“Every minute spent second-guessing yourself is a minute taken from following your dreams.”

Recently my 13-year-old daughter charged into the kitchen and enthusiastically shared those words with me. She was cloaked in the confidence and self-assurance that make a mother proud (especially a mom who has long had a healthy obsession with raising confident girls.)

It was as if suddenly, and quite simply, she had unlocked the secret to achieving her many dreams, chief among them: performing on Broadway. When I asked where she’d heard those words, she explained that they simply came to her, and that they would be her new mantra.

Thrilled that my middle schooler had realized something that it takes most adults a lifetime to discover, I began searching for photos of my daughter pursing her passion. I settled on shots from school performances of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” (my personal favorite), “Mary Poppins” and “Suessical”. I framed the beautiful images of my daughter singing and dancing on stage, gave them to her, and simply said, “Every minute spent second-guessing yourself, is a minute taken from following your dreams.”

Acknowledge your critical inner voice

The “Neurology Fun Facts Quiz”, which was compiled at The University of Southern California’s Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, states that the human brain can have up to 70,000 thoughts per day. At that rate, consider how negative self-talk is affecting your own career success.

Robert W. Firestone, Ph.D.; Lisa Firestone, Ph.D.; and Joyce Catlett , M.A. explored the impact of destructive thought processes on career success in their book “Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice: A Revolutionary Program to Counter Negative Thoughts and Live Free from Imagined Limitations” (New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2002). They suggest that the critical inner voice, “advises us and subdues us, keeping us seemingly safe inside a miserable, albeit familiar, shell.”

Quiet the clutter

If doubt and a looming fear of failure are crippling your success, consider the following tips to help quiet the clutter and unleash your brilliance:

  1. Counter each “I can’t…” with two reasons why you will.
  2. Consider how your need to be “perfect” is impacting your progress.
  3. Surround yourself with positive, personal brand advocates who are committed to your success.
  4. Create a vision board to help articulate your dream, maintain focus, and manifest your destiny.