Last week I enrolled in a leadership communication program – PRO TALK – conducted by none other than the master – Ian Faria. It has been one of the best decisions of my life!
I went into the program expecting the usual – gestures, postures, content, voice modulation, creating impact etc. But I was thrown aback when Ian started off the session with a group exercise which showed us that communication is much more than what I thought it was – establishing trust, controlling your inner dialogue, influencing and then creating impact.
The course is a three-week program and I am in Week 1 of the program. Apart from an amazing coach, I am having a great experience learning from the awesome participants in the group.
This week, we have been asked to focus on inner dialogue – figure out what is inner dialogue, is it good or bad, how do you keep it in check, do you need to keep it check. We had to share our thoughts and learnings via short videos daily on the whatsapp group created for the training program – a great way to practice and improve presentation skills.
I will focus on inner dialogue in this blog. Inner dialogue is nothing but thoughts that go on in your mind non-stop. It is estimated that an adult human being can have 50,000 thoughts a day. Phew! That’s a lot!
Thoughts can be positive or negative. Thoughts can push you to do better or pull you down. So, the key is to be aware of your inner dialogue. The practice of meditation daily helps to control your thoughts. Apart from meditation, check-in multiple times a day to see what’s going on in your mind. Anything self-deprecating, negative – stop it right away and focus on something else that energizes you and helps you grow as an individual.
Journaling is a great technique to monitor one’s inner dialogue. When one writes down their fears, desires, and list of blessings they are grateful for, one is aware of their inner dialogue. This allows us to spot negativity and take necessary corrective action.
If you observe your inner dialogue, you will notice that most of the negative thoughts come from your fears, limiting beliefs, your perceived belief that you cannot control the universe, over work, strive for perfection, over thinking and sweating over small stuff.
Fear of failure is one of the biggest influencers of our inner dialogue. It holds us back from taking risks and pushing our limits. Acknowledging our fears and working on the them is the best way to control our inner dialogue. Seek the help of family and friends as you navigate the path to address your fears. Don’t be afraid of failures – instead, treat them as your life lesson and an opportunity to learn and grow.
In my case, my inner dialogue goes a mile a minute due to the endless to do lists that I have for home, work, kids, hobbies and life. When I am overstretched, I often deliver less than perfect output, which irks me further. My introspection this week, has made me realise that, the list-based approach is not the way to live life. Not only am I unhappy with myself, but people around me, dread me too 😊. I sat down and made a master list of my priorities and have decided to focus on a the most important ones – a few at time. Now that I have a reduced list, I have more time to relax and live life. This has reduced my inner dialogue immensely.
While watching my inner dialogue, I realised I often ruminate over things that are not going the way I want it. It can be as silly as my Bigbasket order not being delivered on time to something serious like someone making a statement that I feel questions my integrity and capability. Thinking of how could this happen to me, to why did this happen to me – my thoughts pick up pace and quickly snowball out of control. All this boils down to the need to control everything around me. But the fact is, the only thing one can control is oneself. Once you take responsibility for yourself, the quality of your inner dialogue improves as you stop blaming external factors for your state of life.
It is true that we cannot control the external world, but it is also true the universe gives you whatever you want. Imagine the reality you want and the universe will make it happen. Since universe conspires to grant your every wish, don’t fret over things big or small, just make the Universe your ally by creating positive thoughts and outcomes. Write down you wishes and desires in your journal or say it aloud or just think about it – any medium works! Leave it to the Universe, it will happen. All you need is patience. Don’t waste time and mental cycles fretting over stuff. The book ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff And It is Small Stuff’ By Richard Carlson, is a great read and you can pick up a few hacks to control your inner dialogue.
When you are aware of your Inner dialogue, you nuture and cultivate your positive thoughts that help you grow and push your boundaries, and limit the negative thoughts thereby avoiding unnecessary mental agony cycles. This puts your mind at peace and let’s you operate from the rational thinking sphere of your brain. And when you are operating from this space, you are actively listening and responding to people and situations and not reacting to them. And that is the first step in the journey to becoming an exceptional communicator. Stay tuned for more as I progress along this journey.