How To Shut Down The Mean Girl In Our Minds: Q&A With Rachel Perry

I recently interviewed my good friend, Rachel Perry, on the podcast and she had so many big takeaways I had to share them with you here! I don't care how confident or how “positive” you are, we all fall guilty to negative self talk at one point or another. As my good friend Rachel Perry calls it, “the mean girl” somehow makes her way inside our mind. And yes…she is a sneaky one! What are characteristics of this “mean girl” you may ask? She never wants you to succeed. She keeps telling you’re not good enough. She always makes you second-guess yourself.

Is this starting to sound a little familiar now? Have you met her before? This “mean girl” is simply just a negative inner voice that comes to defeat us! However, just because “she” is there, and we hear these negative things, does NOT mean we have to give “her” power. It is our job to shut down the “mean girl” inside our mind, and that is exactly what Rachel is going to share with us!

I would love to hear a ‘mean girl' story from you or how did this even pop up? Did you have this happen to you? I want people to know, okay, this isn't just me. This is normal!

Rachel: “Yeah, it is. I call her the main girl because, well, I am originally from the UK and I moved here when I was 9 and I remember being so excited the first day of school and I walked into school, I was carrying a snoopy rolly-backpack. I'm like, why did my parents let me do that? But I felt so good, so excited. I was in America, I was going to meet all these new friends and it was just going to be amazing. And immediately I was picked on because of the clothes I was wearing. It makes me sad to think about and that day they had, this is awful, this is so embarrassing…it was time to pick what we wanted for lunch and when I lived in Northern Ireland you just ate lunch at school so it was just kind of you had what they served.

Well in the states you either bring your lunch or you get to pick off the menu what you want. If you want the hamburger or in my case, do you want the pizza or do you want the liver and onions? I chose the liver and onions and at that point I truly believe that's when people were like, hold up! I can't even believe that anybody who was serving liver and onions and the kidneys, liver and onions but I guess I thought in the UK that's not an abnormal thing to eat. It's sick to even say out loud though! But I didn't choose the pizza. At that point it was all downhill from there, it was all over after the liver. Not only was I wearing weird clothes and I sounded different, I also ordered liver and onions. That kind of opened the door for all these little mean girls to say things to me and it completely affected my whole being. Just as it happens to children when they're picked on and so I had all these thoughts, but as I got older and really just in the past few years, I had been referring to this inner voice as the ‘mean girl' because that's what happens. It's like all the air is sucked out of us and we're just so deflated when we give her that power, which is easy to do because she's sneaky.”

You don't even notice you're doing it sometimes. Let's think back to high school or just school in general, were you the popular kid? You may identify as somebody and you might think I definitely was never the mean girl…I'm not a mean girl and you might not be to other people, but I still see these nice sweet girls being the mean girls to themselves and they don't realize how devastating that can be to them and to their kids and everybody around them.

Rachel: “You don't even know it's happening. So yesterday I was scrolling through an app and came across a really cute outfit. The model was adorable and I thought to myself, I want to look like her. I didn't even realize that I kept thinking that, becaust I scrolled through the whole app.I wish I looked like her. I want to look like her. Finally I clued into the fact that I was telling myself this and I shut it down because there is no way I will ever look like this girl. We don't have the same body type. There's no physical way. I could lose a hundred pounds and still not look like her because we're just not the same body type and we think these things without even realizing it. It's so easy to think that mean girl thought is true. You know, you're not enough. You're not good enough. You're not pretty enough. You're not smart enough, but they come in other forms as well.”

So let me ask you, because when you say I want to look like her, it doesn't sound that bad to me. It doesn't sound that ‘mean girl' to me. But are you saying it's because your mind is saying to you, you don't look like her?

Rachel: “Yeah. So that's exactly right. It was because there's no physical way and I'm thinking, oh, she's so cute, she looks adorable in that outfit, there's no way I will ever look like that, I wished that I look like her. And it just started this cycle of these thoughts that I could have gone down a very, very dark road and then really gotten really down on myself for the fact that I didn't look like this 22 year old.”

How are we doing this in our businesses? How is this holding us back in our business when we're doing this??

Rachel: “We hold ourselves back so much because in this era of social media, we tend to follow the people that we admire. So if you're a business owner, you're going to follow business owners type of thing. It's so easy to look at other people and see their successes and think, oh gosh, I wish I was like that or they've been in business as long as I have but they're doing better, they're probably making way more money than I am, they have a bigger following, they have more likes or whatever it is. We get in this mindset of comparison and that's when the mean girl starts. Another time I see the mean girl really stepping in when it comes to our businesses is when we're getting ready to do something big. When we're stepping out in faith, when we're taking that leap, that's when she starts getting really, really loud. That's when we start feeling insecure because her negativity is really what gets in the way of that, of us making that progress that we need to make.”

