This Woman Launched a Company That Empowers Women of Color to Unlock Their Power

how to manage negative self talk

{To watch the Facebook Live interview we conducted with Cheryl, scroll to the bottom}

I’ve been sharing a lot in the Work Bigger Community that since I left my job to run Work Bigger full time, I feel like I’m living with two people. 

I’m the strong one, the scared one. The worried, the self assured. The “I don’t know what I’m doing,” and “I know exactly what I’m doing.”

I think we’re all living with two voices. But what I see is that so many of us identify with the negative voice. We judge it, we label it, we believe we are it. We focus on that voice so much the other part becomes small. And we lose the confidence, connection and conviction that we need to fulfill our purpose. 

I see these two voices living in Cheryl Sutherland’s story, the founder of PleaseNotes, a company that empowers women to tap into their purpose and passion. 

Cheryl founded PleaseNotes after having a personal breakthrough and realizing that the biggest obstacle to her happiness and success was the negative voice.  

In this interview, Cheryl and I talk about how to work through negative self talk, what to do when you’re feeling stuck, and more. 

Meet Cheryl.

Give us some background. Where are you from, and where did you start out?

I was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and moved to California in 2015. I started PleaseNotes after feeling restless and overwhelmed at my 9 to 5.

I kept asking, is this all there is? At the time, I had seen myself as being a great second in command, but never enough to stand out on my own.  

I didn’t have the confidence to ask myself why I had been blocking myself, why I didn’t feel like I was good enough, why I didn’t value myself enough to do what made me happy.

I judged myself because I had done so much self development, and I thought that I shouldn’t be struggling.  

So I pressed stop on my life.

I quit my job and took the time to work on and reconnect with myself. I started journaling, working with affirmations, reading and practicing more self-care then I ever had before.

During that time of discovery and soul-searching, I realized the thing I loved was that “Aha” moment: when you realize that the limitations that you’ve been feeling are all ones that you’ve created, that you can live the way you really want, that you can, and deserved to be happy.

I want to help people experience and live in that. I launched PleaseNotes to give people those tools to live bolder, love themselves and value who they really are.  Happiness isn’t a option, it’s the most important thing in life.

What is your mission, the work you want to do?

My mission is to provide tools for individuals to re-discover what they love, and create a mindset shift so they can create it.

My products package this message in a fun, timely and authentic way that resonates with people who are ready to live a brighter life, be happier, and be more excited everyday.

What led you there? Can you recall any experiences you had that pushed you to your mission?

On November 18th 2012, I was at the PSI Basic Seminar, a personal development seminar where you challenge yourself to explore, question and discover your life.

We did an exercise that helped me see how I was really showing up in the world.  

I’d been hiding behind this image of a strong, responsible controlled person, but the reality was that I judged and belittled myself so much that I had no self confidence, I defaulted on my dreams, and I didn’t value my own wants or needs.  

Throughout the seminar, I wasn’t really allowing myself to share my story in front of the class – thinking – someone else needs to share and I’d be wasting my classmates’ time.

The last day of the seminar I decided something different. I shared how I had been beating myself down and belittling myself. I found a feeling of ownership that created a freedom I’d never experienced.

If I was the one who created all these things I didn’t want, then I had the power to create all the things I did want. As I shared my epiphany, voice shaking with tears running down my face, I felt so much lighter, the room became brighter, and I had never felt so free in my life.

This is why I do what I do, because I believe that everyone deserves to feel that free.

What challenges did you face along the way, and how did you overcome these challenges?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced is my own thought process.

As new obstacles come I’ve had to make sure I stay focused on my end goal, which is to build a legacy for people to step into their power with clarity, confidence, and creativity.

I consistently re-orient myself by reminding myself of how I want to feel, the excitement of when I first got the idea, and the impact that I’m making.  

This business isn’t really about me, it’s about the change people get to experience by working with the tools.

At Work Bigger, one of our goals is to build creativity among readers and community members. We know this is a key skill required to thrive in the future of work. Can you share your definition of creativity?

Creativity is the foundation of innovation. Everything that comes into being, whether it’s a chair, water bottle, or my iPhone had to be seen first in the mind before it could be tangibly created.

What are your favorite go-to resources or experiences to help you build your creativity?

I don’t think I’ve ever built my creativity; for me, it’s more about being playful and allowing the process to happen.

I play the “what if” game. Rather than immediately shutting down or discarding an idea. I write out fun, playful things that could result from the process.

What advice do you have for 20 to 30-somethings who want to make an impact through their work but are currently feeling stuck?

I would advise anyone that is feeling stuck to go through these steps:

  1. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. 5 seconds on the inhale, 5 seconds on the exhale.
  2. Ask yourself, “Why do I feel stuck?” If the answer you hear is “I don’t know,” reply with, “If I did know, why would l feel stuck?”
  3. When you get an answer that resonates with you, take out a pen and paper, (or a handy Journal) and write for 5 minutes about that subject without any judgement.

Free form writing allows your logical side to get out of the way of your creative side. That way you’ll really tap into how you authentically feel about something. At the end of the 5 minutes, don’t read what you wrote. Rip it out, crumple it or (optional) light it on fire. All that matters is how you feel and your current thoughts about the matter.

This is your new starting point. After this exercise, you’ll have clarity about what you do or don’t want and why you hold yourself back.

Now it’s up to you to take the next steps. It doesn’t have to be huge, it could be something as easy as a Google search. As long as you’re moving towards something that feels good, that’s all that matters.

Now we’d love to hear from you. What’s the greatest insight you’ve taken from this interview? And what’s one thing you can do right now to start managing negative self talk?

Check out the Facebook Live interview with Cheryl below. To join the Work Bigger Community on Facebook, click here

Belma McCaffrey

Author Belma McCaffrey

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