How good are your self-talk listening skills?
Listening is a “Major Player” when it comes to being successful.
Listening is also a critical, and integral, part of personal performance.
But who is it that you are listening to?
When we are children we listen to our parents (big choice there right?). We grow up and listen to our boss, spouse, and yes, still our parents.
Does your performance depend upon any of them? No, and their is usually negative.
Your Personal Performance is under YOUR control and no one else’s. The dreams and goals that you have, and the effort that you take to get them, are directed by your thoughts, your work, and your listening skills.
Yes, listening to a mentor, coach, or and expert is very helpful to your success. However, listening you yourself may be the most important thing that you can do to improve your performance.
Good News – Bad News
Whenever we are working, playing, or even just sitting around, we talk to ourselves. The obvious term for this is Self-Talk.
Self-talk is what we say to ourselves when we are happy, sad, frustrated, working, competing, driving, or just sitting watching the Telly.
Some of our self-talk is disregarded and of not much importance. That’s the “Good” news.
It may surprise you to know that a lot of negative self-talk is likely to be hanging around your neck like a 100 kilo dumbbell.
Inside of your brain is the one hundred pound kettlebell. It can really “Ring your bell”!
Self-talk is actually that “Deal Breaker” that you associate with business transactions.
Depending on the things that go through your mind when you are working to accomplish something that is new, that you do not understand, or if things just are not going the way they should, self-talk can destroy your dreams. That’s the “Bad” news.
Self-talk is one of those things that we learn as we grow older. By the time we are 10-12 years old, we have developed a lot of bad self-talk habits.
You have probably heard it said that “We are our own worst enemy”. This is certainly true when it come to talking to one’s self. Most people are extremely critical of themselves.
“I hate myself”, “I’m stupid”, “What’s wrong with me?” “Ill never learn”, and more extreme is “I wish I were dead!” (but not really). All we really want are answers to our problems.
Unfortunately, many of these self-talk bad habits are solidly set by the time we are teenagers and young adults. You listen to your parents, siblings, friends, and relatives get angry, frustrated, who say negative things, often about themselves, and as young children we pick up these habits – good and bad.
If you are lucky, you will be around people who are focused on achievement, willing to find solutions to problems, have work ethics that others envy, and do not spend days, weeks and months drowning in their own sorrow.
People who are raised in a positive environment are much more likely to have a more productive and successful life, and lifestyle. There are no guarantees that your productivity will be amazingly high, or your self-talk habits will be better than most, but you have had good mentoring, and likely still have access to good mentoring.
I’m a loser and life SUCKS!
So what can you do if you were not lucky enough to have a positive influence when you were growing up? Plenty!
Nobody, not even the most successful have pure positive self-talk going on all of the time. Everyone makes mistakes, and when that happens we begin by taking it out on ourselves (maybe you have noticed). Actually, many of the most successful are the most critical of themselves, that is, with this slight exception. . .
The exception is that they do not dwell on the failures that occur, but quickly work to find solutions to problems.
It is important to accept failure as part of doing business with life. Life comes and goes, and how you think in life determines how you live, feel, enjoy, and what your legacy will be that you will someday leave behind.
Experts, Coaches, Mentors
From a psychology standpoint, it has been shown that if you say something enough times, most people will end up believing that “Something” – true or not (i.e. is the world really flat?).
So, how many times in your life have you called yourself stupid, loser, worthless, or some other derogatory name? Probably enough times that you have that belief. Unconscious maybe, but it is still ingrained in your mind, and int the way you structure your life.
Is there a problem with getting help?
If you are not an electrician and your lights go out, do you attempt to fix everything yourself? Sure, you check the breakers or fuses, you stand and stare at all of the wires, but you end up calling an electrician who tells you that your house almost burned down (because YOU tried to put in a switch yourself and you wired it wrong). Now you can call yourself another name! Go ahead, I’ll wait.
If your house is burning, do you wait to call the fire department? You are having chest pains, passing out, and are short of breath. Do you check the internet to find a solution? You are more likely to be on your way to a doctor or emergency room.
Why is it that you are unwilling to find someone who can help you re-structure your thought processes, guide you toward a better understanding of what you really are able to do, give you the confidence to do it, and create that positive mindset that you have been missing all this time?
Psychology, Psychiatry, Experts in your field of interest, Coaches, and Mentors are all people who can help take that “Monkey” off your back. If you are willing (the big “IF”) to seek out help, you can usually find it.
One of the things that is almost ALWAYS brought to my attention by people is the cost. “I could never afford you”. “I don’t think I can swing it”. One of my favorites is: “My credit card is maxed out”.
It is not about the money, and hardly ever is a monetary issue.
It is about fear, self-deception, and change. It is fear of change,
and not believing in yourself. “Oh, I could never do that”. But you
still keep trying to do “That”.
I have been offering 5 days of totally free coaching for some time now, and
some people actually take me up on my offer. Most people who see the offer
do not take me up on it. Why not? Fear!
If you fail you will again have to listen to your own negativity. The other side is that if you actually do succeed, then maybe you won’t beat verbally yourself up so much.
Some people are just curious, some don’t feel they need help, but when you
come to my site, or see my offer somewhere, you are looking for answers.
Most of the time I have those answers.
The reason is that if I, or someone else gives you the answers, but you don’t make the effort to do anything differently, then you will be listening to yourself, once again,
and you will be calling yourself names. Failure! Stupid! “You can’t
do anything! It’s not that you “Can’t” do anything, it’s that you “Don’t” do anything.
It is important to understand is that you don’t have to be mean to yourself.
What coaching, mentoring, counseling, or whatever you want to call it,
will teach you, is how NOT to verbally keep stabbing yourself in the back.
Some people are great listeners when it comes to listening to others. Formal schooling in the areas of counseling and psychology requires classes where listening skills are taught.
Even the best listeners often fall prey to self-destructive behavior.
Think about it – even “Shrinks” have their own “Shrinks”.
Personal listening skills are strengthened by just listening. Plus, one more thing – PAYING ATTENTION! You must know when negativity is triggered, and what triggers are causing your negative self-talk.
You already know that when you make a mistake that causes you to lose time, money, or status, that you are not nice to yourself. Even the best of the best have this problem.
We can all handle a little self-criticism, but when “Little” turns into an avalanche of self-destructive self-talk and behavior, then you have a real problem.
You are not alone. Most people unnecessarily self-sabotage because of their fears, which can lead to self-destructive behaviors.
Try these 3 tips to more positive self-talk.
POINT #1: Pay attention to how often you criticize yourself.
POINT #2: Limit your self-criticizing. 1-2-3 words, 1 minute, etc.
POINT #3: Let yourself know when you are done criticizing – then STOP!
POINT #4: Get on with fixing your problem. Finish.
I like to hover over points 2&3 sometimes. I yell and scream at myself (not in public),
and deliberately go overboard with my negativity.
What this does (for me) is it makes me start laughing. I end up feeling a bit silly and am more conscious of my feelings and how I am reacting to situations.
Think about all of the things that you have overcome.
Consider all of the things that you have done that you never
thought you could do – but you did them.
You can do much more than you now allow yourself. By breaking the negative mental cycles, you will amaze yourself at what you can accomplish.
So who are you listening to?