In the next 60 seconds, you will start down a path toward deeper self-awareness. Ready? Go!
SOLID One-Minute Coaching™
Our internal monologues run nonstop, whether we pay attention to them or not. They are valuable sources of self-awareness and essential to knowing our blind spots.
What Are Internal Monologues?
Internal monologues are also referred to as self-talk, mind chatter, or the inner voice. Whatever the name, the concept is the same: a continuous stream of thoughts that we narrate to ourselves as we go about each day. This narration is often negative and judgmental.
Hidden in Plain Sight
Even though we use self-talk to interpret and assign meaning to our experiences and perceptions, we rarely pay conscious attention to it. Perhaps we don’t want to see how critical we are of ourselves and others.
While it may not be pleasant at first, becoming consciously aware of these inner thoughts frees us from being controlled by them. It allows us to achieve greater self-awareness and use our thoughts and beliefs to better our executive performance.
Since self-awareness is critical to emotional intelligence and a keystone of effective leadership, there’s no question that learning how to listen to our internal monologues is worth the time and effort.
How to Become Aware of Your Self-Talk
Try this quick exercise suggested by leadership coach Joshua Spodek in his book Leadership Step by Step: Become the Person Others Follow:
- Carry a notebook, smartphone, tablet, or recording device.
- A few times a day, spend about a minute writing or recording the words of your internal monologue as accurately as you can.
Do this for several days, and in different situations. For example, write down some self-talk at home and at work, while you’re alone and while you’re with people, and when experiencing different emotions. Keep going until you have at least a few dozen entries.
Simply record your monologue without making any judgments. When you are judging, you are not truly observing. Your goal is to become more aware of the words you use. If you find yourself criticizing someone, write down the words, not how you feel about the words. Later on, you can (and should) examine the meanings and beliefs behind your thoughts and decide what to do about them.
Recording your self-talk isn’t as easy as you might expect. We can’t write as fast as we think. The very act of writing changes what we say and feel because we can’t help but interpret at the same time. Persist and practice, focusing on setting down the actual words you use in your internal monologue, one line at a time.
What patterns of meaning and belief do you see in your internal monologue?
How do you think your self-talk impacts your executive performance?
In my work coaching executives with SOLIDleaders, I’ve seen a number of people experience “Aha!” moments of self-discovery. Such epiphanies are best leveraged by discussing them with your executive coach—otherwise, they can be forgotten and disappear back into your subconscious.
If you are a CEO or other bona fide executive, schedule a call for a complimentary coaching session with me. We can talk about your self-talk or any other topic you would like.