We all know the importance of communication in building healthy relationships with our friends and family, but what about in building a healthy relationship with ourselves? Its ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to building a healthy relationship with ourselves.
Working with golfers and elite athletes over the past 15yrs, I closely monitor their language patterns and the way they communicate to themselves, its very easy to see that a high percentage of these golfers/athletes are building unproductive relationships with themselves, which can cause a lack of belief and trust on Game Day.
For example, if you came home and said the following to your partner or family members- "Honey, I Love You BUT..........." As soon as you say the BUT, they completely forget about the love. They not only forget about the "I Love You" part, they also lose the feeling of LOVE they might have felt when you said "I Love You"!
When I work with athletes, I hear these types of language patterns after a high percentage of performances. Lets look at an elite golfer for example, they execute a really solid shot and begin to go through the following language patterns- "Pretty nice shot, BUT its a little left!" or "Pretty nice shot, BUT its a bit short"! The impact this has on our mind and the memory our mind stores of this performance is that we hit it a little left or we hit it a bit short. As I am sure you are aware, this is not a productive memory for our mind to store and this is after good quality shots or performances!
Elite golfers and athletes are extremely hard on themselves, so its rare they are completely happy with a performance and there is no BUT attached to their performances. Many athletes having perfectionist personality traits that only amplify this pattern, which can trigger a large amount of unproductive memories to be stored in their sub-conscious minds.
What about the language patterns we go through for our poor shots? This type of communication can store highly negative memories in our sub-conscious mind that can trigger self sabotage in competitive situations, as these types of language patterns ingrain a lack of trust and belief in ourselves to perform to the level we know you can!
It is commonly understood that as humans, we attach to the negative a lot more than the positives so a great way to manage this inherent weakness is to say the negative before the positive, or a process I call "FLIP IT"! Flipping where we place the negative and positive in relation to the word BUT has enormous impact on what our minds hold onto. For example, "That shot was a little left, BUT I struck it well" or "That shot was a little left, BUT my commitment to the shot was fantastic"!
The reason flipping the positive and negative's around to have the positive come after the BUT, is the mind has a tendency to forget what was put before the BUT, and holds onto the information after the BUT. The other productive element of this process is that in time, you will skip the information before the BUT and just go straight to the information after the BUT. Having the positive after the BUT puts you in a position to store better quality memories of your performances in your sub-conscious mind and in turn, help you to stay in a better state of mind through out your performances!