How do you speak to yourself when you have made a mistake, when you are struggling, or when you are not “winning” – however you define the term?

I was inspired to think about it as I was watched four young guys play beach volley ball during a tournament. They had such a joyful way about them that I couldn’t take my eyes off them. Each time a rally was over, each member took the time to shake the hand of all three others and throw in a few words of encouragement to boost. It didn’t matter if they had won or lost, or if one of them had made a mistake  – the attitude was the same. You couldn’t tell whether they were winning or loosing based on their demeanor. They kept encouraging each other and keeping it light. They lost the tournament, but they seemed as merry as the winning team.

When I taught public speaking at the university, many of my students had a huge fear of speaking in front of others. So I showed them how to use their self-talk to make it much easier and more fun. They learned how to have an inner speech that was calm before the presentation. They also learned how to encourage themselves – and to stand by themselves — however they performed. It really helped them feel more courageous, improve their skills with each new speech, and have some fun while they did it. For many of the students, public speaking went from being the bane of their existence to a cool thing to do every week.

How you speak to yourself as you struggle with whatever challenge you presently have, can make a big difference.  With your self-talk you can have more lightness, more support, and way more fun.