All of us face hundreds of issues daily, whether it be an eviscerating comment from a close friend or being stuck in traffic that won’t budge it festers inside of us all and it can be summarised in one word, stress.
Stress is the emotion that all of us experience in times of disaster but what if I told you that stress was optional and that it’s how you talk to yourself as to whether or not you become stressed.
This is what Devin Markle teaches to seven-figure female entrepreneurs and athletes, she teaches them that stress, when used in the right way, is a good thing not bad and that stress can make you better, not worse. Markle herself is a Certified Mental Performance Coach and psychological assistant in the final year of her studies, a college athlete and someone who has mastered the self-talk that teaches us not only how to avoid stress but harness it to be better.
Here are the two key insights I gained from my interview with Markle on how to deal with negative self-talk, mitigating stress and becoming a better version of you.
Negativity is a choice
Most of us see things as positive, negative or neutral Top performers though usually see things as either a positive or neutral and this is where Devin spends her time helping others move the thoughts from negative to positive or neutral.
Let’s take an example –
If you say to yourself “I missed dinner because I finished my project but it’s horrible because I let my friend down” is actually two impressions.
The first “I missed dinner and finished my project” – is objective.
The second “it’s horrible because I let me friend down” – is subjective.
Have you ever wondered how damaging it is to see your identity as a product of a negative thought even though you’ve done something great like finishing a project on time?
This is what we do when we frame the subjective part of our self-talk in a negative tone.
Markle shared with me that for most females she works with are overly tough with their self-talk which leads to a whirlwind of demoralizing thoughts and feelings.
Let’s look at reframing the example above –
If you say to yourself “I missed dinner because I finished my project which is great, but I need to be more cognizant of where I commit my time”.
Notice the lack of self-deprecation? The second half of that self-talk sentence rewards you by associating a positive emotion with completing your project and but also addresses the issue of missing your friend’s dinner by acknowledging your time commitments.
This is the type of talk you need to implement and be aware of when you’re working to mitigate stress.
Here are some common examples:
- “#$%^, I’m late for this meeting I’m in so much trouble” instead try “I’m running late so I’m going to note the things that preceded this to make sure they don’t happen again.”
- “My launch completely failed, I’m terrible at this I’m going to go back and get a job” use this “I missed the KPI’s I set out to hit but here is what I’ve learned and imagined if I never tried at all I would have learned nothing.”
Traditionally our self-talk often only generates stress but when we look at this from a subjective viewpoint with a positive tone the stress then becomes a tool for growth, development, and motivation.
Change the way you talk to yourself and you will change the way you perceive stress.
Getting What You Want Is A Necessity Not A Nicety
Most of us are scared to go after the things we want, we’re worried what our peers will think, we’re worried what our parents will think and we’re worried that if we do it we’re bad people.
Ancestrally, it used to be that if you acted out for your own motives in a group setting you would put yourself at risk but today the same things that made us at risk thousands of years ago as a lone wolf do not apply in our modern society. This is why we get those feelings of stress and worry but Markle debunked this myth for me plain and simple:
“One of the limiting factors I see for females is that having what we want is perceived or interpreted as selfish. This is a load of shit. I encourage women to become more selfish and change that narrative that’s associated with being selfish because it’s based on old fears and old beliefs,” said Markle.
To start getting what you want, you need to first give yourself permission to go after that thing and secondly ignore the societal norms that come with achieving what you want.
By doing this you will remove the negative stress that comes with going after your goals and begin to find success in those same areas. When you start working towards a purpose and putting yourself first you’re no longer stressed about what others think and your decisions only get easier not harder.
Markle is a master of her stress and these two insights are what she uses to help others master their feelings and relationship with stress. If you want to get in touch with Devin you can find her on her website or her Instagram.
Remember that stress is the start of something better, not worse.