You might be scrolling on social and see the skinny girl and think I want to look like her….then you say, but that's not possible. That happens in business too. We see the person who's been in business for 15 years and we're brand new. 6 weeks in and we're like, I want to look like her. Well yes…but she's been doing this for 15 years! So you have to really pull back the curtain there and kind of question yourself. The other way is the really hard one when you say, we started at the same time, we used to have the same size following, we used to be like this and now she blew up and I didn't. Then we start going, oh, why me? Why me? It's really easy to say you're at the same level or you're doing the same things, but it's very hard to see behind the scenes what that person is actually doing.

Rachel: “So true! I think Rachel Hollis said this, I'm not sure if it was her, basically ‘their story is not your story'. So we can look, and there are so many quotes about this, you can look and see someone's highlights, but you have no idea what is happening behind the scenes. You have no idea what they've gone through to get to where they are now. We just see the good things and we think, oh, they're perfect, when in reality it's really not.”

And you can't see behind the scenes where maybe they're coming out with 10 new podcast episodes on somebody else's platforms and they've been interviewing and pitching and doing all of the stuff and you haven't done that, but you can't tell. You can't compare yourself to that. It's really hard because I think they always say you're comparing yourself to their performance and not their practice and you don't know what's happening behind the scenes. So I want to ask first of all, how do we notice that? How can we catch it? Because how are we going to shut it down if we can't even catch it?

Rachel: “So something that has worked for me and it gets a lot easier the more you do it. It's like working out. We go and we work out, we're not gonna be able to lift the 95 pounds right away. We have to build that muscle. And it's the same for identifying the mean girl in your head. You just have to be aware of it. So the first thing I would suggest is when you start getting really down or feeling discouraged, realize that the reason you're feeling discouraged is probably because the mean girl is talking it up in your head.

So go take a break, stop and just look at the thoughts that are running through your head at that moment and identify that thought. What happens is the more you do this and you have to force yourself to remember this. You have to keep it fresh in your mind. So when you feel discouraged, when you feel down, when you start comparing yourself to somebody else, think about what you're thinking, think about your thoughts. What is going through your mind at that moment? And that's the lie. That's the lie that is making you feel the way you do.”

Yeah. I think a lot of us, we think a thought and then we go, well…it's a fact. Is it a fact or is it something you're thinking? It might just be your opinion at the moment, but it's not a fact. I mean that's the worst part! I'm guilty of this and it's so funny how my moods can change so quickly. I'll wake up and maybe I'm feeling really down, I haven't made a sale in a while or I haven't done this, and then 7 minutes later a sale comes through and I'm like, I'm amazing! People love me! It's like, what?! How can you feel one way 5 minutes ago and then now I'm the most amazing person that ever lived?! Then an hour later somebody says something negative on social media and I'm like, everybody hates me. Everybody hates me. Life is over. I should shut down my business. You know?

Rachel: “That happened to me at James Wedmore's inner circle retreat 2 weeks ago. I don't even know what it was that triggered me, but I was in a session and I just remember all of these thoughts were flowing through my head. Negative thought, after negative thought, after negative thought and the way I was showing up in that room was so different than who I was before all those mean girl thoughts started flowing through my head. It took me a little bit longer, I mean too long if you ask me, to identify with this. But I realized what those thoughts were. I actually physically stood up and walked out and pulled myself together and I said, basically shut up, like back down.

This is not your place. I immediately was a different part person because those negative thoughts, they pull us down so much and then we can show up the way we're meant to show up. If you're just listening to all of these negative thoughts, you're letting them get control of you. How are you going to be able to serve your audience? You're attacking yourself. So it's so important to get control of these thoughts  so that you can be more present.”

Yeah, and it could come from somebody else sparking it or it can come from your thoughts sparking it. Either way we're very easily influenced. I've done this too with programs. I will be surrounded by people doing 12 month programs and I'll think, I'm going to do a 12 month program and then I'll step out and I'll talk to one person and she'll say, you know, I don't think people like 12 month programs anymore…I think people are looking for short and sweet and fast results and I'll be like, you're right, Nobody should be doing 12 month programs anymore. I think you have to surround yourself with people that are going to almost quiet that mean girl a little bit too.

