WE ALL HAVE THIS CHATTER going on in our minds all the time. It’s part of being human.
But not always useful.
The problem is that it’s constantly influencing your attitude and those around you. It can destroy your effectiveness as a leader.
This has been called “self-talk” or “inner voice” or a variety of other things. It’s how you speak to yourself in your mind. Not necessarily even using sentences or even words.
This was brought out to me clearly some years ago when I was asked to do the exercise of writing down what my inner voice was telling me about my skills, accomplishments, and value in the world. The instructor told us to be as honest as we could be, to let it all come out.
Then the papers were mixed up and given – anonymously – to others in the room. The question was: Can you possibly imagine telling someone else what’s written on the page?
Everyone’s answer, emphatically, was “no.”
This self-talk was FAR more critical than we would ever verbalize to someone.
“You haven’t accomplished anything.”
“I’m deeply disappointed with you.”
“You don’t know what you’re doing.”
It would have to be a tremendously contentious situation for you to tell something like that to someone else, right? Yet it’s the kind of thing that’s knocking around your head.
I’m not a big fan of just replacing this with “happy talk,” because that’s not authentic. And I really want to be authentic with myself. But there’s some great questions you can work on to change this internal chatter:
What is it I’m grateful for?
What can I celebrate?
Who do I want to show up as today?
Spend a few minutes with these questions every day, and your mindset will shift. It’s worked wonders for me.