Can I Have a Word in Private?

I was approached by one of the participants of a group coaching session with emerging leaders.

“Can I have a word in private please Jasper?”

He seemed to be outside of his comfort zone approaching me, or the subject he wanted to raise.

I invited the guy to sit down. He explained that he had a few things to run by me.

For context, this guy presents well, contributes meaningfully in sessions and comes across as well-informed and confident.

After a couple of decoys, he got to the point.

“I’m not sure how to put this”, he started awkwardly. “I think I might have low self-esteem. In meetings, I’m too slow to contribute, or my contributions are rubbish, and it’s holding me back.”

After listening to him explain things in more detail, I replied that his internal story is very different to the reality I had observed.

I asked him for evidence that his contributions are rubbish. Did he get any feedback or criticism? He didn’t.

Our internal story/narrative creates our own reality.

I consistently observe people at all levels thinking and feeling this way.

I observe it in myself too, I’ve failed this exam many times!

So far this week, and on this subject matter alone, I’ve worked with a CEO/founder and three senior leaders of a well known firm.

There’s a loop at play for all of them, me and you.

Feelings => Thoughts => Behaviour => Evidence/Results => Feelings etc etc

If this loop involves fear-based emotions at the start, you can see how it will unfold. This is how it was for the guy mentioned above.

Anxiety/insecurity => I’m not good enough => keep quiet and stay in my shell => no contribution => more insecurity about what other people think about me.

The key to breaking the destructive loop, and setting it on a more progressive trajectory, is self-awareness.

If you’re aware of how you feel, or story is running in your head and driving your behaviour, ACT UPON the awareness.

The easiest way to break the destructive loop is to take progressive action despite the negative narrative and then to reward the effort, not the outcome.

When you act in defiance of your insecure feelings and thoughts, you create a new story internally and a new book of evidence.

Then repeat…repeat….repeat. That’s how you shift your identity and your results.

Years ago, my internal story said “I could never run a marathon”. In three weeks time, I hope tohave completed my 5th.

Now I see myself as a runner, I identify this way.

  • Think of an example whereby you may be repeatedly critical of yourself, or hold yourself back?
  • How can you break the loop?
  • What action will you commit to taking?
  • What new story will this committed action help create?

All the best.