Let’s be honest: Do you talk to yourself?
No, this article isn’t meant to alarm you or send you running to the nearest psychiatric ward.
The truth is, we all talk to ourselves (albeit most of us do so quietly, in our heads).
It’s called “self talk.”
Self talk refers to the conversation that we have with ourselves throughout the day. From the moment we wake up until the moment our head hits the pillow after a long tiring day.
And often, these quiet conversations are inherently negative, driven by fear of failure or rejection…
“I can’t believe I slept in … again!! Big fail. I’ll never be an early riser.”
“Adam seemed like a great potential referral partner. We clicked when we met and he said he would send something my way, but he hasn’t. He must not really want to do business with me.”
“I don’t have the confidence to do that.”
“I can’t grow my business the way I want to, I just don’t have the time to do what it takes.”
This internal dialogue may seem harmless, but in actuality it can cause real lasting damage … especially when we repeat the same stories over and over again.
The steady flow of messages we tell ourselves impacts our thinking, self-confidence, actions and performance.
We tell ourselves the same destructive stories every day.
“I can’t…I’m not good enough…I’m too old…I’m too tired…this isn’t fair…this is too hard”
The running commentary goes on and on like a broken record. It becomes second nature.
These stories keep us stuck, holding us back from creating the results that we really want. They restrain us from reaching our potential, and worst of all, we let them!
One of the principles of the Mortgage Maven Method is capitalizing on every conversation that you have. In my recently launched program, Make Every Conversation Count, I teach leaders, sales professionals and support teams of all generations to increase and strengthen their authentic communication skills.
One of the modules focuses on self talk, exploring how and why the conversations we have with ourselves gets in the way of achieving our professional and personal goals.
Most people are not aware of the direct connection between self talk and our results. If you want to shift your results or experience ~ whether that means increasing your sales, income or workplace satisfaction, then you need to understand the nature of this relationship.
In my last article, Finger Pointing Points Right Back At You, I identified the only three things that we have control over: the thoughts you think (self talk), the images you visualize and the actions that you take. Your ability to control or change your thoughts and behavior determines your experience.
Many people make the mistake of assuming that the stories we tell ourselves are undeniable and absolutely true.
Challenge yourself to identify what conversations you are having with yourself that may be limiting you; delaying you or stopping you from moving forward and reaching your goals.
The only way to steer clear of counterproductive or plain destructive self talk is to determine their authenticity. You have to look and see, tell the truth and take action.
Look and See. Does the “truth” you’re telling yourself even exist? First, take a moment to see the situation for yourself. Are you looking at things clearly? Are your emotions like fear or anger clouding your perception of what’s really happening? Ask for honest feedback from someone you respect and trust to get a real grasp on the situation.
Tell the truth. When you’re calm and don’t feel emotionally revved up, take a few moments to reflect. Is the story you are telling yourself absolutely true? On occasion these stories are true or have elements of truth — that’s what makes them such good stories! Identify the facts in the situation and ask yourself if there is evidence to support the story. If it is indeed true, what changes do you need to make to change the status quo and work toward achieving your desired outcome?
If the story isn’t true, it’s time to make a conscious effort to tell yourself a new story. It’s also worthwhile to do some self-reflection and question why you were telling yourself this story to begin with.
Take action. When fear or self-doubt are present, the only way to quiet the mind is to change the story by taking action.
Let’s say you’re telling yourself that you reached out to a prospect once already and she did not respond, therefore she clearly doesn’t want to work with you.
Rather than accepting defeat, take immediate action. Reach out again! People are truly busy. Your invite may have gotten caught up in junk mail or could be sitting on their “To Do” list.
Even a small action step will help you change the conversation. When you stop engaging in negative self talk, you create opportunities for productivity, creative thinking and problem solving.
- Get four pieces of paper. On the first page, record a goal or dream that you have put aside until now.
- Take a deep breath and list all of the reasons why you have put it off. What are the excuses you’ve given yourself or others? This isn’t an exercise in perfection. Do this quickly; emptying whatever comes to mind onto the page. Don’t worry whether the reasons make perfect sense … just keep writing.
- Next, think of another goal or dream you haven’t pursued. On the second piece of paper, write down the reasons for this goal deferment. Be as specific as you can.
- Finally, think of a third, unrelated goal, preferably one from an area of your life other than work. Now you know the drill: get all of your reasons for not tackling that goal down on a third piece of paper.
- Now read over what you have written on the three pages. Do you see any repeated words or phrases?
- On the fourth piece of paper, create sections A and B. In section A, record any recurring themes, words or phrases.
- In section B, think of the justifications you have told yourself about why these reasons make sense. What do you tell yourself about why you have these worries, doubts, frustrations and issues? Jot these reasons down.
- Looking at A and B on the fourth page, you have created an outline of how your mind looks when caught up in self-talk.
These are the stories you tell yourself.
Take action by focusing on what you want to create, achieve and contribute rather than focusing on the worries, doubts, fears and excuses that hold you back.
Identify one small, feasible step and take immediate action
A 30 year veteran of the industry, Cindy served as Loan Officer, Branch Manager and Area Manager. To impact the industry’s toughest challenges. she masterfully developed the Mortgage Maven Method, the Mortgage Industry’s #1 Breakthrough Performance for Sales Leaders. Her other program – “Make Every Conversation Count” – teaches and increases authentic communication skills in leaders, sales professionals, and support teams of all generations.
Cindy is a well-seasoned and experienced expert advisor who coaches private clients, does speaking engagements, and holds a variety of impacting workshops.
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To Your Success,