"I hate to bother you, but.."

These were the first words a young woman business owner said to me last Saturday when she approached me after I delivered a keynote speech on creating positive inner messaging.

I politely stopped her, and asked her to start over. Puzzled, she asked me what I was talking about. I pointed out to her that, consciously or subconsciously, she set her inner dialog to say that her presence would be a bother to me.

We are all guilty of listening to our negative inner voices that send us messages about who we are. We then project these voices into the world through both spoken and unpsoken communication.

These voices, no matter how subtle or infrequent, are destructive to our well-being, happiness, and success.

"You'll never be good enough."

"You'll never be more than what you are right now."

"You don't deserve anything more than this. "

"This is as good as it will get."

"You've reached your peak."

The 5 Destructive Voices in Our Heads

One of my favorite inspirational podcasters, Rob Bell, shared the 5 types of negative voices that play in a loop in our heads, in his podcast, "Changing the Tapes."

1: Our Ego.
Our ego voice often tells us how awesome we are. It elevates us on a pedestal, separating us from everyone else. While self-confidence is good, confidence coming from the ego often shows up as arrogance. This is destructive because it shuts down our humility, and our ability to be open to growth and learning. Ironically, often the ego voice stems from insecurity and a desperation to be better than others.

2: The Slave Driver.
This is the voice in your head that is hard on you no matter what. No matter what you accomplish, no matter how well you show up in life, it is never enough, because according to this voice, you are not enough.

3: The Rut.
Any time you desire a better life, or want to go in a different direction, the voice of the Rut tells you that you don't have it within you to make the change. The rut says, "Tomorrow will be just like today, more of the same. It won't be better. Any positive changes you have made, or any progress you have celebrated, is a fluke. Success will not last."

4: The Miser.
The miser communicates from a place of scarcity and fear, believing that you're not entitled to a better life, and certain you will lose anything good that comes your way. The miser can't find joy in victory for fear of losing it. When you listen to the miser, you become someone who can't accept compliments gracefully, can't accept help gracefully, and believe you are not worthy of this healthy love and abundance.

5:The Pessimist.
The pessimist tells you that anything good happening in your life is too good to be true, and the other shoe is about to drop any day. This is the voice behind statements such as "I feel guilty, "I feel lazy," or "I was just lucky."

6 Powerful Steps to Erase Your Self-Limiting Beliefs

In my keynote speech on aligning inner messaging with outer messaging, I share the 6 steps you can follow to silence your "Inner Critic" and nurture your "Inner Advocate."

Step 1: Acknowledge Your Inner Critic
The first step to making any change is to acknowledge your current mindset and situation.

Rob Bell suggests to write down everything you think about yourself. Carry a notebook around for a day, or record your thoughts on your phone.

Step 2: Silence Your Inner Critic.
Second, move to place of message neutrality so you'll be open to receiving different messaging. When you realize your negative thought pattern, simply shut it down. The goal is to create a quiet place, able to receive positive messaging.

Step 3: Observe Through Silence.
Now that you've silenced the negative messaging, observe your environments from an unfiltered lens. When negative messaging distorts our self-perception, we inaccurately compare ourselves to everyone else.

Remember that you are a student of life. You are constantly learning, and so is everyone else around you.

Step 4: Nurture Your Inner Advocate.
Now we replace the negative messaging with the truth which reflects the gifts you bring to this world. What would your greatest supporters and champions say about you? They see how you show up in the world. This is the messaging you must believe.

Step 5: Create Your Positive Inner Messaging.
Transform the positive feedback you receive from others into messaging. I spoke with a photographer at a conference last week, prior to my keynote. Here is how the conversation went:

Me: "What do you do?"

Her: "I'm a photographer."

Me: "No... what do you do?"

Her: blank stare

Me: What do you do? How do you show up?"

Her: (quietly): "I take pictures of families?"

Me: "It sounds to me like you capture meaningful moments, and create memories that last a lifetime, or longer."

She finally got it. I explained that her trade/craft - her photography - is not what she does. It is the tool she uses to do what she does. In that moment, her internal dialog changed.

What do you do? How do you transform the human experience? This must be the essence of your inner voice.

Step 6: Share it with the World
Now that you have your correct messaging, it's time to share it.

Your joy begins with the stories you tell yourself. Is it time for you to rewrite your story?

Good luck!