Community//

Dr. Alyssa Adams: “Upgrade your self-talk by challenging unhelpful thoughts and patterns”

Upgrade your self-talk by challenging unhelpful thoughts and patterns As a business owner, you are your own supporter, cheerleader, thought partner, and saboteur all at the same time. It’s essential to choose what role you want to play and to notice when your self-talk has become negative, harsh, and critical. It’s a pattern that is important […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Upgrade your self-talk by challenging unhelpful thoughts and patterns

As a business owner, you are your own supporter, cheerleader, thought partner, and saboteur all at the same time. It’s essential to choose what role you want to play and to notice when your self-talk has become negative, harsh, and critical. It’s a pattern that is important to identify and change, especially as a new business owner. There are ups and downs that are a natural part of entrepreneurship, but it’s how you describe those experiences to yourself that really matters.


Dr. Alyssa Adams is a psychologist turned intuitive business coach. She helps trailblazing entrepreneurs, change-makers, and go-getters to leverage the power of their minds so they can create limitless success, happiness, and health. Together, we cultivate the confidence to earn more money, find more freedom, and make a bigger impact than they ever thought possible.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series Dr. Adams! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Like many of your readers, I initially chose a more traditional career path before entrepreneurship. I started out as a clinical psychologist, working in large medical centers. I found myself burning out from the intensity of the clinical work. And, as a result, I transitioned into a leadership position in the organization where I was focusing on administrative work. I didn’t like it at all! I realized that I needed to work with people and managing spreadsheets all day just wasn’t for me. I went back to school and trained to become a professional coach. I thought if I was just a really good coach, clients would find me. I realized very quickly this was not the case! So, I started learning everything I could about sales, marketing, messaging, and how to find clients. I was fascinated. It was the same psychology that I loved and studied my entire career just applied in a new way.

I started helping other therapists, coaches, and wellness entrepreneurs to grow their practices by sharing everything I was learning. It worked, and it was so much fun.

I also started to notice that there were similar fears, doubts, areas of resistance, old patterns that would surface, and all kinds of beliefs and emotional undercurrents that pulled my clients off course.

This kicked off my interest in the psychological side of entrepreneurship. It’s so much more than mindset. With every new level of business growth, we’re confronted with new challenges that take a unique approach to tackle — you need strategy AND psychology to really move forward. This has led me to create my own out-of-the-box practice and I believe in a holistic approach to business-building that blends intuition, psychology, and strategy. Currently, I coach pioneering, service-based entrepreneurs and leaders from all over the world.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

At the beginning of my coaching journey, I was coaching people on a variety of different topics. However, there was a moment when I was helping a therapist who was transitioning into coaching to clarify her ideas and she was getting more and more excited about the possibilities in her business. Once we created clarity, she started to see all of the pieces come together about the business structure she wanted to create. I started to realize that this was the work that I wanted to do. I really loved the application of psychological principles to entrepreneurship, marketing, and the personal growth that comes from navigating the rollercoaster of business ownership.

In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?

I think I’ve always been wired to be an entrepreneur. I love autonomy and I’m pretty good at structuring my time and accomplishing big projects. My father and grandfather were both business owners, and I really valued their approach to carving their own path and working for themselves. There was some part of me that has always known that I wanted to work for myself. I’m pretty disciplined in my work and, when I feel passionate about something, I can work to bring it into existence. In various jobs, I think I always saw an exit door that led to entrepreneurship.

Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?

There were many people who helped me on my journey of business growth! Right after I started my business, I invested in a business coach who walked alongside me during the first couple of years of my business growth. This really accelerated my growth since I had a thought partner to bounce ideas off, to help me to recognize my blind spots, and to encourage me when I felt exhausted and frustrated.

I remember calling my business coach when I was still in my 9–5 job and building my coaching practice on the side, which meant I was working almost constantly. I was doing a lot of work and just didn’t feel like I was moving the needle in my business. It felt like the amount of work I was doing didn’t match my results, and I was exhausted. She helped me so much at this moment by asking me to visualize what it was that I was trying to create. I was doing and doing and exhausting myself with tasks without a clear vision. She also helped me to see that I was in charge of my business and at a choice point: I could double down and get more strategic in creating what I wanted or I could put the business dream on hold for a bit. I realized at that moment that there was no other option but to create what I really wanted, so I took a big step back from all the tasks I was doing that I thought were going to grow my business. I recalibrated my priorities, clarified what I was trying to accomplish, focused on fewer things but higher leverage tasks, and realized that the skills that made me a good employee were not the same skills that were going to advance my business.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

My company stands out because I take a holistic approach to business-building that blends intuition, psychology, and strategy. We start with helping clients figure out what’s not working and what is working in their business, and we create an individualized strategy to grow their business. That is the tactical part. But, the deeper work comes into play when we look at the fears, doubts, and mindset of the business owner. It’s often the inner stuff that pops up and creates roadblocks on the route to success. In addition, I believe it’s essential to help the business owners that I work with cultivate a strong relationship with their intuition. It will serve as a guide as they make decisions in their business like who to partner with, what programs to launch, what clients to take on (or not), and how to stay aligned with what’s right for them.

