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Self-talk is driven by critical beliefs that you hold about yourself, and is manifested in the things that you think as you move through your day. It plays an understated but powerful role in your ability to succeed, because your beliefs can both spur you forward toward achieving your goals and hold you back. As Henry Ford said, “He who believes he can and he who believes he cannot are both correct.”
When it comes to self-talk, there are six toxic beliefs that hold people back more than any others. Be mindful of your tendencies to succumb to these beliefs, so that they don't derail your career.
Toxic Belief #1: Perfection = Success
Human beings, by our vary nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you're always left with a nagging sense of failure, and end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish, instead of enjoying what you were able to achieve.
Toxic Belief #2: My Destiny is Predetermined
Far too many people succumb to the highly irrational idea that they are destined to succeed or fail. Make no mistake about it, your destiny is in your own hands, and blaming multiple successes or failures on forces beyond your control is nothing more than a cop out. Sometimes life will deal you difficult cards to play, and others times you'll be holding aces. Your willingness to give your all in playing any hand you're holding determines your ultimate success or failure in life.
Toxic Belief #3: I “Always” or “Never” Do That
There isn't anything in life that you always or never do. You may do something a lot or not do something enough, but framing your behavior in terms of “always” or “never” is a form of self-pity. It makes you believe that you have no control of yourself and will never change. Don't succumb to it.
Toxic Belief #4: I Succeed When Others Approve of Me
Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain⎯you're never as good or bad as they say you are. It's impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, but you can take people's opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what people think about you, your self-worth comes only from within.
Toxic Belief #5: My Past = My Future
Repeated failures can erode your self-confidence and make it hard to believe you'll achieve a better outcome in the future. Most of the time, these failures result from taking risks and trying to achieve something that isn't easy. Just remember that success lies in your ability to rise in the face of failure. Anything worth achieving is going to require you to take some risks, and you can't allow failure to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed.
Toxic Belief #6: My Emotions = Reality
If you've read Emotional Intelligence 2.0, you know how to take an objective look at your feelings and separate fact from fiction. If not, you might want to read it. Otherwise, your emotions will continue to skew your sense of reality, making you vulnerable to the negative self-talk that can hold you back from achieving your full potential.