Coach yourself - To deal with the negative chatter in your head

Coach yourself - To deal with the negative chatter in your head

Learning & Development

Pramod Veturi

Pramod Veturi

148 week ago — 4 min read

We all make mistakes all the time, but somehow we struggle to forgive ourselves and move on. We struggle with a lot of negative chatter in our heads.

“I was supposed to have completed that task. I could not.”

“My goal was to have X number of clients. I am not doing well. What will happen if I don’t hit the numbers.”

“I promised to call her back. I forgot. I am losing control.”

“Why am I judging the person. It’s bad.”

“My sales pitch did not go well. How could I mess up so badly?”

One of the powerful skills my coaching practice has taught me is the ability to coach myself when mistakes happen, or goals get missed where I can think, “Yeah, things are not going my way. But, it’s ok.”

The process to coach yourself when you think you have let yourself down involves three steps.

Step1 - Separate action from intention

99% of the time, when you do something wrong, you actually thought you were doing the right thing, doing something good. E.g., you invested in a stock believing that it was the right stock to invest in. Only when the stock turns out to be a dud, do you start berating yourself about how stupid you were. 

Therefore, the first step to coach yourself is in developing the intuitive sense to separate the action from the intention. Look for the intention instead of the action. Separate the mistake maker (you) from the mistake. When you do that, you begin to create distance from the mistake.

We all make mistakes but it is important to realise that we all generally want to do good and do the right thing.

Step 2 - Understand the motivation

Once you can focus on the intention, you can begin to figure out the motivation behind the action. Why did I think that was a good idea? Why did I think that was a good use of my time? How did I think that was going to turn out?

As you understand the motivation behind your actions and your intention, you will find it easy to empathize with your mistakes. “I didn’t know back then” or “I made some wrong assumptions”- it’s ok. We all make mistakes, hurt people sometimes, say things we don’t mean, or come short of our goals and expectations. This happens all the time.

Step 3 - Distill the lesson from the mistake

What can be learned from the good intention that failed in action? What could I do better next time? What would prevent me from repeating the same mistake? 

When you separate your mistake from your intention, it takes the edge and sharpness off the pain of making a mistake. And, when you distill the lesson from the mistake, you convert it into something beneficial for you.

If you train your mind to deal with failures this way, you will automatically start getting better at deal with the fear of failing. You will start realising that messing things up, saying, or doing the wrong thing is ok - because you know how to manage yourself.


Also read: The Hamburger Theory and the Happiness Archetype


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Pramod Veturi

Global leader with experience managing core banking functions with proven track record of delivering business transformation and growth.