I carved a space where I best support service-based entrepreneurs who are paradigm shifters, change-makers, and those who want to do things differently than the traditional model of their field. Many mental health providers work with me because they want to branch out into other fields and they need support not only to grow their business but also support for transitioning away from conventional norms in their field. I know what it’s like to be out on a limb and feel like you’re embarking on new territory. A previous client shared that she didn’t know it was possible to create a business around her expertise instead of around the treatment modality that she was trained in, so we worked to help her share her unique ideas with the world. We created a business that allowed her unique ideas and perspectives to serve as the foundation of her business and her programs and offers were informed by her ideas. When we reconceptualized her business in this way, it helped her feel inspired to create more offers and programs and she started to feel like the options were limitless.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

In my opinion, the three most impactful character traits are having compassion for both yourself and others, embracing cognitive flexibility and perspective-taking, and, finally, fortitude and resilience.

Compassion for yourself and others is a powerful trait that is important to lean on, especially when things aren’t going as planned. When we address any situation or circumstance from the energy of compassion, it allows us to thoughtfully consider how to proceed. For example, as soon as you see a frustrating email or experience a launch or program that didn’t turn out the way you wanted, notice how you respond and what you say to yourself. Is there a compassionate tone? How are you talking to yourself? You will get a lot farther, faster if you move forward with compassion.

Cognitive flexibility is one of the most important abilities for successful business owners. Cognitive flexibility involves the ability to look at situations from a variety of different perspectives and angles. A great way to sharpen your cognitive flexibility is to ask yourself, “What’s another way to look at that?” This helps to expand what interpretations are available to us at any given time. It can be easy to get stuck in thinking that your initial reaction is the “correct” reaction, but, often, there are many, many different ways to perceive a situation. When we approach situations, problems, or issues from a variety of different angles, we can more intentionally choose a solution.

Fortitude is an especially motivating characteristic. This may show up in times of stress or when you experience setbacks. It’s the ability to proceed and stay committed to your goal, despite encountering roadblocks along the way. For example, ask yourself how you react when you reach a setback. Do you stop trying or decide the effort isn’t worth it? Fortitude allows you to anchor into your commitment and continue to take action to achieve your goal, even in the face of setbacks.

Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?

I think the worst advice that I followed was the “hustle at all costs” vibe that permeates the online business space. I felt like if I wasn’t working on my business constantly, I was going to “miss out” or “fall behind.” I definitely believe in working hard for creating a business that you love but doing tasks just for the sake of doing without strategy isn’t a recipe for success. Also, working past all indicators from your body that you’re exhausted and need a break also isn’t a sustainable way to grow a business. I got sucked into the mentality that if I wasn’t burning the candle at both ends, I was falling behind or didn’t care enough. It’s just not true. My tendency throughout my entire life is to work too much, so I needed support for when to take my foot off the gas pedal and how to take a step back from my business to create systems, strategy, and support that would allow me to grow a business that was sustainable for me. This is still an ongoing process for me but I’m very focused on protecting my time and energy and working in a thoughtful and strategic way.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?

I would encourage colleagues to appreciate individuality in their work culture. We are not all meant to think the same things, approach problems, in the same way, work the same amount of hours, or be good at the same things. We all bring unique perspectives, strengths, and insights to a company, so finding a way to allow employees to thrive based on their uniqueness will strengthen the team and create an environment that is ripe for innovation.

What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?

I would suggest being as authentic and real as possible by sharing your successes, your areas of growth, and your unique perspectives. Trust and credibility often come from an emotional resonance with your audience. In order to create trust and credibility, it’s important to share honestly, let your audience get to know you a little bit, and share your experience and expertise in an approachable and clear way. Partnering with other business owners who share your perspective in your field will also help to establish trust with your audience.

Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?

