Once I became a parent, I noticed a lot of negative self-talk start to creep back into my vocabulary:

 

“I’m not good at this.”

 

“I’m so stressed and tired.”

 

“I’m so out of shape.”

 

The dangerous thing about this sort of negative self-talk is that it triggered a repetitive stress response in my body. As long as I continued to say these things to myself, the problems didn’t go away, they only became more amplified. I certainly didn’t become a better parent. I grew MORE stressed and tired, and drifted further away from my fitness goals.

 

Thanks to some insight from a friend, I was able to acknowledge what was happening. Once I did, I adjusted my self-talk to be more self-supportive:

 

“I’m not good at this” became “I’m new to this. Of course I don’t have all of the answers, but I can be committed to continuously learning as I go and enjoying the process.”

 

“I’m so stressed and tired” became “parenting is a major undertaking and I’m doing my best in a challenging and demanding situation.”

 

“I’m so out of shape” became “I’m working out for 20 minutes every day and making consistent progress towards my fitness goals.”

 

It was then that something awesome happened. This positive self-talk, repeated over time, trained my brain to create a new path in terms of how I felt about myself and my capabilities as a parent. I started to see myself as a good parent. I felt much less stressed and tired, and I started to notice steady improvements in my overall fitness.

 

Becoming a parent is similar to becoming a leader.

 

We find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, sporting a new title with limited training and preparation in terms of what it really takes to excel in our role. Plus, the demands are high and the challenges unpredictable.

 

As a result, we can fall into the same thought patterns:

 

“I’m not good at this.”

 

“I’m so stressed and tired.”

 

“I’m so out of shape.”

 

Here’s the issue: No one ever gets good at something by telling themselves they’re bad at it. Negative self-talk is a dangerous, slippery slope that limits our performance and our potential.

 

IF the above statements resonate with you, it’s time to make the shift:

 

Let “I’m not good at this” become “I’m relatively new to this. I don’t have all of the answers and shouldn’t expect myself to. Instead,  I can be committed to continuously learning as I go and enjoying the process.”

 

Let “I’m so stressed and tired” become “leading is a major undertaking and I’m doing my best in a challenging and demanding situation.”

 

Let “I’m so out of shape” become “I’m taking small, consistent steps every week towards my fitness goals.”

 

Always remember, the way you talk to yourself sets the tone for the way you show up in the world.

Be compassionate with yourself. It will enhance how you feel, how you perform, and ultimately how you impact others.

 

Thanks, and happy leading folks!

 

– Coach MJ

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