“I could never ask that Influencer for coffee.”
“I’m not good enough for that promotion.”
“How the heck would I know how to start a business?”
There is not a single person on the planet who doesn’t wish to drive positive change in his or her life in some capacity. Whether it’s improving health and fitness, attracting love or increasing self-confidence, we all have areas in which we’d like to improve.
The secret to affecting change in our lives is simple, but often overlooked: How we talk to ourselves matters.
Arianna Huffington affirmed this to me the first time I interviewed her. She said, “Even our worst enemies don’t talk about us the way we talk to ourselves. I call this voice the obnoxious roommate living in our head. It feeds on putting us down and exploiting and magnifying our insecurities and doubts. I wish someone would invent a tape recorder that we could attach to our brains to record everything we tell ourselves. It would shock us to hear it played back.”
We all have an inner critic. You know the little voice; it’s the one that keeps you stuck, keeps you scared and wants you to play small. In order to create the awesome changes you crave, you must transform this inner critic into an inner coach.
Our mind is a very powerful tool, and we often underestimate the impact of our thoughts and words in our day-to-day lives. The truth is this: Our thoughts can influence our emotions. Our emotions guide our actions. Our actions dictate the course of our lives. Confident people have greater control over their thoughts and have tuned their mental station into the frequency that insists, “I can.”
The great news is that it’s entirely in your power to make this shift. In fact, your thoughts are one of the very few things in this world that you have control over. The transformation is 100 percent up to you!
Here are three simple strategies to elevate your inner voice, pronto:
1. Conduct a success review
All too often, we forget how far we have come and what we have done well in our lives. In his bestselling book The Success Principles, author Jack Canfield discusses how transforming your self-opinion begins with highlighting your nine major successes. Here’s how:
Divide your life into thirds – so if you are 30, the thirds are ages 0-10, 11-20 and 21-30. If you are 45, they are 0-15, 16-30 and 31-45.
Write down the three things you are most proud of achieving in each third of your life. Reflect on each of these nine things. Remember how you felt at the time of each achievement. Did most of these things scare you before you made them happen? Probably. Maybe you didn’t feel capable or good enough or ready, but you did them anyway. What was the outcome?
Let these memories add fuel to your inner fire and help you achieve even more of what you want from here!
Focus only on what you want — and be specific. Instead of thinking, I don’t want to feel frumpy in my clothes, think, I want to feel sexy in my new skinny jeans. See how these thoughts in our mind “feel” different? The latter vision creates a more elevated emotion, which is much more likely to lead to better decisions. Hone in on what you want, not on what you don’t want.
Creating a vision board can help with this too. I’m obsessed with mine and create a fresh one every few months or so.
In New York City I hold vision board parties for my clients and as part of my workshops. If you want to host your friends at home this is a wonderfully different way to entertain them instead of the same old white wine, brie and gossip gatherings.
Get creative! It’s fun to share this imaginative and artistic experience with others. And it’s a wonderful break from digital distraction. It also brings people together in a uniting and unique way if that’s what you’re craving.
3. Use words with intention
Consider the difference between two people discussing their culinary adventures. One might say, “I love to whip up healthy weeknight meals! I do it every night that I’m home. You like cooking, too? Awesome! Hey, you can even follow me on Instagram where I post my new favorite recipes…” Another might avoid eye contact and laugh nervously, saying, “I should cook more healthy food and I’m trying, but I don’t know how well they turn out.” Who do you think has more fun in the kitchen (and in general)?
Statements like “I love, I do, I can” have a very different effect on our energy and our impact on others that than “I should, I try, I don’t know.” When you use stronger, more intentional language, it impacts your mood, your confidence and even how other people perceive you.
The most happy and high-achieving people I know have consciously mastered the art of tuning out their inner critic and dialing up the volume on the inner coach that exists in all of us. Your inner coach is there for you on demand and is ready to support you. You, too, can allow past successes to inspire your future successes. You have the power to choose to focus on what you want and let that inform how you feel and act. You can choose your words wisely, understanding that words have power.
The mind has the capacity to follow whichever path we direct it toward everyday. What path will you choose?