Rachel: “Yes, absolutely! I think that's huge who you surround yourself with because you're surrounded by other people and this is a silly little story, but my daughter, she's on a swim team and there's a little girl in her group who is very competitive with her for some unknown reason. She's constantly saying things like, well, I did this time on my, you know, 50 free or our friend that we share, she likes me better. So she can go into that swim practice and feel really good about herself, but she comes out, if she lets that little girl to her head, she comes out of completely different person. All these outside people are the ones that if we let ourselves, we can start getting down again. So I'm trying to tell her like, you just have to be strong and you have to choose who you hang out with. Go talk to somebody else because she's not helping you.”

Right, and t's not like you can always give the advice, I will say this to her and it'll shut down. She may not shut down! She might keep going, so I think that's a great valuable lesson to learn of, be careful who you surround yourself with and if that's not a positive environment then don't go over there. Our kids play such a huge role in this and we just don't even realize. You have to be very careful because maybe the mean girl is inside your head, but maybe you say some things out loud and what are your kids hearing? What are your clients hearing? Recently Tanner has a new thing and I think it's her prolonging going to bed, but she will say she had a bad dream. But I think, you didn't go to sleep. So technically it wasn't a dream. But I always say to her, I want you to start thinking of really good things like who are people you love and that you're so grateful for? What is something fun you did? Because when we think of that positive stuff, the negative stuff, there's just no room for it. When we can teach kids at a young age, how to shut that mean girl down, I think it's so important because it's happening more now than it ever has before.

I think can get confused about the difference between the mean girl in our head or the gut feeling and if it's your intuition.

Rachel: “The mean girl thoughts are in your head or in your mind. When you feel like your intuition is telling you not to do something, chances are a lot of time you're going to feel it in your stomach. I think they say too, you can feel it in your chest. Your stomach is a lot of times where you feel that sort of intuition. If you're really in tune with yourself and you just have to just think about it and feel it, the mean girl is, chances are she's going to be telling you like you suck, don't do this because you're going to be good at it. She's going to be doing that and it's all in your mind. You're not going to feel that, you're just going to become sort of down, depressed and feeling defeated. But your gut is kind of guiding you into where you're meant to go next. So just think about where you're feeling those thoughts because that is huge.”

It's hard because I feel like as an entrepreneur, we're kind of gamblers. We are risk takers, we're betting on ourselves and it's scary to go, is this the right decision? There are moves that I make where I don't know and it's scary, but it still feels right and it feels scary but exciting and I'm just nervous. Then there's this moment where I'm thinking, this doesn't feel right. This feels so scary that somebody is screaming at me don't do it.

Rachel: “I think too with the gut reaction or the intuition versus the mean girl in your head, when you do take that step into the next level, you know, when you up level in your life, she is going to strike. So it's very tricky but you just have to really try to look into yourself and just really think, how is this going to be? Is this beneficial? She is not beneficial in any way, shape or form. She's not helping you in any way. She's trying to stop you. She gets loud when you're getting ready to up level. Because I mean really, our fear takes over and tries to protect us. That's why when we take that leap, things get loud in our mind,  just fight through.”

Well and I think too, having people you trust that you can share the mean girl thoughts with is so important. Rachel and I are good friends in real life and I can say things to Rachel that I probably wouldn't say out loud. You want to hear somebody else's opinion of this is not right, but then not somebody who's going to sugar coat it. I need you to tell me, is this true or am I doing this to myself? That's the accountability part of it. We need to surround ourselves with people who are like minded and who will call us out on our stuff. It's so easy when you're having all these mean girl thoughts to sort of get stuck in there. You need to surround yourself with like minded people who can call you out on that.

Rachel: “I think basically here's the thing, identifying your mean girl takes practice, but it can be done and there are some things that you can do to kind of help with that. This is just an exercise that I do and then I teach people to do. If you are feeling really pulled down by this mean girl, I want you to write down the lie or the lies, whatever it is that she is telling you. So maybe it's, I'm not good enough. So you're going to write that down and then you're going to edit it and you're going to change it to ‘I am good enough.' And then you're going to write it on a post-it note and put it on your mirror and say it every morning. The reason for that is because speaking these affirmations to yourself about yourself out loud, has so much more power than the mean girl thoughts that are in our head. So if you do that every day, it will make such a difference in your whole mindset!”

If you want to connect more with Rachel, you can find her over on Instagram @rachelaperry and on her podcast, Making The Leap! She is also going to be the EMCEE at She's Building Her Empire Live so be sure to get your tickets and come hangout with us in person!