Are you sabotaging your chances of obtaining a promotion or a new job? Find out how you can break free of internal negative thoughts.

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“I never seem to be chosen for a promotion,” my client told me. “I don’t know why I even bother to apply for other jobs, since I know they’ll just give it to someone else and tell me I’m not qualified.”

Have you ever thought something similar; that you’re not good enough so why even bother to apply for the job or promotion? That little voice we hear in our heads is called “self-talk” and can be positive or negative. Either way, it usually turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For my client, it meant she stopped looking for jobs that were more challenging, while her frustrations increased because she was bored in her current position. Two hiring managers had provided feedback that she didn’t have the right qualifications – and her confidence level had taken a hit. That’s when the little voice in her head had turned negative, telling her she wasn’t good enough and never would be.

Ouch! Life is hard enough without hearing things like that in your own head. So we worked on ways to get rid of negative thoughts:

Recognize the negativity. Every time a negative thought about yourself pops into your head, recognize this self-sabotage behavior.

Write it down. Grab a pen and paper or your smart phone and write down the negative thought(s).

Flip it. Now, rewrite the negative comment into a positive pep talk. For example, “They’ll never choose me” or “I’m not qualified enough” becomes “I’m worthy of finding my dream job” or “I’m worthy of getting this promotion.”

My client realized her internal negativity had caused her to give up on her career dreams. Once she acknowledged these negative thoughts, wrote them down and then transformed them into pep talks, her outlook changed. She began proactively analyzing her qualifications for each job and determining gaps. She also spoke with successful people already in the positions she wanted and created a career development plan to close the gaps.

Hiring managers could see her new attitude during job interviews because she arrived more prepared and self-confident. Taking control of her internal voice allowed her to break free from self-sabotage and she achieved her goal of being hired into a more challenging job.

You can do it too! If self-sabotage is holding you back, follow the three steps listed above. Take control of your internal voice and start giving yourself pep talks. Believe in yourself and all things become possible.

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at