Self Back-Talk

Categories: Alan Weiss,Leadership,Wisdom

Backtalk_iStock_000026197457SmallDuring an Alan Weiss Thrive! workshop a few years ago,  I sat at a table with an international group of successful business owners and consultants to assess “thriving” characteristics in our lives as well as those that might be obstacles or limiting beliefs. I was struck by a common theme: much of what we believe helps or hinders our Thrive Factor has to do with self-talk, or the way we talk to ourselves about success, worth, etc. As I was scribbling notes in the margin of my notebook, I wrote “self back-talk,” and realized the simple brilliance in this phrase.


As a kid, the number one thing that got me in trouble, grounded or on the outs with my parents, was my “smart mouth,” as my mother referred to it. My younger self had very little self control when it a came to talking back or throwing out some sarcastic comment of adolescent disdain. I was just so much smarter than everyone else!


Do you have a petulant adolescent in your head who talks back to you? Tells you you have no idea what you’re talking about or why that idea is the most absurd and will never work? Or that you’re just too weird, not cool or way off base? We often think of the critic we need to knock off of our shoulders, but this inner voice is almost more annoying: it is both fearless and ignorant—a dangerous combination.


Getting rid of the self back-talker?

  1. Ignore it.
  2. Be clear about the real evidence.
  3. Jettison baggage (why carry all that weight?)
  4. Replace with positive, affirmative, and replicable processes.


I don’t know about you, but on my “never again” list is being a high school aged person. Why would I listen to that version of myself?




Libby Wagner
Author: Libby Wagner

Libby makes her home in a lovely West Seattle neighborhood in a house with turquoise walls and an amazing view of the Puget sound and Olympic mountains. A former Air Force “brat”, she continues to bounce from one corner of the world to the other, working with Fortune 500 clients, hopeful artists and authors, and aspiring entrepreneurs. She has a Master’s in Fine Arts and Poetry from Eastern Washington University where she also began working in the Writers in the Prison program.