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Is Negative Self Talk Holding Your Business Back with Amy van Meijl

Welcome to today’s episode of the Small Business Talk Podcast where I chat with Amy van Meijl is a multi-passionate entrepreneur who started her interior design business at virtually the same time the oil market fell in her home city of Calgary, Alberta

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Amy van Meijl is a multi-passionate entrepreneur who started her interior design business at virtually the same time the oil market fell in her home city of Calgary, Alberta. Despite the timing – and the 100 000 layoffs, Amy knew in her heart that it was the right move to make. Nearly 5 years later, her interior design business is not only going strong, it’s also growing, even though her local market is still struggling.

Now Amy is taking all that she has learned in growing a profitable, service-based business in a down economy and creating courses under her second business, Dare to Begin Inc., to help others build, launch and grow their profitable business, no matter their economy or business know-how. Through both the Dare to Begin Small & Mighty podcast, and her products, Amy shares clear and actionable tips, tools and strategies designed to maximize impact with minimum cost and time. #hustle is a four-letter word to Amy – after beating herself up for years over not working hard enough or meeting her goals like she wanted, she realized that she’d been sold into the #hustle lie and now makes a point to let other entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs know that you CAN build a business and make it profitable, AND have balance in your life.

“We are not our thoughts but the thinker of our thoughts”. We look at what is running through our mind as if we have no control over it.

Show Notes

Today we are chatting with Amy Van Meijl. Is negative self-talk holding your business back? Let’s hear some tips and find out.

Remember You’re In Control

Jim Fortin was talking about the idea that we are not our thoughts, but we are the thinker of our thoughts. I’m not my thoughts, I’m the thinker of my thoughts.” What does that mean? And what Jim was talking about essentially is that we look at what’s running through our minds as if we have no control over it. And it just happens and then because it just happens, we sort of are in this victim state that we can’t do anything about it and so what do we do now? When you’re thinking that way, it causes you to feel a certain way and all of a sudden you go down this crazy rabbit holes. If you’re doing something new like launching a new business, or even doing something new in your business, then you already have doubt because you’re not sure. It’s something that you’ve never done before.

On top of that you get this thought pattern that shows up that says, “Well, who are you to do this? And you can’t do this. And we don’t have any experience with this and nobody’s gonna want to hear about this.” and before you know it you’re like full on rocking in the corner freaking out because this is what’s running through your head. And so when Jim Fortin talked about being the thinker of our thoughts it really struck me to go, “Okay, so I’m more than just this… ” He calls us a flesh bag, which I think is hilarious. More than just this body that is having these passing moments running through our mind that we have no choice over. And we’re not subject to what’s running between our ears but if we pay attention, and we actually become the observer so two things: First of all, when you become the observer you also then have the power to choose what you want. And second, when you become the observer of it all of a sudden you learn a lot about yourself. It’s really quite interesting and insightful and you’ll find yourself going, “Huh? Okay, that’s really interesting. I didn’t realize that I thought that way.”

You Control Your Thoughts

The practice you should have, which is really simple, is first of all recognizing that we’re not just this hapless subject of our thoughts happening. We actually have a choice in what we get to think about. Now, the part that might be difficult for quite some time was that thoughts happened so fast. And then a thought will pop up sort of out of nowhere. And that’s the part that makes us feel like we have no control over them. Jim Fortin talks about his practice is to pay attention when he feels bad. I pay attention when something all of a sudden was like, “Oh, where did that come from?” Or if I’m about to do something, whether it’s something new or something that I’m a little bit nervous about pay very close attention in those moments, what’s coming up in my head.

Jim Fortin says “We are not our thoughts but the thinker of our thoughts” We look at what is running through our mind as if we have no control over it.

Verbalize Your Thoughts

If you have something that comes up that’s like, “We can’t afford to do this.” or, “Who do we think we are to do this.” or, “You’re crazy. You’ve never done this before. This is a silly thing.” then that should be a trigger for you to now go, “Oh okay, just a moment. This is the thought that I’m having.” And so the practice is, it’s really simple, you might look crazy for a little while, but that’s okay. Literally say out loud, “Okay. This is the thought that I’m having. The thought that I am having is I’m not smart enough to do this.” Well, if I’m the thinker of my thoughts, I can either choose to continue down that line, or I can choose a different thought. If I actively choose to continue down that line, I know it’s not going to help me. However, because I’m the thinker of my thoughts and I get to choose, what will be a different thought that I could choose in this moment. This can be extremely powerful for any thoughts that come up around money. And this is where it really has deep value.

For a lot of us, the thought is, “I don’t have money to pay these bills and I can’t afford this and I’m broke. And where is it all going to come from?” And you go down this rabbit hole of freaking out. But if you catch that moment and realize, “Okay, just a minute. I get to be a thinker of my thoughts.” It’s important to talk out loud. Say it out loud. Even if reality shows right now, the physical numbers of my bank account and the physical requirements of these bills, they don’t add up. That’s okay. That’s just the reality right now. And the reality that is right now is something that I’ve created from past actions and past thoughts. I can continue to think the way that I always have which will only perpetuate the situation. I can choose to feel badly about this, I can choose to think that I’m a huge failure about this, I can choose to think that I’m never going to get out of it about this, or because I get to be the thinker of my thoughts, I can choose to look at this differently and say, “Okay this reality is a result of how I’ve thought in the past, if I want to create a new reality, what would be a different way of thinking about it?”

Accept That You Won’t Be Happy All The Time

Brooke Castillo was the first one who actually made it aware to me the idea that first of all, we’re not meant to be happy all the time. As humans, we have the whole range of emotions, and it’s expected that we’re going to feel them.

She said, “Your aim is not to be happy all the time or even 80% of the time, or 70% of the time, go for like 50-50 or 51-49.” My concern always where, when I’m in that stage of below the line emotions and thought that then all of a sudden on top of those thoughts and emotions was this compounding fear that I’m now creating more of this on top of already being in whatever this situation was.

Now, I’m afraid that, because I feel this way, I’m going to create more of it. And so that’s why when she said that really our goal is to be sort of 50-50 or even 51-49, right, you just want to be enough over in the other side that you’re not always sitting in negative thoughts, but that it is important that we allow those things to move through.

She also says that negative thoughts are okay and it’s our connotation of negative thoughts. So if we think that positive thoughts are good and negative thoughts are bad and there’s no black and white… And they’re black and white, there’s no gray in between that’s where we’re getting wrong. It is okay to just feel ho-hum and not be totally up. And the other thing of course is if you totally happy and up all the time, you quite often will miss some of those things. It’s a bit of a pendulum effect. If you’re too far to one side, you’ll miss all the 95% on the other side. If you’re too negative, then you’ll miss all the 95% of the good. Like the 51-49, make sure that you are on the positive side but allowing the emotions to come and go as they will. Don’t hold extra baggage on it just because it is raining, and you wanted to have a picnic that may not be what you wanted but that’s okay. You might be able to find a gazebo or a patio or somewhere and move your venue and still have a lovely day.

Listen to Is Negative Self Talk Holding Your Business Back #37 of The Small Business Podcast for more of Amy’s tips.

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