Managing Your Self-Talk

A big part of who we are at The Forte Factor is dedicated to helping our clients be the best version of themselves. To discover, develop and live their strengths. To work toward their definition of happy and successful.

To do all this requires you to be aware of your world, aware of yourself and, perhaps most importantly, being self-managed, recognizing that sometimes your strengths may be too strong for a specific situation, and your liabilities may be unchecked.

In a recent article by psychologist Joan Rosenberg, she talked about five irrational thinking patterns that can negatively impact how you think and feel about yourself. Reading through these thinking patterns, it reminded me of the importance of self-talk. Tuning in to who you are is a challenging first step to the coaching experience. It requires you to tune out the rest of the world and be completely honest with yourself to identify your strengths, your liabilities and what makes you happy.

For those of you who take the time out of your day to tune in to your self-talk, how much of it is negative?

Your negative self talk is that sneaky voice seems to come from nowhere, challenging your confidence and making you think twice about something you’re about to do. “You’ll never be able to make that sale.” “You don’t belong here.” “You are not good enough.” “You are completely out of your realm here. You don’t even have a senior title.”

At The Forte Factor, we call this your Super-Committee – the negative, critical and unproductive self-talk our inner critic is all too eager to share. Our Super-Committee challenges our confidence and competence, reminding us of the times we’ve failed in the past. Though its motivation is positive (it really just wants to protect us from things that didn’t work in our past), it can keep us small, stuck and afraid to go for the things we want in work and life if left unchecked and unmanaged.

So how do you manage the Super-Committee? It’s all about your self-talk.

Everyone has had some failure in life. Whether big or small, it can elicit the same uncomfortable feeling every time you think of it. So, embrace the failure. Recognize what happened and own the mistake (this is part of being human). Work through your feeling of discomfort. Ask yourself: what can this experience teach me? And how can I be better next time? Challenge yourself to be completely honest and identify what worked and what didn’t work. Don’t judge it. Simply notice and learn from it.

You’ll find your Super-Committee can be a bully. Similar to not giving bullies any ammo to make you feel bad about yourself, working through uncomfortable emotions and situations allows you to shift your self-talk from negative to positive. You can’t feel like a failure if you see yourself rebounding from the situation bigger and better.

One thing I love that Joan Rosenberg says is that it’s your decision how you think about yourself and how to you talk to yourself. You always have the choice to make life what you want it to be. If you choose to be happy, you have the ability to make that happen. Take control of your life. Start with how you talk to yourself.

Take Action
Think of something that happened to you recently that made you particularly uncomfortable. Think about that event and focus on the emotion(s) you felt. Take a few moments to reflect. What happened? Why did it elicit the type of emotions you felt? What did you learn from the event? How could your Super-Committee try to use this event against you in the future?

Manage your self-talk and your Super-Committee by being self-aware. Nothing can quiet the loud inner critic more than being confident and clear about who you are.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading The Value of Setbacks

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Experience Isn’t Your Enemy

By Kristin Allaben

Just a few short months ago, my husband and I welcomed our second child. There were a number of things we realized we didn’t do during the second pregnancy that we did with the first, like remembering to take those weekly belly pictures or scheduling that extra ultrasound to get those coveted profile shots of baby. With Baby #2, life was busier and those little things were pushed to the back burner to accommodate everything else going on.

I used to get frustrated with (and sometimes down on) myself for not doing everything the same way for #2. My husband would try to lighten the mood by shrugging and saying “second kid.”

It always made me uneasy when we’d use that phrase and, I admit, it took a few rounds of checking in with myself to learn why. To me, it implied a sense of laziness or that you cared less. I realized, however, the “second born syndrome” actually implies being wiser and more aware because you’ve been there before. It’s about experience.

Here’s a great example. New moms are notorious for demanding anyone who wants to hold their newborn to wash their hands. I’ve actually been around a few new moms who went a little more extreme and refused to let anyone in the same room as the new baby if they had a small cough (*ahem* guilty…). With the second, I admit, I was less demanding about hand washing. Sure, I was diligent and asked if someone wasn’t feeling well to not hold the newborn, but otherwise I was a bit more easygoing.

This isn’t because I cared less. It’s because I had experience with a newborn and I learned from it.

We learn from life’s experiences. They help us be better, wiser and sometimes saner the second time around. Mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn stated that if we can be present to the information in this moment to learn what it is telling us, we can make our next moment better. We can use what we learn to be wiser, smarter, more confident and more supportive because experience shared something profound with us.

I don’t like the negative connotation associated with the phrase “second kid” or “second child syndrome.” Perhaps I could change it to more accurately reflect the type of parent I become when I intentionally tune in to each moment with every subsequent child: “second born experience.” Maybe this is a more productive way to see how we change and learn, and to appreciate the gift that experience regularly brings.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. How friendly and supportive is your self-talk?
  2. How can you be more mindful to intentionally tune in to the lessons life brings you to make each moment going forward even better?
  3. What is one thing you can do each day to make learning and experience a major focus?


Consider reading Are You a Life Owner or a Life Blamer?

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