I have spent upwards to 20 years learning and coaching positive self talk. I learned it from my volleyball coaches, as a player, and taught it stringently as a coach myself. Negative self talk is the #1 thing that can take an athlete out of their game, regardless of physical abilities. With this sound knowledge and background, how is that that I identify myself as the #1 offender of negative self talk? Here’s my major hurdle day-to-day:
“I can’t do anything right”
I can’t tell you how many times I have felt that way, even when I receive just one criticism. Nowadays, instead of giving or receiving a criticism or congrats every 11-14 seconds (average volleyball rally time) I’m found working away, giving life and work 100% of my efforts until someone flips a passing comment that carries a negative connotation. This comment may mean nothing, but without getting that constant feedback from a guiding source the only comment I have heard is negative. Now that negative comment echoes in my head for days, sometimes weeks – sometimes I even have dreams about the specific failure over and over again. Life was so easy when I was constantly receiving kudos or tips on how to improve! Almost makes me envy those who just do the minimum…
Why this way of thinking is wrong:
Obviously I CAN do things right – I know that in my heart of hearts. The majority of the things I do are pretty darn awesome to be honest. Does it feel like that? No. Should it? YES. I need to take the time, regardless of what my family, my bosses or others fail to do – and celebrate my wins too. If we only focus on losses, life feels like a loss. Even if I have to force myself to do this at home or work or wherever, focusing on the positive needs to be done. Without this, life will remain a string of losses regardless of reality. We’ve all heard these wise words, “If you think you can’t, you’re right!”
Still feel crappy? That’s OK.
The worst thing you can do about these thoughts is feel bad about them. That’s just another negative thought you’re creating in your mind. Accept that this is human nature at its best (ha!) and learning how to change those thoughts will empower you. In my case, I’m a perfectionist and I sometimes just have to tell myself that I don’t give a sh*t what <insert name here> thinks about this because I tried my very best, did well and I’m not going to beat myself up over it.
Take it from a perfectionist that will always be unsatisfied with the status quo – you have bigger and better things to worry about than failure. Without risk there is no reward, without failure we would never know how good success really is. If you’ve come this far, you’re a winner in my book :)
Image courtesy: Pure & Simple Organizing