By Matt Oechsli | @mattoechsli
Let’s face it, we all have that little devilish voice of doubt that from time to time, elevates its volume. Whether it’s on the golf course attempting a 5 foot putt, going on a long group bicycle ride that you know will be faster than you usually ride, or asking your neighbor to introduce you to his business partner. When that devilish voice of doubt persists, performance suffers.
Nobody is immune. The key is understanding how to quickly quiet that little devilish voice so you can continue to perform at your potential. Make no mistake about it, this little devilish voice of doubt is what holds most people back in life. How so? Because most people never learn how to turn it off and develop a habit of focusing on obstacles rather than results.
Whether it’s the golfer standing over that putt and thinking I hope I don’t miss or an advisor chatting with his neighbor thinking I don’t want to ruin our relationship by asking to meet his business partner. Regardless of the situation, or the actual inner dialogue you’re hearing, performance suffers.
But – there’s a simple 4 step solution.
Step 1. Recognition
We all know when we start hearing that little devilish voice, but the tendency is to try to ignore it and pretend it’s not there. Unfortunately, there’s an inverse relationship between attempting to ignore this voice and it’s staying power. It’s almost like me telling an audience “Don’t think about a pink elephant – whatever you do – don’t think of a pink elephant.” You guessed it, everyone is thinking about that pink elephant – as you might be right now by simply reading these words.
The sooner you recognize that negative narrative in your mind (the devilish voice), the sooner you will be able to shut it up by working through steps 2, 3 and 4.
Step 2. Breathing
Deep breathing through our diaphragm is our natural relaxation response, and once you recognize that little devilish voice a deep breath will keep you from getting tense, from attempting to ignore your pink elephant.
Whether it’s talking to your neighbor or standing over a putt, a strategic diaphragmatic breath will set the stage for you to perform well.
Step 3. Affirmation
A diaphragmatic breath alone will help you relax, lessen the tension that’s being created by that voice in your head, but couple that voice with a positive affirmation reverses the narrative from doubt to your preferred result.
So standing over a putt, recognizing the devilish voice of doubt, as that golfer is taking that diaphragmatic breadth, he or she is affirming while exhaling a positive affirmation along the lines of “Breaking left into the hole” or “In the hole” or “I’m a putting machine” – the devil’s voice has been replaced while you’re in a relaxed state.
The scenario with the neighbor and meeting his business partner follows the same formula with obviously a different affirmation – such as “I love meeting new people.” Again, the negative voice has been replaced with a positive the represents your preferred result.
Step 4. Action
Now it’s time to follow Nike’s advice and Just Do It!! Whether it’s putting the ball or asking your neighbor to introduce you to his business partner – you’re taking action in the moment. This follows the psychology of “feeling the fear and doing it anyway.” The secret is to never become paralyzed or even hesitant.
By recognizing that little devilish voice, taking a diaphragmatic breath that is coupled with an affirmation, and then taking action – you’ll have effectively quieted that destructive narrative playing in your head. The secret is to make these four steps into a habit that you use in every aspect of your life. Not only will you be a better financial advisor, you’ll be better in everything you do.
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