There’s nothing like the voice in our head, when it comes to how we feel about ourselves.
Stemming from past experiences, opinions of others or even existing circumstances, that voice in your head either conjures up magic or doom. Right?
What we feel about ourselves sends us on a trajectory of self-fulfilling prophecy. It will certainly do this at law school, according to what I’ve heard from countless attorneys. Because that’s the place where you’re often singled out in front of others for how you think or how prepared you are, and perhaps in not-so-kind ways, which can leave one feeling frustrated, doubtful, angry or confused, especially if you’re an introvert.
When this happens, you have a job to do. Talk back. At least in your head. Extroverts are quicker to do this than introverts. They want to feel good about themselves and will work to find ways to do so. Introverts are quick to take it on the chin, to feel inadequate, to wonder about their choices.
What about you? Have you paid attention to how you talk about yourself?
You’ve no doubt been competitive with your thoughts, your studies, your time with professors, your time with peers and other things career- or non-career-focused. You’ve compared yourself to those around you. And you often erect barriers by thinking you come up short. Which means, it takes you longer to get out of your funk and into rhythm with the tasks at hand. You doubt your abilities. You question why others think well of you and soon you find yourself at a cross-roads about choices you’ve made.
If this is happening, it’s time to get a new perspective.
So starting today, – maybe in the privacy of your own room – speak aloud your thoughts about what you’ve done or been doing that will send you off toward the confidence you need (because what we say AND what we hear are powerful).
Reflect on these:
- What good have you done that others around you never did? (maybe nobody else in your family, or none of your friends, or very few of your peers, etc.) Say these things aloud and then say, “Wow, I did that!”
- What good have you done that required lots of time to finally accomplish? (projects, research, adventures, etc.) Say these things aloud and then say, “Wow, I did that!”
- What good have you done that you didn’t think was part of your skill set, but you were tasked with and handled? (a speaking project, a physical activity, something creative, a new hobby, etc.) Say these things aloud and then say, “Wow, I did that!”
Now that you’ve been reflecting on these good things, stating them aloud and remarking on the accomplishments, you are breaking down barriers that led you into a funk. Consider this new perspective, this new voice of affirmation (“Wow, I did that!”) as motivation to get back in the game. Maybe you haven’t yet taken initiative in a particular group, but now you’ve decided to do so. Maybe you haven’t yet attracted attention from someone you admire, but now see there is hope.
The point here is, the voice in your head – yes, in YOUR head – is the voice of motivation that you need to show up the way you’ve always wanted to. Extroverts get this. Introverts need encouragement in it.
Don’t let the voice in your head be the voice of doom. Make some magic with it. With that affirming voice, that positive, powerful voice on board, you can do, be and have what you need.
Again and again re-frame your thoughts when you start doubting. When your head says, “You idiot”, talk back. Remind it of things you’ve done that have been smart. Take a risk. Don’t wait for opportunity to come to you, create it. And the next thing you know, you will say, “Wow, I did that!”