by Dr. Cindy Briggs
I love this quote! Have you ever heard of it before? We so often let others speak into our lives…and they should never have been given that opportunity. Our world has become one where there is the constant approval machine…. From people we know and a whole lot of people we don’t know. We need to remember that we are doing big things! Not everyone will understand this. Not everyone will even care. We also need to remember there are so many people who ARE supporting us and our dreams. They are the cheerleader in our lives who tells us we can do it. We are enough. We are worthy.
I have struggled with this so often in my life. I have people telling me good things, and then someone (from out of the blue) will criticize me. They will make me feel “less than” and I immediately struggle with my self confidence. I start to believe the BAD from someone whose option I don’t value, versus listening to the voices I DO value.
Years ago I heard this quote and it struck me at the right time. I was letting negative voices impact me way too much and I was going to stop this practice.
Here are some practical steps to apply when it comes to people speaking into your life:
- Inner Circle– Is the person who is speaking into your life a close, trusted friend or family member? Is this person someone who knows you (not just from social media!) These are the people you can go to with ANYTHING. It can be any situation, and any topic– they don’t just tell you what you want to hear….but they tell you what you need to hear. I have two people in my life that fall into this category– my husband and my best friend of 35 years. Those two have permission to tell me anything, at any time, about any subject. I do want to make one comment on the inner circle…. you choose who is in and who is out. Even if someone is a family member, or someone you have known for years, you have to decide if they speak “life” into you and not just constant criticism.
- Subject Matter Expert– You are starting a business. You have a dream to be an entrepreneur, and you need to know some steps to make that a reality. This is great, but then you share this idea with your neighbor. You like your neighbor, and you would consider them a friend. However, this neighbor starts telling you how this idea would never work. “You would be crazy to try something like that,” or “My brothers, mother-in-law’s, great-aunt, tried that once and it failed in 2 months.” These are not helpful statements, nor are they coming from a reliable source. This person may think they are helping you…but in reality they are just deterring your dream. If you are wanting to start a business… find someone who can help you move forward. Maybe it is a business coach, or maybe you go find a free resource like SCORE (www.score.org), or you contact your local chamber of commerce. You want to find individuals with the specific knowledge to guide you and give you solid advice.
- Self Reflection– Sometimes, in the moment someone is talking, we don’t immediately know if this is criticism or solid advice. This is where it is important to have time for self-reflection. A couple of years ago I started a journal that I keep in my desk. When I have interactions with people that I cannot immediately determine if they were helpful or not… I write them down in this journal. I write who the person was that spoke this information, my connection to them, and 3-4 bullet points about their advice/criticism. I use only one page for each because of the next part I am going to share. I give it a couple of days…and I go back and review the information. If at that time, the information in any way does not fit the above categories– I rip out the sheet of paper and I throw it ago. (Yes, I literally take it out and dump it!) As you continue in your journey– you will be able to determine these interactions more quickly– but until then, use this method.
As entrepreneurs in any arena (for-profit, nonprofit, or life) we will have countless interactions with people who do not support our journey– and that is fine– for them! We get to choose whether they have any space inside of our heads. We get to determine if we are going to let this information impact us negatively. We get to choose our allies on our journey.
Also, please remember you have ME on your side. I will be your cheerleader. Keep my voice inside of you at difficult times telling you—YOU’VE GOT THIS!
My mission is to provide programs that help entrepreneurs and communities THRIVE! I have more information on my website at www.cindybriggsphd. Please come visit for many freebies to help on your entrepreneurial journey.