By Lindsey Jones
Have you ever found yourself in a fruitless mind spiral? Replaying a scenario that makes you sad or angry? Thinking about doing something but never getting started? Perhaps these thoughts start to spin out of control, leaving you feeling frustrated, angry, paranoid or confused?
When you see it for what it is, doesn’t it feel like a complete and utter waste of time and energy?
This negative ‘hamster wheel’ style of thinking has a massive impact on how you feel and these emotions impact your physiology, behaviour and your performance. This type of thinking produces a classic stress response, a release of cortisol and adrenalin which actually shuts down the frontal cortex of the brain impacting your ability to think logically, to plan and to make rational decisions and perform well when it counts.
Let’s consider just one way of thinking on purpose, let’s change our self-talk. The problem with self-talk is that it is often negative, critical, even harsh, and we aren’t necessarily aware of what we might be saying to ourselves. The one guaranteed thing is that we are always listening and therefore we should be very careful about what we say. Many of my clients used to talk themselves down. They had a negative commentary running in their heads. This became the narrative to their lives and negatively impacted everything they tried to do. Often they didn’t succeed and this reinforced their negative chatter, which further impacted their next attempt. My clients used to say things like ‘I’m rubbish at this’, ‘this is hopeless’, ‘I’ll never get there’… and guess what – they didn’t, until they started thinking on purpose and taking control!
Top performers, whether in business, in sports or even on the stage, are able to take control of their thinking; they are able to use their ‘self-talk’ to direct their thoughts. In taking control they own their narrative and therefore own their emotional response and, ultimately, control their performance. They think on purpose, they are positive and powerful in what they say to themselves and they have their phrases and mantras ready to counter any negative thoughts which might creep in.
They use positively framed language so that they constantly focus on what they want and not what they don’t want; for example, they might say ‘make it count’ rather than ‘don’t miss’, or ‘I’m the expert’ rather than ‘the audience must know more than me’ or ‘I’m excited to retain this client’ rather than ‘I’m terrified of losing this business’. To achieve more and to outperform our ‘norm’ we will want to think differently and think on purpose. As Einstein once said: ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’.
When we practise our pre-performance, positive, self-talk, it creates a sense of control. It puts us in the driver’s seat and it steers us to achieve our desired outcomes. Consistently thinking on purpose and achieving our goals reinforces our self-confidence and motivates us to achieve more. Think on purpose, take control, own your narrative and be your best self.
To learn more techniques join Lindsey on 24th January 2019 in Lindfield Coffee Works for a ‘Thinking On Purpose’ workshop. To book a place contact Lindsey by email on lindsey@ ninedotpartnership.com or call 07704 681332.