Word-Of-the-Week #704: Self-Talk

February 1, 2018 by  

Self-Talkthe positive and negative thoughts you feed yourself daily.

Have you ever thought about what percentage of your “self-talk” is positive? Do you tend to deny your accomplishments or brush them aside? How can you possibly be successful if you see yourself as mediocre or worse?

This week features Bryan Falchuk, Inc. “Don’t let negative self-talk hold you back.”  He writes, “I spent one third of my career as a management consultant. It was a great experience filled with a lot of learning and a lot of tough moments, too. 

That means I was paid to find what is wrong, root it out, and figure out a better path forward. It made me a great problem-solver, but it had a downside–I (and others in similar jobs) was being conditioned to point out the negative in everything I saw. 

The thing is, we all do this, especially with ourselves. Listen to how people talk about their workload or the hours they work. It almost becomes a competition for who is the most beaten down. 

You often hear things around the office like, “I was at the office until 10 last night. I’m so tired!” Then a coworker will often respond, full of pride, with something like, “10? Wow, you have it easy. I was here until midnight, and then did another three hours once I got home.” 

Let me ask, which one of them is the winner in this debate? 

Or when you try to commend someone on doing a good job, they often point out where they went wrong rather than just taking the praise. I remember giving a big presentation to a client early in my career, and a peer told me I did a great job afterward. My immediate response was, “No, I totally messed up that section about their growth strategy. Luckily they forgot about that once we showed them the savings involved.” I could not even start by saying, “Thanks,” before pointing out my failure.

And it is not just in work situations. Next time someone has you over for dinner, compliment them on the food, and watch what happens. You are likely to hear something like, “Thanks, but I overcooked the meat.” Or, “Maybe, but the vegetables needed more salt.” 

This has become a major focus of my coaching work–helping people to get comfortable with being good at things. We are so entrenched in self-deprecation or denying our achievements that we end up framing ourselves with mediocrity at best or incompetence at worst. 

  • How can you possibly be successful if you see yourself as mediocre or worse? The answer is obviously that you can’t.” 

However you can change the situation and next week will feature how to do just that.

This week’s focus is on your “self talk.” What thoughts are you reinforcing? When someone compliments you do you accept the praise or try to downplay it? How would it feel to get comfortable with being good at things?

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