Wellbeing / Business psychology

Five ways to quieten your inner-mean-girl

Ever feel like you have two inner entrepreneurs battling over your headspace each day? One says you're a superhero; the other suggests you’re barely qualified to slice bread. Sound familiar? Here’s what to do.

9 March 2016 by

I’ve always thought that being a solopreneur (solo entrepreneur) was similar to leading a double life, complete with its own aggravating alter ego.

By day, I’m an eye-on-the-prize boss lady who wheels, deals, hustles and works hard to get it done and make a success of herself and her business. This woman is fierce, strong and a force to be reckoned with.

But by night, once the dust has settles, somebody new (and decidedly unwelcome) seems to take over.

“Can you sustain this success?” the newcomer whispers.

“Are you really making enough money?” she probes.

“Do you think you’re good enough to run a successful business?” she demands.

"Seesawing between confident optimism and anxious doubt in an attempt to build the business of your dreams? Half of you says, “I’ve got this” while the other half raises an eyebrow and replies, “Really?”"

This woman, besides being a bit of an a-hole, is not somebody I want to hang around with for a long period of time. Or, you know, at all. She’s nervous, agitated, anxious and doubts her abilities.

She’s my inner-mean-girl.

Maybe you’ve experienced this phenomenon too? Seesawing between confident optimism and anxious doubt in an attempt to build the business of your dreams? Half of you says, “I’ve got this” while the other half raises an eyebrow and replies, “Really?”

But from my years (and years … and years) of experience building and running my own business, I’ve narrowed down five ways to regain balance and calm my business personality disorder. I hope it helps you as much as it has me!

1. Let go of the idea of perfection

Ain’t nobody perfect. And the sooner you can come to terms with the reality of your beautifully flawless self the sooner you’ll be able to use your assets to your advantage and get some support with the ‘other’ not-so-perfect stuff. But more to the point … quit beating yourself up for it. Because hard work, determination and confidence will get you places in life. But it won’t, unfortunately, make you perfect. And nobody expects you to be. Just do your best. That’s all you can ask of yourself.

2. Talk it out with your peeps (the ones that know you ain’t crazee)

Feeling a little vulnerable? It’s okay, we’ve all been there. And it’s during these times that having a circle of peeps who know just what to say to make you feel better (and get you back on your feet) works wonders. My advice? Choose to surround yourself with people you respect and admire. If you aren’t proud that they’re your friend, they’re probably not somebody you want in your life.

Choose your circle wisely and consider them an investment in your mental and emotional health.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business psychology section.

3. Question the validity of your thoughts

It sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes the best thing you can do when your inner-mean-girl is at the helm is to question yourself. Which, I admit, feels a little ridiculous because you’re already questioning yourself. But instead of doubting your skills, doubt whether your thoughts are revealing the full story. Are they true? Real? Or are they an exaggeration of your emotions and anxiety? Dive in and don’t be afraid to have a mental argument with yourself.

4. Write it out

And when you can’t sort out which are the real you’s thoughts and which are being sent out by your inner-mean-girl, spend ten minutes or so writing it down. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m thinking until it’s out on the page; my mind is too muddled and emotional. But by writing it down I can sort out my thoughts and feelings and make an informed decision about which thoughts I will choose to believe in.

5. Adopt a calming hobby

You know, like knitting. Or yoga. Or Netflix. (What? Netflix is a hobby!) The point is to spend time winding down and actively settling your body and mind. You can’t be an Energiser bunny 24/7, it’s just not possible. And importantly, it’s not sustainable. To perform at your best you need to balance activity and action with rest and renewal.

Because the truth is that there will always be that inner-mean-girl in all of us. And she’s not all bad – sometimes she forces you to closely examine things that warrant close examination! And if you can learn to listen to her when she’s being useful and quieten her when she’s not, you’ll be well on your way to crafting an amazing business – together!

Do you have an inner-mean-girl when it comes to running your business? What do you do to deal with her?

Anna Dower

is a designer, mentor and Chief Boss-Lady at Design With Style. She's also the co-founder and art director of digital magazine, ROOOAR.


  • Gosh my inner mean girl has been having a field day recently! Although we know she isn’t rational (or welcome) she keeps inviting herself to the party. Writing it out is an excellent tip. I’ll be giving it a try – thanks!

    • Don’t you hate those pesky uninvited guests?! Hopefully writing it out will help get rid of the mean’s girl unhelpful thoughts 🙂

  • Anna, perfectly and eloquently said. My inner mean girl can be a total bitch at times and shutting her up can be a challenge. I write a lot about this as I know many of my clients feel the same way. Questioning the truth of what she’s saying is a great technique and something I was reminded of yesterday was to ask myself “what if the opposite were true?”. Well, if the opposite is true, then I am a highly capable, inventive, creative, articulate person who can truly make a difference to the lives of others, so what the hell is stopping me. Only that inner mean girl if I let her. Thanks for your great article.

    • Oh thanks for the lovely words Sharon! Yes, I often find myself visualising a STOP sign when my inner mean girl takes over the reigns 🙂

  • Ha, my inner mean girl is totally out in force today. Funnily enough, she always comes out on Wednesdays. At least it’s a pattern I recognise and can do my best not to listen to her.

    • Oh she needs to get a hobby for Wednesdays! 😉

  • Love this article Anna, thanks! This jumped out in particular, “Choose your circle wisely and consider them an investment in your mental and emotional health.” If you can get a ‘team’ of great people and supporters around you they can help gang up against the mean side!

    • Thanks so much! I love my possé who keep me in check!

  • OMG! Exactly what happens in my mind! I hadn’t been able to find the words to describe it but you have said it perfectly.
    And here i was thinking it was just me 🙂

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