As a business owner, you’ve probably faced plenty of doubt and uncertainty during your tenure as CEO. The markets change, customer demands, and technology change, and even you change over time. While doubt is one thing, self-deprecating thoughts, when left to fester, can evolve over time and become dangerous to your business.

Yes, it’s important to be self-critical to a point. After all, the only way to move forward is by learning from your mistakes and being critical of the poor decisions you’ve made. It’s important to understand the balance between self-deprecation and self-loathing. There’s a fine line there, and too much self-deprecation can be a bad thing for you and your business.

Here’s how self-deprecating thoughts can affect your business in both positive and negative ways.

Greater Awareness

Being aware of your flaws and mistakes is a crucial component of personal growth. As you grow, so too does the business. Being aware of yourself shows a level of emotional maturity that can be beneficial in many scenarios.

Let’s say you’ve made some poor decisions that have led the business into financial ruin. How will you recover? Will you recover? The only way to know is to look back at the details of what you did. Self-deprecating thoughts can help you analyze your role in those mistakes and bring into sharp focus what needs to be done to undo those mistakes and move forward.

Be careful not to be too critical of yourself, however. Self-deprecation is one thing; it’s usually mild, even humorous. Self-loathing, however, develops from constant criticism either on your part or someone else’s (or a combination of both) and is an entirely negative thought process.

Personal Confidence

Did you know that a healthy dose of self-criticism can actually boost your confidence? Not at first, of course. You’ll likely feel regret or even guilt when you look back on mistakes or flaws, but once you’ve identified them, you’ll get to know yourself better. The more you know who you are and what your motivation is, the more confidence you’ll have moving forward. You’ll be able to identify harmful behaviors, habits, or decisions, and work to fix them and create a better life for yourself.

Personal confidence is linked to many things, including self-image, how we think others see us, and how we view the world. Notice anything? It’s all subjective! Your perspective on yourself can change your entire life overnight because everything you know about you is a matter of perspective.

A Great Leader

Being a great leader requires a certain degree of self-awareness and confidence. Your team looks to you to make important decisions, keep them motivated, and display a certain level of passion for what you do. Every leader will experience self-doubt at some point; it’s pretty much inevitable.

The more aware you are of where you fall short, the more your team will respect you. Think of people in your life; do you know someone who never takes personal responsibility for their mistakes? How much do you respect that person for such behavior? Is that the kind of person you’d want leading you in business?

Self-deprecation can make you a better overall leader in whatever position you hold. Again, it’s important to balance this with positive thoughts and encouragement so it doesn’t evolve into self-loathing.

Positive Thoughts Can Change Your Life

There seems to be a lot of focus on positive thoughts these days. Do they really work? How? How can changing the way you view things possibly improve your life as a business owner, friend, family member, and citizen? First and foremost, changing your perspective can shed new light on something that you’ve never seen in that way.

If you constantly focus on negative thoughts, self-deprecation, or a negative worldview, how can you expect good results? If you see everything as negative, whether the actual outcome is negative or not, your perspective is already set in stone.

Even the most positive outcomes can take on a negative quality if you’re viewing them through a self-deprecating lens all the time. Remember that you’re only human. You can’t be perfect all the time (if ever), and mistakes are part of the learning process. As is failure. What matters is that you fail forward rather than backward.


Being a business owner is no easy task, but how you view the world and yourself can drastically affect how your business performs. Self-deprecating thoughts can have both a positive and negative effect, depending on their severity and how you view those flaws and mistakes you’re thinking about.

Go easy on yourself. It’s ok to feel regret from a mistake. It’s ok to doubt yourself now and then. Just don’t let those thoughts evolve into something more serious and detrimental to your business efforts down the road.