What You Need to Know About Talking to Yourself

by Suzanne Andrews

What words you tell yourself in your mind matters because they can have a strong influence over your goals.

Positive self-talk, coupled with the right attitude really can make things happen in life. The wrong attitude, however, combined with self-doubting dialogue, can stop you in your tracks and make you want to run home and hide.

This was never truer than one day when I was at a studio in a meeting with department heads and  the head producer said, "anyone have any ideas for a new show that’s unique?”

Well, I had an idea. Scanning the room, it was clear to me that we needed a health series that was for people over 40, but not just your typical weight loss or insane fitness moves show. So I raised my hand and said, “I think one of our challenges is the lack of evidenced based fitness shows available for people over 40.  Sure you have a show for 80 plus but what about the active boomers and seniors who aren’t ready for a rocking chair?

After sharing some facts and figures for the strong need of medically proven exercises that help heal specific conditions, I finished up and sat up in my seat a little bit straighter, proud that I’d made my case so strongly.

Then I waited for a reply. And waited . . . and waited.

That was when my confident pride faded to insecurity. Oh dear God, I thought. What have I done?

You could hear crickets. Rarely did this group not have an opinion. I felt insecure over having raised the issue that silenced the room. I then felt embarrassed, like I had either offended someone or that maybe I had tarnished the reputation I had been carefully building.

When the meeting adjourned, I didn’t engage in polite chitchat with the other members but headed straight to the door and hightailed it home to be alone with my self-destructive insecure thoughts.

While at home, I got a call from the general manager, “We’d like you to be our expert health and fitness guest on Healthy Lifestyles.”

After taping, the general manager asked, “how would you like your own show about what you shared in the meeting?”

In those moments, some critical light was shed on my self-talk. He made me realize how quickly I’d taken the others’ silence to mean that they were judging me when maybe they were just thinking and reflecting about something they’d never thought about before.

I was amazed by how automatically I’d conjured the worst-case scenario without even considering a best-case scenario. I realized that I needed to have more confidence in myself and write a new inner dialogue for when I’m feeling stressed or pressured, because the current one wasn’t helping.

Had I not gotten that phone call that evening, I would have drowned myself in my own miserable self-talk for weeks.

When I look back on the string of events, there’s no doubt that confidence has been a part of every step.

Now when you see my TV series, Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews, know that is my way of helping you believe in your abilities and the feeling that you can rise to the occasion when the pressure is on.  No matter what you’re trying to achieve. Whether you want to fit into a dress for an important reunion, speak at an event or accomplish a life-long dream. You’re never too old, too large or too small to do anything!

What has sustained me is the functional ability to manage my confidence by substituting positive self-appraisals for those harmful, negative ones. I’m not perfect at this — I’m still a work in progress — but positive self-talk takes the same amount of time as negative talk and it feels a whole lot better!

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

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