I think sometimes business owners can get caught up in doing things a certain way or believing that there is “one right way” to show up and connect with an audience. But, I’ve realized that there isn’t one right way to connect with people and the more often we try to use a strategy that isn’t aligned with who we are the more frustrated we can feel. Find the way that you connect most naturally with others, whether it’s speaking, writing, interviewing others, bringing groups together — anything! Lean into the strategies of connecting with your audience in the way that feels the most natural for you.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

One of the most common mistakes involves conflating your business with your personal worth. Your business is not you. Even if you create your business from your passion and it’s fueled by your energy, it is not you. When things don’t go as planned, ask yourself, “What am I making this mean about me?” It’s important to take a step back and view successes and failures from an objective and observer mindset, especially if business failures start to feel like personal failures. This mistake also involves ignoring their personal psychology and mindset in favor of strategy and tasks. But, CEOs and founders often don’t realize that they’re holding the emotional and psychological tenor of their company, which means they need to tend to their inner stuff in order to have a balanced and thriving business.

Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?

As an entrepreneur, we tend to feel the success and failures more deeply because our businesses are an expression of ourselves — our passions, our purpose, and an outlet for our creativity. Entrepreneurship is confronting, such that fears, doubts, and worries can all come to the surface when we least expect it. It can provide a mirror to look more deeply at our inner world and we can use entrepreneurship as a vehicle for personal growth. When you’re working a 9–5 job, you’re often less directly connected with the successes and low points of an organization or large company.

Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.

One of the best “highs” in my business happens when I’m witnessing the success of my clients. For example, when my coaching clients get their first paid client, fill their caseload and build a waiting list, or successfully pitch a podcast, I’m so excited for them and I feel the energy of their success. It’s such a powerful and inspiring experience to see my clients creating the exact business that they want and drawing in clients they love. It’s amazing to see them have that moment when they realize, “I’m doing it — I’m actually doing what I’ve always wanted and it’s working.” It’s such an incredible experience to share that success with them and to see them blossom and unleash their wisdom and talents into the world.

Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.

Early in my coaching business, I had an idea for a course that I wanted to sell. I had no audience, no network, and wasn’t even clear on what I was doing. I created a program and tried to sell it from a webinar. I showed up for the webinar and had no one attend. What a painful experience! I was there ready to share my thoughts and I was so excited, and NO ONE was there to listen. I realized that there was so much more to building a successful business than having good ideas or being good at the work you do. This was the moment that I knew I needed help, strategy, and a willingness to learn an entirely new skill set in marketing and sales. Now, I’m happy to report that I’ve hosted webinars recently with 125 attendees. I share this because there is always room for growth if you stay consistent and let yourself learn from experiences that didn’t go as planned.

Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?

I had to put my ego aside and realize that I couldn’t do the work I loved if there was no one out there who knew who I was. I decided I would learn everything I could about how to successfully sell services. I committed to building the business that I wanted and I knew that I needed help. So, I dove into marketing, sales, and copywriting, and I really loved the psychological principles that showed up in all of these areas. It was the same psychology that I knew and studied most of my career, just applied in a new way.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.

1. Build an ecosystem of support

When I was first starting my business, I knew very few business owners. Everyone I knew was working a traditional 9–5 and couldn’t quite understand my drive to build a business. I was working more hours than a 9–5 job and I was struggling to get clients, so it felt like it baffled most of my friends and family when I decided to leave my comfortable government job to start a business. I decided that I needed to surround myself with successful business owners who were passionate about their work. I joined networking groups, reached out to fellow entrepreneurs, and joined group coaching programs with other business owners. It was very inspiring! And, I created a network of colleagues who deeply understood what I was trying to do. I am genuinely invested in helping them grow their business and they are invested in helping me with my business. I still lean on the relationships I made during the early phases of my business. I strongly believe that having the support of fellow business owners, who are willing to support you and challenge you are the best colleagues to have!

2. Upgrade your self-talk by challenging unhelpful thoughts and patterns

As a business owner, you are your own supporter, cheerleader, thought partner, and saboteur all at the same time. It’s essential to choose what role you want to play and to notice when your self-talk has become negative, harsh, and critical. It’s a pattern that is important to identify and change, especially as a new business owner. There are ups and downs that are a natural part of entrepreneurship, but it’s how you describe those experiences to yourself that really matters.

