A Lesson From A Seven Year Old

What do you tell yourself right before a presentation, an exam, a meeting with your boss?

Maya, my friend’s daughter, is a spunky 7 year old with a passion for swimming. Maya has been swimming since she’s worn diapers, and believe it or not, she wins every single swimming competition she competes in. Her mother is extremely proud of her, but a part of her is always surprised when it happens.

One day, while I was with the two of them, Maya’s mother decided to ask her what she thinks about when she’s competing. “Maya, tell me, what comes to your mind the second you jump in the water?”

Maya was surprised by her mother’s question and had to mull over it for a moment. Her face scrunched with a finger on her chin, it was clear that winning was second nature to her. Then, her eyes lit up and in an innocent, sincere voice she chimed, “Oh! I tell myself I’m going to win, then I jump in the water!”

Ohhhh, wow, I immediately starting trying to remember what comes to my mind before important activates in my life.  I wondered, do I tell myself “I am going to win?” or “Do I tell myself something negative filled with fear.”

During coaching sessions, I often hear my clients talk about their fear of failure, their worry of being judged, and their aspiration for perfection.  Their internal monologues tend to be most of the time negative and disparaging. Their fears stop them from moving forward, they end up missing out on opportunities and losing themselves. What we tell ourselves is beyond critical.

Maya is a teacher for all of us, her attitude and positive thinking is what many of us need in order to continue to win in our lives.

What about you? What do you tell yourself right before a presentation, an exam, a meeting with your boss? Do you tell yourself you’re going to do well and succeed, or do you tell yourself other things?

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