Changing Self-Talk Through Engaging With It

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This morning I chose a meditation by George Mumford in my 10% Happier app. This app has “courses” led by great meditation teachers to lead you deeper into practice and to provide tips on how to deal with the stress of daily living. George has become my favorite of all the teachers on this app. I wish I could take him home and let his gentle voice guide me through all of life’s problems.

90% of it is learning and practicing. Only 10%  is performance. So all of the pre-thinking you do, all of the habit patterns you have, happen before the performance – that’s why you can’t separate the performance from now.

~~ George Mumford, meditation teacher who taught Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant how to meditate.

He makes a point that our negative self-talk is the biggest hindrance to performing. If I am afraid to do something, or I think I can’t, it is going to impact my ability to complete the task. He says we can’t just ignore the voice because if we power through and ignore it during practice, it will be literally screaming at us during the performance. And it always impacts our confidence. The alternative is to listen to the voice, investigate whether or not it is true and create a new narrative from the truth. Only in this way do we help mold self-talk that is supportive of reality and helps build confidence. But you have to practice to know what comes up for you.

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I am not very detail-oriented. It has impacted my work in the past. I used to tell myself that I was not good at managing details, and I would forget all kinds of things. I’d find myself getting frustrated with any complex task because I’d try to keep it all in my head, and my head assured me I was going to fail. I had an insightful boss who had the foresight to send me to a class where I learned a system to organize work and prioritize. It was the beginning of my learning how to manage details with “tools” instead of my abilities. Success helped build my confidence that I could overcome that shortcoming.

In my new job as a Project Manager, I’m starting to get feedback on what I bring to the table. Almost everyone says I am really organized. I usually laugh out loud because that is the farthest thing from the truth. My self-talk could easily sabotage my abilities in that area. But, when that little voice in my head tells me there are too many details, and I’ll never remember all this sh*t, another more reasonable voice reminds that my toolkit has the appropriate tools to create a path through the chaos. My shoulders relax, my mind quits spinning, and I can set myself to organizing the work. And every time I do it, that voice gets louder and more coherent than the other one. But without practice and years of learning new tools and techniques, I would have never built that kind of confidence in myself.

What is your self-talk telling you? Can you teach it a new, more informed message? What can you learn and practice that would help you step up to a higher level of performance? 

 

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