The most important person you are going to listen to today is yourself. Those are not my words—they are the words of John Maxwell on his leadership blog.
As Maxwell explains, there are a lot of voices we hear throughout the day, but the one that has the most positive upside or most negative downside is … what we say to ourselves … what Maxwell calls self-talk.
The point is 100% correct. But what if you have been beaten down by a parent, spouse, boss or other person for so many years that you are stuck in negative self-talk? What do you do to get unstuck and start talking/hearing positive self-talk? Hear are a few ideas:
- Recognize you are not alone. There is a reason why leaders like John Maxwell and Michael Hyatt are successful. Because they help hurting, struggling people. And this world is full of hurting, struggling people: You are one. I am one. Your best friend is one. Your neighbor is one. Your pastor is one. We are not alone with our struggles and one of the best parts of the Internet is the ability to connect with others, finding a wealth of commonalities. Look around. When you recognize that you are not alone in your struggles, you gain the ability to walk side-by-side a negative self talker or to follow a positive self talker.
- Realize your potential. Mom always told me that God does not make junk. Whatever your faith, you (and your past) are living proof that you can always do better. Remember the first elementary school project you had? The next one got better. Remember the first lawn you mowed in the summer heat? The next time you did it faster. Remember the first song you sang in public? The next one you sang was more melodious. The point is that we all have talents and passions. No matter what negative things can be said about you (…by you…), there is untapped potential in you to shine. I believe it! Do you?
- Re-assess your talk. I use the word re-assess because you have to go back to the drawing board. If you are mired down in low self esteem, you have already assessed your value (…albeit incorrectly…). You have to re-assess, meaning DO IT AGAIN BUT THIS TIME CORRECTLY. With a clear lens, see that you are not alone, you have great potential, and that the negative things you have been telling yourself for years is simply wrong.
- Repeat daily. This is perhaps the hardest part. You may believe in yourself just a little bit more after reading these words. You may find an ounce of passion that you once had that got lost after years of negativity. You may ignite a spark to get unstuck out of old patterns. But the world and your circumstances are not going to change overnight. You have to repeat this assessment everyday you get up, you have to turn on the positive self talk, and you have to reject the negative self talk.
Question: What tips do you have to help turn the negative talk to positive talk?