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How To Silence The Side Of Yourself That Wants To See You Fail



Ever feel like you’re waging an internal war? It might not be bloody, but it does kill. It kills your self-esteem, confidence, and your dream.

One side wants to see you succeed, feel good about yourself, and exceed in all of your endeavors. The other is taking every chance it gets to drag you down. The fierce battle between the two sides can drive anyone crazy.

Becoming an entrepreneur means taking major steps outside your comfort zone. It will most likely trigger fear, disbelief, and doubt. It will probably make that mean voice inside seem louder and even more condescending.

If that’s the voice that’s running your inner dialogue today, it’s time to make it stop. It’s time to say goodbye once and for all.

Here are the 5 steps on how to silence the side of yourself that wants to see you fail:

1. Detach yourself from your toxic thoughts

The monkey. That’s what I call that destructive and mean voice that can come in and overpower us. Because let’s face it, it can behave just like a drunk, neurotic monkey who’s tirelessly jumping around and chattering in a desperate attempt to get our attention.

The monkey thinks he’s protecting you. But in reality, he’s hindering you from creating the life you truly desire. Why? Because the monkey is trying to protect what you’ve accepted as truth — whether it serves you or not.

If you believe that making money requires hard work and struggle, the monkey will want to prove you’re right. If you think you aren’t smart enough or consistently lack time, the monkey will do just about anything to prove that your belief is correct.

The thing is, if you’ve heard something repeatedly in the past, or if you’ve had an emotionally painful experience, your monkey will remember that. And he’ll do just about anything to protect you from feeling that pain again.

Now, it might sound like this little guy is your enemy. He’s not. He’s just a scared little monkey who needs you to take charge of the situation.

So, when you have these toxic thoughts, start by separating the monkey’s voice from your own. It’s not you talking, OK? Detach yourself by acknowledging and observing his presence. Don’t fight or get upset over his comments; that will only fuel him. Instead, be polite, and greet the little fellow by saying, “Well, hello little monkey!”

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

2Take control over the chatter

So, now that you’ve acknowledged the monkey, it’s time to calm him down. How do you calm a drunk and neurotic monkey?

That’s right, by giving him a big hug. And by telling him soothing phrases such as, “Thanks for looking out for me, but don’t worry. I’ve got this under control.” You can even imagine yourself petting the little monkey on its head.

Remember that poking current beliefs is scary to the monkey. It will trigger him. To remain in control of your inner-dialogue, simply acknowledge what caused your monkey to go bananas. Play detective on yourself to get the bigger picture of the situation.

Maybe you’re stepping outside of familiar boundaries? Maybe you’re facing struggles on your path as an entrepreneur? Maybe you’re diving headfirst into something that scares you silly?

Remember, it’s probably a good thing you’re doing here. You’re probably stretching limits, breaking boundaries, and growing as a person. See the situation for what it is (and not through the eyes of a terrified and neurotic monkey).

So, sooth your monkey, and simply acknowledge what made him scared. That’s how you put yourself in the driving seat. That’s how you become the master of your monkey (and not the other way around).


3. Replace negative thoughts with better feeling ones

Now that you’ve calmed the monkey, look for better-feeling thoughts around the subject. The trick here is to find thoughts that are positive, but not too positive so that your mind asks, “What the heck are you talking about? This isn’t what you’ve been telling me!”

Thoughts gain momentum, so you can’t instantly go from “I can’t do this” to “I can totally do this!” without feeling like a big liar. So go step-by-step. First aim to reach a neutral place. Play around with thoughts until you find those you resonate with emotionally. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “I’ve done similar things in the past, and that’s gone well.”
  • “It doesn’t matter where I am today, when I know where I’m going.”

When you’ve managed to come to a neutral place, find more positive thoughts that can lift you toward a positive place. Once you’ve done that, reach for another one that makes you feel a little bit better than the previous one. Small and simple steps, that’s all.


4. Keep nurturing your positive thoughts

So, now that you’ve shifted focus to more positive thoughts, things start to become clearer. Ah, the haze is dissolving (love those moments!), and you can start building positive momentum that will propel you forward.

Now, think of your thoughts as a garden. Whatever you plant there will grow. The monkey loves a beautiful and prosperous garden where he can relax. If that’s what you’re growing, he doesn’t need to worry for you. Then he can just sit back and smell the flowers.

So, pay attention to what you’re planting in your garden. Are you growing appreciation or criticism? Is it a garden full of opportunities or limitations? Is it the successes or failures in your life that are in bloom? The flowers you take most care of will blossom and overshadow the others.

Simply, bask yourself in the feelings of already being, doing, and having what you want.

