The way you talk to yourself is the way you feel. This is something that everyone knows on a basic level, but few of us think about how it affects our day-to-day successes and struggles. Your inner voice is the voice you speak to yourself within your own mind. We are often unaware of the tone it takes or how often our inner voices might lift us up or bring us down with the constant ongoing internal narrative. But every thought you have about yourself and your surroundings influences the way you respond and your ability to be positive, energetic, or creative.
In other words, your inner voice controls your confidence. And if your goal is to be more positive and confident in your career, one of the best things you can do is to control your inner voice to influence how it controls you.
Where That Inner Voice Comes From
For most of us, the inner voice is a combination of our own personalities, thought patterns, and concepts that we have been building since childhood. Your inner voice is both an essential part of your personality and a running narrative that you can choose to control. It is how you natively thing about things, shaped initially by how your parents talked when you were first learning to think, then by your earliest opinions, the things you read and experienced and absorbed as a child, a teenager, and then as an adult. It is your most honest self, but it’s also not always right.
For example, has your inner voice ever told you that you would have a bad time at an event that turned out to be a blast? Untrained, your inner voice often expresses fear, doubt, or derision of unfamiliar things. And when it does this, it can also hold back your confidence and capabilities. The way your inner voice talks about you and your actions is called self-talk, and your self-talk can be good or bad, depressing or motivating, and it’s up to you to shape how you think by training your inner voice to work with you, not against you.
Negative Self-Talk Brings You Down
People who tend toward negative self-talk generally have a fearful or derisive inner voice. Your inner voice may make fun of things, scoff at opportunities, and even say mean things about you inside your mind. Maybe a parent set up your inner voice to think this way, maybe you developed insecurities through other routes. But the way you talk to yourself in your mind can absolutely hold you back and bring you down.
Those who think things like “I’ll never get there in time” and “They probably don’t want to see me” tend to be depressed. Not because life is bad, but because their inner voice is always framing things in the worst possible light. Naturally, this can lower your confidence and reduce your ability to work hard and shine at what you would be truly good at. Negative self-talk has a tendency to lower your mood and your opinion of your capabilities. People with negative self-talk don’t try their hardest because they are constantly thinking about failure. But you don’t have to keep thinking this way.
Encouraging Self-Talk Lifts You Up
On the flip-side, people with positive self-talk are those who always seem confident and happy. Their inner voices are always telling them things like “I could probably do that” and “Everyone will be glad to see me”. Most likely, because their parents were supportive and careful to voice loving, encouraging things. But some people just have a naturally sunny disposition and their inner voice won’t let anything bring them down. Positive self-talk makes a big difference to how you approach life.
If you don’t already have positive self-talk, you can change the way you think and how you talk to yourself with practice. People can train their inner voices to be positive and encouraging by purposefully thinking “I can do this” and “My friends will want to see me.” These thoughts can really boost your confidence and effectiveness both at work and in your personal life. Even though you may still natively think negatively when not carefully being positive. Positive self-talk helps you to accept challenges and face difficulties with a positive attitude. You’re more likely to do your best and more likely to bounce back from setbacks without a hit to your mood.
Challenging Self Talk: The Secret of Individual Success
Finally, here’s a trade secret that not everyone aware of the inner voice knows: Many of the most successful people don’t have a depressing or an encouraging inner voice. They have a challenging inner voice. Whether inherited from challenging parents or a naturally self-challenging nature, they tend to think things like “I bet I can get ten more calls in today than yesterday” and sometimes even “I won’t be happy until I get that promotion”.
These are the people who put their heads down and seem to charge into their work with grim determination to, usually, ultimate success. You probably know at least one person like this, and it might surprise you to realize that a self-challenging nature is the secret to their success. If you have negative self-talk that tends toward challenging, try shaping your new self-talk to spur you to new heights of achievement instead of being discouraging. A challenging inner voice isn’t always fun, but it is effective.
Building Your Inner Voice for Confidence at Work
You can absolutely train your inner voice to help you be confident, strong, and achieve more highly at work. It takes time and careful practice to deliberately think the right response to things, but you can do it. Try thinking positive things. Re-frame your thought into “I can”s instead of “I probably can’t”s. Think “I have worked hard an deserve to achieve” and, if you’re going for a little over-achieving, train your inner voice to challenge you. Just enough that you accelerate, while keeping a positive, self-supporting attitude.
When you train your inner voice to speak to you with respect, positivity, and just a dash of challenge, you’ll find your work an uplifting and achievement-filled place to be.