Moving past self-criticism and negative self-talk will help you develop your resilience and be more successful in achieving your goals.

Phrases like

“I’m going to fail. This is a flop.”

“I’m not good enough to do this. Why did I get myself in this mess?”

“I must be the problem? Everyone is doing better at this than me.”

 Is this what you are telling yourself when things don’t go as planned at work when you are feeling nervous or not good enough? You may have missed an important deadline, embarrassed yourself during a presentation, or snapped at a colleague, and these thoughts shake your confidence and peace of mind, preventing you from achieving your goals.

Don’t get obsessed with your goals. It’s good to have clear objectives and an action plan to achieve them; but, sometimes, we might need to change them due to external factors. And it’s perfectly fine. I started my Coaching and Leadership Training practice pre-COVID, and the plan was to offer a face-to-face service. So, I had to be flexible and develop my skills to replicate this online to be able to survive.

I learnt that we must be flexible and agile to fine-tune our strategy anytime because we never know what’s going to happen. It’s pointless to cling to our goals because we believe that, no matter what, we must achieve them. We might be paying a high price to get there.

Sometimes, life is giving us signs to change direction. And we must listen to them. Enjoy the ride, and don’t get obsessed with the destination.

So, here is what you can do to bounce forward after setbacks.

Developing self-compassion may take some time and patience however it may well be worth the effort. Whilst negative experiences and emotions don’t disappear; it is our response to those experiences and feelings that need to change.

Phrases such as:

“I need to find a new way to match my skills to this task.”

“I need to learn how to do it.”

“It’s not a strength yet.”

Will help us be agile and flexible, giving us the ability to identify problems, accept negative feedback from others, and change habits that no longer serve our best interests— this is to “pivot.” Being open to change and resilience from setbacks helps us grow, learn, develop improved habits, and ultimately be more successful.

  1. Find physical calming techniques that work for you – either by repeating a phrase to yourself “It’s ok, it will pass, take a time out and come back fresh, you can do it, it will get better.” Take a walk. Treat yourself to a cup of tea. Listen to your favourite music. Challenge yourself to a gruelling workout. Or something that feels kind and good to your current mental state.
  2. Be a friend to yourself – in this powerful exercise try to visualise a friend in the same situation. What would you say and how would you respond to them, then direct those same words and responses towards yourself. If you have trouble with the idea of “self-kindness,” use the term “self-coaching.”
  3. Ask for help – or for the perspective of someone you trust; or say ‘yes’ when they offer to help you. Although it might feel awkward at first to open ourselves up to receiving help from others, it feels good for them to give to you. Asking for help when you need it is a good way to be compassionate toward yourself. Taking a chance and reaching out may also help you deepen your connection with someone. It will also allow others to see our imperfections, showing our vulnerability and making us more authentic.

So, whenever you feel that you need to be hard on yourself, pause, and take a moment to give yourself a little self-compassion. Switch ‘failing’ for ‘learning’, see challenges as opportunities and own your attitude.


Silvan Mifsud / LinkedIn

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