DEVELOP YOUR INNER COACH
Each one of you has an inner voice, and if you’re at all like me, that voice is with you all the time. It’s there when you’re working, resting, focusing on a hobby or doing household chores. It’s there when you go on your runs and when you look at your strava profile. Sometimes it’s saying “nice job, you’re crushing it,” but other times, it’ says “you’ll never amount to anything,” “you aren’t good enough.” For each of us, that voice is an ever present part of our lives.
For some, that voice speaks LOUDLY and it’s impossible to ignore. It’s critical. It tells you that you aren’t good enough, you aren’t trying hard enough, you’ll never amount to anything and goes on and on. If you are reading this and finding yourself saying “yes, my voice does speak to me that way,” it talks to me in a way I wouldn’t allow anyone else to, you’re not alone. Many high achieving and successful people from the business world, to musicians, athletes and everyone in between have had to deal tough and unsupportive inner thoughts. I like to call that critical inner voice, the inner critic and that voice can cause stress, reduce and make you feel bad about performance as well as deteriorate your confidence and self-esteem.
The secret when it comes to our inner voice is to use that voice for inner good, rather than constant critique.
How do we use our inner voices for good?
The key isn’t to shut your inner voice off, or ignore it, the key is to turn that inner voice into your inner coach. Use it to build yourself up during tough, challenging times, to support you when you’re going through a rough patch and encourage you when working through something difficult.
How do we turn the inner voice into an inner coach?
A few tips I like to give athletes on this is to first build awareness around what your inner voice is telling you. Is it giving you supportive information, or is it being critical? Is it breaking you down?
The next step would be to write some of those thoughts down in a journal. I like athletes to keep a separate journal from the training logs for this. (Training logs should largely be for positive and supporting thoughts, both internal and external.)
Once you’ve written those thoughts down, observe the thoughts in a non-judgmental way.
Continue by asking yourself, are those comments that you would make to a loved one? What about someone you were coaching or mentoring? If the answer is yes, you’re already on the right track to developing your inner coach. If the answer is no, it could be a good idea to examine where those comments are coming from. Do they have any truth? For me, it’s been helpful to repeat those comments out loud to really get a grasp on how untrue the comments usually are. It can be really helpful to enlist a friend or supportive partner for this, but only if they are ready and able to give you space and listen.
The third step toward developing your inner coach is countering your critical inner voice in the moments when it’s loudest. Confront that voice with logic based reason, and then nurture yourself with support thoughts. Those supportive thoughts come directly from your inner coach. I’ve found it particularly helpful to use positive affirmations during these nurturing moments. Here are a few I really like:
– “I do not have to prove myself to anyone. I need only to express myself as honestly and effectively as I am capable.”
– “I am enough, just how I am today.”
– “I fully accept myself, with all my problems and faults.”
Every workout, challenge at work, or tough moment at home is an opportunity to work with your inner voice and develop your inner coach. With time, and practice, you can develop a supporting inner voice that helps guide and support you through life’s challenging moments, instead of breaking you down at every corner!
Own your training. Trust the process. Let’s make this the best freaking week yet!!!
TJ & The Microcosm Team.