By: Daniel C. Finley

Conquering Negative Self-Talk

After over a decade in production and 18 years to date coaching financial advisors and insurance agents I have found one thing to be absolutely true for each and every advisor/agent I have ever worked with, we all have an inner voice speaking to us dictating our thoughts, behaviors, actions and results regardless of the voice issuing good or bad thoughts.

Steve Jobs said it best, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

While I agree with the previous quote, the big question is what do you do when our own inner voice is constantly negative?

Conquering negative self-talk is not a matter of just stopping the negative dialogue. You cannot separate easily from the little voice inside your head. It might possibly be that you have been listening to your negative inner advisor for years, even as far back as early childhood. So how is it possible to just turn it off? Unfortunately, you can’t. However, you can conquer negative self-talk by doing several things: countering it with positive self-talk, using relief statements and supportive counterstatements to support building a new positive belief system.

I have had my advisor clients’ use a tool I designed called “The Negative Self-Talk Worksheet” which is the three step process that follows.

Step #1: Identify Your Negative Self-Talk

Typically, negative self-talk comes in one of the four common types of negative self-talk which are worried, critical, victimized and perfectionist. I refer to these inner voices as negative inner advisors. The first step in managing each of these dialogues is to identify when you have experiencing them. Here are a few examples:

  1. The Worried Advisor:“What if I lose everything trying to build my business?”
  2. The Critical Advisor: “I will not close this account because they always need to think about it.”
  3. The Victimized Advisor: “I can’t cold call because it doesn’t work in this environment.”
  4. The Perfectionist Advisor:“I have to hit my gross goals this month!”

Step #2: Creating Relief Questions

One way to weaken the power of negative belief systems is to use Socratic questions. Socratic questions are a form of questioning in which Socrates used to create a negative argument to rational investigation. By subjecting your negative self-talk or your negative belief systems to rational scrutiny, you break down the belief systems validity. The following are a few examples:

  • “What is the evidence that I will lose everything?”
  • “Is this always true? Have I ever closed an account before with any prospect?”
  • “Has this always been true in the past?”
  • “What’s the worst thing that can happen”

The preceding questions can also be viewed as relief questions which are questions designed to relieve you of anxiety by questioning the severity of your perception of the situation.

Step #3: The Positive Counterstatement

The final step is to substitute your negative self-talk with positive counterstatements. Remember; you cannot eliminate a belief system, but you can replace negative belief systems with positive ones. The amount of effectiveness that you have on this process will be determined by how valid your new positive counterstatement can stand up to any and all objective scrutiny. In other words the stronger you can make a case for your new positive counterstatement the less likely that the old negative self-talk will continue.

The Negative Self-Talk Worksheet

The following is an example of how The Negative Self-Talk Worksheet can be applied when using all three steps for The Worried Advisor dialogue:

The Worried Advisor: “What if I lose everything trying to build my business?”

  • The Relief Question:“What is the evidence that I will lose everything?”
  • The Positive Counterstatement: “A bad month or bad quarter while financially uncomfortable is not the end of my financial security. I am on a salary for another year, I have equity in my home and I am consistently adding new assets, new accounts and new gross commissions to my business every day. I have never lost everything before and will work smart to never be in that type of financial situation.”

This is not a quick fix for years of negative self-talk but it is a process that with practice can transform your way of thinking!

Why Conquering Negative Self-Talk Works

Anyone can build an investment advisory business. The greatest obstacle that you face is creating a positive daily mental attitude. You may have come into this business with years of emotional baggage. The reason why The Negative Self-Talk Worksheet works is because it gives you a process for identifying negative dialogue, questioning negative beliefs and backing up a new belief system with positive counterstatements.

In other words, it’s a process for shifting the negative dialogue to positive dialogue and having an opportunity to leave your emotional baggage behind.

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