Another reason I’m a component of self talk is that I’m dang good at it. Seriously, I’m so good at talking to myself I could go pro. I think I can speak for all only children when I say it’s a trait we learn early and master well.
We just try not to do it when anyone’s looking. People talk, you know.
Truth be told we all talk to ourselves – we just don’t do it out loud. More times than not, the conversation takes place quietly in the mind… kind of behind the scenes. Yet, even there, self talk is as powerful as any superhero’s superpower.
Not long ago, I was up against something (work-related) that seemed uncommonly large. I felt like a fly in the shadow of the Empire State Building. My initial thoughts were, “Maybe if I ignore it, it’ll go away…” What are the chances of that, though? How many times do we have a task in front of us that suddenly magically disappears, as though a magic wand had been waved in its direction?
Maybe I’ve watched too many fairy tales over the years.
The problem wasn’t the big task, even though he was a beaut. I wasn’t facing a problem, I was the problem. More to the point, my attitude (or my “self talk”) was the problem. Without even realizing it, I kept the following conversations on repeat in my brain:
- I freaking can’t do this!
- This is too much for one person…
- What the what, dude?!?!
- Why can’t this just disappear?
Round and round went the negative thoughts and on and on went the negative self talk. And since nothing positive ever springs from a pool of negative, I never made a bit of progress.
Then it hit me, right in my laundry room. I’d stepped away from my computer to answer the dryer’s relentless buzz. While folding towels, I heard a familiar voice in my mind (the reasonable side of me that I hadn’t heard from in a while) and the words were clear, distinctive, and empowering: “I’ve slayed bigger dragons than this.”
Clearly I have watched too many fairy tales over the years.
While finishing up the laundry, I thought of the dragons I’d slain over the years. While the dragons had employed different means of attack ( illnesses, loss of loved ones, professional challenges, staggering disappointments..) – they all had one thing in common: They were smoked. Put in their place. Laid out.
In fact, when I thought back on some of this dragon’s predecessors, he seemed more like a gecko.
When I returned to my computer, the big fire-breathing dragon that had been sitting on my desk was nowhere to be found. I went about the task at hand and everything fell right into place. Nothing tangible had changed – I hadn’t been granted more talent, the task had not diminished… Everything was the same while, at the same time, nothing was the same. The only thing that had changed was my attitude and my self talk.
The good thing is… that’s the only thing that needed to change.
The next time you’re up against your own dragon, think back to the dragons you’ve laid out… then tell him he’s next. Don’t get in your own way with a pattern of negative thoughts or waste time throwing up wishes that the dragon would just disappear.
You’re the only one that can make that happen, slayer.
Never doubt yourself,
Also See: I wrote a related post a while back titled You? A Dragon Slayer? You Bet! (Seriously, what is it with me and dragons?)