How To Save Yourself From The Negative Committee

Crystal Richards
I want to talk about a topic that may seem pretty heavy. The negative committee. It usually comes in the form of negative self-talk. I know what you’re thinking. Why tackle a topic like this now? People are in high spirits, getting into the groove of the new year, or a new season, and excited about going after their goals.

Yes, all of that is true, but just as excited as we are about what we want to achieve this year, there can be the tendency to get caught up in the comparison game, contrasting someone else’s highlight reel to our biggest struggles.
I’ve been guilty of this.

On social media, one of my connections announced that he published his book, another friend posted her list of speaking engagements for the first quarter of the year, and another friend released his online training program. I couldn’t help but feel, “Wow, I’m so behind.”

Does any of this sound familiar?

That darn negative committee.

After taking a step back to analyze my own accomplishments, I realized that I wasn’t behind at all. At the time of this blog post, I finished the year in December speaking at a prominent science association. I just found out that I will be speaking internationally as a keynote presenter in Manchester, UK, and one of my favorite (well resourced) clients wants to bring me back for more work this year.


Yet, I didn’t feel like I was winning because I let negative self-talk—the negative committee—get in the way.

What does negative self-talk look like?

In case you don’t recognize it right away, negative self-talk can look like this:

  • I’m not qualified.
  • This is too much for me; why bother?
  • I applied the last time and it didn't work out; why bother?
  • Why am I so behind?
  • There is no way I’m going to reach my goals this year.
  • Look at what he/she has already done. I can’t do that.
  • Maybe I should be doing exactly what they are doing too…

By recognizing the signs early, you can take charge of your goals and make this your best season yet.
Here are some strategies I’ve implemented to shut down the negative committee:
  • Be mindful and aware of the negative self-talk. When you hear anything negative come out of your mouth, counteract it with a positive statement.  
  • Self-reflect. Journaling is one of my favorite activities to self-reflect on. There are even journals you can purchase that have prompts to guide you along. Do an Amazon search for “prompt journal pick me up”; you will see quite a few options. 
  • Appreciate the small wins. Celebrate your small successes. It’s the little things that add up to the big successes in the end.
  • Be flexible. Sometimes being too rigid puts limits on ourselves, resulting in disappointment. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Allow grace.
  • Don’t over-commit. Too often, we have a long laundry list of tasks to complete resulting in overwhelm. Here’s a project management tip for you – break it up into small, manageable tasks. What can be done in 25 minutes, 50 minutes?
  • Talk to someone. That person can be an accountability partner, life coach, career coach, or a trusted friend. A third party can often see what you can’t, helping you pull yourself out of the weeds.
  • Limit your time on social media.  Roughly 45% of the world’s population use social media, with an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes spent per day on social media.   

That’s Two. Hours. Per. Day.
I love this re-post (@the.kindmind) from my son’s school, Morgan State University:
I appreciate the reminder they shared with students to "craft your own feed," given the 24-hour news and noise via social media feeds and notifications.

As a project management coach and mentor, I have encountered many individuals who shy away from opportunities because they do not think they are qualified.

You can silence the negative committee.

The first step is recognizing the negative self-talk.

If it's an opportunity for more money, more responsibility, more job satisfaction, ask why not you? You're capable. You're smart. Go for it!
“Don't be a victim of negative self-talk. Remember YOU are LISTENING!”
~ Bob Proctor
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