Today a client told me some hard truth. He failed this past week in significant ways. In fact, he told me very soberly that he rates himself (on a scale of 1 -10) around a 2 almost every day. He is not thinking clearly. His explanatory style, the way he explains events to himself, is messed up. He is hard on self and down on self.
So, I reminded him what it looks like to be hard on self but not down on self with the story of Matt Biondi and the 1986 Olympics. You see, Matt faced massive disappointment and adversity by losing the first two races by a fraction of a second. Most would have told themselves it just wasn’t their day. Matt told himself to keep working and so he did, winning Gold the next four races. Biondi was hard on self not down on self. Matt was mentally tough. My client is learning to catch his little voice and then change it. This is not easy and starts with awareness of the adversity
My client is not behaving in alignment with beliefs. He is filled with negative self talk, rooted in his childhood and habituated for far too long. We’re changing this. Actually, he is. I’m simply giving him tools and holding him accountable. You too, most likely have integrity gaps that are not a reflection of your character but instead reflect inaccurate thinking. It’s far easier to change one’s thinking than it is to fix a character flaw. Catch the faulty thinking and learn to replace the negative self talk with thoughts anchored in reality. You are not too much or too little. You need to focus your mind on the progress you’re making not the distance you still have to go. We are all a work in process, my friend. Tell yourself that, next time adversity and your explanatory style try to make a mountain out of a mole hill.
Read Learned Optimism, by Martin Seligman. Learn your A,B,C’s…