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The Power of Self-Talk

YOU are your most empowering asset

A person cutting a paper that says "Impossible."

Do you know what it’s like to have a silent mind?

That’s a trick question because no one has a silent mind. If you think about it (pun intended), there is rarely, if ever, any moment in the day that your mind is not “thinking” or “talking” to you. Whether consciously or unconsciously, your brain is working 24/7 for the entirety of your life.

So now, for a moment, just think of how much opportunity you have to either positively or negatively impact yourself simply through your mind. Simply through self-talk.

You have every moment of every day.

Here’s a story:

In 2012, I was an EMT on an ambulance call for a guy with a traumatic head injury. He was golfing with his buddy, and after drinking all day his buddy decided to do donuts in the parking lot with the golf cart. Well, the cart rolled over and the guy, who was in the passenger seat, fell out and whacked his head on the curb.

When we got the scene, the guy was conscious and alert with no obvious signs of a severe head injury. We got him into a neck brace and into the ambulance. I was the lead EMT so I was in charge of his care while my partner drove us to the hospital.

Halfway through the trip, the guy started complaining of a headache near the base of his head. When I lifted his head up, he had developed a massive hematoma right there at the base where the pain was.

In that moment, I started to panic a little bit. The call just went from a somewhat routine trauma incident to a potentially life threatening one. And in that moment, I was the only one able to help him.

At first, I started to think to myself “Oh no, this is bad. This is really bad” which only exacerbated my initial panic. But then, I got a grip of myself, and I said “Okay, stop, what can I do?”. Work the problem.

I got two rolled up towels and put them under his head so the hematoma was lifted off the stretcher. I retook his vitals. I documented the onset and intensity of pain. I did another, more thorough, physical exam. I kept him talking and awake the whole time. And most importantly, I told my driver to start lights and sirens.

We arrived at the hospital, transferred him to the ER, they did their thing and everything ended up working out.

But, that whole scenario could have gone very differently and very badly if I allowed my panic to get the best of me.

The Takeaway:

High pressure situations like being in the back of an ambulance with a patient with a potential brain injury really puts your ability to positively self-talk to the test, making it all the more important to practice positive self-talk outside of high pressure situations. But being able to use self-talk effectively regardless of your situation has the potential to completely turn your life around or even just get you through the day - both of which can be equally important.

Like I said to start, you have every moment of every day to practice. But how?

  1. Start thinking in solutions instead of problems. When something happens and you need to fix it, self-talk is usually the difference maker between whether you actually fix it or not. If a problem occurs and you go down the road of thinking about all the problems that problem will cause, you’ve already lost. But if you can think in solutions, and all the ways you can solve it you do two things: 1) you take your mind off the problems and the panic and 2) you actually have a shot at solving it.

  2. Leverage “self-visualization”. Don’t just say positive things, visualize them. Instead of saying cliche things to yourself like “you got this” or “you can do it”, think about what you “got”. If you’re about to do a big presentation in front of company executives and your nerves are getting the best of you, instead of saying “you got this”, think about how you have it. Think about the presentation, visualize talking through it, see your hand movements, look at the positive reactions of the audience in your mind.

  3. Celebrate your wins. Too often we go through life looking at the next thing and the next thing and the next thing, rarely ever stopping to actually celebrate what we’ve already accomplished. Being cognizant of celebrating your wins, big or small, will build a mindset of impactful optimism with a side order of ambition. By doing this, your mind will default to positivity over negativity by unconsciously knowing there is something to look forward to. Think Pavlov’s Dog type stuff.

Mastering self-talk is not easy and it is an ongoing trial, but it can be done. You truly are your most powerful asset. I know it’s obvious, but no one else can self-talk for you.

If done effectively, self-talk will take your life to new heights. Personally, professionally or both. Use it to level up, use it to become your most epic self.

Use it to empower yourself.

Faber est quisque fortunae suae
(everyone is a maker of their own fortune)
Appius Claudius Caecus


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