55: CD Podcast Episode: Negative Self-Talk: 5 Ways to Stop the Monster

February 4, 2013


Welcome to CommunicationDiva, the podcast that talks about talk…about communication, about skills and techniques and about people who are great communicators. My hope is that something you hear here will inspire YOU to be a better communicator, because the more skilled you are at communicating, the less conflict you’ll have in your life…and that can only be a very good thing!

Some of you have been over to my facebook page recently to see the photos of my husband and I kissing a stingray in the Caribbean. Yes, it was slimy, but it was also pretty fun to play with them. You can see these images on facebook at the CommunicationDivaPage, or you can simply “like” CommunicationDiva on the right hand side of this site.

I wanted to tell you about one of my friends and coaching clients, Jim Munchbach. Now I don’t usually talk about coaching clients for confidentiality reasons, but Jim hired me in a more unconventional capacity, and I was more of a co-host with ideas! He is a financial adviser and coach, and was going to begin teaching a class at the Bauer School of Business in Houston, and he wanted some coaching and some ideas around communicating his ideas and thoughts to a college-aged group. Jim is an author and the creator of the new concept called the financial calendar.  So if you are interested in hearing those interviews (episodes 22 and 23), and in learning more about Jim and what he’s doing, go to www.moneybible.org. I think the photo of me kissing a stingray is there too!

Let’s Talk Self-Talk

So what is self-talk?
It’s that really annoying little monster of a voice..(hence the monster picture above…although that really is an endangered Blue Cayman Iguana)…that internal monologue in your head that tells you you can’t do things…or that you aren’t good enough..or that you don’t look good…in fact, you look hideous in that outfit…or you are just going to fail…you aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, or you suck…whatever other nasty little things it thinks up.

You know the one I mean?

That negative nay-saying monster. It may be little, but in the world of great and effective communication…it’s actually huge.


Because here’s the thing…this little voice is NOT going to help you reach your goals if you continue to let it tell you negative, nasty things. If you continue to give it credibility, then yes…it will end up being right. You will fail. you will not be able to do things.  In fact, it may lead to greater negative consequences in your life. It may leave you stressed, unable to meet challenges. It may lead to anxiety, sleep deprivation and illness. It may lead to depression.

Words are extremely powerful things…and of particular importance are the words we tell ourselves, because they are the closest to us.

If you can’t believe in yourself…then why will anyone else?

This negative talk may have begun as a result of something said to you as a child by a parent, a teacher, a peer. It may be a result of an experience of failure or unreached goals that result in a lack of confidence. It may simply be habit…but you can be sure that it manifests itself on the outside in ways you may not even be aware of.

So how can you stop the monster…or at least put it in a cage when you want to?

5 Tips…

1. Awareness.

The first step to changing any behaviour is to be aware of it in the first place. Pay attention to negative self-talk and how often it occurs. That’s a good first step….just noticing it.

2. Get Curious.

After noticing negative self-talk, get curious. (That’s such good tool and if you’ve been listening to CommunicationDiva for a while, you will have noticed that I LOVE curiosity.)
Get curious. When you hear that voice tell you you can’t do something..ask challenging-type questions. Really? Prove it! How do you know I can’t do that? Is this a matter of fact, or of interpretation. Where is the evidence?

3. Ask the “Says Who?” Question.
Whose perspective is this voice coming from? How else could this negative idea be explained?

4. Ask “Is this Useful in Any Way?”
Sometimes, the negative self-talk monster is actually trying to protect you from failure. Perhaps you need to explore limitations and boundaries around whatever the topic is. Maybe you can’t do exactly what you want to do, but you could do something similar. Perhaps you just need more time to plan. Instead of using the energy to worry and fuss…can you get creative?

5. Re-frame it.
If the negative self-talk is a habit…an old, tiresome loop that makes you sick, try re-framing the negativity into something positive. Breaking a habit means replacing it with a new habit…and it takes work. Each time you are aware of the monster, tell it to stop and re-frame the thought with something encouraging…something positive and affirming. This will be work, but it’s work that ONLY you can do.

So here is your homework dear listener…

if you suffer from the effects of negative self-talk, try the five steps above over the next month and see how it goes. It is said it takes 30 days to create a new habit.

You CAN do it!!!

Next week I’m going to be bringing you a guest interview with attorney and former speech writer John Corcoran of smartbusinessrevolution.com. I look forward to learning more about his communication ideas and sharing them with you.

Please  leave me some feedback, share this episode on Twitter or Facebook or any other social media sites, or email it to your friends.

I would love for you to help me to help others communicate to the best of their abilities…because less conflict in the workplace or in the world in general can only be a good thing.

Until next time,


Leave a Comment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim Parmar February 11, 2013 at 2:05 am

Nice podcast Jenn!


JennSwanson February 11, 2013 at 9:11 am

Thanks Kim! Glad you took a listen. I hope you are doing well?


Elizabeth Savage February 6, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Good podcast. Handsome lizard guy!



JennSwanson February 6, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Thanks Mom! 😉


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