Today we are going to talk about self-belief.
In my role, I get to go behind the curtain, so to speak, of people's psychology, and they often share with me what's really going on inside their head. Often, these are some of the highest performers that you and I know, that we see in major organisations, or even household names. This is a privileged position because when someone shares with you their self-talk, it is a very personal thing.
I've often said that the language we speak is the window to a team's or person’s soul. The challenge is that in our lives, each of us carries these little self-talk recordings, and when something happens, they just trigger. “Oh, I'm not worthy.” “I don't know how to do that.” “I'm not good enough.” A role comes up that you would just love to do, “I'm not ready,” or “I don't know,” or “Oh, someone would be better than me.” All these little things, the imposter syndrome, the lack of confidence, are all driven by these little words we say in our head, often even outside of our conscious awareness.
The impact of mindset on body
But what happens in reality is we have a physiological shift in our body. They result in a change in our posture, in our heart rate, in the way we hold ourselves. Our whole state of mind can shift from one that might've been resourceful, where we are can-do, where we're optimistic when we're getting to doing things, to one where we stop and we pause. We are unresourceful.
What we know about mindset, or even a little mantra, is that it can change your state of mind and hence your physiology; your muscle tension, your heart rate, your breathing pattern, the biochemicals that are released in your body. When you have a negative mindset, it is often an erratic kind of feeling, it's constrictive, the heart rate is fluttering.
I want you to start paying attention to what that does to you physically. When you're in a negative physical state, it's easier to have more bad self-talk, more lack of self-belief. Self-belief is a label we give to how we feel about ourselves overall, and that is impacted by how much good and bad self-talk we have.
They affect the biochemistry you're carrying, they affect how people perceive you, the energy that you put out into the world, so much so that when people meet you, they can sense if there's something holding you back. They can see it in your physiology.
Myth-busting negative self-talk
A little while ago this year, we had a few things with our business not going so well. I lost a bit of confidence and it happened so quickly. Immediately, the self-doubt came in. “I'm a fraud.” “I'm not good enough.” “This is not right.” This was just victimisation. I can't believe I went down this path, but I did. And we all do. The best performers, the best CEOs that I've ever met, they all have little seeds of doubt, the recordings in their heads.
So, my challenge to you is to take some time to do what we call myth-bust. Myth-bust those little one-liners, those little recordings in your head. Take each of them, and write them down on a piece of paper. Put it in a little circle.
Then ask yourself how true they actually are, because the idea is that they're never true, they're made-up, they’re a myth. Maybe you're over-generalising. Maybe you say, “Oh, I'm never any good at anything,” when really you're brilliant in a whole range of things, but maybe there's this little thing that you haven't quite cracked the nut of just yet. You don't know the process, or you don't have the skill to do it just yet. So just go and myth-bust those little things, because when you can start speaking more positively inside your head, then you are in a much better place.
Flow: a good place to be
Think back to a time when you were doing something at your utmost best, when you are in flow, either presenting to someone, doing your job well, whatever it is that you are really good at, I bet you will notice that there is absolutely zero self-talk. That is actually a prerequisite for what we call being in the zone or being in flow. No internal negative dialogue, it just disappears.
So the best place to be is where negative self-belief is just almost nonexistent, and you simply focus on how to get something done rather than believing how you can’t do it. You start asking questions like, “What would I need to do in order to achieve that job opportunity?” Or a difficult project comes up, or a really tricky stakeholder who keeps beating you down, you then find some ways to ask better questions, to engage them in a different style of conversation.
In the minisodes over the next six months or so, I'm going to spend a lot more time talking about self-awareness, emotional control and emotional intelligence as they are a real passion of mine.
Chief, I wish you all the best in this process. And I believe in you, because I know that if you stopped playing those silly recordings, those little myths, you would be further along than you are right now.