Throughout your career, the difference between success and failure often boils down to one simple thing: self-talk. Positive self-talk can be very powerful – it can fully change your mindset, which in turn can affect your actions. This has a massive impact on the success you have on your career journey or any other journey in your life. It helps you tackle those obstacles that we all inevitably face.
The Power of Positive Self-Talk
What we tell ourselves, be it fact or fiction, reflects directly how we see ourselves and the part we play in the world. How we view ourselves and the nature of our self-talk can shape our entire physiology of perspective.
Getting into the habit of encouraging positive self-talk and self-reflection doesn’t happen overnight. As with most things, it is a learned skill that takes practice, always. You’ll no doubt catch yourself slipping – a lot. But the key is to recognize when you’re talking down to yourself and take steps to immediately correct it.
From a neurological perspective, self-talk can be considered a remodeling of our brains. In order to do this, it’s necessary to change certain words. For example, instead of saying “I,” use your own name when referring to yourself. This practice alone helps to boost feelings of acceptance and self-confidence. Sound weird? Perhaps, but it works.
To illustrate, instead of thinking, “I really aced that presentation at work,” say to yourself, “(your name) really rocked that presentation…” This referring to yourself in the third person can have powerful self-regulatory effects, leading to anxiety regulation and stress reduction. It also puts a little distance between you and the situation.
But that’s not all. These are eight amazing tips for impacting your mindset in a positive way and for improving self-talk overall:
Make a gratitude journal. Every morning, write down 3-4 things you are grateful for. This steers your brain to help recognize and experience the positive vibes already there in your life.
Never compare yourself to others. Comparison is a natural human habit, but it never leads anywhere good in your mind. On the contrary; it serves only to fill your brain with negative emotions and self-doubt. Reaffirm how wonderful you are, and that your special brand of greatness does not compare with anyone else.
Affirm yourself daily. If it helps, post little notes around your home in places you’ll see them, with affirmations such as “I am proud of myself for…” or “I’m very good at…” or “What makes me special is…”
Surround yourself with positive people. It is human nature to take on the perspectives and outlook of those around us, so actively seek out and spend time with people who have an upbeat attitude and also practice positive self-talk. In doing so, they will naturally bring out the best in you and are likely to give you good, constructive feedback.
Write down your goals. When you put goals to paper (not just a word processor), it makes them more real, and therefore easier to stick to. Rather than ideas simply floating in your head, they become tangible and attainable. Use a daily intentions planner to keep track of short- and long-term goals, and make yourself accountable for them.
Exercise. This one is important. Finding a form of exercise that works for you raises the endorphins, thereby increasing a sense of well-being and setting the stage for self-confidence. Ever notice how good you feel after a workout? Your mood changes for the better and you feel great the rest of the day. It’s the endorphins!
Help others. Helping out a friend or family member, or volunteering is a great way for you to recognize how much you matter and how you can positively impact others. When you give back, it’s hard to feel bad about yourself when you’re helping others feel good.
Visualize success in your life. What do you want to achieve? How do you envision yourself achieving it? Imagine that you have reached your goals. How will you feel when you finally get there? This visualization tactic re-wires your brain because it doesn’t know the difference between real vs. imagined. So, when you imagine success, your body will follow!