The things we tell ourselves

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What are your patterns of internal dialogue. Almost everyone has an internal dialogue that their conscious of. You can hear it in commonplace phrases: a little voice inside me said, I said to myself and my heart told me.

The internal dialogue of an individual is a powerful formative influence and is particularly potent in crisis situations.

Personal and professional development demands self-awareness of internal dialogue, seeking to move away from typical patterns of negative framing. Those patterns tend to focus on three areas:

1. Blocking language words and phrases that block solutions: I can't, It won't. Blocking language presupposes that there are immovable features in the situation that cannot be resolved. It removes responsibility from the individual and places it on the context.

2. Generalising language this is an internal dialogue that includes phrases like: that never works or she always does that. Generalising language makes the situation or the characteristics of the person universal.

3. Identity-based language  this is internal dialogue that reinforces a negative identity: I'm a procrastinator, I'm pretty lazy or I can't explain myself

If that internal dialogue has familiar features for you, especially when faced with a problem situation, here are three reframing questions to ask yourself and reflect on the answers that you provide:

1. Is this problem personal or professional?

2. Is this problem specific to a time/place/person or is does it affect my whole life?

3. Is this problem permanent or temporary?

These questions focus the internal dialogue on the problem situation. In most cases it isn't personal, doesn't affect one's whole life and will be temporary. Just knowing that can help to shift from unhelpful internal dialogue.

If you have want to explore your approach to problem situations coaching is a powerful, developmental tool. Trust Me Coaching offers a free 30 day individual account that will build your professional capacity.

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