A while ago I wrote a couple posts about being careful not only about what you say to yourself but also about who else you listen to. This post, about the ability to speak strength to yourself, goes along with those.
Not only do you have to stop ~ I mean right now ~ the self-defeating language (you know: I can’t do this, I’m not good enough, I don’t have what it takes), but you absolutely MUST speak strength to yourself if you want to succeed, and not just at writing but at anything.
What I mean by speak strength to yourself
You have to tell yourself that you’re capable, you can do it, you have what it takes, you have it in you, you will succeed. It’s easy to lose focus & lose faith when the days and weeks are piling up and you’re not even close to being done. Or when you’re lost or stuck and you don’t see a way to fix it. Or , in the case of writing, when the characters do some crazy thing you didn’t see coming and now you have to rewrite pages or chapters or, sometimes, half the book. Or when you feel hopeless that your dreams will ever materialize. Look, following a dream is often a lonely endeavor, especially writing a novel, which can take years to complete. You have to be your own cheering section. You’ve probably heard this advice before, but how many of you actually do it?
I have a yellow Post-It Note stuck to my computer that says: You are capable! Later, I wrote a louder one that hollered: YES, YOU CAN!! Why? To combat the voice in my head that likes to say things like: you’re out of your league, you’re in over your head, you don’t know what you’re doing, you can’t make this believable or even good. That voice used to get louder every time I sat down to write.
Why it matters that you speak strength to yourself
The Post-It Note shut up that voice enough so I could work. It’s important that you do this, too. It matters. Why? Because if you don’t do something to combat the negative voice in your head, it’ll run rampant. It’ll feed on itself until that’s just about all you’ll hear. And if you hear a steady barrage of negativity long enough, you’re eventually bound to start believing it. Which means that you’ll slow down & procrastinate & make excuses. Even worse, you might stop altogether.
The bad stuff, sadly, is easier to believe, whether it’s coming from someone else or from your own self. It’s a battle (don’t think it isn’t) and you need to improve your odds so you can win. Write yourself a lovely Post-It Note and stick it to your desk, make a list of your positive attributes & put it somewhere you can easily read it, record your own voice saying good things about you and replay it, have a shirt made with encouraging words and wear it. Do whatever you need to do to speak strength to yourself. And then watch yourself accomplish things that you might’ve thought impossible before.
What do you say to speak strength to yourself? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.
32 thoughts on “Why You MUST Speak Strength To Yourself”
I agree. I write myself notes of inspiration and leave them around my desk. It’s piled high right now, but eventually when I clear down to the bottom of the piles, I find them again and get reminded to stay positive.
Hi Cora! That’s fantastic, finding them again ~ they’re like little gifts that keep on giving. 🙂 (Reminded me of when I sometimes leave money in my jeans & find it there months later, how surprised & happy it makes me.)
Hi, Shelli. Thanks so much for sharing this. I have had the good fortune of having had a book published with a second one releasing this spring, so I am in a good place where I haven’t had any of those doubts; however, so many others have yet to experience this, and need to read this post desperately.
Having had that dream come true, I really take advantage of each and every opportunity to inspire others to chase their dreams, too. I’m glad you’re doing that as well.
Hi Jimmy! Congrats, my friend, on all your success and having your dream come true. Makes me smile to hear it. 🙂 I’m so happy to hear you don’t have doubts, that’s fantastic, too.
I came across your blog via Twitter and I had to stop by and say how much I enjoyed it. It is no-nonsense, realistic, yet inspirational. I am just starting to find my own voice (or have the courage to describe myself as a writer). Sure, like you, I’ve written factual stuff: academic papers and then business reports. But I still feel nervous, raw and exposed, as if I am a teenager starting out in life all over again. You probably hear this all the time, but I can relate to almost every single blog post: consistency, looking behind you, writing space, trying… Thank you for your honesty and for sharing all this!
Hi Marina! Thanks so much for the lovely compliments. You made my morning. 🙂 I love this: “I still feel nervous, raw and exposed, as if I am a teenager starting out in life all over again.” I still often feel that way, raw and exposed, when I send new work out into the world but the whole point, as you probably already know, is to keep sending it out. I’m so glad to hear that the posts are helping you; I tend to write what I also need to hear. Cheers!
I hear you. I wrote two similar posts on my blog, too, because sometimes it’s hard to hear “no.” But it only takes one “yes.” May you receive a yes soon!
Hi Vivi! *waves* Thanks so much for the encouragement. I’m no longer waiting for a yes from someone else, but I appreciate the sentiment. I hope that you reach whatever goal it is you’re striving for, too. 🙂
LOL yes, I figured it out after I sent the post that you don’t have to wait for the yes. But you are very encouraging for those of us who are, so thank you! =)
You are most welcome! Thanks for the lovely compliment. 🙂
Thank you for this! Negative comments plague me, and they’re mainly from my own brain.
I’m going to put up a post-It that helps me fight back too!
Hi Gina! *waves wildly* You are welcome; I’m glad the post could help you. Fight (and write) on! 🙂
I can totally relate to this post as a business owner and freelancer. There’s a name for the struggle that entrepreneurs (both men and women) go through as they move ahead in their careers: impostor syndrome. I wrote a feature story about it in iWoman Magazine.
