Paying attention to our self-talk is vital to inner peace and happiness. Our internal dialogue also affects how we treat others and whom we attract into our businesses.

When I first learned about self-talk, I remember being mesmerized by how Muhammad Ali talked about himself. He incessantly referred to himself as “I am the greatest.”

At first, I was astounded that anyone could think the way Ali did, but later I realized that he was training his mind, which altered his performance. He fought each fight in his head long before he ever fought it in the ring.

As networkers, we can learn from Ali’s example. To a large extent, our self-talk shapes our self-concept—the set of beliefs we have about our potential. Often our brains run loops that can feel judgmental, disempowering or depressing. When we become aware of our thoughts and realize that they are hooked into a negative loop, we can correct them and cultivate new ones that empower ourselves and others.

It’s easier to change our self-talk and cultivate the right thoughts when we understand how our two cerebral hemispheres process information differently. This will help us identify where our self-talk originates and maintain a healthy relationship between what is going on in our right and left brains.

The right side of the brain is the seat of our imagination and intuition. It is emotional and subjective. It thinks outside the box and is highly creative. It is not fearful of what the future may bring and is open to new possibilities.

The left side of the brain is the seat of rational thought and analysis. It specializes in taking in data and weaving them into a linear story of cause and effect. It fills in the blanks wherever there are gaps in the factual data. It tries to make sense out of things, sometimes drawing conclusions that can compromise success.

Whenever we move out of our comfort zone, our left brain kicks into high gear, often leaving a trail of judgmental self-talk. That’s why many new networkers quit before they recruit their first business associate: their self-talk derails them before they get started.

The first step in changing our self-talk is to catch our thoughts and become aware of which side of the brain is at work. Observing your thoughts as a nonjudgmental witness takes practice and patience, but once you master this skill, you can neutralize inaccurate or unproductive self-talk.

Meditation is an excellent means for developing awareness of our mind chatter and minimizing unnecessary drama. Daily journaling also reveals patterns of thought, assumptions and mindsets we may want to alter.

We have more power over our thoughts than we think. By monitoring, challenging, correcting and cultivating our self-talk, we can learn to live intentionally. As a result, we can realize our full potential and help others do the same.

VALERIE BATES is co-author of three books, including
The Lotus Code Accelerator. She has taught numerous
workshops on self-wealth, leadership and change.
Valerie has enjoyed successful careers in teaching,
consulting and network marketing.