr)

Whenever we are striving to achieve a goal, whether personal or professional, we all naturally can have a voice within us that brings out feelings of fear and hesitation. And then there are the people around us who, even when they have the best intentions, might crush our dreams, belittle us, or put us in a place where we're questioning what exactly is the right thing for us to do or pursue.

Ironically, sometimes, we are our own worst critic. Especially if we have been put down or unsupported in the past, we embrace negative messages by telling ourselves the very same messages that did not work in our favor in the past.

Well, it's time for a change. It's time to take back our own power and take control of what messages we take in, so that we can be who we are destined to be.

Here are a few strategies to quiet those internal or external messages that seem to hold you back from progress.

1. Remind yourself of who you are. We all have achieved much in life in different ways. Take a moment to sit and think of what you have achieved. What obstacles have you overcome? What wins have you achieved personally, professionally, or educationally? What have you done for your family or friends? Create a list of these achievements, and place them somewhere prominent where you can see them regularly. Some of my colleagues keep a list of what they value the most in life in their pocket or wallet and have referenced this list for years. I keep mine in my working space and find it helps me to be confident and empowered in my work.

2. Choose to be around people who reinforce your power. Let's face it. Many of us have a few friends or family that make us feel small when we're around them. Even with the best intentions, these individuals might steadily crush your dreams. While you may choose not to decrease your exposure to those individuals, also work on getting connected to individuals who reinforce you and build you up (and those who will be honest with you, of course). You can find these individuals by getting out of your comfort zone and introducing yourself to people at the gym, church, networking events, personal development events, conferences, etc. If you meet enough people, you're bound to meet even a small number of people that you connect with who can pour a great deal into your life personally and professionally.

3. Learn to control your thoughts. One of the things I learned about myself on my road to self discovery and personal development was that I was constantly replaying negative events, negative words, and negative thoughts in my mind when bad things happened. This prolonged the effect of the event in mind and did not allow me to flourish and operate powerfully when replaying those negative events. Practice strategies like meditation, prayer, and other techniques that allow negative thoughts that flow in to flow out as quickly as they came in. I noticed that when I started to focus even more on optimism, empowerment, and the truth about who I am, while more quickly releasing negative thoughts from my mind, I became even more effective in making progress in my life personally, professionally, and spiritually.

4. Act like an MVP (the most valuable player). This is one of the most powerful pieces of advice I got from reading a book, The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women. Essentially, this particular aspect of the book states that if you want to be successful, you have to act like you're successful, speak like you're successful, dress like you're successful, and embrace success. Sometimes, as entrepreneurs, or friends, or employees, or spouses, and beyond, we act the very opposite of what it means to be successful. What does being amazing look like in your area of focus? Despite any negative internal or external messages, we must make a conscious decision to embrace our inner MVP. I honestly believe that when we do this, we see the fruits of our labor. I believe this is how I grew my business from have 1 client initially, to currently having almost 20 clients. I had to take ownership of the power and possibility that was already within me. And you can do the same.

I hope that these strategies are useful as you move even closer to the mark of achieving your dreams and goals. They certainly have been a blessing to me on my own journey.

As always, please comment below or send me a note at if this resonated with you, and feel free to share this post with family and friends!

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