Have we really been living in a pandemic for a whole year? Over the past 12 months, many of us have been in isolation, left with only our thoughts for company. For some, this has meant constant questioning and negativity from that inner voice, perhaps leading to struggles with anxiety or depression. However, for others, time alone has made them inspired and motivated to try new things, new hobbies, or new careers. But why is this? Recently, I read Rhonda Byrnes self-help book, The Secret, and whilst short and simple, this quote stood out to me dramatically and got me thinking about the effects of self-talk.
“Your thoughts become things” – Rhonda Byrne
A lot of our reality stems from what we tell ourselves. In short, if we believe we can achieve something, we do (or at least we try to). Our inner dialogue is so important: it can mean the difference between success and failure. As you read this blog, I ask you to consider your own self-talk. How much of it is positive? If you make a mistake, do you give yourself the same motivating pep talks that you’d give to your employees or friends? Or do you blame yourself, tell yourself you’re a failure and beat yourself down?
Many of us, myself included, have been guilty of talking down to ourselves. We often focus on what we ‘can’t’ do rather than what we can, or have achieved. If that voice in your head is constantly criticising and judging you, it’s no doubt going to wear you down and hold you back. This critical voice in your head is referred to as ‘a chimp’ in another of my recent motivational reads, The Chimp Paradox.
‘Your inner chimp can be your best friend or your worst enemy – this is the Chimp Paradox.’ – Professor Steve Peters.
This in mind, I want to share some of the ways you can work towards positive self-talk. It’s no easy task, but these small changes can make a huge difference to your mindset, and in turn, your life.
‘Powerful and positive self-talk can change your entire mindset, which can affect your actions.’ – forbes.com
4 Steps for positive self-talk:
Focus on what you CAN do: It’s not always easy to visualise reaching your goals. There may be challenges ahead and ups and downs as you develop in your career. Try to focus on what you can achieve, rather than the difficulties. For example, say you want to start a new business but don’t know where to begin. Negative self-talk would say ‘I can’t start my own business, I don’t know how to’, whereas positive self-talk could say ‘I can set up a meeting with an advisor to learn how to start my own business’. Take it step-by-step and focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t (yet!).
Stop using ‘I’: Self-distancing is a great technique for positive self-talk. By addressing yourself in the second person, as if you were talking to someone else, you may find you speak more sympathetically, kinder, and overall more positively to yourself. For example, when those ‘I can’t do this’ thoughts come creeping in, try saying to yourself, ‘You’ve got this’, the same way you would to a colleague, employee, or a loved one.
Avoid comparison: A big part of negative self-talk can be comparing yourself to others. This can never be helpful, as one person’s achievements (or often, luck) are absolutely no reflection of your own! Remember to focus on you: your own achievements, your own goals, your own life.
Check on your emotions: With the above in mind, we understand that positive self-talk isn’t as simple as just changing a few words and saying self-affirmations (although they’re valuable too). Our inner voice can be directly affected by our mood, and what we’re experiencing. By acknowledging and learning to process your feelings, you may be able to recognise and alter patterns in negative self-talk. A good way of doing this is by keeping a mood journal. Write down how you feel, your thoughts, what has happened that day and any coping mechanisms that helped.
333 Can Help:
Changing your mindset can be a very difficult task, and the above tips simply touch upon some of the basics. Here at Triple Three Solutions, we want to help you to achieve your career goals in ways that can truly improve all aspects of your life, not just business. If you’d like support on changing your self-talk for the positive, or for anything else, please get in touch. Give our HR consultants a call on 0333 050 3330, use our contact page or email email@example.com.