All champions use positive self-talk. They routinely pump themselves up with the right words at the right time. Take this great example from the all-time tennis great Serena Williams.
While Serena Williams has won 21 major titles playing singles, she has also won many double titles playing with her sister Venus. But on this one afternoon, they were losing decisively. They needed to grind it out to win this match but Venus was not particularly focused and looked despondent about their chances of winning.
Usually during a changeover, the sisters talked about anything from movies to shopping to boys, but during this changeover, Serena gave her older sister an earful. Serena said, “Listen, I don’t care what you do on your side of the court, but I’m not going to miss on my side. We will not lose this match.”
Then Serena went on to say, “Look, Venus, no matter how you feel about your game, you have to show up at the court, right? You’re here to play tennis after all. But you do have a choice about whether you want to compete well or compete badly. I’m going to make the choice to compete well. Why don’t you do that too!”
Serena talks herself into winning. She was apparently trying to get her sister to feel the same winning way.
Positive talk can do much more than help us win a tennis match, it can literally change our brain. Our thoughts create neurological impulses which stimulate the creation of new pathways in the brain. The more we think any thought, the stronger and more available that pathway becomes. So repeated thought can super-charge our brains with positive energy and help us to become champions in any field.
To be a champion in business or any chosen field, you must create the habit of positive self-talk. Here are two key methods to talk yourself into greatness:
Develop a best friend’s journal. Just like Serena Williams, you must become your best friend and talk yourself into greatness when you need it the most. To accomplish this, get a small notebook and call it your best friend’s journal. At the start of every day, write one positive self-statement like:
• I have great confidence today
• I am mentally tough
• I bounce back from mistakes quickly
• I feel great today
But do more than just write one positive statement, reread them over and over again. Then, when the pressure hits, you will become your own best friend and talk yourself into greatness.
Snap out of it. Get a rubber band and wrap it around your wrist. Every time you say something negative, snap it. Not so much it hurts but that you mean business. Then replace the negative thought with a positive statement. Over time, you will find your negativity diminishes and your positivity increases. You can keep wearing the rubber band for a fashion statement, if you wish.
There is a reason why greatness happens. And it all starts with positive self-talk.
• Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a professor of human performance at APSU. He is the author of the Washington Post bestselling business book, “Full Throttle” Dr. Gregg speaks about mental and emotional toughness to Fortune 500 companies such as Pacific Life, Merrill Lynch, and T Rowe Price. Dr. Gregg coaches business executives to develop greater confidence and creativity. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions and visit DrFreggSteinberg.com.