Critical Thinking: Letting Go Of Blame, Shame, and Guilt

By Kimberley Borgens

We all know that starting and growing a business can be one of life’s most exciting and rewarding experiences. But let’s be honest – it can also be one of the most challenging and stressful.

As you travel the road of entrepreneurship, you’re constantly faced with tough decisions, complex problems, and high-pressure situations that require critical thinking problem solving skills. And when negative emotions like blame, shame, and guilt creep in, it can be all too easy to lose your focus and confidence.

That’s why I’m exploring the importance of letting go of those unhelpful emotions and embracing a more proactive, growth-oriented mindset. We’ll dive into what all of this really means and how it can transform your business and your life.

So if you’re ready to boost your brainpower and become a more confident, resilient entrepreneur, read on!

Understanding Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is all about using your brainpower to make informed, strategic decisions that help you achieve your goals. It’s not about blindly following your emotions but instead taking a step back and objectively evaluating your options.

Think of it like a puzzle – you need all the pieces so you can put them together in a way that makes sense. Critical thinking helps you do just that. It helps you gather information, analyze it, and make informed decisions that align with your values and goals.

And here’s the best part – this isn’t some elusive talent that only a select few possess. It’s a skill that can be learned and developed over time with practice and intention. By becoming a critical thinker, you’ll be able to approach any problem or challenge with a clear, focused mind and a strategic plan of action.

So, no matter where you are on your journey, honing these skills is a must. It will help you navigate the ever-changing business landscape, make smarter decisions, and ultimately achieve greater success.

The Negative Effects of Blame, Shame, and Guilt

While it’s easy to fall into the trap of blame, shame, and guilt, this can harm your business and your well-being. By recognizing the potential impact of these emotions and learning to let them go, you can become a more confident and proactive entrepreneur.

The blame game

Playing the blame game causes a lot of trouble because it narrows your focus. When you constantly blame yourself, you can’t see the whole picture to make informed decisions. This gives away your power and agency, which can lead to feelings of helplessness and anxiety.

The trouble with shame

Shame can be even more problematic, as it often stems from a sense of unworthiness or inadequacy. Feeling ashamed may make you less likely to take risks or pursue new opportunities because you fear failing or being judged. This can hold you back from achieving your full potential and growing your business.

Guilt as a demotivator

Guilt can also create a lot of problems for you in your business and your personal life. Often, guilt can lower your sense of self-worth, leading to self-punishment and negative self-talk. When you’re consumed by guilt, you may find yourself stuck in a cycle of rumination and self-blame, which can sap your energy and creativity.

Consequences of blame, shame, and guilt

When you get stuck in this emotional cycle, you tend to react to situations in an unhealthy way. Reactive behavior is a knee-jerk response to these negative emotions that is often impulsive and short-sighted. When you’re reactive, you’re not thinking critically or considering the long-term consequences of your actions.

This can lead to a cycle of negative behaviors and outcomes, making it even more challenging to make progress or find solutions. However, by understanding the harmful effects of reactive behavior, you can begin to take steps to break free from it and embrace a more proactive, growth-oriented mindset.

Developing Critical Thinking Skills

When you learn to develop critical thinking problem solving skills, you become empowered to make informed decisions, evaluate situations objectively, and identify potential solutions to complex problems. But not only can you make better decisions, but when you have freed yourself from blame, shame, and guilt, you open yourself up to your creativity, self-confidence, and achieving your goals with greater clarity and purpose.

Proactive thinking

Learning to make good decisions can transform personal growth and business success. By evaluating the situation and consequences as you focus on the big picture, proactive thinking empowers you to take ownership of your decisions and keeps you in control. When you cultivate this mindset, you can gain greater clarity and focus as you confidently pursue your goals.

Breaking free

To break free from reactive behavior, it’s important to recognize when blame, shame, or guilt are taking over so you can learn how to let go of these negative emotions. This can involve reframing negative self-talk, practicing self-compassion, and focusing on solutions rather than dwelling on problems. By adopting a growth mindset and viewing mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth, you can build resilience and adaptability.

Seeing the big picture

In addition, evaluating the potential consequences of your decisions and actions can help you stay focused on the bigger outcomes you want to achieve. This involves considering both short-term and long-term effects, as well as the potential impact on stakeholders, employees, and the broader community. By taking a holistic approach to decision-making, you can ensure that your choices align with your values and contribute to your overall vision for success.

