Miki Shelton

Miki Shelton

Do you hear what you’re saying?

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Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.

How many times have you walked into a situation, taken one look around, and thought, “Oh no…”
“…I’m terrible at this.”
“…I can’t do that.”
“…this is going to suck!”

You are not alone. If you are trying to achieve a goal, or try something new, you will definitely be faced with uncomfortable situations. In fact, learning to be comfortable in the uncomfortable – getting outside your comfort zone – is necessary for your personal growth.  However, it’s natural to be intimidated from time to time by the work put in front of us.  The good news is we have the ability to help ourselves break through those mental barriers by using positive self-talk.

Practicing positive self-talk teaches you to make positive choices in your weakest moments. It can be as simple as telling yourself, “Breathe.” when when you’re standing in front of a room full of people who are hanging on your every word.

SealFit Founder Mark Divine encourages us to develop a personal mantra that we can repeat to ourselves when negative thoughts threaten to derail us, like “Day, by day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” or to use power statements like, “I got this!” or “Piece of cake.”  You get the idea.

When a negative thought comes up, don’t worry and obsess over it. “Name it to tame it,” says Justin Su’a, sports psychologist for the Boston Red Sox.  “Notice the negative thought, name it, and let it go. Then reframe the thought in a positive way.”

I have been finding this exercise particularly helpful, because it’s not about ignoring reality. It’s about acknowledging the reality instead of fearing it.  For instance, instead of thinking to yourself “I hate public speaking; I’m really bad at it…” try changing your inner dialogue to turn it into a positive statement, such as, “Ok, speaking in public is not a strength of mine YET, but I’m going to continue to find opportunities to practice this skill and I will be well prepared every time.”

It puts us into a fix-it mode as opposed to a powerless one so that you are now actively part of the solution instead of being at the mercy of something.  Catch yourself when you reflexively react with fear, and see if you can’t find a way to reframe your thoughts and feelings. Don’t defeat yourself before the battle begins. Language is a powerful ally. Use it to your advantage!

Henry Ford said it best: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right!”

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