Silencing the Narrator (Part 3)

We are in the home stretch…You can do it, you can make it through!

The Narrator appears in various ways.  Various types of negative “self-talk” are easy to identify if you listen.  I have developed a habit of listening for other people’s narrator, and I hear them all the time.  (Yes, it gives me something to do at parties.)  If you listen carefully, you may hear them as well.  Let’s look at a few examples.

Black or White Thinking:  Either you are perfect or you are a total failure.  “They didn’t like the report’s conclusion, why did we even try?”

Pessimistic Thinking:  It is never going to work out right.  “No matter how hard we try, management will never listen, they never do.”

Catastrophic Thinking:  Taking one event and magnifying it to a fictional conclusion. “My boss mentioned that I need to work harder, times are tough, he and other managers were working late…are they meeting to fire me?”

Comparing:  Measuring yourself against others.  “My sales will never match their numbers, they have it all together.”

Discounting:  Not being able to accept positive feedback.

This is one I hear the most, especially in the workplace.  Just this week, I was talking with someone and attempted to provide some feedback because their performance has been great.  I stopped by to see them and started up a conversation.

“Hi, just wanted to stop by and check in.  Your efforts to get out into the customer base in the past few months has really paid off…”

(Before I could finish) “I know that it has not been enough and I am not great at this you know…I will try harder.”

Do you hear that Narrator trying so hard to take away any positive news?  As a manager or leader are you listening to those around you, and listening for the Narrator?  If not, you may pass right over this without even noticing.  Having your team know their value may require a little more effort because of the Narrator.

Recognition is important, and doing it doesn’t really cost you much. Without being in tune with your people your efforts may not be penetrating through their Narrators.

Mind Reading:  Assuming people are thinking the worst about you.

Actually.  A pretty harmless word right?  But watch how this can play out.  During a recent conversation, I realized how much of a trigger this word can be for me.  It was during this dialogue that I realized how much my Narrator keys in on certain words or phrases and tries to insert the mind reading technique.  Here is how it went down.

“Actually Carl, that was pretty insightful.”

(My Narrator): So Carl, did you hear how surprised they were that for once you were “actually” insightful.

Luckily, I have become more aware of my own Narrator and can address it when it appears (not always, but it is getting better).  I joke with this person now when we talk about their use of “actually” and how my Narrator can no longer use it against them.

If you listen you will hear Narrators in the workplace, in your homes, and in your organizations.  Our role as leaders, managers, peers, or friends can be to provide some positive narration and call out the Narrator when we hear it.  Identifying these Narrators is the first step.

Be a Good Narrator.  First for yourself, then for others and watch what happens. Silence that Bad Narrator for a minute and hear this: You can make a difference.  

After my first post, someone questioned me about why they would silence their Narrator because their Narrator was a little cheerleader in their head.  I laughed and was reminded of one of the techniques they taught those Navy Seal candidates was positive self-talk and their passing rate went from 25 percent to 33 percent.  I smile just thinking about a bunch of tough guys sitting around telling themselves “you are good enough” and “you are going to make it.”  Can you hear their little cheerleaders?  Silence the Bad Narrator, encourage the Good One.

2 thoughts on “Silencing the Narrator (Part 3)

  1. So in essence Stewart Smalley was right: I’m good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it people like me!!

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