Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about the power of our words and communication. Looking at some of the simple things we can do to ensure that we communicate with the people around us in a way that is not only powerful, but effective.
In doing this however, something else came up, ‘self talk’. Now I have heard this phrase so many times – it’s a ‘coach/mentor/self-help’ kind of phrase. In my reading, listening, and seeking advice from mentors I have learned that my self-talk is indeed powerful.
So, I decided to actually listen to my own self talk.
What I’ve learned has really surprised and somewhat frightened me. Here are some snippets of my conversations over a three hour period:
“Oh Bl**dy Hell are you late with that too, Jo?”
“You idiot, Jo! Why didn’t you set that up better from the beginning?”
“Jo, you know better than that – do it again and do it better!”
“Good work sunshine, spilling that glass of water all over your desk has cost you time you don’t have today!”
“Yeah, reports are done, but are they gonna be good enough?”
OMG – what I have realised is that if anyone else spoke to me the way I speak to myself I would not tolerate it at all! In listening to my self-talk it’s revealed an inner critic who is loud, demanding, impatient, intolerant, rude, and a big bully. I don’t think I like her very much at all.
What is very concerning is that this inner Jo, the voice of Jo, is currently my boss; business advisor; business partner; clinical supervisor; and because she is stuck in me, she is my closest companion. I am not a fan! She requires performance management and new KPI’s.
Now, if I was to recruit a boss, business advisor, business partner, clinical supervisor etc I would be seeking a person who is kind, compassionate, patient, thoughtful, considerate and encouraging………I have totally recruited the wrong person for these jobs!
So why on earth is it acceptable for me to use this tone and language with myself? I can take a guess that the use of this kind of self-talk is rooted in my deepest fears – fear of not belonging, not being good enough and not being significant. However is that kind of a talk actually going to help resolve some of those fears? Doubtful.
I wouldn’t put up with this tone, attitude or language from advisors or staff, I will now consciously not put up with it from myself. There are nearly 40 years of language habits to break here so I don’t expect this to happen overnight – but I do expect that in raising awareness within myself, I now have the choice to change. That’s right the Choice to CHANGE.
So, I’ve decided to start a new conversation with myself; one where I’m encouraged, enthusiastic, patient, kind, and compassionate. I’m going to develop the kind of self-talk that I would expect from business associates and staff. I build this culture for my team, so I’m going to build if for myself. After all, as the Leader I need to model this to others.