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As leaders in professional businesses and organisations, I believe that our minds and our mindsets are our greatest assets.

Yet, so often we find ourselves held back by Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) that sneak into our consciousness, undermining our confidence and creativity, growth and success.

While I’m not saying we can eliminate them for good, I know that we can certainly learn to manage our minds and even master those pesky ANTs.

This is really important – because where you bring your mind, your thoughts, your attention, your focus – will determine how you feel.

A clear mindset is vital so that you can live and lead like you mean to.

So, your brain responds to every thought you have.

In a nutshell, your thoughts cause your brain to release neurochemicals that immediately make you experience a feeling. Feelings create our behaviours… what we do or don’t do, what we say or don’t say. Our behaviours (actions) create our outcomes.

So, with a negative thought, the brain releases chemicals that immediately make you feel bad. What do you do when you feel bad? What results do you get?Whenever you have a positive thought, your brain releases a completely different set of chemicals that make you feel good. What do you do when you feel good? What outcomes do you experience then?

So, automatic negative thoughts are based on complex chemical reactions and memories. They are designed to keep us safe and alive. You could say, they’re instinctual. These thoughts are automatic… they just happen AND they lie… a lot!

Some different types of ANTs that most us experience include:

  • All-Or-Nothing ANTs
  • I have no choice ANTs
  • I am not good enough ANTs
  • Labeling ANTs
  • Mind Reading ANTs
  • If Only ANTs
  • Why me ANTs
  • I’ll be happier when ANTs
  • I should ANTs
  • Blaming ANTs

However, you don’t have to believe every thought you have.

Here are a few strategies I’ve found effective for controlling or exterminating ANTs:

Awareness: Start by simply noticing when negative thoughts arise. Awareness is the first step to change.

Write down: what you are thinking. (And I also then write down what I feel, and notice what I’m doing and what results I’m getting… so, the whole sequence)

Challenge: Question the validity of your negative thoughts.

Self-coaching questions include:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it absolutely true?
  • How do I feel when I have this thought?
  • Who would I be without the thought?

Reframe: Turn the thought around to its opposite. Is the opposite true or truer than the original thought?


Replace negative thoughts with positive or neutral ones. Reframing allows us to see situations from a more empowering perspective.

Get Support: Don’t hesitate to reach out to coaches, uplifting colleagues, inspiring mentors, or motivational resources for guidance and encouragement.

Be kind to yourself: Everyone experiences negative thoughts, and it’s okay to struggle sometimes.

Remember, our thoughts create how we feel and our experience of reality, so let’s make them empowering ones!

#LeadershipMindset #PersonalGrowth #ProfessionalDevelopment #Thoughts #Thinking #Creativity #Success #BePhenomenal #MakeAMeaningfulDifference #LoveYourWholeLife

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