Join Izzy Gesell for an in-depth discussion in this video Monitoring your self-talk, part of Leading with Applied Improv.
- What I'd like to start off with today is a recognition that what we're going to look at is dependent on your being able to change your self-talk. How many of you have seen improv at some point? Okay, many people. What's your response to it when somebody says to you, "What's it like?" What do you say? - [voiceover] Unpredictable. - Unpredictable. What else? - [voiceover] Nerve wracking. - Nerve wracking, what else? One more.
- [voiceover] Funny. - Funny, spontaneous. Do you stand there or sit there thinking, I could do that, I wish I was up there? No. Why not? Most of us improvise a good part of our day. If you think about it unless someone writes a script for you and leaves it on your nightstand, a good chunk of each day is improvised. Whether you're driving to work and there's unexpected or expected traffic jam and you have to take a different route, you're making dinner for a number of people and a friend shows up at the door, you have to improvise ways to bring them into the situation.
You're at the supermarket and you're going through that check-out line with no people on it and somebody with a big basket cuts right in front of you. You have to improvise another way. The first recognition of self-talk is that we do improvise. A good part of each day. You have the basic skills. Let's look at how to get from having those skills to learning what those skills are to being able to apply those skills. The forms of negative self-talk that hold you back, they're about 10 and I'm going to just list 10 quickly what I'd like you to do is just notice which ones apply to you, the kind of negative self-talk that you use.
One is called, Awfulizing and that is defined as making a bad situation worst. The second is Blaming. Putting the responsibility onto someone else or making someone else responsible for something that has already passed or might happen in the future. The third is the Control Fallacy. Our self-talk says is we can just get people or situations to be in our control, life will be better off and I know for myself, my biggest challenge with the Control Fallacy is with other people.
If only she would do this, this is not a great time for us to talk about this, when this happens, I'll be ... We have this fallacy that if we can just get control, things will be okay. Then there's Negativizing. Negativizing is just looking at the negative in the situation. Okay, turbulence on the plane, yeah, oh, that's terrible but then again, I'm going cross country in six hours instead of six months. So, (chuckles) I'm not looking at the benefits, I'm just looking at the negative in this situation.
Then there's Catastrophizing. Catastrophizing is defined as expecting the worst will almost certainly happen. Lot of folks go there, myself included. Catastrophizing, simple example is what happens to us when the phone rings in the middle of the night. What do you say to yourself? The phone rings, you wake up, what's your self-talk say? - [voiceover] What's wrong? - What's wrong? Somebody died. 99.9% of the time in real life, in reality, the phone that's rung in the middle of the night and what's the reason? Wrong number.
Nobody, nobody wakes up going, "Wrong number!" (everyone laughs) Our self-talk is so constant and powerful that it is almost unconscious kind of behavior because we're going back to previous situations. Overgeneralizing. Taking one situation or two situations and then making a generalization about them. Oh those drivers, those drivers in those red cars. They're always going too fast or those people do this all the time based on one or two situations.
Polarized Thinking is either/or thinking. It's got to be one way or the other, black and white, no middle ground. Magnifying, making a mountain out of a molehill. Taking a situation and blowing it out of proportion. Minimizing and Maximizing, which is basically about ourselves. We tend to minimize our accomplishments. There's something that many of us, not all, many of us had been taught that it's not okay to stand up and be proud or to take a responsibility for something because we think we're taking credit for things we don't deserve.
Somebody says, "Oh that was a really nice report. "That was a great shoot." "Ah, everything you know, my team was great. "Everything was a template. "All I had to do was fill things in." "That's a really nice shirt you got. "Ah, $10, Salvation Army." (everyone laughs) It's so hard just to say thank you or yeah, it was a good job. I'm proud of myself and my team. Then there's Shoulding. Shoulding is a very, very powerful form of negative self-talk. Primarily in my opinion, because it's either in the past or the future, you should have done this, you should do that and Shoulding is a very difficult word to overcome.
You could do something. You will do something. You have the intention but should you do something? That's not always the case. We have these 10 forms of negative self-talk that are driving our behavior and in order to become a powerful leader, you really have to become a powerful person in recognizing how your negative self-talk impacts your behavior.