From “Can’t” to “How”

I can’t tell you how many times I have read stuff about “eliminating negative self talk” – but what does that MEAN. I mean, first of all, what is negative self talk? And second, can you get rid of it?

Here’s my “a-ha” moment of the day. This morning I was at swimming. I swim once a week one-on-one with my coach Tim, to try to “figure out” my swimming.

Yesterday at club swim (which Tim also coaches) we worked a lot on fly elements. I have never been able to do fly. I was pretty convinced it was because I just was not strong enough, that I did not have the upper body strength to push myself out of the water, to fling my arms forward like you have to in the stroke. So when Tim said “okay we are going to do a little work on fly so that you can swim this stroke” I caught myself just before I blurted out “I can’t swim fly.”

This. This statement is negative self talk. I may not know how to swim fly today, but here I have one of the best open water swimmers in the country telling me that learning fly will bring all around improvement to my swimming, and that he is going to help me to figure it out.

I stopped myself from saying “I can’t” and instead said “Yes. Teach me HOW to understand HOW to do this, because I haven’t been able to figure it out alone.”

I had a real breakthrough session today. I think because I opened my mind to the “how” and took away the “I can’t”. Also because I really listened, and really tried to feel the stroke. I started understanding that if I took the idea of “strength” and “force” out of my thinking, instead focusing on “feeling” and “rhythm” and “body position” that I started naturally to get it. I started to understand how to do the stroke, and to see how I could improve. I saw that I CAN do fly. With practice and an open mind.

That is what getting rid of negative self talk means.

Now, imagine. What if you replaced your “I can’t” with “How do I”? And what if you surrounded yourself with the right people to help you with that “how”?

I know. Mind blowing. For me anyway.



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