Stopping Negative Self-Talk: A Leadership Essential
Every salon owner has those occasional moments where you feel down, demoralised and demotivated. But the problem arises when you allow these to be more than fleeting thoughts, and they start to affect your communication with yourself.
Negative self-talk is extremely destructive, no matter what the reason is for it. It will affect your thoughts and ultimately it will affect your relationship with your staff and clients, and the atmosphere in your salon.


Bob Stahl, PhD and mindfulness expert, has identified four common types of negative self talk. These are listed below. Read each one carefully and assess whether you might have allowed them to flavour your thinking:
This is where you imagine worst-case scenarios in your mind that have not yet occurred. An example: you could go into a meeting with your landlord already convinced that he won’t budge or give you what you are asking for.
This is where you blame anything from the economy to crime and politics, or even Covid for your current situation, thereby giving away your power to take action. This is why blaming is dangerous.
This is where you are unable to let go of something from the past and replay it over and over in your thoughts. By having your past mistakes or negative outcomes hang over you, makes you unable to move forward confidently.
This is where you repeatedly play out future scenarios – usually with a negative outcome. You become so convinced about the negative outcome that you end up delaying taking action and procrastinating.
Negative self-talk in any of its forms is terrible for your salon atmosphere and it damages your brand. This is because if you don’t believe in your own value, how can others be expected to?
People are very quick to pick up when you don’t believe in yourself. Self-belief is associated with determination, integrity and leadership. In contrast, self-doubt and negative internal dialogue will erode and undermine your own ability to be a leader.
Negative self-talk comes out in your words and actions without you even realising it. It will also affect your ability to take calculated risks due to fear of failure. And every great leader and salon owner does need to be comfortable with taking risks as it is an integral part of being an entrepreneur.
So, how do you change it?
The first step to changing it is becoming aware of it. If you’ve let negative self-talk creep into your life to the extent it’s the loudest voice in your head, you can’t fight it until you have acknowledged it. If you’re letting it control your thoughts and you don’t know it, you have a real problem! Look at the above definitions and catch yourself if you fall into any of these thought patterns on a continual basis.
Then, replace the negativity with positive thoughts, positive outcomes, inspiring words. Train yourself to visualise good outcomes and scenarios rather than dwelling on the bad. Think of things that make you happy and focus on them with hope and optimism.
Remember that the past is the past, and you can LEARN from your mistakes and go forward. You will not be stuck in a rut and they do not characterise the rest of your life. Believe that you are stronger for your past and more equipped to succeed in the future.
Consistency is key. You can’t change negative thoughts in a day or even in a week. It takes ongoing commitment and attention to swing your mindset around to one of positivity and hopefulness. It’s like physical training, only you are doing the weightlifting and reps with your thoughts – which are powerful muscles when they are working for you!

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