Self-Coaching Challenge: You are what you think

Daily Quote

“Our minds influence the key activity of the brain, which then influences everything; perception, cognition, thoughts and feelings, personal relationships; they’re all a projection of you”. Deepak Chopra, Philosopher 

Self-coaching is a skill that can be learned. It is the basic skill that underlies what we mean when we speak of having emotional and social intelligence. When you develop the skill of SC, you actually change the physical structure of the brain, your thinking and action. Dr. Dan Siegel in the book Mindset says: “This observation and revelation is based on one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of the last twenty years: How we focus our attention shapes the structure of the brain which impacts thinking and then behavior. Neuroscience has also definitively shown that we can grow and create new connections in the brain throughout our lives, not just in childhood. ” This finding provides a positivity not known in years before these new brain discoveries.

Self-Coaching Challenge:  Seek first the goal of personal development and reaching your full potential then everything else will take care of itself. What do you want to develop over the next 30 days. Make and plan the execute it.  For support read about Dr. Rock, a noted neuro-leadership scientist,  who has put together a practical model called SCARF for enhancing how to use the new research on the brain to improve leadership and workplace climate.

Self-Coaching: Managing Your “Inner Critic” to Increase Positive Self-Talk and Focused Attention

Recently, I started to re-read the Inner Tennis book by Tim Gallwey then I came across  a great article on turning down your inner critic so as to improve performance in stressful situations. The a site I stumbled across is called SelfMatters.org. The site and its programs are run by two thoughtful and inspiring women, Jane Shure, PhD. and Beth Weinstock, PhD.

Dr. Shure and Weinstock believe that we can learn how to “turn down” the voice of what they call our “inner critic,” and learn to “turn up” our positive and natural voice of  “inner coach.” Gallwey’s point of view was that people are vulnerable to negative shifts in mindset which can have drastic impact on one’s performance in many different situations that require focused attention.

Both Gallwey and Shure/ Weinstock are talking about the powerful unconscious and how the brain builds in patterns that are repeated through the process of self-talk that impact our performance  Self-talk is the inner dialogue between parts of our mind, and is influenced by these neural pathways from past behavior in similar situations. When we grow-up with negativity and criticism from inadequate parents, critical teachers or bad experiences, we internalize negative messages. Our brains literally develop dysfunctional pathways and patterns that blame ourselves not others for failure and mistakes. We build many obstacles that prevent us from access our natural abilities.

Some of the obstacles are anxiety about our ability to handle difficult people and situations. Others include fears of failure or success, resistance to new endeavors or situations, test taking, , doubt about our ability to perform , etc. Gallwey teaches performers, managers and athletes how to tap into natural and positive potential for learning, performance, and enjoyment. Any activity can become an opportunity to improve skills, increase joy and heighten awareness.  Our Inner Critic as described by  ( Shure and Weinstock) or Self 1 ( Gallwey’s) are the center for negativity and criticism and yet they can help you focus at the task at hand.  These voices are not the only source of input available to us. Self 1 or the inner critic are powerful internal voices that can overwhelm our natural strengths and  are always in battle for our attention. The more we listen to it, the more we strengthen it and subject ourselves to its negative impact on our performance whether it be tennis, golf, singing, doing math, taking tests serving for “match point, or  making presentations “ad infinitum”.

Many of us live with the constant “self-talk” of a harsh Inner Critic. The critic’s voice thwarts our spontaneity, holds us hostage to anxiety, dampens freedom of expression, keeps us feeling inadequate and can sabotage and undermine your performance.  

Self 1 has the unique ability to focus our attention and ought to be used that way to improve your concentration. Self 1 is not all bad and we need to pay attention to it so as to use its positive elements when appropriate.

In the next blog I will provide some proven tips for overcoming the negative inner voice and help you begin to practice how to access your positive Self 2 and the integrated Self 3 to conquer performance fears and reach your potential. Stay tuned.

 

Part 2: Legacy and Finding your Purpose in Life

“It is essential to follow your commitments 100% of the time—Do you have a clear and meaningful life compass.”  HBR May 22, 2012 Clay Christianson

While vision and purpose in living a meaningful and constructive life are critical, they are rare. This is due to the fact that most individuals lead a frenetic and short-term life focused on activities, daily pressures, and attempts at immediate gratification. Many of us loss site of the “big picture” because life can be so tenuous and fragile. Research in Neurology ( brain), Social Psychology and Adult Development fields can facilitate our understanding of these life strategies. To summarize, research from the marshmallow studies on immediate gratification, brain scans, and emotional, intellectual, perceptual and development studies of adults suggest that effective problem solving, decision-making, personal development, effective communication and influence are not a random or prescriptive like a “bell-shaped curve” based on abilities or intelligence factors, but to large extent a function of emotional intelligence, openness to life-long learning, and one’s perceptual maps and world view.

Transformation occurs when existing maps, solutions, assumed truths and past decisions are exposed as unrealistic, and this new insight allows one to view the world from a more appropriate and empowering perspective. Here is what two prominent psychologist have said about development and personal change.

“The path of personal transformation is primarily a process of becoming aware of, facing up to and taking responsibility for one’s thoughts, feelings and actions, and then expanding this self-realization by communicating with others, retaining integrity whatever the response, and further enhancing the quality of communication with ever-increasing empathy and understanding. Through understanding others better, we can recognize their essential goodwill, however misguided it might have become, and begin to recognize the spirituality of humankind. ”

Abraham Maslow, Ph.D.

Rollo May, a distinguished psychologist,  describes the anxiety caused by a threat to some value which the individual holds essential to his development and existence as the self that he knows. He also quotes Kierkegaard: “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” May’s approach is existential: he conceives the self as a dynamic entity, alive with potentiality. His approach is also holistic, seeking to understand the whole reality and essence of a person’s being. Man is thought of as being and becoming, as a dynamic process, as a complex organism in relation to the universe. However, if an insight or perception is too hard at the moment, if it causes too much anxiety and threatens established beliefs – of self and/or of others – then it may be repressed, and cause fixation of development and afterwards be hidden by defenses.

What secrets or insights can you offer for creating a personal vision and purpose?