Does your inner chatter hold you back?

Henley Careers held their fifth ‘Resilient You’ event of 2020, this one was centred around self-doubt, titled ‘Does your inner chatter hold you back?’ Students were introduced to Sarah Leach who works within the Henley Careers team as an Executive Coach for MBAs. The session was very interactive and engaging as we broke into groups throughout to discuss our own thoughts and experiences. 

To start the session off we discussed times when our inner critic starts chattering, we had examples such as ‘before a competitive sports match’ and ‘before a job interview’. We heard some great examples from the room and it enabled everyone to really relate to the subject. From this discussion Sarah was able to show that our inner critic was linked to feelings of self-doubt, anxiety and our fear of failure. However, Sarah went onto explain that when we start to realise that it is only a thought, and when we start to notice that it is only your inner critic, you will be more equipped to deal with it. 

Female speaking on when your inner critic starts chattering

The next stage was for us to learn some practical steps in dealing with our inner chatter. Sarah taught us a practice to carry out to deal with these thoughts called ‘daily affirmations’. 

There were two steps to this practice: 

Step 1: Identify your top negative thoughts 

Step 2: Identify an affirmation that reinforces a positive opposite thought

An example: 

Step 1: Everyone else is better than me

Step 2: I will do my best and my best is good enough

Once we spoke through this practice, we were able to go back into our small groups and discuss the negative thought we identified earlier, look at the positives, and try to create a daily affirmation (step 2). We were then able to share with the group our positive thoughts and if we were struggling Sarah was able to offer guidance to create this with you. Now you have your daily affirmation you should try to say this to yourself as many times as necessary each day when you receive your negative thought. 

This practice is very relevant for both us students, and people in industry. As a student it is easy to get snowed under with the workload and start to think that your work is not good enough. If you are able to take this thought and create a daily affirmation you will start to believe in your work and this may cause your productivity levels to rise. When in the working world you may want the promotion but may believe you do not have the experience or knowledge for the next step, create a daily affirmation from your negative and you may just see a change in your thought process. I believe that practicing this every day will transform your thoughts, it may take a while, but it will be worth it in the long run. I will definitely be taking this on board personally! 

To end the session Sarah shared a very inspirational quote: 

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom

Viktor Frankl

This quote is one that really resonated with me. You are in control of your thoughts and what you decide to do is what will make the difference. Sarah also recommended that we read Viktor Frankl’s book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, so definitely add that one to your reading list. 

Don’t worry if you missed out on this event as there are still more ‘Resilient You’ events before the end of term! 

By Hannah Crees, member of the Digital Student Engagement Team for Henley

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