In chatting with a colleague a few days ago, we both agreed that all of us, including people who are highly successful, experience doubts and fears. The difference between those that have tremendous success and those that do not is whether or not the negative thoughts turn into a cerebral flogging.

Often, stinking thinking begins after a mistake, poor outcome, or disappointment of some kind, and it’s quite normal that the first thought is less than positive. Highly successful people, however, live by the following rule:

You are not responsible for your first thought. You are responsible for your next action.

Thoughts happen and whether you stick with the negative ones or not is a choice. Now is the time to plan ahead for what your actions will be the next time stinking thinking creeps in. Here are two questions to help you develop your plan:

  • How would you want someone else to encourage you or support you when you misstep?
  • What would you gain by speaking to yourself with the same regard and respect you might hear from your closest friend?

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