Identifying Patterns in Self Talk- 3 Scenarios

Recognize self talk patterns for positive change when attempting something new, problem solving and learning from failure


Editor’s note: This is the fourth installment of an eight part series entitled “Self-Awareness for the Emerging Entrepreneur” part 1 Refining the Art of Saying Yes or No, part 2: 4 Tips to Achieve Positive Habits, part 3 three: 4 Language Shifts for Success

In this part I continue the conversation on how language is such a critical catalyst for our success. While I focused last post on specific words or phrases to let go of, in this post I offer two steps and three specific moments to be mindful about your self-talk.


We all self-talk. The important thing to know is how that self-talk sounds and feels, and whether it changes based on circumstances, events or scenarios. I offer three moments when it is especially critical to mind the self-talk, and how to begin the process of shifting your pattern


I once had a client who was a bold, revolutionary leader. She had just opened a new school, she understood leadership and her presence dictated that she made things happen. In a conversation one day she told me she had discovered what her pattern of negative self-talk was when starting a new project. She had realized that she had an underlying fear and that resulted in a voice that told her “you’re gonna mess this up” that would rear its ugly head at the beginning of every project. This would result in a pattern of procrastination, stall, and stall some more. Her discovery allowed her to create a plan for herself that enabled her to work through that old story without delaying or compromising her work.

Identify what your patterns of self-talk are when you start a new project. Consider if your pattern includes saying ‘even when I don’t know how, I WILL accomplish it” or if the project is an easy one you say “I will be fine’’ but if it is a more difficult project you tell yourself it will be unreachable?


I am a believer that when we “fail” it is actually a win – either you reached your intended outcome, or you learned a valuable lesson from your experience. The key with failure is to consider what lesson you take from your experience and use that lesson to guide your future actions. .

If you have trouble with failing, or have a great fear of it, a good question to ask yourself is, “What does it mean to me?” If you do not score that major contract you were counting on, was it because you or your work were not good enough, or was it because you missed important details?

Pay attention to what meaning you are giving to your “failed” experiences and take steps to revise your self-talk message to focus on what you learned and can do differently the next time.


Liz Garcia
Liz is a Speaker, Life Coach and Leadership Trainer with Stay Limitless, which she founded in 2011. Liz has been coaching and developing leaders for over 12 years, 10 of those working in the educational non-profit arena. She has guided and overseen the development of over 1,000 leaders. Liz recently served as a Group Facilitator for the Latina Global Executive Leadership Program founded by negotiation expert Dr. Yasmin Davidds and run in partnership with the USC Marshall School of Business. Liz is a former member of the Boards of Directors for the California Latino Caucus Institute’s Madrinas Padrinos Leadership Program and the National Latina Business Women Association – LA Chapter. Liz has a Bachelors in Sociology from San Jose State University and a Masters in Education from Harvard University. You can find more about Liz and sign up for her free newsletter.

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