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The Way You Speak to Yourself Matters
It’s not just you!
The pressure to perform makes us talk incessantly in our heads. The ongoing commentary is both natural and a way to relieve stress. But the quality of the narration matters. Leaders who become nasty inner critics undermine their ability to perform.
If you tell yourself that “you suck,” or “you’re in over your head,” or “I’m starting to circle the drain…” often enough, you will believe it.
Does poor performance lead to poor thoughts or do poor thoughts lead to poor performance? The smart money is on the latter. The way you talk to yourself is a reflection of your focus.
Once you’re used to your own trash talk, the confidence required to perform at your best is exceedingly hard to muster. Who you are on the inside is reflected by how you perform on the outside.
The mind guides action and the science points to the fact that positive self-talk improves performance. The internal dialogue you have with your inner voice either promotes or takes away confidence. The best leaders work hard not to allow the inner critic to grab ahold of the internal microphone.
Instead, they turn negative thoughts into commands. You can, too.
The next time you have a negative thought, immediately give yourself a command for future action:
“That was a pathetic thing to say” becomes “Recover quickly with a powerful story.”
“What were you thinking, you dummy?” is replaced by “You can make a better choice next time.”
“What is the matter with you?” is followed by “Stay focused and listen intently.”
Frequently replace negative commentary with commands for action and you will soon find the inner critic has taken a permanent vacation. Don’t let your self-talk turn to the dark side. Fight off the negative commentary that can quickly become a habit. Substitute a command for action anytime the critic pops up in your head.
Never let the inner curmudgeon prevail. Your performance depends on it.