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The Gift or the Curse of Self-Talk

Everyone talks to themselves. It’s a fact. On average approximately 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts whirl around in your head every day. It’s hard to believe but this means you have between 35 to 48 thoughts per minute!

Whether this is a gift that props you up or a curse that has you insecurely scrambling to better yourself is up to you. In fact, the internal dialogue you choose to have with yourself influences the external world you are creating every day. Can you see the dynamics this one habit alone will have on your career – either positively or negatively?

Let me share a couple of habits you can easily develop to turnaround your self-talk muscle.

  • Internal Message: Research by Dr. Sandra Dolcos at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign revealed shifting your internal conversation from the first person “I” to the second person “you,” optimistically impacts your outlook as well as your interpretation of the world around you.

So, when you are working on a project, convert your self-talk to: “I interact with the group in a powerful manner” to “You interact with the group in a powerful manner.”

Why does this work? We are not sure. Researchers suspicion is that our brain is more receptive to second person messages because that is how our parents and teachers instructed us. Interestingly, the first person “I” seems to tap into emotions more. For women, who, according to research, are more self-critical than men, using the “I” does not add-value to your sense of self.

Whatever the reason, the second person “you” works. Try it out for yourself.

  • Anticipate: I recently gave a speech on the topic, Don’t Get Left Behind, You Own Transformation. An attendee shared: “When I arrive at work, I see a huge sign hanging across the entrance that says, NANCY, WELCOME. YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A TERRIFIC DAY!” What great advice.

Challenge yourself to implement these new practices for the next 21 days (that is how long it takes to develop a habit). I bet you will experience a rejuvenated sense of self as you face your day.

Let me relate one last transformative exercise I recently learned at the World Business Executive Coaches Summit (WBECS). Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, considered one of the top 10 business influence gurus in the world, led our group through this meditative examination of self:

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and then another. As you breathe, with each inhale and exhale, recognize you are a ‘new person.’ Now, with your eyes still closed, mentally gaze back at your ‘old selves.’ Note what all those ‘old yous’ accomplished through the years.

Open your eyes. Then ask yourself: What would the world be saying right now about your ‘old yous’ achievements and successes? Speak it out loud. Own it. Know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the amazing you recognized by the world—not the negative, self-deprecating talk frequently live streaming through your brain.

The career power and velocity you realize from employing these mental practices will astonish you. I would love to hear your self-discovery stories resulting from exercising your new self-talk muscle. So, connect with me on LinkedIn or send an email to nancy@nancyfredericks.com

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