Talking yourself out of success is easy. We have thousands of thoughts of our shortcomings ready for the purpose. Talking yourself into action on the key steps to your goals is much harder.
As we go about our days, we think about our work and judge our actions. At times this can be part of a constructive and reinforcing learning dialogue. Too often though we are lost in negative self-talk. In an increasingly digital world we can get lost in our own heads.
We project how hard things are or will be. We turn out behaviours, changeable on a whim, and make them immutable characteristics that mean we cannot succeed – cautious consideration becomes a lack of ambition, a reticence to promote oneself becomes shyness, a lack of energy becomes laziness and so on.
Our self-talk shapes our efforts and our resilience in pursuing success. I have talked myself out of great opportunities because self-talk shattered my confidence. Knowing how to pick the moments that you are undermining yourself and change the dialogue is key. Friends and colleagues play a key role in helping us test our self-talk against reality and in resetting our efforts.
Nobody needs a permanent critic that they can’t shake. Self-criticism can be a healthy part of learning. Make sure it is measured and that you are providing yourself with constructive and realistic feedback.