• Kaley Gardiner
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  • How to Overcome Negative Thought Patterns: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Overcome Negative Thought Patterns: A Step-by-Step Guide

"The mind is everything; what you think, you become."


Our thoughts have the power to both construct and constrict our potential, especially in leadership. It's easy to get caught in a loop of negative thinking, especially when faced with the pressures of leadership. But you can rewire your brain to overcome these patterns and build resilience that fosters stronger leadership.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to shift your thoughts and transform your leadership.


Identify Your Triggers:

Begin with self-awareness. Pay close attention to when and where negative thoughts tend to emerge. Is it during decision-making, when facing unfamiliar tasks, or when dealing with certain people? Recognising these patterns is your first step. Once you know your triggers, you can prepare for them. Try giving yourself a pep-talk or a few minutes of deep breathing before you enter these situations.

Challenge Pessimistic Thoughts:

It's natural for negative thoughts to creep in, but their power lies in your response. When you notice pessimism, stop and dissect the thought. Is it really true? Is it helpful? If not, consciously let it go and replace it with a positive affirmation about your capabilities. Practising this can help to break the cycle of negativity and replace it with constructive, empowering self-talk.

Practice Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is a great tool for busy leaders. Set aside a few minutes each day to simply breathe and be present. During this time, if negative thoughts intrude, observe them without judgment and then gently guide your focus back to the present. This practice reduces stress and stops you from dwelling on past errors or future worries, anchoring you in the now where leadership action happens.

Build a Positive Support Network:

The people around you can significantly influence your mindset. Actively seek out and cultivate relationships with colleagues and mentors who embody the positive leadership qualities you admire. These connections can offer support and diverse perspectives that challenge you to think differently and positively about your capabilities and opportunities.

Set Realistic Expectations:

Ambition drives progress, but unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment. Aim for a balance by setting goals that stretch your capabilities without stretching yourself too thin. When you set a goal, break it down into achievable steps and track your progress. Celebrate the milestones along the way to maintain motivation and perspective.

Celebrate Small Wins:

In the hustle of daily leadership, it's easy to overlook small accomplishments. Yet, these are the things that build up to significant achievements. Did you handle a difficult conversation better than you ever have before? Did your team reach a minor but important milestone? Take a moment to celebrate these to boost morale and reinforce your sense of progress.

Maintain a Gratitude Journal:

It's more than just a feel-good exercise. Each day, write down three things you're grateful for in your professional life. Maybe it's a team member's progress, a project milestone, or simply a new learning opportunity that came your way. This habit shifts your focus from negative to positive and serves as a record of your leadership journey's many positives.

Visualise Success:

Dedicate time each day to visualise yourself leading with confidence, positivity, and poise, especially during challenging situations. This practice can reinforce your desired leadership qualities and enhance your real-life performance. It's about embodying the traits of the leader you aim to be, both in your inner dialogue and outward actions.

Adopt a Learning Mindset:

Reframe setbacks as stepping stones. When things don’t go as planned, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” This approach will not only build resilience but will also create a culture of growth within your team. They’ll see that for you, leadership isn’t about never falling, but about how you grow each time you do.


You've now got the tools to turn around negative thought patterns. Changing your thoughts is not just about improving your leadership; it's about enhancing your life. Start small, be consistent, and watch as your leadership and resilience transform.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,


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