“You’re just not good enough.”

Have you ever heard those words rattling around in your brain?  Perhaps a better question would be this: Has anyone not heard those words rattling around in his or her brain?  It’s the same voice that challenges our expertise and abilities, particularly when we’re under pressure.  Like any other tyrant, the voice can be relentless – engaging in repeated, aggressive behavior intended to cause physical, mental, and emotional harm.  I refer to that voice as the bully in the brain, and I intend to do battle with that bully, right here, and now!

The problem with this particular bully is that, because this bully is a version of ourselves, many of us don’t recognize we’re even being bullied.  The bully in the brain hides deep within, and because it is motivated by fear, it tends to trick us into thinking that it is trying to protect us.   It might call out questions based on fear: “What if you freeze up?” “What if you fall on your face?” “What if everyone finds out how afraid you really are?”  It may help you to know that you’re hardly alone if you’ve had a few visits from this unwelcome guest. We all have a bully in the brain.

On Saturday Night Live, I used to laugh at a made-up character named Stuart Smalley, played by Al Franken. If you don’t remember that character, Stuart was a melodramatic, self-actualized character who constantly repeated to himself, and anyone else who would listen; “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”

Yes, this character was certainly over-the-top, but the more I think about it, the more I believe there was actually some value there.  When you’re battling your own negative thoughts and feelings, what’s wrong with giving yourself some positive reminders that you are good enough, and you are smart enough, and doggone it – most people do like you!

Like with any bully, the first step is to confront the bully.  Easier said than done, but let’s perform a small experiment.  Read the following affirmation out loud: I am good at what I do, and I am certainly smart, and a lot of people really do like me.  When you do say it, really mean it.  Take it to heart.  Invest in that thought and those words.  Do it a few times.

What happened in your brain when you said those words, and you attempted to own them?  My guess is this; you woke the bully up, and felt a bit embarrassed.  The bully in the brain is no fan of those words, and would prefer you not say them again.  That’s because the more you speak kindly to yourself, the less power the bully in the brain has over you.  I don’t blame the bully in the brain; no bully likes being confronted.  Their biggest asset is fear, and affirmations like these don’t create fear. Affirmations do quite the opposite; they create satisfaction.  That bully doesn’t like satisfaction.

We’re not done poking the bully yet.  You have another weapon at your disposal; it’s called a track record.  The bully in the brain hates track records.  Your track record is a simple reminder to yourself of what usually happens when your expertise and abilities are required, and you’re under pressure. Remember?  You usually succeed… particularly when you block out the noise coming from the bully in the brain.

The bully in the brain tends to gnaw away at our self-confidence, and it infects our ability to believe in ourselves.  You have the ability and the choice not to listen to the bully.  The longer you succeed at not listening, the weaker the bully in the brain becomes.  In the movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” Professor John Nash is asked about the tormenting and self-deprecating things he sees and hears. He says, “I’ve gotten used to ignoring them and I think, as a result, they’ve kind of given up on me. I think that’s what it’s like with all our dreams and our nightmares… we’ve got to keep feeding them for them to stay alive.”

We all have a bully in the brain, desperate to spread worry and doubt. These bullies can be formidable, particularly if you give in to their incessant whining. But you can fight back and you can stop feeding that bully.  You don’t owe the bully any explanations, and you can use your own, personal affirmations to remind yourself of what an amazing person you are. You can support that with facts about your personal track record.  When you do this consistently, the bullying weakens, and those moments of doubt are rewarded with a positive feeling and a great chance for success!


Want to listen to this BLArticle® read by the author?  Tune in to “Pocket Sized Pep Talks” and you’ll hear a collection of BLArticles® and interviews updated often! https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/pocket-sized-pep-talks/id1497772972



I’ve appeared on the “Small Business Advocate Show” with Jim Blasingame for almost 20 years now, and you’ll find dozens of our conversations on his website.  We just sat down last week for a great conversation about selling fundamentals and the strategic use of stories.  Here’s a link to over 100 interviews done over the years, including my most recent that explores the myths and techniques involved in closing. https://www.smallbusinessadvocate.com/small-business-experts/rob-jolles-134

We posted a video series on delivering amazing online presentations with my friend, Jeremy Webb. We go over some great stuff including:

  • How to Select the Best Equipment for Online Presentations
  • Pro Tips for Sustaining Interest in Online Presentations
  • How to Look Like a Pro!
  • Public Speaking Anxiety Tip
  • Virtual Office Setup for Online Presentations

You’ll find the whole playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRO7BsBDl6oL-6ZPW3O01x-g5PiR38ljL

I did an interview with one of my favorite podcasters, Jay Izso, on his show, “A New Direction.”  We sat down for a little over an hour and went at it!  If you’re presenting online, you’ll want to hear this interview. Normally, I sit down for a few minutes… but not with Jay. We go over a LOT of helpful hints here!  Here is the direct link to that interview:


I joined @Dan Englander on The Digital Agency Growth Podcast where we talked about transitioning from in-person to teleconference sales. Some topics we covered:

  • Why sales is a transferable skill but marketing is domain-centric.
  • The important consistencies and differences in teleconference sales.
  • Why objections are good.
  • Why product knowledge is overrated. (Don’t shoot the messenger!)
  • My Three P’s of sales performance.

I was recently interviewed on the “Salesman Podcast,” which was a lot of fun. If you’re looking to Change Minds, check out this podcast: https://www.salesman.org/the-simple-step-by-step-process-to-influence-anyone-with-rob-jolles/

I loved talking about the book, Why People Don’t Believe You on a podcast that I’m sure you’ll like called Onward Nationhttps://predictiveroi.com/podcasts/rob-jolles/

After 30+ years as a professional speaker and trainer, one of the most common questions I get is this: “How do we make sure the training sticks?”  Take a moment and listen to this podcast; “SalesChats” with John Golden.  If you want to know why most training fails, listen up! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR3dDOlTK7U&list=FLxBXKhqz0xBwbUPMqNthAJA&index=2&t=1293s

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