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If you’re beating yourself up - Stop it!

So you’ve found yourself in that awful place where you realised you’ve not lived up to your high standards.  Perhaps you’ve made a critical error, missed an opportunity to present well in a senior executive meeting or failed to deliver a piece of work by the deadline.  

And if that’s happened, there’s a fair chance you’ve taken the slippery road down, spiralling into a pattern of speaking unkindly to yourself or putting yourself down.  Or is that just me????

I found myself in this exact place a few weeks ago. 

I had received some unexpected disappointing feedback.  Now let me just pause for a minute and let you know that I’d received LOTS of positive feedback in relation to this event – but of course my focus immediately zeroed in on the one piece of negative feedback. 

Have you ever done that?  Ignored the positives and focused on the negatives?

As a mid career professional woman who has big visions, expansive goals and is actively putting herself outside her comfort zone – you will not always execute perfectly.  

Things don’t always go to plan, when you’re in the ring, stepping up and constantly trying new things.  It’s a very normal part of growing as a leader and progressing your career. 

So I want to ask you…

Is putting yourself down and beating yourself up, positively serving you? Is it helping you to advance your career? 

The likely answer is, ‘no’.

Let me tell you – Nothing good comes from the habit of beating yourself up. It doesn’t make you a ‘better’ Leader, or stop you from making mistakes in the future (because we all make mistakes), it only makes you feel terrible, leads you down the dark path of self doubt and critical overanalysis, and robs you of your confidence. 

Yes, we need to acknowledge what we can do better because that is the way we build mastery.  But focusing on the negatives is nothing but self destructive.  

You may have noticed too that when you beat yourself up, it spills over into other areas of your life? Many women tell me that they lose sleep, stop caring for themselves, feel tension in their relationships, and second guess their skills and abilities.

So, what can you do if you notice that you’re beating yourself up?

1. Be aware.  

The first step is to notice when you start beating yourself up.  Only when we recognise and become aware of something, can we change it. Pay extra attention to how you’re feeling and talking to yourself.  Then commit to stop the pattern. 

2. Make amends.  

Consider if there is ONE action you could take to make amends. Perhaps you could offer an apology to someone, fix your error or invest some time and energy into upskilling.

3. Do things differently.  

When things don’t go to plan there is a temptation to become overwhelmed by EVERYTHING you need to do differently … and so end up doing nothing.  Pick just ONE thing to focus on to get a better outcome next time.  Would you prepare more? Be less of a perfectionist? Ask for support?

4. Recognise the positive learnings.  

Now – shift your focus from what didn’t go well to ALL the things that went well (I can guarantee you that there will be plenty!) When we’re stuck in a cycle of beating ourselves up, this shift of focus can feel challenging, but it’s oh-so-important. And it’s the quickest way to shift you out of the downward spiral you may find yourself in. 

5. Let it go.  

Now is your time to release what happened. Dwelling on it and continuing to put yourself down will not serve you going forward. Make the commitment to take your learnings with you and let. it. go.


I know it can feel hard to choose to respond to difficult situations in new ways, but believe me when I say that doing so will support you to step more fully into your role as a Leader, progress your career and be a role model to those around you.

If you’re someone who tends to beat herself up when things go wrong, I invite you to book in for a 1:1 Leadership Support Session here.

Together we will help you better understand your triggers, and identify tangible ways that you can change your self destructive cycle of puts downs and self-deprecation, and instead, step more fully into your most powerful and confident self.

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