A coaching client Jack* recently commented during a coaching session – “I am my own worst enemy”. I’m sure we’ve all said this to ourselves at times – whether it’s about taking on too much, or having a fear of failure or putting others needs above our own.
I asked Jack if this was really true. “Of course” he said – “I’m always hard on myself and beating myself up over stuff. I’m much nicer to other people than I am to myself. I’m always willing to help other people but don’t want to look for help myself.”
I asked him if there was another more positive way to say what he believed. He said “I’m my own worst enemy, but I’m determined to change that” – I said that sounded like progress and commitment, so I challenged him, with a little bit of teasing, to make it even more positive. This guy is very competitive!
I reminded him that he was already working on this area, and that he had already begun to change his habit of thinking this way, even though it wasn’t perfect and probably never would be. I also reminded him that he had already looked for help through coaching and sought support from other people who could help him – so the evidence was all there in spite of his pattern of thinking.
So then he said, ok so I’ll say to myself “I have been my own worst enemy in the past, but I’m determined to change that right now”.
Suddenly his energy changed and he literally put that habit back in his past. Of course he may slip up from time to time, but its all about choosing more positive thoughts and retraining your thinking.
If you feel stuck with a habitual way of thinking that’s not working for you, try adding “until now I have …. but I will now… ” or “I used to…”, “in the past” or anything else to change the broken record and put it behind you – try it and see what happens!
*Name changed for client confidentiality