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Say Something Useful When You Talk To Yourself

Aug 17, 2007
What do you tell yourself when you run into a problem? Do you think about how to fix whatever is wrong, or do you get stuck?

The story you tell yourself about who you are in the world has an enormous influence on how you approach problems. There are lots of different popular story themes that lead to different actions.

"I'm a competent person." You notice the resources you have available - money, friends, time, transportation, etc., and start using them to find a solution.

"I never do anything right." You notice all your mistakes, criticize yourself for having the problem, wait around hoping someone else will fix the problem, and put off any action. You may do something to help you forget the problem like take a nap or read your junk mail.

"It's not my fault." You notice everything that others do wrong and spend a lot of time and energy telling them about it. You are angry that they don=t take your advice, and complain to your friends about how incompetent people are.

"If I want something done right, I have to do it myself." You stay on top of all the details and make sure everything is done correctly. You are super responsible, over committed and exhausted.

"I live in a wonderfully exciting world." You see problems as challenging opportunities. You explore creative solutions, and if they do not work out, you try new ones.

The stories you tell yourself are like old habits. They are familiar and comfortable. If you change your story, you will start to notice different things about the world, and these will lead you to take different actions.

If you are living a story you do not like, choose a new one to try on and play with. It's a little like buying a new outfit. Spend a few minutes every day reminding yourself about your new story.

Draw a picture that represents your old story. Then draw a picture that is the essence of your new story. Explain the differences to a friend.

Write out your new story. Paste it on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, your desk, or the steering wheel of your car. Read it each time you see it.

Every time you are reminded of the new story do something - hum a few bars of a song, make a phone call, or recall something you enjoyed - to make the new story come true. The more you practice, the easier it will be.
About the Author
Communicate skillfully about sensitive subjects in business situations. Have the challenging conversations that lead to cooperation and success. http://www.DareToSayIt.com/blog
Laurie Weiss, Ph.D. is a Master Certified Coach and communication expert. Dr. Weiss has spent 35 years helping clients resolve conflict in business and personal relationships. Email feedback@laurieweiss.com
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