Last month I mentioned a series of future posts regarding communication secrets. Before you can effectively communicate with someone, you need to be able to communicate with yourself. You need to talk to yourself.
I know that sounds crazy. You’re saying, “I don’t talk to myself. I’m not crazy.” Think about that for a second. As you think about that, you’re talking to yourself. Thinking is talking to yourself.
What should you say to yourself?
Think before you speak. If you don’t follow this advice, you might find the proverbial foot in your mouth. Hopefully, your foot isn’t so big that you can’t get it out. I usually don’t suffer from this but I have been known to correct my wife’s grammar too often and then find myself in the doghouse (thankfully not the couch). I’ve learned from years of marriage that correcting her speech does no one any good.
Be the Little Engine that Could. If you think you can, you can. Tell yourself you are able to do it. It doesn’t matter what “it” is. You can do it if you tell yourself you can. The only person who can tell you that you can’t do something is you.
A popular term today that has a similar meaning is affirmation. My wife believes in and uses daily affirmations. She uses pre-constructed sayings to tell herself she can do something. I just tell myself I can. Find out which method works for you.
You can be happy. Since I have two young daughters, we listen to the Kids Channel on Pandora in the car or other kids’ music. One popular song is I’m Happy Today. We also sing it at church. Oh yes, I’m happy today. Tell yourself to be happy.
If you’re sick and someone makes you laugh, don’t you feel better? A smile or laughter releases endorphins into your bloodstream that make you feel better. Just try it and see what happens.
Critique yourself. After I give a public talk or finish a project at work or home, I look critically at what I did. Did it turn out as planned? What could I have done differently to make it better? Be positive in your criticism. Negative criticism only makes it worse.
Focus on the words you use. Stay away from negative words. For example:
Negative criticism: “I shouldn’t have written the conclusion like that.”
Positive criticism: “I should have written the conclusion like this.”
Of course, this holds true for criticizing others as well. Really good sales people follow this rule because they want the customer to focus on the positive rather than the negative.
Don’t tell yourself anything. Sometimes you just need to clear your head. At least once a day, I find myself in a state of sensory overload. I need to clear my mind and not think of anything for a few minutes. I find this the easiest when performing some rote task – like driving.
Have you ever been driving and realize you went a lot farther than you thought. You just lost yourself in the moment. We need that sometimes. Figure out how you can do that in the middle of a hectic day. Maybe you can close your eyes and meditate. Maybe you take a walk. Find out what works for you.
You communicate with others through everything you do. Before you can communicate with others effectively, you need to improve how you think. Message me on Twitter or leave a comment below and let me know if these tips work for you or if you have other tips.