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EMPOWERING YOUR INNER VOICE


Your inner voice is the most important voice in your life because it is the voice that never turns off or goes away, and it has the most impact on your success and how you manage failure.


Althea Gibson became the first African American to win a Grand Slam tennis event when she won the French Open in 1957, and in 1967 she also became the first African American woman to compete on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour.


To become great at anything, especially being the first to do something, you have to have great people around you who encourage you, motivate you, and push you to keep going. 

Gibson said she had a lot of great people around her who helped her achieve the things she achieved. Gibson said, “I always wanted to be somebody. If I made it, it's half because I was game enough to take a lot of punishment along the way and half because there were a lot of people who cared enough to help me.”


But even more important than having positive voices around you is the voice that is inside of you.


Your inner voice is the most important voice in your life because it is the voice that never stops talking. It’s the voice you wake up to, and it is the voice you go to sleep with.

It is the voice that brings you both confidence and fear, peace and anxiety, and encouragement and discouragement.


Gibson has thanked the people around her for giving her hope and encouragement on her journey, but she has also talked about the mindset you have to have to overcome adversity externally and internally.


She said, “The loser is always a part of the problem; the winner is always a part of the answer. The loser always has an excuse; the winner always has a program. The loser says it may be possible, but it’s difficult; the winner says it may be difficult, but it’s possible.”

To be a winner, you have to learn how to manage your inner voice so that it is a part of the answer, not the problem so that it has a program, not an excuse, and know that even when it's difficult, it is possible.


The hard part is that research tells us that we see, hear, and feel negatively more often, deeper, and longer than we see, hear, and feel positivity.


In the book What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, author Shad Helmsetter says that during your childhood and adolescence, you were probably told the word “no” 148,000 times and the word “yes” only a few thousand times. When you experience that much more negative programming than positive programming, over time you start to believe the negative.


But you can change the way your brain is wired and how it thinks. You can turn your brain from negative to positive. You can rewire your brain so that your mind and thoughts are a super weapon for you.


THE 5-STEP CHAIN


In his book, Shad outlines a 5-step chain that controls your entire life:


1 - Your Programming

From the day you are born, you are programmed to believe certain things about the world. Your programming is impacted by the world around you and the experiences you have. Your programming creates your beliefs.


2 - Your Beliefs

Your beliefs are facts that you accept to be true, often without question. They’re formed throughout your life and are influenced by the way you were raised and by the positive and negative events in your life. Your beliefs create your attitude.


3 - Your Attitude

Your attitude is the way you look at life, and the set of emotions, beliefs, and behaviors you have toward yourself and the world around you. Your attitude creates your feelings.


4 - Your Feelings

Your feelings are your physical and emotional responses to what is going on around you. Dr. Gloria Wilcox says we have 6 feelings at the center of our emotions: mad, scared, sad, powerful, joyful, and peaceful. Your feelings dictate your actions.


5 - Your Actions

Your actions determine your life and your success. Your actions create the results. When your actions are good - when you do things today that your future self will thank you for - you feel good about yourself, your attitude is positive, and you are more likely to take more positive actions. When your actions aren’t the best - when you don’t do things your future self will thank you for, or when you do things your future self will be upset about - it has the reverse effect on your feelings and attitudes, and you are more likely to take more negative actions.


The good news is that you can change any part of this chain by focusing on positive self-talk.


CHANGE YOUR LIFE BY CHANGING HOW YOU TALK TO YOURSELF


Positive self-talk is an effective way to reprogram your brain and override negative feelings, attitudes, and beliefs that might be negatively affecting your actions, and over time, positive self-talk can even override negative beliefs and programming.


You can replace all negativity in your brain with positive, healthy, encouraging thoughts and beliefs, completely changing how your brain is programmed and sees the world.


THE 5 LEVELS OF SELF-TALK


Helmstetter says there are 5 levels of Self-Talk that if we master, we can reprogram our brains:


LEVEL 1 - Accept Your Negativity as Your Truth


Do you just accept your negative thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about yourself instead of challenging them or trying to change them? This is where most people have to start and work hard to focus on reducing.


Change starts with awareness. Start thinking about what you are thinking about. Do your thoughts help you or hurt you? When are your thoughts positive? When are they negative?


LEVEL 2 - You Know You Should Change But You Don’t


Do you see you have a problem with negative thoughts but either can’t change, don’t know how to change, or refuse to? When you catch yourself thinking negatively, stop and think instead about how you can change your thoughts into something positive.


At this stage, you know you have a problem and you know you don’t want to ignore it anymore.


LEVEL 3 - Decide to Change


Now, you are ready to do something about your stinking thinking by making small changes. You might start sentences with, “I don’t…,” “I never…,” or, “I stopped…”


When you are in this stage, never forget your mind is like a muscle; it takes time and effort to grow. Don’t get discouraged if you struggle to challenge, change, and reframe your thoughts, and don’t get discouraged if your negative thoughts quickly return. Keep working, keep practicing, and keep getting better and stronger.


Having an accountability partner also helps. Instead of living and swimming in a pool of negativity, tell someone else what you are thinking and feeling. They might be able to give you a new perspective that helps you change your negative, stinking thinking.


When I’m struggling with my thoughts, I tell my accountability person, “Hey, I’m struggling with something,” and then I let them know what it is I’m struggling with.


LEVEL 4 - Becoming a Better You


At this level, you are starting to think more positively, and you are starting to see the positive effects that come with it. You still get hit with hard things, but you know how to manage them better because the quality of your thoughts is better.


You are now on track to becoming the happy, hopeful, confident person you know you can be. You know adversity comes with life, but you have a better, more healthy relationship with it.


Now, you regularly use phrases like, “I am,” and, “I do.” For example, “I am able to learn how to do hard things,” and, “I am able to manage this or overcome this, or learn from this.”


You are starting to rewire your brain to believe these positive thoughts because you have told your brain these words enough.


LEVEL 5 - You Made It!


At this level, you are spiritually aligned with the world around you, and you use words that describe what is. For example: “Life is beautiful,” “There is beauty in the struggle,” “Obstacles are a part of life,” and, “I can do hard things.”


At this level, your self-talk has been elevated to the highest level where you know and accept life in a positive way and you think positively about the things that are coming at you.


Your inner voice can be your strongest ally or your biggest enemy. The great part about it is you control your inner voice. Your thoughts never stop, but you have the ability to manage and control them.


Start thinking about what you are thinking about, and make sure that your thoughts are positive and helpful, not negative and harmful.


SOMETHING(s) TO THINK ABOUT 


1 - When is your thinking the strongest and most positive?

2 - When is your thinking the weakest and most negative?

3 - What can you do to catch, stop, and redirect your negative thinking?

4 - Who is an accountability person that you can talk to and lean on when your thinking is negative and needs to be changed?


For a PDF version of this post, click here: Managing Your Inner Voice


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