“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” – Joyce Meyer

5. Leave room for the voice that will guide you right

Being bullied around by your inner voice is hard. Not only does it shatter your great vision – it leaves you feeling unworthy, disempowered, and frustrated.

You deserve to feel good about yourself. You deserve to live a life of excitement, exhilaration, and bliss. You deserve to make your dream a reality. That’s the whole purpose of a dream, isn’t it?

So, take control. Calm and soothe your monkey when he’s active, and nurture your positive thoughts. Don’t let your monkey master your life. Instead, master your monkey to master your life.

Leave space for that voice inside that wants to see you succeed and be happy. That’s the voice worth listening to. That’s the voice that knows what you’re truly capable of. That’s the voice that will guide you right.

What do you do to silence the side of yourself that wants to see you fail? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!


  1. Camilla Hallstrom

    Jan 11, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Great article, Maria!

    I couldn’t agree more that becoming an entrepreneur requires you to go way beyond your comfort zone. It might be temporarily uncomfortable but the payoff is amazing 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Jan 11, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks Camilla!

      Yes, you are so right. Well said. Got to keep our eyes on the prize 🙂

  2. Judy Parsons

    Jan 8, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    My inner voice is Cissy. She’s afraid of everything. We’re going to have some good conversations from now on.

  3. Nicki Lee

    Dec 29, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Love your advice about talking to the monkey! “Thanks for looking out for me, but don’t worry. I’ve got this under control.” I’m going to try it today.

  4. akash

    Dec 29, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Great article maria. I am really impressed with your writing skills.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 30, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Thanks a lot! You just put a BIG smile on my face.

      Have a great day!

  5. Laura J. Tong

    Dec 27, 2015 at 10:44 am

    This so totally sums up that split of voices in my head that argue so often! Thank you for these great strategies.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 30, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      You’re so right Laura. Thank you for your comment and have a great day! 🙂

  6. Ann

    Dec 25, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Hi Maria,

    You’re post is spot on, our thoughts can make or break us…the posts has great points on how to make it work.

  7. Tim Denning

    Dec 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Maria thank you for sharing this advice. While I have been able to get the monkey off my back in recent times, I still find the chatter can be an issue. I will definitely use tip number two to try and settle this down in times of need. Thank you again for taking the time to write this piece.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:38 am

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for your comment and kind words!

      I’m happy to hear that, I hope it calms your monkey 😉


  8. Mike Harrington

    Dec 20, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Ha-ha, love the monkey analogy.

    So true, as well. Our thoughts are truly the most powerful force in creating either the life of our dreams OR the life of our nightmares.

    I’m gonna go give my monkey a hug and tell him to go play in the garden now. 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Well put, Mike!

      Haha, that’ll make your monkey happy 😉


  9. Mark Tong

    Dec 20, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Maria – really helpful post, especially regards that pesky monkey:) Thanks

  10. Blaine Wilkerson

    Dec 20, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Very cool. Most posts talk about ditching the monkey. You suggest we master it.

    Is it purely metaphorical? Or do you believe we should “master the monkey” cuz there are times we may need to use it?

    I instantly thought of Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey” and Aerosmith’s “Monkey on my back” 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Blaine,

      I believe the money (the ego) always will be a part of our life. But we decide how much. By mastering him, we can allow him work for us, instead of against us. I don’t believe he wants to lead the way, he just wants to make sure we step in and take control 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Hi Blaine,

      Thanks for your comment!

      I believe that the monkey (the ego) always will be a part of our life. Our job is to stop making it work against us, and instead, allow it to work for us. Ditching it might work, but that usually just ends up with the noise getting louder. So, not really sustainable (plus it makes you feel pretty insane when you think one thing and then do another). ) Instead of dismissing it and pushing it away, I believe it’s way more powerful to actually allow it to be there. To acknowledge it and learn how to master it.


  11. Benjamin Worika

    Dec 20, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Thanks Maria, for this truly insightful and action oriented piece.
    I think the greatest challenge, to taming the Monkey, is getting to “Detachment” most folks have come to a state where the Monkeys voice “Cloaks” their own voice and they erroneously believe that “The Monkey is Me”
    Exercises that aid the detachment process would go a long way…I especially love the visualizing part of patting the Monkeys head.
    Love your piece, you just won a heart in Nigeria.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 20, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Hi Benjamin,

      Thanks a lot for your very nice comment!

      I couldn’t agree more. It’s so easy to believe that we are our thoughts. And it’s such a relief to realize that they simply are thoughts – not the truth or who we are.

      Again, thanks for your last sentence. It made my day and warmed my heart 🙂


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