Because it's your life! Because it's your life! Because it's your life! Because it's your life! Because it's your life!
Life and career coaching by Joan Steidl Life and career coaching by Joan Steidl Life and career coaching by Joan Steidl Life and career coaching by Joan Steidl
Thought for the Week

Attitude Change: As Simple as ABCDE

Studies prove that positive self-talk can lift depression, boost our immune system, make us more successful and even make us happier.

How we talk to ourselves – really makes a difference in the quality of our life.

We all engage in self-talk. Think of self-talk as those small automatic thoughts that pop into our head when something happens.

For example, you’re on a diet and you eat a piece of chocolate cake. You tell yourself “See. I really have no self-discipline. I’ve never been able to diet…this time will be no different.” You speak up in a group and share your opinion. Everyone disagrees. You become quiet and say to yourself “now everyone thinks I’m an idiot. When will I learn to just keep my mouth shut?” You have an idea for a new business but you say to yourself “I’m not creative…I’m sure someone else has already thought of this.” So you never get started.

We all engage in negative self-talk from time to time. We’re human beings – we do become filled with self-doubt and lose our confidence. The difference between non-successful people and successful people is this: successful people know when they’re engaged in negative self-talk and stop. They don’t stay stuck in it.

Imagine if people like Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bill Gates, or Thomas Edison stayed stuck in negative self-talk or self-doubt. They never would have taken risks. And we never would have been enriched with their gifts of leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Greek Stoic Philosopher says Leviticus says “People are disturbed not by things but by the view they take of them.” Today what risks are you not taking today – what potential do you have that is not being developed because your negative self-talk is holding you back?

A person who uses negative self-talk might say, “I’m stupid or not very bright.” The cost of such talk? She would probably never take the time to improve his or her mind. The same person engaging in positive self-talk would say “I’m uneducated.” She would not call herself stupid. Instead, she would be more likely to take the time to take a class to improve her knowledge and mind.

If you’re always asking “what if?” and thinking about the worse case scenario, you’re a worrier. Your negative self-talk will make you anxious and on edge.

Or perhaps you’re someone who constantly judges yourself and says things like “geeze, that was dumb, why are you always this way? You could have done it like this.” Well, you second guess yourself often. As a result your self-esteem suffers because of your negative self-talk.

If you find yourself saying to yourself “I can’t…I’ll never be able to…what’s the point?” then you’re a Victim who feels hopeless and helpless. This kind of negative self-talk will keep you feeling stuck and depressed. .

Or maybe you’re a perfectionist. Your self-talk is constantly pushing you to do better. You’re prone to stress and burnout. You’re always saying things like this to yourself “I should be working harder. I should always have everything under control. I should do this, I should feel this way…I should be this…” and before you know it you’re shoulding all over yourself.

No matter your style of negative self-talk – negative self-talk often makes us give up, lowers our self-esteem, makes us more prone to depression, and limits our ability to live up to our potential. There’s truth to the saying, “as a man thinketh, so a man is.”

There’s a poem I came across 20 years ago. I’m sorry to say I do not know who the author is (if you know please let me know. I want to give the author credit.). His or her words are ones worth heeding, and ones I continue to find inspiring.

If you think you are beaten, you are.

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you like to win, but think you can’t, it’s almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.

Success begins with a person’s thoughts - it’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are.

You’ve got to think high to rise.

It’s not the strongest or fastest man or woman who always wins.

But sooner or later, the person who wins is the one who think she can!

Today make a decision to put an end to your habitual negative way of thinking. Ask someone to help you - a coach, a mentor, a friend, a spouse, or a family member. Lessen your negative thinking and you will find you are less likely to quit and give up. You will find that your negative thoughts no longer control your attitudes and actions. Change your thoughts. Change your life. Because It’s your life!