Identifying Patterns in Self Talk- 3 Scenarios


What is your self-talk when you jump into problem-solving mode? Does your auto-pilot take you towards “I’m not sure this is possible,” or does it automatically soar towards “I don’t know HOW this is going to happen, but I know that it WILL?”

I cannot tell you how often I have seen this outlook dictate outcomes for people. In my time overseeing the leadership development of over 1,000 leaders, over and over those who went into projects knowing that the question wasn’t “if” but “how” (it will get done, let’s figure out how) were more likely to be creative in their problem solving and asked for the help they needed to get their project done.

When faced with problems change your self-talk to focus on how you will succeed and not if.


Once you pay attention you have the first step down as it enables you to identify what self-talk you want to remove. As GI Joe used to say, ‘knowing is half the battle’.

Identify what you want to replace your negative self-talk with. This step is critical because you can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t have a vision for it. Understand that you are re-programming your brain. The likelihood is that you’ve been carrying your self-talk for many years, so it may take you a while to shift it.

Begin the process in patience. Begin a daily or weekly (whatever is most comfortable for you) review of your patterns. What was your mental response to any problem-solving situations this week? Did you fail at anything this week? If so, what meaning did you give it? What meaning would you like to give it next time? Say it out loud and write it down.

As you continue this process of integration – you are strengthening your new mindset at every opportunity while weakening the strength of your old mindset- know that there will be days where you feel the shift to be very difficult, and days where you feel you are soaring. Let that be.

At a certain point in your integration process you may be able to see yourself reacting in a certain way, but not be able to stop yourself or shift your response in that moment. Take that as a sign that you are much closer to your end goal in your shift. When that occurs, allow yourself opportunities for a “do-over.” You can simply run through the scenario again and “practice” your new reaction. It may feel silly to do so, but practicing these nuances of your behavior that will help ease your process (it may be easier to do this in a personal situation than a business situation; allow your judgment to lead the way). Most important in this process is to remove any judgment you carry about your process. There is no “should” in how long it takes you to make your shift.

In my next post of this 8-part series “Self-Awareness for the Emerging Entrepreneur,” I talk about managing the circles you keep – because you can’t take everyone where you’re going. Until then, Stay Limitless!

Related articles:

Refining the Art of Saying Yes or No

4 Tips to Achieve Positive Habits

4 Language Shifts for Success

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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