How Do You Talk To Yourself?

 In Communication, Self-Esteem

Mike is a smart, motivated entrepreneur who came to me for coaching because no matter what he did, he couldn’t seem to make his business successful.  As he explained his situation, it became apparent to me that Mike was being abused.  He was the victim of verbal abuse, and he was the abuser! 

Mike abused himself verbally every time he thought about his business.  He would begin by thinking of all the wonderful things he could do to make it successful.  Then he would immediately remind himself that he wasn’t intelligent, knowledgeable, charming, energetic, capable, or competent enough to actually do what he wanted to do.

Once he started on that negative train of thought, it became a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” where the more he predicted failure, the more he failed.  He created a downward spiral that was so steep and fast I was amazed he still had a business at all.

Does this sound familiar? Do you undermine yourself at every turn?  How can you turn this self-destructive behavior around?

If you’re like Mike, you might have no idea you are talking to yourself this way.  You might think you’re positive and upbeat, and for some reason, things just don’t work out.  However, like Mike, you might want to start paying attention to your thoughts.  He did and realized he was beating himself up with words.

Mike understood that his words had nothing to do with the reality of how capable and competent he is.  His negative self-talk was a thinking pattern that he’d learned from the adults in his life when he was very young.  They had always focused on what he couldn’t do rather than on what he could, and it had become a habit he carried into adulthood.

Ask Empowering Questions

Mike decided to change this habit of verbal abuse by focusing on what he can do and asking himself empowering questions.  Instead of saying, “There is no way I can finish this project by Friday” (which is negative, limiting, and self-defeating), he switched to asking himself, “What do I need to do to finish this by Friday?”  This simple change of phrasing made a big change in the message he gave himself and in the outcome.  He was now speaking to himself in an empowering manner, with the assumption that he has what it takes to get the job done.

As Mike paid more attention to how he spoke to himself, he realized that he also spoke to his employees, customers, and family in the same defeating way.  Instead of focusing on what they can do, he always focused on what they can’t possibly accomplish.  He never indicated that he really believed in his people and their ability to be successful.  It was no wonder that employee morale was low and customers scarce.

Now when Mike talks to himself, his employees, customers, and family, he asks questions that open up possibilities and get people moving and motivated to succeed. These questions usually begin with “what,” “how,” or “who” and are designed to move people forward.  As a result of this simple shift in attitude, the atmosphere at his work and home is much lighter and more optimistic, and his business is beginning to grow.

So, how do you talk to yourself and those around you?  Do you focus on the positive and possibilities, or do you verbally abuse and undermine everyone by focusing on what can’t be done?  You might want to try asking empowering questions and see what happens.

It’s something to think about.

Have you ever wondered what coaching is all about?

Sandy is now offering a FREE Coaching Call, so you can see how it works and what a wonderful benefit working with a coach will provide you.

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