How to Use Journalling to Help Clients Overcome Their Inner Bully! by Ruby McGuire

Are You Being Bullied?

Let me tell you a little story that I shared in a blog post for an online magazine, called Platform 505.

I used to be 4 stone heavier than I am right now. I had a friend that always put me down. She would look at me and say things like, "You've put on weight", "Your face looks fat", "Those jeans really don't suit you", "People will be able to tell you've put on weight – you can't go out looking like that".

I wanted to tell her where to go but I wasn't strong enough. I wanted to tell her that she was being unkind, that I would never speak to anyone else in that way but I couldn't. Why?  Because it was me – I was the one being so unkind to myself. I looked in the mirror each day and said the nastiest things to myself.

It can happen to us when we want to lose weight but it can also happen to us in so many other ways; the imposter syndrome – when we think we aren't good enough to be in the job we are in or the business we run, afraid that we will get found out. When we think we aren't good enough parents, partners, business owners etc. Not good enough for (fill in the blank).

But here's the thing – you ARE good enough – exactly as you are, right now.


Okay, so I'm not talking about being bullied by others here. I'm talking about being bullied by YOU. Well, your inner critic.

You know, that horrible voice that tells you that you're not good enough, experienced enough or capable of running your own business, putting that blog post out there, standing up at a networking meeting and more.

That's what you need to work on with your clients, and maybe even yourself. They need to accept that while they aren't perfect right now (in their eyes) they are good enough, and exactly where they need to be in that moment. This allows them to let go of the need to be perfect, and to step into a place of possibility, one where they feel empowered to create an action plan that will serve them to reach their goals.

It's one thing knowing your inner critic is running the show, but another thing trying to figure out how to overcome it.

Here are 5 Journalling Questions – to help your clients overcome their inner critic and explore their thought processes

A useful tool can be to journal, using questions inspired by a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) "thought record" - a form used to record thought processes. Without entering counselling territory, what you can do is ask clients to write answers to the following questions in their journal:

  1. What's happening right now?
  2. What am I telling myself about this situation?
  3. What stories am I creating to make this worse than it is?"
  4. What thoughts and feelings come up around that?
  5. What would be a more realistic or more useful way to view this?

Here's an example:

  • What's happening right now? "I'm feeling like nobody likes me."
  • What am I telling myself about this situation? "That nobody likes me. I don't deserve good friends."
  • What stories am I creating to make this worse than it is? "Annabel posted on her Facebook page that one of her friends is annoying her, she must mean me."
  • What thoughts and feelings come up around that? "I hope she doesn't mean me", "I would hate to be that person", "I am such a failure", "I feel guilty and worthless"
  • What would be a more realistic or more useful way to view this? "It could be anybody that she's talking about. We have a really good friendship, when something's up we usually just talk about it. I could even ask her if I've offended her, at least that way I can put it right."

You can then ask your client questions to help them build up evidence around how they are a good person, good or good enough at (whatever it is they are feeling concerned about), and create a plan of action to move forward.

It's time to help your clients to stop bullying themselves! I've shared two useful tools to help your client work on their inner critic, essentially both helping you help your client change their perspective. They wouldn't do it to a friend, so they need to stop doing it to themselves, and kick that inner critic to the kerb.

So back to my little story, I now look in the mirror if I'm having a naughty inner critic day, and jokingly say, "You look fabulous, dahlinks" and then giggle to myself before going through my day.

I'm not perfect, but I'm good enough and exactly where I need to be right now.

How about you?

PS. Are you ready to stop being invisible? You didn't sign up to running your own business to struggle or stay broke. It's time that you and your fabulous business were seen, both on and offline. To check how well you're doing with your visibility, subscribe and grab your copy of Ruby's free Visibility Quiz here.

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Contributing Author:

Ruby McGuire is a Business & Mindset Queen. She's an Accredited Master Coach & Master Mentor with the IAPC&M, Trainer, Inspirational Speaker and Author of multiple books. She loves helping her clients step up and become leaders (aka Queens) of their businesses. She helps her clients develop their leadership and business skills, create a success mindset and attract dreamy clients. She is a Brit on a mission to live a simpler life without marketing on social media so that she can spend more time in her beautiful Scottish surroundings. You can find her at her pretty online home, over on her podcast show, Rock Your Fabulous Biz, and here where she shares her Mini Guide to Marketing Without Social Media. When she’s not working you’ll find her surrounded by books, making hand-made cards, and enjoying life with her hubby, little dog and chickens (usually with a Whittard Vanilla cappuccino in her hand)!

Learn more about Ruby & see all their articles here >>


  1. Eileen Burns

    Great Article Ruby as a CBT Therapist myself most clients are very suprised of how much they run away with their negative thoughts when they begin to write those thoughts down


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