How to Gaslight Yourself Effectively for Success

How many times have you set a goal that required a quantum leap or felt like a stretch, and then you missed it? You’re not alone. No business owner crushes every goal, 100% of the time. Yet for some reason, business owners will get down on themselves in some pretty destructive ways that only keep them from attaining their goals longer. 

Success is about more than productivity and ambitious goals. It requires rest, celebration, and compassion for yourself. Here’s how you can be more gentle with yourself while increasing your success.

The gaslighting infiltration

How do business owners gaslight themselves when they don’t hit the goal? It might look like statements like: 

  • If I would’ve worked harder, I would’ve hit the goal (while working at capacity)
  • Quantum leaps happen for everyone else. Something must be wrong with me since I can’t get them to work for me.
  • If I just…(pretty much anything that comes after that phrase is a gaslighting-type statement)
  • I guess I’m not meant to go as far as other people
  • The market can’t bear it
  • Everyone is down right now

And the list goes on. 

The problem is these statements take away your power to create change. When you tell yourself that you don’t work hard enough, you’re setting yourself up for burnout. You don’t want to become an entrepreneur or coach who works 100 or more hours a week and loses touch with every other part of their life. That’s not a sustainable business model. So working harder consistently as a way to reach your goals is not a method that will work long term. 

Likewise, when you make statements justifying why reaching your goal couldn’t have happened, you’re teaching your subconscious that reaching this goal is either impossible or highly unlikely. Therefore, your brain starts to believe that this particular goal cannot happen or cannot happen without strenuous effort (beyond your capabilities). 

When you start putting limitations on what’s possible for you based on effort, you create blocks to efficiency, organization, rest, and rejuvenation — all of which play a vital role in scaling. A well-rested brain is one that’s creative, efficient, and productive. When you exhaust yourself, you’re running on two cylinders instead of four, making reaching your goals way harder than it has to be.

The difference between reflecting and judging

When you don’t hit a goal, is it important to be self-reflective? Yes. Is it helpful to judge yourself? Not at all. It’s one thing to look at your actions and decide what could’ve been done to support your goals. For example, if you were trying to reach $50,000 in revenue this month, but you weren’t working with a system, then you can confidently say that designing a system would likely have supported you in reaching your goals. That realization and reflection then gives you action steps to take immediately that can help you get better results next time. However, judging sets you up for failure. 

When you judge yourself for not reaching a goal, you make some part of yourself, your actions, or your effort wrong. That adds shame to the mix, and shame is the toxic sludge of goal attainment. If you’re experiencing shame while going after your goals, you’re setting yourself up to fail. 

Shame compromises your ability to make the strongest decisions possible. Not to mention, shame is a labor-intensive emotion. Similar to having too many tabs open on your computer running in the background and draining your battery, this happens with heavy emotions in our bodies.
So how do you tell the difference between reflecting and judging? There are a few tricks. Reflecting will focus on actions, outcomes, and circumstances. It takes you as a human (and your worth) out of the equation. Judging, however, attacks you personally and tells you how YOU were wrong in the situation or how you weren’t worthy of the outcome you desired. 

Another quick check is in your body. Reflection feels lighter than judging. Judging has a heaviness to it that settles in and doesn’t feel good. Reflecting, however, feels lighter and washes over (not through) you. 

Protecting yourself from the judgment beast

Keeping yourself out of judgment is a mental and emotional discipline that may take some time, but once you’ve got it in your body and brain, it will run on autopilot. This means setting up a two-part system: an accelerator and a filter. 

Your accelerator consists of the practices you engage in to build yourself up, own your worth, and feel empowered. The filter is the process you use to catch thoughts that are running off the rails, such as: 

  • Life doesn’t work for me
  • I never hit my goals
  • Business is just harder for me than it is for other people

When you have a practice in place to catch those thoughts, stop, and rewrite them, then you can create a mindset that supports your goals. For example, if you notice the thought, “I should’ve worked harder and maybe then I would’ve reached my goal,” maybe that needs to be examined and rewritten as, “I worked hard, but perhaps I could have been more efficient. Maybe I need a system to support my effort.” 

The truth is, the more you create supportive thought processes, the easier it will be to reach your goals. When you stop gaslighting yourself and let go of the judgment, it’s easier for your body to use your energy more efficiently to reach your goals. When you have less resistance in your body from heavier emotional labor, your efficiency will go through the roof, and you will hit your goals more often.

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