Escape podcast episode 5: Beat negative self-talk when starting a business

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Listen to the latest episode of the Escape from Cubicle Nation Podcast!

When you decide to start your own business, you might find yourself plagued with all kinds of negative self-talk like:

  • I am a terrible salesperson
  • I don’t have the self-discipline required to be a successful entrepreneur
  • I will never be able to start a business because of my low credit score
  • All my competitors are more talented/experienced than I am

I am not saying that all of you will feel this all the time, but there will be moments of fleeting, and sometimes not so fleeting, insecurities that will make you feel terrible if you let them.  Most importantly, they sap the energy you need to build and market your business.

In this podcast episode, I share some helpful advice from two good books:  Finding Your Own North Star:  Claiming the life you were meant to live by Martha Beck and Loving What Is:  Four questions that can change your life by Byron Katie.

Martha talks about a distinction between your essential self, your true personality which is filled with natural desire, and your social self, which is shaped by your family, educational background, popular media and community environment.  She describes them this way:

"The essential self contains several sophisticated compasses that continuously point you towards your North Star.  The social self is the set of skills that actually carry you towards this goal.  Your essential self wants passionately to become a doctor; your social self struggles through organic chemistry and applies to medical school.  Your essential self yearns for the freedom of nature; your social self buys the right backpacking equipment.  Your essential self falls in love; your social self watches to make sure the feeling is reciprocal before allowing you to stand underneath your beloved’s window singing serenades."

When your essential and social selves are in harmony, you experience peace of mind and happiness.  In the podcast, I refer to 25 questions Martha writes in her book for testing your social-essential self connection.

Rate each question with the most accurate response:  "often," "sometimes," "rarely," or "never."

  1. My life feels like a great adventure
  2. I feel sure I can solve any problems I encounter
  3. I have fun
  4. I laugh out loud
  5. I feel overwhelmed by gratitude
  6. I spend time in comfortable solitude
  7. I am fascinated by things I am learning
  8. I feel deeply understood
  9. Things just seem to work out for me
  10. I get so involved in projects I forget to stop
  11. I use my imagination
  12. I do things I loved when I was a kid
  13. People seem to enjoy being around me
  14. I play
  15. I feel perfectly safe
  16. I get excited when it is time to go to work
  17. I feel mentally sharp and alert
  18. I have really cool ideas
  19. I love my body
  20. I’m flooded with love for other people
  21. I do new things, or old things in new ways
  22. I do what I want to, even if it is scary
  23. I’m completely relaxed with other people
  24. I feel intense physical pleasure
  25. I am very pleased with myself in general

Martha’s scoring:  If you didn’t answer "often" to every one of the questions, you could stand to be in closer contact with your essential self.

Sound wildly optimistic and unreasonable?  It’s not, really, as long as you begin to do your personal work.

The other thing I reference in the podcast are the four questions to ask of your negative self-talk from Byron Katie’s book.  They are:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do I react when I think that thought?
  4. Who would I be without the thought?

Hope you enjoy it – test some of these things out and let me know what you think!

Subscribe to the podcast here.

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8 Responses to “Escape podcast episode 5: Beat negative self-talk when starting a business”

  1. John Trosko says:

    Hi Pamela,

    I am not sure if anyone has this problem, but since you added these music clips, your blog takes a longgggg time to load.

    But again, maybe it’s me?

    – John

  2. Shawna says:

    I answered mainly rarely and sometimes! uh-oh…I knew I was in need of some major changes, but this was just that extra push.

    By the way, I have often had Martha’s book recommended to me in other readings; I usually tell myself, sure…next time. Tomorrow I am going to pick it up at the library…if I like it enough I will order a copy on Amazon!

  3. David M. says:

    Something that’s been useful in my life is trying to reinforce whatever mental space I’m trying to get in by using fiction and music to keep my head in the game. Most people realize that the attitudes of the people around us can have a huge influence on us, and I think it can be useful to use fiction in a similiar way.

    When I feel that I should be more driven, need to accomplish things quickly, I’ll read something by Roger Zelazny at the end of the day. If I’m trying to kindle my technical interest, maybe something by Douglas Hofstadter. My website has lots more examples.

    Anyone else find that kind of directed reading useful?

  4. Jef says:

    Great podcast!! I have just a small technical comment/question: why does this podcast falls under the ‘general’ category’ in libsyn and not under the ‘podcast’ category like the previous podcasts? Was this intended to be so?

  5. Blog Review: EscapeFromCubicleNation

    Regarding Escape From Cubicle Nation:
    As always, her advice is highly useful, and written in an accessible way that anyone can read and quickly apply in their own life.
    Regarding this post:
    I find that these questions really do …

  6. Murali says:

    Our thoughts and feelings are totally responsible for who we are today. And I fully trust them. When we feel negative about something, there is really something of concern. We don’t feel a certain way out of the blue. I am not quite convinced, asking questions like is my feeling true, or self evaluation(like 15pts above) would be of any help. There is nothing one can possibly do, if he/she doesn’t believe in his/her own thoughts and feelings.

    One thing that worked for me is acknowledging that there is some thing wrong or bad. And I should correct it. I do so by
    1) writing down atleast 4 reasons why I feel that way
    2) asking my best friend whether she perceive anything that way (most of the time, a big yes) and then we both together discuss and finalize an action plan with
    3) atleast 4 things that I must do to get over it and will put a date on it.

    If I take the example of lack of sales skills:
    1)I will write down 4 reasons or incidents that led me to think that I am not good at selling.
    2)Ask my best friend how good I am at sales or how bad I am at Sales? She can throw more pointers based on her observations than I could possibly think of.
    3) So now we know. We prepare a plan of action. Be it a training, mirror practice, impromptu sales pitches in a mall …..etc, and put a date on it to get it done.

    Many times, I started doing much better even before my action plan begins.

    I don’t know what exactly happens when I write them down on paper, but
    putting things on Paper and discussing with my best friend and my mentor has been helping me a lot.

  7. robert says:

    How true. Oh how true this is for me and I suspect all who decide to take the plunge one day and then the very next day, fall for these selfdoubts.

    Great post Pamela and because of the 1st Q&A call, I have moved on toward that goal of mine. At this time the Exec Summary is in edit mode. It is being shaped to be pitched at an ultrapreneur who is serious about encouraging new entrepreneurs this side of the Atlantic.

    Am only allowed x number of characters in the pitch to grab his attention and get placed on the ‘need to read this one again’ pile.

    So by this time next week I will have taken my first babystep toward escaping my cubicle and will be anticipating a call to meet or zeroing in on #2 ultrapreneur.

  8. Leo Archer says:

    Escape the Cubicle Nation podcast

    At the risk of being a real fan boy, I thought I’d mention the Escape from Cubicle Nation podcast which now have 5 episodes.  These podcasts are short and helpful bits of information from the same person who brings us