Mental Chatter UMWe all have mental chatter, those naughty, nattering voices in the back of our heads that judge, compare, and criticize. Negative mental chatter is never good for us—or for anyone around us—but it’s particularly harmful when we set out to sell.  It says things like:

“I’m no good at this, and I don’t want to do it anyway.”
“I’d rather walk over hot coals than pick up that phone.”
“Nobody wants what I’m offering.”
“I failed before, and I’ll probably fail again.”

Nobody should have to live with this, least of all you—a person courageous and generous to sell!

Everyone alive has negative mental chatter—if not about selling, about their mother-in-law, the government, their teenage kids, or their weight. We all need a better understanding of how it works and how to keep it in its place. We will never get rid of negative mental chatter—our survival-oriented minds are hooked up to anticipate and protect us from anything that might go wrong—but it doesn’t have to make us unhappy, disempower us, or get in the way of producing great results.

Here are some things to remember about negative mental chatter:

1. It’s here to stay. The mind’s job is to generate thoughts, and a certain number of them are going to be negative. The good news is that…
2. We have choices. We don’t have to run blindly after every fear or objection our minds toss up. We can stand back, observe these negative thoughts, and instead give our attention to thoughts that serve us and others.
3. Mental chatter is usually about avoiding pain. Most of it is fear-based. It’s about protecting you from imagined physical, mental, or psychological pain—most of which never happens.
4. Mental chatter hates change, even good change. Whenever you set out to do something new, or do it in a new way, mental chatter freaks out. You’ve survived up to now, so any change is a risk! Why rock the boat? Mental chatter always argues for the status quo, and is loudest in the face of change.
5. Mental chatter hates getting specific. Another risk! Promising three sales by the end of the week prompts mental chatter to say, “Danger! You might not make it. Then what?” Failure is pain, and mental chatter will do anything to avoid pain.
6. Ignoring mental chatter, or trying to beat it into submission, doesn’t work. It goes underground and festers if you ignore it, and rises up against you, fed by your attention, if you try to conquer it.
7. The key to mastering mental chatter is to develop a new relationship with it.

Here are some strategies for a new relationship with negative mental chatter, one that accepts its presence but keeps it from causing trouble:

1. Identify the mental chatter. Write it down. Name it. Get it outside of yourself so that you can observe it. Don’t let it run around loose inside your mind, where it can get its hands on the controls. When mental chatter is an object of observation, it is not you.
2. Check to see if it’s true. Sometimes mental chatter offers important warnings. “Stop! That deal sounds too good to be true. Better have somebody check it out.” If mental chatter says, “You can’t sell because your financial records are a mess,” know that it’s not necessarily true, but clean up your financial records.
3. Recognize it for what it is—mental chatter, not reality. This is the most important strategy of all, and the key to a good relationship with mental chatter. Even when it sound like it knows what it’s talking about, mental chatter specializes in interpretations and opinions, rather than in objective analysis.
4. Let it be, without giving it much attention. Don’t try to get rid of it. Let it run around and around on its hamster wheel, but don’t let it dictate what you do or don’t do.
5. Switch channels to something more interesting—your results, the fun you will have getting them, even positive thoughts that have nothing to do with sales.

What are your favorite strategies for dealing with mental chatter?

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