Are You Talking to Yourself?

Even if you don’t realize it you’re likely talking to yourself, all the time. The experts call that self-talk. Self-talk is your inner voice, the one in your head that says stuff you wouldn’t necessarily say out loud. 

 

Most people don’t even realize this running conversation with themselves is happening all day long. But it is a powerful conversation. It can shape your day and even your life. It has as much impact on how you feel about yourself as anything someone else says about you. 

 

The challenge is that there are two kinds of self-talk. Positive self-talk and negative self-talk. Positive self-talk is saying stuff like “I can do this.” “I am prepared to succeed.” “I can make the best of any situation I find myself in.” 

 

Negative self-talk talk is saying things like, “I’ll never be able to do this.” “I am an idiot.” “I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.” 

 

You get the idea. 

 

Here’s the thing, and this is big… negative self-talk just happens. For most people the cause of negative self-talk is self-doubt. Everyone has self-doubt but if you’re not consciously aware of it the result is negative self-talk. 

 

Positive self-talk only happens as a result of conscious effort. While negative self-talk can pop into your head with no prompting you must intentionally choose positive self-talk. And that’s not easy.

 

To consistently talk to yourself in a positive way you will need to be aware that you’re always having a conversation with yourself. You must also practice to be good at positive self-talk. Stopping a couple of times a day to reflect on what you’ve been saying to yourself is a good start. 

 

If it is not something that is making you feel better about yourself or your situation then look for evidence to determine if it’s true. If you find no proof then it’s likely self-doubt creeping into that conversation in your head. 

 

Shut that negative self-talk down. There is nothing good about it. It doesn’t help in any way. 

 

You may not be able to simply self-talk your way into success but lots of people have self-talked their way to failure. Don’t be one of those!

Are You Hot Stuff?

If you’ve recently been promoted to a leadership position then congratulations. It likely came with an important sounding title and you might be tempted to think you’re pretty hot stuff as a result. 

 

You’re not. You’re not because no one is. Your skills in some areas may be better than someone else’s and you may as a result been able to acquire more “stuff.” But you have to know that doesn’t make you a more valuable human being. No title, no position, and no amount of money can do that. Every person you’ve ever met or ever will meet is worthy of the same level of respect as you, regardless of your or their level of accomplishments. 

 

The danger in thinking you’re hot stuff is that it artificially inflates your ego. Egos need to be fed and when a person’s ego gets too big they invariably steal another person’s ego food. A healthy well balanced ego is the mark of an Authentic Leader. They need no more than their own share of ego food so they have plenty left over to provide recognition and support to their people. 

 

One of the key responsibilities of a leader is to help their people know, without a doubt, that they matter. That they matter to the organization as both an employee and as a person. 

 

The effort required to do that must be intentional and consistent. Helping others understand their worth is not a chore for an Authentic Leader, it is a privilege. 

 

When you forget that, even for a short time, you put all other aspects of your leadership at risk. Large egos tend to make leaders pretty forgetful when it comes recognizing other people.

 

I can’t close this post without at least a short discussion on ego. Many people reading this will be perplexed by my comments about “feeding” egos. They are perplexed because like many people they have always been told that having an ego is a bad thing. Well that’s like saying sleeping is a bad thing. You have to sleep in order to recharge your batteries for the next day. 

 

You must also have an ego to motivate yourself. Having an ego is a normal as having a nose. Having an ego is not a problem unless it gets so big that you lose sight of the fact that everyone else has one too.


Think of it like this, self-respect comes from having an ego; lack of respect for others comes from having an ego that has grown too large. If your ego has gotten a little too large then put it on a diet by giving your ego food to someone who needs it more than you. 


Where Self-Respect Comes From

The first thing to know about self-respect is that is doesn’t come from other people…hence the word “self.”

 

Respect is vital to any relationship and that includes the relationship you have with yourself. 

 

Self-respect can be hard to define but it’s really about being the kind of person you are not afraid to show to the world around you. It’s about being the kind of person you, and the people you care about, can be proud of. 

 

Self-respect comes from having a sense of dignity. It comes from maintaining your honor when you’re making life choices and every day decisions about how to live your life. 

 

Self-respect comes from caring more about yourself. To be clear, it is not about caring less for others, it is about caring for yourself too. If you’re not caring for and about yourself eventually you won’t be able to care for others no matter how much you want to. 

 

Self-respect comes from not needing anyone to treat you a certain way. Self-respect comes from appreciating the respect of others but not needing it to validate how you live your life. 

 

Self-respect is vital if you hope to have a positive self-image. Having that positive self-image will influence every other part of your life. Your career, your relationships with other people and most importantly, your own happiness. 