Real-World Applications of Critical Thinking

As an entrepreneur, you’re faced with many challenges and decisions every day. From caring for your family to hiring the right employees, there’s no shortage of tough calls to make. But when you are proactive in your decision-making, you can approach these challenges in a more objective and rational way.

Living life to the fullest

I’d like to share with you a story of how I learned some great lessons in critical thinking as a mom. When my son was little, he was diagnosed with a heart condition, and we were told that he may die of a heart attack. Imagine the mom struggle in that. I had to decide: do I want to protect him at all costs, coddling him and living in fear? Or do I want to allow him to live his life to the fullest?

Which one do you think I went for?

It wasn’t easy. He has always needed extra care and attention, and I have, at times, carried the blame and guilt of feeling like I am not giving the same attention to my other kids. This lived family experience hasn’t been easy on his other siblings. But I’ve had to acknowledge that I’m doing the best I can for all of my kids to allow them to live the best life they can.

Making decisions for your business

Sometimes it’s easy to let your judgment get clouded without even realizing it in business. As your business grows and you recognize your overwhelm, it’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to hire someone to help them lighten their load. Often, the person they bring on board is a friend or family member.

But what happens if money is tight and you are considering laying your employees off? You need critical thinking skills – not emotions – to tell you if layoffs are the right decision. If they are, you also need those same skills to safeguard you as you break the news to someone you care about.

So whether you’re facing a major crisis or a minor hiccup, decision-making skills can be your secret weapon for success. By staying focused, objective, and open-minded, you can navigate even the most demanding challenges and emerge stronger and more resilient than ever.

Putting it into Practice: Making Informed Decisions

Now that you understand the importance of critical thinking and have some practical tools and strategies under your belt, it’s time to put them into practice. One of the most important areas where critical thinking problem solving can make a difference is in decision-making.

As an entrepreneur, you’re faced with decisions all the time – some small, some big, some routine, and some high-stakes. And when you’re dealing with incomplete information, conflicting priorities, and uncertain outcomes, it can be challenging to make the best choice.

Here are some tips to put into practice when making difficult decisions:

  • Clarify the problem or decision: Before you start brainstorming solutions, make sure you understand the problem you’re trying to solve or the decision you’re trying to make. Write it down and make sure you’re clear on what’s at stake.
  • Gather information: Once you clearly understand the problem or decision, gather as much relevant information as possible. Look for facts, data, and evidence from multiple sources, and consider the perspectives of different stakeholders.
  • Analyze the information: Once you have the information, analyze it objectively. Look for patterns, trends, and relationships, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different options.
  • Consider alternatives: Don’t settle for the first solution that comes to mind. Take the time to generate multiple options, even if they seem far-fetched or unconventional.
  • Evaluate consequences: Consider each option’s short- and long-term outcomes, both for yourself and others. Consider the risks and benefits and the impact on your goals and values.
  • Seek out diverse perspectives: Don’t make decisions in a vacuum. Seek input and feedback from people with different backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. This can help you avoid blind spots and make more informed choices.

By following these steps, you can make more informed, thoughtful decisions aligned with your goals and values. So the next time you’re faced with a tough choice, take a step back, gather information, and apply these principles to make a wise decision. You’ll be surprised at how much clarity and confidence it can bring to your decision-making process.


I know it can be hard, but by letting go of blame, shame, and guilt, you will broaden your view and set yourself up for success in your business and personal life.

Don’t worry – critical thinking is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process of inquiry, evaluation, and reflection. By continuing to challenge your thought patterns and refine your decision-making strategies, you’ll be better equipped to navigate your journey.

Kimberley Borgens

About the author

Kimberley Borgens was married at 18, a mother at 19, and divorced at 20, she has journeyed from being a single mom on welfare to recognizing her strengths, fighting for what she believes in, and successfully building 5 thriving businesses with hundreds of employees and million-dollar budgets. Kimberley is a speaker, business mentor, and coaches her clients to transform their small business into a thriving business. Kimberley is living her own legacy as she inspires and motivates women to be fearless, become more like a CEO of their business and life, and enjoy the freedom they've dreamed of. She knows what it's like to start from nothing and build a strong solid business and she can help you too.

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