3. Design routines that align with your energy level

This is something that I realized after a few years as a business owner. I had to create a rhythm in my business that aligned with the natural ebb and flow of my own energy level and mental sharpness. For example, I feel my most creative and energized in the early morning, so I would block time to do writing and content planning as soon as I woke up. Then, I would transition to client work in the mid-morning. By late afternoon, my energy level always dips, so that is when I write simple emails, meditate, manage my schedule, or go for a walk. I intentionally don’t schedule intellectually taxing activities during this time. In the early days of my business, I was trying to create a long and arduous “morning routine,” with meditation, yoga, or journaling to help me feel more creative and grounded first thing in the morning, but I realized that I was not maximizing the time when I felt the most alive and ready to share my thoughts and ideas. I moved my “morning routine” to the afternoon, which has been a great way to close out the day. I share this example because nothing works the same way for everyone. It’s important to try different things, experiment, but always come back to what works for you.

4. Create a mental picture of what you want to create

As a psychologist, I’ve learned the importance of taking time to envision what you want to create. Visualization and mental rehearsal are tools that are commonly used by athletes or others interested in performing at their peak. It’s really important to spend time intentionally visualizing what you want to create for your life and your business. Create a powerful image in as much detail as possible and spend time visualizing this image and imaging what it would feel like to have what you’re visualizing. Create a practice where you carve out time to visualize your future. A few times per week, I visualize exactly what I want to create for my business and my life in the coming year, and I let myself feel how I would feel when I have it. This has really helped me to feel more confident and to accelerate my business growth.

5. Cultivate your intuitive “yes”

We’ve all said “yes” to the wrong things from time to time. For example, maybe you’ve agreed to work with clients that weren’t a fit or took an opportunity that wasn’t right for you. It’s essential to cultivate a clear intuitive “yes,” so that you can use your intuition as a decision-making guide and connect with opportunities, clients, and partnerships that are right for you. For me, I know that when I feel like I’m buzzing with excitement and energized around a potential client that we are a good fit. If I feel really drained, like all the energy has been sucked out of me, I know it’s not a good fit. I’ve learned to trust these instincts and have really started to pay attention to them as my business grows. Sometimes we need to be able to make fast decisions and having a relationship with your intuition is a great way to take decisive action.

We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

In my experience, the most resilient people that I’ve worked with hold a belief that they can handle whatever it is that comes their way. They navigate problems and unexpected issues with objectivity, compassion, and grace. They don’t avoid hard or challenging things, and they grow through hard experiences. They have a strong mission for their business that they can lean into when things get difficult. They also own who they are and anchor into their truth, so that they feel rooted and steady when things get challenging in their business.

Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?

During my late 20s, I had significant health issues that were not easily diagnosed. I really struggled to find healthcare that was supportive and helpful. But, I decided that I would heal and that I would do whatever I could to allow my body the opportunity to heal. I tapped into an inner well of fortitude and resiliency that I didn’t know I had and it fueled me to fight to regain my health. It was one of the most challenging and transformative experiences of my life.

In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?

I’m very thoughtful and intentional about the dialogue I have with my mind. I choose how I explain things to myself, I hold positive expectations, and I try not to personalize things that don’t go as planned in my business. I cope head-on with negative things when they happen and I don’t dwell on them or make them mean something about me as a person. I’ve worked (and am still working!) to untangle my hopes and expectations for my business from my attitude about myself. Some days it’s harder than others, but it’s a practice that I’ve worked hard to create.

Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.

In my 15 years of experience in human behavior and psychology, I’ve learned that the mind is the key to your success, happiness, and fulfillment. It’s the easiest to overlook but it has the biggest return on investment. For example, the clients that I’ve worked with who have had the most remarkable success are those that keep going even when things get difficult. They show up with enthusiasm, positive expectations, and a willingness to serve their potential clients. Their attitude, especially when things don’t go as planned, is what fuels them to keep going. They seem to experience the biggest growth and have the most fun building their business.

Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?

“YOU NEVER CHANGE THINGS BY FIGHTING THE EXISTING REALITY. TO CHANGE SOMETHING, BUILD A NEW MODEL THAT MAKES THE EXISTING MODEL OBSOLETE.” — R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER

This was a quote that I discovered many years ago when I was directing an integrative health outpatient department at a large medical center. It still provides inspiration now, as I work with so many entrepreneurs who want to change things, shake up the status quo in their fields, and carve their own path.

How can our readers further follow you online?

They’re welcome to check out my website: www.DrAlyssaAdams.com or follow me on Instagram: @dralyssaadams

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Dr. Alyssa Adams: “Create a business around your expertise”

by Luke Kervin
Purpose//

How to Silence Your Relentless Self-Doubt

by Amy Morin
Use your imagination wisely.
Community//

Use your imagination wisely.

by Caitlin Cady

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.