A key component of mental preparation is self talk, regardless of whether you're a law enforcement professional, athlete, salesperson or professional speaker. What you say to yourself and how you interpret that internal dialogue matters greatly.
As my friend Bob Brenner says, "The most important conversations you will ever have are with yourself, about yourself, in the privacy of your own mind."
Reasons these conversations are so important:
- Your own voice is the most frequent and powerful voice you hear throughout your life.
- These conversations are based on your interpretation of what you see, hear and experience in the world.
- They are creating, reflecting and reinforcing your beliefs about yourself. These beliefs form your self images and self concepts.
Paying attention to those conversations will provide insight into your own subconscious mind and the images and programs embedded there. When you start to monitor your self talk, you begin to realize that life is truly a collection of self-fulfilling prophecies.
You use these conversations to build yourself up and talk yourself into success. You also use these conversations to tear yourself down and talk yourself into failing. If you want to change outcomes, start by changing your self talk and what you prophesize for yourself.
It has been said that each person has about 60,000 thoughts a day go though their mind. Accepting that you have complete control over the thoughts you choose to entertain and accept provides you with the power to make significant changes in your life. They are your thoughts, it is your voice, and as Normal Vincent Peale said, "Change your thoughts and you change your world."
We'll continue the discussion of self talk in the next blog post. Between now and then, I challenge you to begin to monitor your self talk and become aware of the nature of the conversations you have with yourself, about yourself, in the privacy of your own mind.
I also want you to reflect on the three quotes below and determine how they apply to you:
"Healthy persons are keenly aware of what they say to themselves, how they say it, and when they say it. Moreover they know that tuning in to self talk unlocks the secret to emotional contentment, personal fulfillment, optimal performance and profound significance." — Les Parrot and Neil Clark Warren, authors of "Love the Life you Live."
"In the study of one's personal language and self-talk, it can be observed that what one thinks and talks about to himself tends to become the deciding influences in his life. For what the mind attends to, the mind considers." — Sidney Madwed
"The first order of business of anyone who wants to enjoy success in all areas of his or her life is to take charge of the internal dialogue they have and only think, say, and behave in a manner consistent with the results they truly desire." — Sidney Madwed
Editor's Note: Brian Willis is the deputy executive director of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA). Contact him via his website Winning Mind Training.