Self-Talk – What are you telling yourself?

tennis player jumpingOur self dialog is one of the most important barometers of success. Self dialog is the continual stream of thoughts we have about ourselves and how we fit into the world. If you tell yourself continually that I am loved, I am intelligent, I can do it, I have something to give, I am deserving, I have what it takes, I am destined for great things…, your experience will follow your thoughts.

In order to do anything of value you must first be able to clearly picture that positive desire in your mind. I am a sports fan and if you look closely at many sports you will notice athletes just before they start taking a moment to picture in their mind the result they want to see.  Before a downhill skier hurtles down an icy slope they go into a trance picturing every bump and turn.  Before a golfer hits a shot they picture the trajectory, where it lands and how far the ball will roll.  If an athlete isn’t totally confident that they can succeed and see themselves in advance succeeding their results will be inconsistent at best.  Only the athletes who walk around knowing they are good perform on the field of play.

This week Michael Jordan is getting a lot of air time because of his 50th birthday. Talk about supreme confidence! Imagine the self-talk of Michael Jordan. I’m sure there was no question in his mind that he was great and that nobody could stop him.

For the rest of us who are not top notch athletes we can take this lesson of mental preparation and self dialog. We must be our own #1 fan, we must believe in ourselves and like ourselves.  If you aren’t there yet there you need to take the steps necessary to become confident in yourself.  Why was Michael Jordan confident? Because he was talented, because he practiced more than anyone knew and because he wasn’t afraid to put himself on the line time after time after time.

Another lesson here is the ability to shake off adversity and failure. Just because you have a good self dialog doesn’t mean that everything is going to go right. What is does mean is that you will have the resilience to move forward with confidence. A consistently positive self dialog is like wearing armor, it protects you from those little arrows that sometimes come our way.