How to Recognize the Signs that Your Own Inner Negativity is Keeping You from Reaching Major Success


Here they are again.

The nasty voices in my head.

I am on a chartered boat heading to the Blue Hole, a magnificent natural cave in the Mediterranean with 2 of my favorite people. We have planned this special day for months, and as we come upon this beautiful spot and the engines begin to idle, my heart starts to race. Just a little at first, and there is more racing to come!

Bella, my daughter, is excited as she jumps into the crystal blue vast ocean with her life jacket on and her 12-year-old curiosity in full throttle. She and my friend, Randy, start to swim and then turn to realize I have not left the boat. With my life jacket secure, I cannot seem to move. I can hear those nasty little voices getting louder. Initially, they are just uncomfortable thoughts.

That water is going to be freezing!

You are going to be wet and shivering the whole way home.

You’ll get sick—probably pneumonia—and you’ll be in bed

for the rest of the vacation.

And then, they increase their tempo, and somehow, I find the courage to jump in.

Did something just touch my foot?!

I yelp, and my chest constricts with the cold water. My breath is short and too quick. I can hear my heartbeat pounding in my head. I’m actually sweating in the water. Is that even possible? Panic is setting in. I try to take great gulps of air, but my lungs are shallow.

I’m running out of oxygen!

I don’t think I can stay afloat.

The water is going to suck me under!

I can’t breathe.

I can’t. I can’t.

Enough! I get back on the boat, catch my breath, and feel the safety of the sun beating down.

That is when I realize what began as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure became a code-red HeadTrash rescue mission. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I couldn’t keep it together. Fear choked me out. My HeadTrash taunted me like a heckler teamed up with a schoolyard bully until I was utterly convinced that I was in actual, physical danger. It is a constant swarm of self-attacks. In reality, everyone was safe, and Bella and our friend were having a blast exploring the Blue Hole. My HeadTrash left me sitting alone and disappointed on that boat.


HeadTrash is the nasty, unkind voices in your brain that are loud, full of negative thoughts, and undermine you. They suck your energy and limit you in every way. They can be as aggressive as keeping you awake all night obsessing over things you know you can’t control, and somehow, they are controlling you.

This little troop of naysayers scream hostile, self-limiting, self-destructive, judgmental words that slow you down, cause you self-doubt, and limit your potential. HeadTrash steals your inner strength, sucks your energy, and steals your personal power.

HeadTrash is the leading killer of your potential.

Why do you care?

HeadTrash containment and dumping improves how you feel. Ultimately, the less HeadTrash you have, the more joy you have, and joy is what you want out of life. To learn how to dump your HeadTrash, you must understand that it lives in the disconnected side of your emotional brain. Yes, you have an emotional brain, and it is running your life for better and for worse.

What can you do to dump your trash?

1) Look at your habits. Do you do things that put you in a productive mindset? Habits come in two types:

  • Habits that serve you
  • Habits that disserve you

You want to dump the habits that disserve you and replace them with habits that serve you. For example, if you want to start every day feeling good, strong, and happy, what are you doing when you get up that sets that tempo? If you are watching the news or scrolling through social media, you might want to rethink those habits as they tend to have negativity.

Nothing positive comes from negativity.

Better morning habits might be going for a walk, meditating, journaling, or my favorite, determining my word of the day. Each day I select a word that sets my day’s intention. Some days it is “inspire”. Other days it is “productive”. I check in on my word of the day throughout the day to ensure I am staying in the best mindset so I can have a fantastic day.

2) Own it. Shift it. Dump it. This is the formula for dumping your HeadTrash

First, you must own it. Being aware and learning how to proactively deal with the things that trigger you, is at the foundation of dumping your trash and also improving the quality of your life.

Once you are aware, you can self-reflect and find ways to shift your emotional energy and stress through asking yourself questions that help you shift vs. questions that keep you stuck.

Stuck Questions: (keep you in the mess and negativity of a situation)

  • Why is this happening to me?
  • Will we all drown?
  • What went wrong?
  • Who did this?

Shift Questions: (are forward-momentum questions)

  • What is the first thing I can do to improve this situation?
  • Who do I want to be right now?
  • What do I need to learn to feel more comfortable?
  • How can I help improve this situation?
  • What is the first step towards getting back on track?

When you ask productive and empowering questions, you shift your emotional energy allowing you to take more productive action. This shift starts the HeadTrash dumping process.

3) Who you are hanging with is who you become. If you are surrounded by naysayers and people who are constantly against virtually everything (the C.A.V.E. people), you are bound to get their negative energy spewed all over you. Find ways to hang with people who inspire you and support you in positive and healthy ways.

COVID-19 was a pandemic, and in its wake, it has created a HeadTrash pandemic. Learning how to manage and dump your HeadTrash, will limit your anxiety, awaken your potential, and give you a better quality of life.

Dump your HeadTrash, and you’ll change your life.

Renie Cavallari, the CEO of Aspire and RCI Institute, and an organizational anthropologist has been speaking worldwide to groups from 15 to 5,000 for more than 25 years. Her dynamic, storytelling approach skips the fluff, and Aspire’s 96 percent client retention demonstrates her impact. Her expertise is in transforming results through people. She goes way beyond inspiration as her humorous, engaging, and proven performance improvement strategies have been transforming teams for decades. Renie has worked with thousands of leaders, uses real data, real-world situations, and provides practical action-oriented applications to help leaders shine. HEADTRASH: The Leading Killer of Human Potential is Renie’s sixth book and is available on Amazon now. For free tools and tips on how to dump your HeadTrash visit

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