Have you ever noticed a trend in the thinking patterns of successful people? Have you ever wondered why it seems like success comes so easily to some people and so difficult for others?
It all has to do with your beliefs and self-talk.
People that achieve success in a consistent basis have one thing in common. Whether they are successful athletes, executives, business owners, or artists, they all know that they will succeed. They know this before they even attempt to achieve the goal they set out for themselves. They envision themselves living the way they want to live and feeling the excitement, gratitude, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from reaching what they set out to do.
Positive self-talk is the dialogue that goes on in your mind. It is where you believe in yourself and are confident in your capabilities to the point that you are certain that you will succeed. Here is a list of steps you can take to create positive self-talk to get ahead in life.
- Choose to create positive self-talk. When you realize the enormous power that thoughts have over your actions and view of life, you should make a decision to stop living your life with self-imposed limitations. Once you opt for a life filled with opportunities, potential, and fulfillment, you take the most important step to creating the reality you desire.
- Feed your mind. Choose to look for good things to focus your thinking on. Focus your attention on positive, uplifting, and encouraging words to say to yourself. For example: I don’t have to finish everything in my task list today or Dealing with this client will make me a more patient person. Choose to look for the silver lining.
- Practice persistence. Now that you realize that your self-talk has been going on for decades, you must know that taking back control over your self-talk will not happen overnight. It is a progress that will require your effort.
Continue to find ways to remind yourself to stop and analyze any negative self-talk and to counter it with a positive message to yourself. As you do this, it will become easier. You will reach a point where you do this without realizing it and building your positive self-talk will actually become second nature.
- Observe your self-talk. Try to relate to your thoughts as scenes in a movie theater screen. When you put yourself in the role of a third party or outsider, it is a lot easier to practice neutrality and to see a situation for what it really is. By becoming an observer of your thoughts and self-talk, you are better able to assess their validity or lack thereof in each thought or thinking pattern. In time, you will also be more apt to seeing trends in triggers that cause the negative self-talk to take place.
- Re-frame your Thinking. When you become aware of having a negative thought, give it a positive spin. For example, if your self-talk tells you Im never going to get the promotion. Im late to work yet again!; remove the negative opinion and the judgment from it. Then, you can re-frame it into a more positive message like I was late to the office today, what can I do or avoid doing to get here on time? Don’t allow your self-talk to beat you up so much. Take control of it and give them a spin. Focus on how you can avoid doing the behavior again.
- Watch for Absolutes. A lot of people have a tendency to use phrases like I always, I never, or I am with negative self-talk. These phrases can be terribly harmful to you. They create an instant limitation on you and your capacity for change. Avoid them at all costs. A good way of doing this is asking yourself questions regarding the self-talk message.
- Ask yourself Questions. Ask yourself questions like: 1. What led me to this thought?, 2. What would be a better solution or way to handle the situation I’m facing?, 3. What would allow me to overcome this challenge?, 4. What is another potential outcome in this situation?, 5. What would be the worst thing that could happen?, 6. If the worst thing that could happen did happen, how would that affect me? Is the effect really that bad? Is it fatal? These questions are a great way of combating limiting self-talk.
- Stop the Thought. While you are in the middle of listening to your negative self-talk, stop your thoughts mid-stream by saying Stop. If your surroundings allow you to say this out loud, do so. The physical act of saying stop out loud will make you better aware of the frequency in which you are stopping negative thoughts, when it happens, where you are when it happens, and what is happening right before it.
- Rubber-Band Snap. Wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it each time you hear negative self-talk in your mind. If you cant say Stop out loud, this is a great alternative. The physical pain you feel from this action will be a huge motivator in stopping the negative self-talk.
- Replace Negative Self-talk with Other Messages. A lot of people find it easier to replace negative self-talk with positive messages than to remove self-talk altogether. Some things you can do to replace your negative self-talk are: A. Use more gentle words to refer to yourself and to situations. (For example instead of thinking I hate being late, replace that thought with I really don’t like being late.) and B. Change Limiting Self-talk like I cant win this case! or I’m not going to be able to get that client! to questions like Why would I not win this case? and What can I do to prepare for it better?
Self-limiting statements are extremely harmful. They not only increase your stress in response to a situation but paralyze you from finding solutions to the problem. Replace these thoughts with questions instead. This way, you’ll be in the right frame of mind for finding ways to solve the problem. Asking yourself, How can I win this case? or What can I do to get that client? is much more empowering, isn’t it?
- Learn Discipline. View your practice of removing and changing your negative self-talk like you would a work out plan. You are not going to see results right away but will feel great once you do. Just like there will be days where you are not motivated to go to the gym, there will also be days where you are not motivated to keep track of your negative self-talk or counter it with positive messages. Doing it however helps us develop our discipline and drive.
It gives us a sense of pride for our accomplishment and a sense of control over our life. Its an incredible boost of confidence!
- Modify the Golden Rule. We are creatures of habit. Its no wonder how easily we can fall into patterns of self destructive thoughts and behavior. Instead of continuing to be your own worst critic, teach yourself to be your best support. Be respectful to yourself and treat yourself with the same compassion and kindness that you would treat others around you. Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t want another person to say to you.
Sonia Gallagher is a Coach for Lawyers at Time for Life, LLC. She helps lawyers get more clients, more profits, and more professional satisfaction within the practice of law. She teaches them strategies that transform them into rainmaking machines with more free time and a healthier work life balance.