 

Self-respect will give you the courage to walk away from unhealthy relationships and situations. It gives you the courage to speak up for yourself and command the respect of others. 

 

No one, and I mean absolutely no one, can rob you of your self-respect unless you are their accomplice in the crime. Sometimes it requires a major battle to keep from being an unwilling accomplice. You should know it’s a battle worth fighting and it’s a battle you can win. And never, never, never be their willing accomplice. You are way too special for that, you matter way, way too much for that. Do not simply give your self-respect away. 


Self-respect is the cornerstone of a well lived life. Build your foundation of self-respect so strong that no one and nothing can bring you down. Once you’ve done that you can do anything! 


What You Actually Own

So, let’s begin with my personal definition of “own.” For me “own” means it’s mine and it can’t be taken from me. I don’t owe a dime on my house but there are a bunch of ways I could lose it. I have in my possession lots of cool stuff that could be stolen, lost, destroyed or otherwise taken from me. Even if you say l “own” that stuff it’s at best temporary.

 

No matter how much “stuff” you may claim to own you’re not going to leave this world with very much and there is nothing you can do to change that. 

 

But there are two things in this world I absolutely own and so do you.

 

The first is my self-respect. 

 

Eleanor Roosevelt, the diplomat and former First Lady said,  “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” 

 

What an incredibly insightful statement. I first heard that in High School and boy did it come in handy. I went to a Military High School and the military staff worked overtime to try and make us feel inferior. That was back in the day when the concept of “you have to tear them down before you can build them up” was very much in vogue. They had the tearing down part totally mastered. 

 

But very few people really know me well enough for their opinion of me to matter. I’d bet that’s very much the case with you as well. So don’t let people who have not lived your life “help” you to determine your self-worth. They have no idea what you have overcome or are living with right now. Their opinion is just that, an opinion. It’s an opinion formed without many of the facts required to be accurate so put no more value in it than it deserves.

 

Always put a ton more value on the SELF part of self-respect and then be honest with yourself.  Never cut yourself more “slack” than you would someone else. You darn well know the difference between right and wrong and if it’s wrong for someone else it’s highly likely that it’s wrong for you too. 

 

The second thing that I absolutely, positively own, as do you, is the right to choose my own attitude. No one, regardless of their position, title, or importance in my life can take that from me…or you.

 

There are no circumstances, no problems, and no situations in life that can steal that right from you. 

 

In his amazing book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Viktor Frankl describes the ability to choose one’s own attitude as the last of the human freedoms and the only one that can never be taken from us. 

 

By the way, Viktor Frankl survived the Holocaust and in those horrible days he held on to the ability to choose his attitude so be careful when saying that your own circumstances make it impossible. You truly can choose your attitude no matter what!

 

Living an honest life while trying to make a difference in this world will make it easier to keep your self-respect when some around you would like to destroy it. Maintaining a healthy self-respect will make it far easier to choose a positive attitude. The two go hand-in-hand.


Healthy self-respect and a positive attitude are choices, they are choices you own and always will. Never forget that, not even for a second!


Who Cares?

I’ll often catch myself saying or thinking that I don’t care what other people think of me. I hear other people say that from time-to-time too, they couldn’t care less what people think of them. I’m not sure why they say it but I think I say it as a way of “protecting” myself from people who just don’t like me. 

The truth, for me and virtually every human that ever lived, is that given the choice we would much prefer to be liked by everyone. So in truth I really do care. 

But this is also true: I care more about other things than I care about being liked. You should too! I may have a want to be liked but I have a need to do what I believe is right. Even when it causes other people to not like me.

If you’re trading your integrity to be “liked” then you’ve made yourself one horrible trade. If you’re willing to sacrifice your principles and core values to be accepted as part of the “crowd” then you’ve paid way too high a price for acceptance. 

There will always be people who you don’t click with. There will (sadly) be people who are so different from you that you just won’t find enough in common to be considered friends. But you will click with the people who you need in your life. They will accept you as you are. If they are meant to have influence on your life then their influence will change you for the better, not the worse. 

Remember those “friends” who your parents said were a bad influence on you? Your parents were probably right, you just couldn’t see it at the time. If you changed your behavior solely for the purpose of being liked more by those friends then your parents were almost certainly right.

Don’t change who you are simply to be liked. 

Not everyone is going to like you, that’s just how it is. Nobody is liked by everybody. It is far far more important that you like yourself, that you respect yourself, than it is that any other person likes or respects you.

It’s just not a healthy choice to value the opinions of people who don’t truly value you. Just be you. You are more than good enough for the good people to whom you actually matter. Those are the people who truly care about you. Those are the people who will like you for who you are, not for what they want you to be.