Friday, March 30, 2012


Fire Your Evil Assistant
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, Originally Written July 2004

What if you had a personal assistant who would say the following to you?

“Why are you trying to get that listing, you know you are in competition with the most productive real estates agent in the area?”

“Why are you even attempting to call those folks, they don’t want to talk to you?”

“Why do you prospect to your sphere of influence, you know it doesn’t work?

“Why do you continually spend money on advertising, you know it doesn’t work?”

“Why don’t you spend money on advertising, your competition does?

“You are gong to screw up this listing presentation, why bother?”

“You don’t need goals, you won’t reach them anyway!”

Every day I hear people say these things to themselves.  If I can hear them, how many negative, self-defeating comments do they say to themselves that others cannot hear – self-talk!

Dr. Joseph Stanley, author of “Zen Golf” suggests that “We don’t usually pay much attention to the quality of what we’re saying (to ourselves) but perhaps we should.  The way people talk about something to themselves is a reflection of how they feel about it.  What we say to ourselves has a powerful impact on our game (performance).  That’s because we’re not just talking – we’re listening!  More importantly, we are listening (hearing) these words spoken in our own voice. 

Dr. Stanley continues,  “What we hear about ourselves affects how we fell about ourselves, and how we feel about ourselves affects our performance.  In my golf schools I introduce this topic using a role-playing exercise called ‘Fire Your Evil Caddy’.  I ask for a volunteer from the participants and we pretend to be a golfer and a caddie on the first tee about to start a round.  As the caddie handing him his driver, I say, ‘Remember all the things you’re supposed to do in your swing.  Everybody’s watching now, so try not to make a fool of yourself.  You’re making people wait – why don’t you just get it over with?  And try not to slice it into the woods like you usually do.  After the volunteer pretends to swing, I say, that was terrible!  I knew you were going to slice it into the woods.  Won’t you ever learn how to play the game?”

“After that point I turn to the participants and ask what they’d do with a caddie like that.  They usually replay in unison:  “Fire him!”

“Then I ask: Have you ever said any of those things to yourself during a round of golf?”  Everyone has and has done it often.

Joe Tye suggests that we oftentimes involve others in our negative self-talk in order get others to commiserate with us.  He suggests that you break down the word “commiserate” into “co-miserate” and you will understand that it takes two or more in order to share.  Therefore when you engage in negative self-talk with others, you are effectively poising others with your negative self-talk and that tends to lead to their own negative self-talk.  In a sense, you are planting negative thought seeds in the minds of everyone you come in contact with.  You walk away and then the seeds begin to take root in others when they say, “I hate when that happens to me!”  “Yea, that is exactly what happens to me!”  “I am working with someone who probably will do that same to me!”  “I know exactly how he (she) feels, I feel the same way!”

Dr. Stanley also suggests that “we untie our mental sandbags” from around our necks.  Our history is a great learning tool.  Dr. John Maxwell suggests in his book, “Failing Forward”, that we should evaluate all of our experiences by asking the following evaluation type questions:

ü  How did I do?

ü  What did I do right?

ü  What did I do wrong?

ü  Where can I improve?

ü  What do I need to improve on?

ü  What did I learn from this experience?

ü  What am I going to do now?

Most of us tend to get hung up on “What did I do wrong” or more importantly, “What did someone else do to me?”  This is the basis for our negative self-talk when we tell ourselves that this kind of thing “always happens to me!”  Knowing what went wrong is crucial to improvement and learning.  If we stop at that thought, we have learned nothing.  Sandbags are heavy, they are dirty, they get in the way; they keep us from dong our best!  Untie your sandbags! 


ü  You must first recognize WHEN you are engaged in negative self-talk.

ü  You must also recognize WHEN you are engaging others in your negative self-talk.

ü  Recognition is the key to improvement.

ü  “STOP!”  “STOP!” “STOP!”

Dr. Stanley recommends that we literally tell ourselves to STOP!  Say it out loud to yourself!  Say it as often as necessary!  But say it!  “STOP!  This is NOT me!  STOP!”   Think about the law of physics, “Objects in motion tend to stay in motion.”  An object can also be a “thought” and our self-talk is nothing more than thoughts.  Once it starts, it tends to stay in motion and gathers momentum along the way.  Unfortunately it picks up others if we convey our thoughts through conversation with others.

Finally, as mentioned in a previous Nugget, keep score.  Use a note pad and write the words “Negative Self-Talk.” Put a check mark every time you find yourself engaged in negative self-talk.  By keeping score you will eventually realize just how much you do and through recognition, it will diminish in frequency.