Self-Talk for Peak Performance

If you’ve ever wanted to live the life of a celebrity, star performer, star athlete, or astronaut, then don’t wait, you can start working toward it right now.  Better still, you can start talking like one upon reading this article.

Of course, you won’t be a celebrity or star unless that’s your goal in life or unless you unwittingly gain celebrity status.  However, I hope to help you think more like a star.  More accurately, to use positive self-talk like a high-performance athlete.

But what makes for high-quality self-talk?

Coach yourself with self-talk.

Pretend you’re Mike Tyson’s trainer.  Coach yourself as if you’re heading for the world championship—tomorrow.  Use step-by-step self-talk, and if possible, say it aloud and say it with conviction.

When I go into the washroom, I’ll say aloud, “When I’m done here, I’ll open up this file, download an image, study the PowerPoint, and start designing the presentation.” But if there is still idle time, I will get more detailed with the steps or go further down the list of actions.

Try to number these steps: step 1, step 2, and step 3.  And if, by chance, you come up with a solid set of numbered steps, then write them down for future reference.

But, even if you’re coaching yourself, speak to yourself in the third person.  For example, you could say, “Larry, open the textbook to chapter 5, read the introduction and subheadings, and look at the solutions for the end-of-chapter questions.  Once you’re done, Larry, read the chapter.”

Use motivational self-talk.

Tell yourself often that you have unlimited potential and that all your dreams will become a reality.  As Mike Tyson’s trainer said, “Why them? Why not you? Why should they be the world champion and not you? Why are they any better than you?”

Apply only positive self-talk.  Use positive self-talk all the time.  Ensure your daily communication is consistently upbeat.  Don’t let a single negative word or thought sneak through.  You have 100% power over your mind.

Battle negative self-talk with positivity.  You have your own unique strengths.  But what works for me is to send out pure love to any conflictual person.  I also agree with any criticisms I receive and try to see how I can grow from them.  Lastly, I focus more on boosting other people’s self-esteem rather than my own.  By focusing on others’ needs, I don’t get attached to my ego.  But you have your own set of strengths.  Your unique strengths may help you find the positives in different ways.

For instance, if you are enamored by beauty, which is a strength, you may seek to find something beautiful in everyone and every issue.

Use self-talk that energizes you.

Say words to yourself that excite you.  For instance, you could say, “I’m going to work today like I’m about to try out for the NHL.” Or say things like, “Star athletes go super hard in practice.  If they can do it, so can I!”

Did you know that top athletes work just as hard during practices as they do during actual games? I saw a coach on a Masterclass that told an athlete to run to one side of the court and back.  The athlete did.  Then, the coach offered a cash reward if the athlete ran there and back within a tiny time frame.  The player ran at supersonic speed.  That’s how hard you should practice every day, said the coach.  The coach said athletes perform during the games just below their level of practice due to the stress and other factors.

So, get yourself pumped for high performance each day with positive self-talk.  Talk to yourself like a star—to become one!