Bad Girl, Good Business

Route 66 Installment #16: Dirty Minds & Dirty Words

Reading Time: 2 minutes

We all have unhealthy thoughts at times.

And sometimes words tumble out of our mouths that we instantly regret.

(Damn that leaky brain/mouth filter!)

Last week, I shared a list of 10 ways you can spring clean your life. This week, I’m dealing with two of them that can be controlled with more focus, mindfulness, and self-reflection.

How to Think Cleaner Thoughts

The mess that’s in your mind can have an impact on all other aspects of your life — at home, at work, and in your relationships.

Intrusive thoughts are especially heinous. As the name implies, they sneak into our heads and screw up whatever nice things were dancing around in our brains.

And sometimes we simply misread another person’s words or actions and turn them into our own personal fiction about their personality or motives.

As someone with an active imagination, insecurities, and past hurts, I’m especially guilty of that one.  An executive coach once asked me when I was complaining to him about an incident at work:

“Is this real stuff or is it YOUR stuff?”

I now try to ask that question of myself whenever I’m stung by the words or actions of others.

Negative self-talk is another behavior that gets in our own way in life and work. If you’re not your own fan, who else will be?

Watch Your Tongue Too!

This week, I fell prey to my own loose lips. I thought I was making a snarky joke but ended up hurting a dear friend. She was bold enough to speak up and I spent several days thinking about what I said and how it could have been painful to someone else.

My daughters had a video when they were younger that was narrated by (believe it or not) Ringo Starr. Called “Elbert’s Bad Word,” it was the story of a boy who said something nasty and it flew around for a long time, despite his efforts to stuff it back into his mouth.

We all have some Elbert in us. But being aware of the power of words and taking feedback from those we hurt (without being defensive) can help us build better relationships.

We can’t control everything in our lives. But we CAN strive to control our thoughts, behaviors, and language.

You’re never too late to become a better person, friend, and partner.

That’s one area of “cleaning” that takes way more than a broom and a dustpan. But it can be way more important than sorting out that junk drawer in your desk or scrubbing your toilet.




  1. Oh, those words we wish we could stuff back into our mouths! The Art of Blurting, I call it.

  2. I’ve definitely learned when to keep my mouth shut, much more than when I was younger. As we come to learn it’s nicer, not to mention easier.

  3. On point about taking feedback. Many times, we’re too busy taking a defensive posture to hear feedback. In my head, that sentence is in red and highlighted.


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