THE BLOG

The Bully in Your Head: 5 Steps to Calm the Noise

06/18/2015 05:35 pm ET | Updated Jun 18, 2016
shutterstock

Stop making things harder than they have to be.

Why is it when people want something so bad -- that they can taste it, that they find every reason why they can't get it?

Yesterday I had the honor of mentoring a smart, savvy and determined young woman who is launching her own business. Dipping her toe in the water, testing out what was possible in her future, I could tell that she wanted nothing more than to dive right in. Yet something was holding her back.

That something was the bully in her head. Come on, we all have it. "You can't do this, what if you fail, who do you think you are?" Some days the bully is loud and intimidating, other days not so bad. Yet without fail, it shows up just enough to shake her confidence.

Can you relate? Maybe you've considered applying for a new job, asking for a raise or venturing out on your own like my mentee. You have the skills, the drive and ability to get the job done so you decide to go for it! Then, as soon as you work up the courage...something happens -- the bully rears its ugly head. "You're not good enough, you don't deserve it, people are going to laugh at you," and you retreat to what's safe.

I know from experience how difficult it is to fight the bully in our head. In fact, it took me close to a decade to release my forthcoming book, Get Your Girl Back: Revisit What's Possible for Your Life. The reason -- my fear of being vulnerable. "What will people think," and "You should be ashamed" the bully said. Yet I learned to fight back and what I've noticed about the bully is that when you no longer cower in fear, it moves on to someone more suspect to intimidation.

Test out these five strategies today and calm the noise in your head:

1. Stay focused on what it is you want: Our mind naturally tends to veer toward what we don't want, can't have or are unable to do. You have to get in the driver's seat and redirect your thoughts to focus on what it is you want- what you can do, will have and are capable of. Remember, you get what you put your focus on and your life today is a direct result of your thoughts thus far.

2. Restate damaging thoughts: So what do you do when those negative thoughts creep in? Trust me, I know as I have them every day too! The next time the bully shows up, take the damaging thoughts or words and restate them to emphasize what you want. If your thought is, "There is no way my boss is going to say yes to giving me a raise and I'm probably going to get fired!" Restate to, "I'm going to ask for and get that raise." Say it over and over because it's going to feel odd but trust me, it works and you may have to "fake it till you makes it" as you learn this process and its power.

3. Retrain your brain: The best way to retrain your brain is to surround yourself by positive or inspiring thought patterns. If you came to my home, you would find laminated quotes, images and inspiring words taped to my vanity mirror and refrigerator. Without fail, I will read one or two of the many posted quotes a day as my mind naturally wonders to them. What's really happening is I'm re-training my brain, every day, to focus on what it is I can do, am capable of and giving myself the tools to battle the bully in my head. Over time, your mind will naturally begin to focus on what you can do rather than what you can't and that is power!

4. Protect your dream: While you may be tempted to tell people about your plans, be careful who you share your dreams with. People are quick to remind you of "what you can't do or why" as they haven't yet defeated the bully in their own head. Confide only in those who support and encourage you or else risk another bully- this one outside of your head and in your circle of influence.

5. Use the risk-reward formula: Whenever I'm making a big decision I follow this formula -- what's the worst thing that can happen? If I can live with the worst case scenario, I take the risk and move forward. If I can't then I don't; it's that simple.

Don't get me wrong, the bully will return, yet only often enough to test the waters, to see if you've weakened your resolve and if it's able to penetrate your mind enough to derail you. So fight back -- keep focus on what you want, can do, will have and the way it will feel once you've accomplished what you set out to do. Start the business, ask for the raise, apply for that new job and show the bully what you're made of.

Traci Bild is the author of the forthcoming book, Get Your Girl Back: Revisit What's Possible for Your Life. Pre-order on Amazon.