Self-talk regulates your self-image. If you believe you’re an average (or terrible) performer, you won’t be able to do much better or worse than your baseline self-assessment. Self-image is determined by what you consistently tell yourself about yourself. So you have the power to change your self-image by changing your self-talk. This will program You for success.
Become aware of what you tell yourself. It probably includes negative self-talk. Berating yourself damages your self-image. It’s time to stop doing it. Many people believe that they’re at the mercy of their thoughts. Accomplished people know that by working on controlling your thoughts, you get better at it.
Despite common belief, talking about a problem doesn’t solve it. When you focus on something, it dominates your mind, pushing other thoughts aside. With this come attendant feelings and behaviors. Focus on negative thoughts and you feel bad. The human mind is fertile ground where seeds are continually planted. Plant seeds for the good things you want to achieve. Learn to talk to yourself about your strengths and how to improve. Concentrate on solutions not problems, and bolster that positive focus with self-talk and visualizations.
In our experience working with athletes, players who visualize their game are calmer, better prepared, and more likely to succeed in high-pressure situations. They prepare their minds and bodies early to avoid emotional surprises when they get to the real event. The same is true in business.
Our new book Organize Tomorrow Today, 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life, provides a five step Mental Workout for creating success by changing your thoughts. The workout takes only a hundred seconds to complete each time.
1. Centering Breath: Breathe in for six seconds, hold for two, exhale for seven.
The biological response to pressure is an elevated heart rate, which reduces your ability to think effectively. A centering breath gets air into your diaphragm and slows down your heart, allowing your brain to operate optimally.
2. Identity Statement: For fifteen seconds recite to yourself a preconceived personal mantra that reflects your strengths and your desired level of success.
Research shows that the bolder an identity statement is, the more impactful it will be. Emphasize your positive qualities and pinpoint what you want to become:
• I am full of positive energy. I make $1 million per year, and I am an awesome mother and wife.
• I outwork the competition every day. I am the most effective salesperson in the country. I experience true love as a husband and a father.
3. Personal Highlight Reel: Spend thirty seconds visualizing three “done-wells” from yesterday. Then take thirty seconds to visualize three things you need to do well tomorrow.
Visualize specific moments of success. These will spill over into the areas not visualized.
4. Repeat your 15-second identity statement.
5. Take another 15-second centering breath.
Now, you’re ready to succeed!
Dr. Jason Selk helped the St Louis Cardinals win two World Series while serving as Director of Mental Training. He now trains companies and organizations on how to achieve optimal performance. He’s the bestselling author (with Tom Bartow) of Organize Tomorrow Today, 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life (Da Capo Lifelong Books, January 2016), 10-Minute Toughness (McGraw-Hill, 2008) and Executive Toughness (McGraw-Hill, 2011). He’s a regular television and radio contributor to ABC, CBS, ESPN, and NBC, and has appeared widely in print. Learn more at http://www.enhancedperformanceinc.com/.