Is your self talk holding you back?

Every year thousands of new businesses startup and also every year thousands of business unfortunately close – but have you ever wondered why some businesses are successful and others aren’t.One of the factors I believe it comes down is to the Business Leaders attitude. Now, attitude covers a very wide spectrum of issues, however the one I want to deal with here is Self Belief – and perhaps more specifically the ‘chatter’ that goes on inside your head which, just might get in the way of you believing in yourself 100% of the time.

If you have attended a 4Networking LEARN session one of the topics that is covered ‘Self Talk’ this is what goes on in your head all the time, it is not normally something we think about it just happens, but it happens to all of us all the time. It is that little voice inside our head, sometimes this can be very useful – like when you are just about to say something inappropriate and a little voice inside you says “STOP, if you say that then…..”. However, on other occasions your self talk may not be as helpful and it might actually be holding you back and can be quite easily read by others.

How you might be thinking can self talk be readable by others? Well it is down to body language – your body actually responds to do what you are saying – so you have to make sure that you are sending it the right messages….. your self talk needs to be positive if you are to be portraying a positive message.

Take the example of when you are doing your networking pitch. How often have you delivered a 40 or 60 seconds overview of what you do only to sit down and think damn I didn’t say ‘x’ or you beat yourself up about how or what you did say. Perhaps if it did not come out quite as you had planned, your self talk will be negative as you retake your seat and you can be sure that your body language is too.

Lets consider a sporting analogy to really make the point of how self talk can hold you back.

Back in the 1954 nobody had ever run a mile in under 4 minutes. In fact the scientists of the day said that it was impossible and even if a man could ran a mile in under 4 minute mile then his internal organs would explode. It is hardly surprising that nobody had run a 4 minute mile because of the Self Talk an athlete had when he went to run – “nobody has ever done this, it impossible and if I did did achieve this then I might die!”
Roger Bannister had total belief that he could run faster then 4 minute mile and that this would not cause any harm. Roger’s belief was so great and he was so determined that on the 6th May 1954 he broke the 4 minute mile with a record breaking 3minutes and 59.4 seconds – in the sporting world this was phenomenal after decades of athletes trying. Whilst that was amazing in itself, what I think is even more incredible is that just 46 days later this record was smashed by John Landy who ran a mile in 3min 57.9seconds. And then within three years, by the end of 1957, 16 other runners also cracked the four minute mile.

This incredible story clearly demonstrates how we are limited by our own belief’s and if we dispel these belief then anything is possible.

So, what is really going on inside your mind when you approach a specific situation which you might not feel entirely comfortable. One common topic I often come across is “Closing the Sale”., so lets take this as an example.

You have covered all the foundations with the prospect, you have understood his needs and offered a potential solution.

Are you thinking to your self……
“of course the prospect will buy because to be honest, why wouldn’t he with all the benefits that he will enjoy if he uses my product or service?”
or are you saying to yourself……
“I’m not sure if he is going to buy after all it is quite expensive and there are lots of other alternatives on the market and perhaps he hasn’t got any money anyway.”
In this situation you could ask the prospect exactly the same question ….. “…would you like to buy?”
… but depending upon your self-talk as I said earlier your body language will be saying completely different things as this directly has an impact on your physical actions which can directly impact the outcome of a situation.

There are many other situations where your Self Talk will have an impact on the outcome. Perhaps you will recognise some of the following….

  • When you are asked to do something new and unfamiliar
  • When you are inviting someone to an event
  • Picking up the phone to a customer or prospect
  • Writing an email to a customer, supplier or prospect
  • Making an important decision – or perhaps making any decision!
  • Delivering a Presentation

In each of these situations you will have Self Talk going on which can either make you feel more or less confident. Some of the examples of Self Talk which might make you feel less self confident are as follows….

  • What if they say NO, I will feel rejected
  • What if they ask a question I cant answer
  • I am not sure if I have the skills to really do this
  • These people are pretty clever, they might know more than me.
  • I am not really good enough to do this
  • I am really worthy of being successful

Each of these statement are not enabling you to feel more confident about delivering what ever you are doing. You cant stop your Self Talk and nor would you want to, however there are lots of things that you can do which can turn this to your positive advantage and eliminate self-chatter which may hold you back. Here are just a few of the things that you could do to help you in these areas.

  • Be prepared by researching your topic, being clear on benefits
  • Be confident – understand what you are really good at.
  • If you have a gap in skills do something about it – learn new skills
  • Be really clear on the outcome you desire and the impact they will have (or the impact or not doing it)
  • Understanding and Accepting “No’s” are not personal are infect an essential part of moving the business forward.
  • If a task seems too big then break task into smaller more achievable components

I believe that you should equip yourself in the most effective and efficient way possible to enable yourself to be successful.

Create yourself a Toolbox of resources that will help you if your Self Talk starts to get in the way.

Examples of what you might have in your self-talk toolbox:-

  • NLP Techniques – this provides some really useful ways to overcome fears
  • Coaching Resources – some techniques on how to approach specific situations
  • Books – Many books exist on self talk and positive thinking
  • Process & Approaches to situations – methods to break down tasks into smaller steps then it becomes a lot easier to take those steps
  • Passion & Desire – Check in with yourself – if you haven’t got the passion and desire to succeed for the specific issue you are handling – then you need to think again.

This is a very big topic which can have a massive impact on your self belief and desired outcome. My final recommendations for you are

  1. Become conscientiously aware of your self-chatter- both positive and negative
  2. Take clear specific steps to deal with negative self talk
  3. If you are having difficulties with overcoming negative self-chatter talk to someone who can help you with this.

Good luck and I hope your Self Talk is now telling you …. wow what a fantastic blog, I really must post a positive comment on here…. 🙂


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