Friday, May 24, 2013

Life Lessons—Getting Past the Internal No

by Reba J Hoffman

Sounds easy but it’s actually one of the most debilitating challenges you will face in your journey to live your writing dream. That little two letter word has the stopping power of five foot thick wall of steel.

Let me paint the portrait for you. You are passionate about writing and have a dream to become or continue to be a published author. Usually about two weeks after you begin writing, you are bombarded by “no” at every turn. Your friends tell you it’s not worth the effort. Your family suggests a long vacation to get your mind back in check. That’s bad enough but the worst is yet to come.

You maneuver past those naysayer obstacles and forge ahead in search of your incredible future. You fall into bed after a wonderful day of plotting and planning. Things are quiet. And dark. Suddenly, out of nowhere, your chest tightens, your palms sweat and you feel as though you’re going to jump out of your skin…if you live long enough to.

Your mind invents at least a hundred reasons why you should NOT follow your dream. If you listen to yourself, you’ll never, ever do what you’re passionate about. It’s the evil, self-defeating internal “no”.
There are a few things you can do today that will help you run that ugly monster out of your life.
  • Acknowledge when your internal no is shouting its message. Ignoring it or pretending it’s not there will not only be unsuccessful, it will actual harm you in the long run.
  • Tell yourself the truth. You know, the Bible says that we shall know the truth and that truth will set us free. Most of the time, that internal “no” is way, way off base.
  • Make a conscious decision to walk in truth. Even if you don’t see all the steps to living your dream, that’s ok. You can still walk in truth. You don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the next step.
  • Admit your weaknesses and give them to God. That way you and your enemies will not be able to hold you hostage with them. We all have weaknesses. So what? You also have strengths that will propel you toward your writing goals.

Don’t sabotage your dream by listening to the internal “no”. Put it in its place and move forward.
When do you hear that internal “no” in your life and what do you do.? Share it here.

Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching ( She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at You can also follow her on Twitter at @RebaJHoffman.


  1. Usually when I hear "no" it stops me for a while. I like what you say about taking steps even though you can't see everything ahead. Thanks.

    1. Yeah, I know what you mean Tammie. We have to train our emotions to take steps when we hear that internal no. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. No just spurs me on. Always did. Guess that's why I spent so much time in the corner as a kid. :-)

    1. Ha ha Pat. I bet you were a force to be reckoned with!

  3. The four steps you suggest are really helpful, Reba. They offer some tools for when I feel held hostage to negative thoughts. When I run up against the "no's" I try to remember to pray and give it all to God. I love what you said about giving Him our weaknesses to make us less vulnerable to the enemy. Awesome advice. Thank you!