Some of you know that several years ago I fulfilled a life-long dream of going skydiving.  It was a thrill, at least for me.

A funny thing happens when you’re amongst a group that is about to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.  Quiet, rationale people will start to share their coping, or lack of coping skills out-loud.  It’s as if all personal filters have been removed when facing that level of fear.

And so I had the opportunity to listen to people’s self-talk live and in person as they prepared to face a fear or fulfill a dream.

And let me tell you, it wasn’t all pretty.

One women was simply repeating that she “hoped she didn’t die.”

Can you imagine jumping out of a plane after spending all afternoon thinking about it and just hoping you weren’t going to die.

Yeah, she didn’t make the jump.

This was such a vivid example of the power of self-talk and how negative self-talk, can talk you right out of doing something. Some part of that woman was interested in skydiving, she showed up for some reason, but she wasn’t able to actually achieve the goal.

Other people had something along the lines of, “I can get through this. I can do this.”  And that is not bad self talk. For them saying something like, “This is going to be awesome,” just wouldn’t ring true and then it’s useless.

You need to believe your self-talk. So if you need to take it down a bit, that’s just fine. Just be sure that you are communicating a positive outcome.

Other people were completely on-board and excited, they were the, “This is going to be awesome,” group and this self-talk reflected their level of excitement and their belief that they were going to jump out of that plane and have a great time doing it.

So the key with self-talk is keep it positive and make sure you believe it.

Start to examine some of the things that you routinely say to yourself and notice if they are positive or negative. Begin moving your self-talk in a more positive direction. This will enhance your results and boost your confidence.


John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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