Your beliefs, your self talk, your experiences and results drive your self-worth, right? If it isn’t where you want it, what’s still stopping you from trusting yourself?
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Trusting Yourself – self talk matters
Have you ever noticed how much “mind chatter” is going on within our heads at any time? Our thoughts never seem to stop, do they? And how big a distraction can they be?
What are you allowing them to say to you? Is the mind chatter supportive or critical? Expecting or worrying? Decisive or fussing? Uplifting or downgrading? Accepting or judging? Gentle or harsh? Positive or negative? Encouraging or doubting?
Do you listen to it? Do you believe what “it” is saying? Do you allow it to influence you?
Do you identify superficially with what it’s saying or do you get your identity from elsewhere; from deeper within yourself?
How does it make you feel about yourself? Is there a chance its constant interference could be having you doubt yourself more than trusting yourself?
Our conditioned thinking and our self talk defines our ego and is one of the greatest contributors to “how we see ourselves”. Often trying to “keep us safe” from making fools of ourselves or “getting something wrong” instead of encouraging us “to have a go”.
Trusting Yourself – the role of conditioning
In her book “Time to think”, Nancy Kline talks about young people going through their childhood and teen years learning to “fit in” rather than learning to think for themselves. So much energy is spent trying to figure out in a group what they are “supposed to think” (as in what everyone else thinks) that instead of thinking, you can see them scanning the faces of others in the group to see what the “right answer” is – so as not to draw ridicule from anyone. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But it has a massive impact on us in those formative years.
I have also referred to Don Miguel Ruiz’ book “The 4 Agreements” in this context. It is one of the best descriptions I have found about the power our conditioning holds over us, irrespective of our age or stage in life. He calls this conditioning “agreements” because as youngsters, we “agreed” to adopting and accepting them.
Both books are highly recommended.
Trusting Yourself – your achievements
So may I ask you to just reflect on your life and your career for a moment? Just allow yourself to think of everything you have achieved: as a child; as a student; as a friend; as an employee; as a sportsperson; as a partner; as a parent; as a manager; as a leader; etc. Think about how much you already know and everything you have learned. Think about your successes. Go on, admit it. It really is very impressive, isn’t it? How does that make you feel about yourself?
So how is it that we tend to forget about all that and so often allow our “mind chatter” to have us doubt ourselves instead? How is it that we don’t build on those achievements and draw confidence from them and “talk over” the mind chatter?
Trusting Yourself – what is it really?
What is trusting yourself really? Is it self-belief? Or having faith? Being confident? Trusting that when we need something, that we can rely on the answer simply “arriving” for us in the right time?
Out of all my coaching and mentoring, my clients and I have derived so many different perspectives on how to deal with this transition from doubting oneself to trusting oneself. We are all at different points in that journey, so there never can be a “one size fits all” answer. I won’t go into all those, but just a few of the useful results have been:
- To become aware of our “mind chatter” and “talking over” any unsupportive thoughts rather than listening to them. To think of “the gap”, prolonging the space between one thought finishing and the next one beginning and using the technique of “reframing” to remind us of our achievements rather than our doubts.
- To arrest the mind chatter for a while by focusing all your attention on your breathing – most people can’t engage any thoughts at the same time as concentrating on their breathing. Try it – it may give you a break from the relentless stream of thoughts, even if only for a few minutes.
- We developed some great anchors and affirmations. Repeated reminders of positive, uplifting messages about how great you really are. I recommend Shad Helmstetter’s book “What to say when you talk to yourself” or Louise Hay’s book “You can heal your life” as being useful to select or develop some affirmations that can help you build a solid belief in your own ability.
- Have a think of the people you surround yourself with at work, at home, at leisure. Successful people surround themselves with successful people and you can exercise a choice of who they are. My mum used to say to me: “show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are…” Avoid being around “negative” people, you know – those that will always find something to criticize, find something wrong or not good enough. Or always trying to “keep you in the pack”. Unfortunately they can also be family members. Now you don’t have to go as far as we did to emigrate…. no, I’m just kidding.
- You can also choose to read inspiring and uplifting books. In the last 25+ years I have made a point of reading at least one personal development book a month. Why not put yourself on a “book of the month” program to allow them inevitably to build a more pronounced “awareness and belief in self”. Leaders are Readers. Leading to trusting yourself.
- Finally, learning to embrace unfamiliarity and uncertainty. I changed from being a good coach to becoming a great coach when I “chucked my notes”, trusted in myself and chose to “willingly embrace uncertainty”, trusting that what I need at any time will come to me when I need it. And you know what? It usually does.
So what if your newfound awareness allowed you to stop and “talk over” the unsupportive mind chatter? What if you reminded yourself how much you have already achieved? What if you made some space to trust in you? What if you did and it worked and helped you become who you want to be?