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Volume 6 Number 5   |   May 2016

Talking to Ourselves

Our self-talk creates either routes to success or self-limiting beliefs. Here's a recent exchange between a client [C] and me [M]:

C: I can't seem to create an approach to gaining new clients.
M: First, stop saying that.
C: Okay. I want to create a way to bring on more new clients.
M: Have you brought on new clients before?
C: Yes.
M: Do you recall how you did it?
C: Yes, I spoke at events where they heard me and they asked for more information about how I could help them.
M: Can you find such speaking opportunities now?
C: Yes.
M: Then start doing it.

The corollary to the now-famous "Stop it" admonition for bad behavior is "Do it."

Our self-talk can stop us in our tracks. "I'm overwhelmed" usually is more of a creative phrase than a descriptive one. "I'm stuck" drives us into the ground instead of freeing us.

Improving our Speech

We need to catch ourselves (and enlist others' assistance in catching us) when we use restrictive and negative language about ourselves and our "predicaments." It makes a huge difference to say, "I have to find a way...." rather than, "I can't find a way...." We need to change "I can't control my weight" to "Help me find a way to control my weight."

Too often we make ourselves hopeless, box ourselves into a corner, foreclose our chances of improvement all because of our word choice. I'm not contending that words along will make things change, including mindless affirmations such as "I am a great salesperson" repeated a thousand times. But I am saying that our energies, focus, and motivation will be more properly aligned in the pursuit of the positive rather than a repetition of the negative.

Finding the Light

We need to discipline ourselves to use language that we'd use on others whom we want to help. You'd never say to someone, "You can't find your true strengths," you'd say, "Let's find your true strengths." You wouldn't say, "You're in the dark," but rather, "Let's find the light."

At least, that would be your attitude if you really wanted to be of help! The same applies to really trying to help yourself.

© Alan Weiss 2016

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