It’s important to think realistically about your skills and where you need improvement, but the negative voice tells you that you’re a fake — that somehow you’ve pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes and they’ll find you out someday. You are real, as are your achievements and, yes, your failures. I struggle with this voice time and again, but have learned to nip it almost immediately now. Although, sometimes I miss it and allow myself to believe the bad things. They are so much easier to believe than the good ones.
Thank you for reminding me that I’m not the only one who struggles with this lying voice.
Hi Samantha, you lovely lady! Thank you so much for sharing your insight. I’ve heard of that syndrome before & would absolutely love to read your feature about it: can you please send me a link? I am so glad to hear that you’ve learned to nip it in the bud; that’s the only way, IMO, to stop it effectively. It seems the longer you let it run on, the louder and more persistent it gets. I know you’re not alone; I’m right there with you. *hugs* 🙂
Fantastic post! It seems to me lately that I am constantly fighting with that voice on a regular basis. I believe it’s the main reason writing my first book seems to be taking me so long to complete. That’s probably that voice that told me to even say that! He’s always busy, you know? 😀
I will definitely incorporate the post its into my practices. I already go stand in the mirror each morning and chant words of encouragement to myself; this exercise should be the icing on the cake!
Thanks for sharing this one with us, Shelli. This was definitely one that I needed to read.
You’re the greatest! Cheers! 🙂
Hi Deeone! You know you’re one of my favorite Tweeps, right? Thanks so much for the compliments. I think it’s fantastic that you stand in the mirror and tell yourself great things. I went to a motivational seminar years ago and I remember the leader stressing the importance of using a mirror, of looking yourself in the eye and speaking truth/strength to yourself ~ that way you would believe it. As a side note, it takes 21 days to make something a habit; the leader said that you had to keep up the practice, speaking truth/strength to yourself for a minimum of 21 days. Kudos to you, my friend, for taking care of yourself. 🙂
Thanks for this post! I was just looking online today at some inspirational wall art for my office. I’m going to put it across my desk, so I can see it all day. Hopefully, that way it’ll permeate. 🙂 You’re so right–following a dream is absolutely lonely, and it’s so much easier to quit than to keep going. But that’s what separates the winners in the end; that they were afraid and still kept trudging.
Hi Adriana! *waves wildly* You’re welcome! It is easier to quit than keep going when the going gets tough, but you’re absolutely right about the people who’ll win out in the end: “they were afraid and still kept trudging.” I know the inspirational stuff will help, especially if you put it somewhere, like you said, that you can see it all day. 🙂
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Very good advice. I printed out a whole list of quotes that I use to replace the negativity in my head. When I’m feeling like I am up against surmountable odds I just read all of them. I like your idea of the post-it note because it’s simple and easy. Thanks for this post!
Hi Dana! Thanks for the compliment. I love quotes, too. I’ve tacked them up on a cork board near my writing desk for the same reason as you. 🙂
Man, what writer doesn’t know that negative voice in their head that says this thing they are doing is too big, too impossible. I know I had no reason to think I could write a book before I started. But, I knew I had a great story to tell and I knew I had a way to tell it. Now, I have an agent and I’m on the precipice of selling that book. Never would have gotten here if I’d listened to that voice. Thanks for the reminder as I work on my next book!
Hi Brock! I love this: “I knew I had a great story to tell and I knew I had a way to tell it.” Kudos to you for not listening to that negative voice. Congrats on all your success & good luck with the sale of your book. You are so right: You would’ve never gotten to the place you wanted to be had you listened to that voice. Cheers!
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Hi Shelli. I could not agree more. It is all too easy to listen to that Inner Negative. I fall prey to it when things get tough … that’s human nature, I guess. We all have to step away from it sometimes, give our heads a shake and listen to that Inner Positive. Whether it’s a sticky note or an encouraging word from a friend, WE HAVE TO LISTEN TO IT. I try to encourage people whenever I can, especially when they need it the most. It works wonders. Thanks for a great post. David
Hi David! I think what you said is so true, that it’s so much easier to fall prey to that negative voice when things are tough. It’s true, too, that speaking strength to people and to yourself really does work wonders. Cheers!
Amazing article, I very needed that type of thing. I loved what U advised in the last paragraph. In these days, I’m suffering from many bad things. I was giving up before I read your article.
Hi Ahmed! Thanks for the fabulous compliment. I’m sorry you’re going through a rough time but glad to hear that this post could help you. 🙂
What a wonderful article, full of truth and motivation! You are so very right that the seeds of doubt are so easy to nurture, and can destroy your creative energies and your dreams. Keep up your outstanding writing, Shelli! We need you!
Hi Margaret! *waves* Thanks so much for the fab compliments. Made me smile this morning & gave me some motivation, too! 🙂
Shelli, You are spot on! Motivation and positive thinking are absolutely essential to being a successful writer. Thank you for the blog post; I’ll definitely use it when my motivation is lacking. Jen
Hi Jen! *waves* Thanks so much for the fab compliment & I’m so glad to hear this post helped. Cheers, darlin. 🙂
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