How Self-defeating Talk Limits Your Career Prospects

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I noticed an interesting trend when I attended a recent event featuring the legendary Terry McBride, CEO of Nettwerk Music Group and Co-founder of YYoga. He shared several stories about his journey founding Canada’s largest independent record label, recent technology disruption in the music business, and building a second company, YYoga. While it was fascinating to hear his stories, I was actually more interested in the dynamic in the audience.

When the floor was opened up for Q&A, several attendees asked questions related to their current status and how to ‘get ahead’. Surprisingly, as Terry generously offered some really insightful comments, one individual who asked a question started putting up roadblocks to every suggestion he offered. He counselled the young songwriter to focus on silence and emotion and not to worry about the hype surrounding branding, marketing, videos etc. However, she was so intent on making her point and reinforcing her own self-defeating talk that she missed an incredible opportunity to learn from the guy who signed Coldplay, Sarah McLaughlin and Avril Lavigne.

As we stepped into the elevator, another attendee who was a trained yoga practitioner told Terry she was not ready to teach yoga yet because she had so much more to learn. Despite years of practice and a genuine desire to teach, she had created her own narrative about her readiness and was convinced she didn’t have enough experience. After the event, I walked out with another guy who told me all the things that were wrong with his current job than all the things that were right.

While it was interesting to be a fly on the wall and watch this behaviour in real time, it made me wonder how common this self-defeating talk is among Millennials. What is the impact of this negative self-talk? By putting up barriers to your own success, you may be limiting your career prospects by delaying decisions that could actually propel your forward momentum. If you’re not your own advocate, then who is? I came across a great article on The Huffington Post, “Negative Self-Talk: 9 Ways To Silence Your Inner Critic”. It’s important to be your own cheerleader by identifying the unique skills and experiences you bring to potential employers.

I start each day with a positive affirmation and end each day with gratitude. Try it, you might be surprised by the results.