Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears
How much attention do you pay to your self-talk, and that little voice in the back of your head? More importantly, what does it say to you? Does it remind you of how far you’ve come and what you are capable of, or does it scream at you to play it safe and avoid taking risks?
Of all the things which can be blamed for sabotaging our progress, this is the biggest, but it’s also the one you can do something about. You can’t control the financial or employment markets, for instance, but you can change the way you talk to yourself. It’s not easy, but it is one of the best things which you can do for yourself, both personally and professionally.
We read, we study, we network and do whatever it takes to get us closer to our goals. However, this all counts for nothing if, when all the knowledge gathering and preparation has taken place and it’s time to take action, fear gets the better of you and you convince yourself that you just can’t do it.
Much the same as with perception and its power to determine your outlook on life, self-talk can either be a force for good or your biggest hindrance. It all depends on you. Sit back and do nothing, and you will find yourself going round in circles, getting all the preparation done, only for fear to take hold and it all to come to a screeching halt before it has even started. When you take a more proactive approach, though, and take control of what you are telling yourself, good things will happen as you proceed with confidence. It is often the case that you hit a wall in pursuit of your goals not because you lack knowledge, skills or experience, but because your confidence has been eroded by your fears and insecurities.
Changing the things which you say to yourself is just as difficult as changing the way in which you see the world and your place in it. The payoff for managing this, however, cannot be understated. Self belief, and feeling certain that you have whatever it takes to accomplish that which you set your sights on, is incredibly powerful once mastered. It’s a positive cycle;
- Decide what it is that you want to achieve and break it down into goals and a plan of action.
- Acquire the knowledge or skills required to accomplish that which you desire
- Proceed with confidence in your ability, telling yourself that you already have everything which you need to succeed. Even if you don’t fully believe it, keep talking to yourself positively and confidently.
- Learn from any setbacks, celebrate small victories and just keep going
- As you accomplish your goals, replace them with more challenging ones and start again. When you start again, your recent achievements will leave you feeling more confident and more positive.
The more cycles you complete, the more positive and encouraging your self-talk will become. As you continue to learn, grow, develop, achieve and become more, you will notice how that little voice gets louder while at the same time becoming more supportive.
Pay close attention to what you are telling yourself, and if it’s not as positive as it should be, take action.
- Carry a notebook and pen with you for a week (of course, you could do this digitally, but pen and paper is much more effective).
- Every time that little voice speaks to you, no matter when or what about, write it down in your notebook.
- At the end of the week, sit down with your notebook and revisit all that you have been saying to yourself. Is it largely positive or negative? If it’s overly negative, try changing the language which you use, and re-framing the situations. For example, you might not have got the job, but you were shortlisted for interview above hundreds of others and have gained valuable interview experience which will stand you in good stead for next time.
When we love, care about or really like someone, we find ourselves naturally supportive of them and this is reflected in the language we use towards them. Starting today, make an effort to care about yourself just as much as you do about others, and adjust your self-talk accordingly.