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The worst friend in the world.
And how to get them out of your head.
There is no more important relationship than the one that exists in our own mind.
This relationship dictates our joy on a moment to moment basis.
Yet it’s not obvious to most of us to view this as a relationship.
After all, it’s just…us, right?
Sure. On the material level that’s inarguable. But our lived experience tells us different. Our lived experience tells us we’re in a persistent dialogue. There is a conversation we’re having with ourselves every single day.
Self-talk, for simplicity. But self-talk doesn’t capture the gravity of that dialogue.
On one side of the conversation is the “us” that’s experiencing life moment to moment and responding accordingly. And on the other side is the silent “us” - the one that doesn’t respond, just receives.
The ego. Our true nature. This isn’t a philosophical argument for how these two are or are not different from each other. But I know if you’re reading this, it doesn’t need a philosophical explanation, because our experience tells us it’s there, no matter what words we apply to it.
Like any relationship, it can be our best friend or our worst enemy.
But unlike every other relationship in our lives, we don’t have a choice to walk away from this one. We’re stuck with it until the day we go back to the dirt.
Seems like an important one to get right.
One of the unexpected benefits of being a coach is that you start to see life and the situations within it through the lens of coaching.
I have always struggled with negative self-talk. It’s a commonality I see among most high performers. Perhaps that negative self-talk is part of the reason we’re driven to do more. Like everything, it has to have some measure of utility, or else it wouldn’t be there.
But addictions have utility too. That doesn’t mean we should hang onto them.
To increase the frequency and durability of our joy, we have to improve the nature of the conversations between our ears. Here’s how.
Externalize the situation.
Any time we’re in our own heads, beating ourselves up over this thing or that, the best thing we can do is to externalize the situation. We need to remove ourselves from the dialogue.
When we do that, we remove the baggage of ourselves that we’ve carried into the conversation.
We’d never talk to a colleague the way we talk ourselves. And there’s immense power in realizing that.
Because we can take the negative self-talk, use someone else as a proxy for the situation, and work through it in a more productive way. The pesky ego wants us to carry a bunch of crap into our self-talk that has nothing to do with the situation. It’s the epitome of muddying the water, and it makes it nearly impossible to operate from a clear headspace.
But pretend it’s someone else. It’s not hard to do. In fact, you’ll probably find it’s natural to do.
Be a great friend.
Whatever you’re struggling with, pretend it’s actually your best friend that’s struggling with it.
How would you talk to them?
What would you say?
What would you not say?
How would you give them hope?
How would you help them see the situation through your eyes?
How would you shift their perspective?
The answers will vary based on the situation, but what would inevitably follow is
Kindness. Empathy. Candor. Encouragement. A hug.
Those are the things that make a best friend a best friend after all.
This is the 🔑 to self-talk.
The ability to externalize. To remove ourselves - our ego - from the situation. To view things the way those that care most about us would view it.
When we do this, we go from being our own worst enemy to our own best friend. Our own coach. We see things more clearly because the muddied water has been filtered.
It’s been said that wisdom is the ability to take our own advice.
Self-talk is the conduit through which that happens.
If we can get it right, we have the wisest coach in the world living in the six inches of space between our ears.
✌️ and ❤️,
Certified High Performance Coach™
👉 Forward Coaching