You Might as Well Make it Count

Like it or not, we human beings talk to ourselves all the time. Sadly, this self-talk is often negative. We seem to believe en mass that the stick is a better motivator than the carrot. Research, on the other hand, says differently. When children (and grown ups) are praised for the effort they put into something, they are more likely to feel motivated to put in more effort. Criticized for what they did, people will start doing the minimum they need to do to get by. As a colleague and friend of mine said, “You can't criticize people into high performance.”

Fear and criticism can sometimes motivate people, but these are short term wins. Long term wins require a positive attitude that is focused on excellence. When people focus on perfection, it is easy to feel defeated and shift into negative self-talk. However, a slight quarter degree turn and the self-talk can be such that it motivates you to be more resilient, to persist, and to innovate.

The truth (that most of us forget) is that self-talk is a choice. Granted, for most of us, it is not a conscious choice that we are making to feel bad. However, once people learn and begin to practice positive self-talk, rewards come quickly. Those rewards lead to more consciousness and greater dedication to practice positive self-talk.

The best way that I've found to start changing the inner dialogue away from self-criticism, self put-down, etc., is to start practicing credit taking. That builds the muscles of the angel so that when you experience a traitor attack, you already have a neural network set up to come in and respond to the traitor, stopping it in its tracks or at least, making it less ferocious.

Since we humans do talk to ourselves, it is worth the time, energy, and commitment to learn how to talk to yourself in a way that helps you feel good about yourself, be as productive as you want, and, in the end, feel more joy. What could be bad with that?

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith is the founder and president of Rewire Leadership Institute®. A master facilitator, consultant, teacher, and coach, she has created and facilitated personal growth, team development and organizational change seminars, coached executives and teams, facilitated strategic planning and high visibility meetings, and supported culture change for over four decades. Judith works with a diverse range of companies from government agencies, non-profit, Fortune Global 500, to small and mid-sized family owned businesses including such organizations as NASA, Seaflow, Total Oil, Restoration Hardware, San Antonio Water System, and Culver Company.

Superb at supporting individuals, pairs, and teams in developing the skills necessary to realize their full potential, Judith helps executives, managers, and staff gain the ability to respond flexibly and rapidly to their changing environment. Through extensive experience and research, she utilizes a number of different approaches including the FIRO theory, systems theory, cybernetics, neuroscience, cognitive, positive, and success psychology.

As one of the world’s leading experts on the FIRO theory, she trains consultants internationally. A consultant’s consultant, Judith mentors facilitators, coaches, therapists and other professionals in the integration of the FIRO theory in their work. From 1981 until 2004, she worked closely with Dr. Will Schutz, the creator of FIRO theory. Independently, Judith developed FIRO Theory Profiling, which has been lauded as the first innovation in the FIRO theory instruments aside from Dr. Schutz’ own developments. She continues to develop courses that synthesize her studies and experience and are based in FIRO theory.

Starting in her teenage years, Judith has been a pioneer in her passion for authenticity, clear communication, and positive change. She is lauded for her ability to see others’ potential and help them realize it—be they individuals, pairs, teams, or organizations. Judith’s zest for life, appreciation for others, and generosity of spirit inspires those with whom she works.

An honor’s student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Judith’s desire and passion to learn about authenticity motivated her to move her studies to The Institute for Creative and Artistic Development (ICAD) in Oakland, California. As the youngest student in their teacher training program, she created and graduated with an undergraduate degree that focused on authenticity through California State University, Sonoma. Continuing on her quest to study authenticity and creativity, Judith began taking courses at California State University, Hayward where she also created and graduated with a unique Master’s degree that focused on communication, transformation, and the creative arts.

Interested in systems and change, Judith began experimenting with her innovative action-oriented approach to assess and intervene with families, groups, and organizations. Through this work, she became a much sought-after instructor, training masters and doctoral students in her seminal work. As chair of a psychology program focused on Creative Arts Therapies at Antioch University, San Francisco, she developed curriculum and continued to serve as guest faculty and lecturer at universities nationwide.

In addition to leading Rewire Leadership, Judith and her husband, Daniel Ellenberg, co-founded Relationships That Work®, where she serves as Vice President. She and Daniel co-authored Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True Partnership, which applies the principles of Rewire Leadership Institute® to romantic relationships. Recently, they co-authored a chapter in Mastering the Art of Success: Volume 8. With Matt White, Judith recently co-authored Leading with Courage.

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