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Talking The Talk

How Top Performers Use The Power Of Language
Much has been written about walking your talk. This, of course is very important if you want to succeed in anything. However, even before walking your talk, its important to develop your own inner language that propels you to the success youre looking for in sports, business or life!
Theres an old expression that says, talk is cheap. The original meaning of this phrase is that talk without action to back it up is worthless. This is true. However, talk is NOT cheap. Talk, as a matter of fact, has a tremendous price tag to it. There is nothing cheap about talk at all.
The power of the language you use both internally and externally has a high price tag on it. Your words have a power you might not believe right now but trust methey trigger the mind and body into action!
One of the most prevalent challenges of coaches and leaders is to change the negative language of their students, players and coworkers. I often hear coaches being frustrated when working with players who tend to be negative about themselves. If theyre not saying it out loud, theyre saying it inside! Everyone knows that positive language is more effective than negative language but they dont necessarily realize what is actually happening in their body when using this kind of self talk.
First of all, understand that language communicates. I am communicating right now with you through the use of the written word. You can decide to accept or reject these words. When you say negative words to yourself you are also communicating. You can decide to accept or reject them as well!
When you say negative words and phrases you are imprinting your nervous system and muscular system with not only the words but also the emotion behind them. The more you do it, the more of an impression you make on your nervous system and subconscious mind. After a short time these negative phrases become acceptable and repeatable with the slightest trigger (poor shot, uncomfortable situation, etc.). You have literally trained your mind and body to store these negative messages AND release them on command.
Whats important to realize is that these implanted words are TOXIC. They will literally reduce your muscle coordination, weaken your nervous system and drain your energy. If you dont believe mejust look back at those times when your negative inner dialogue ran rampant. What did it feel like and how did it affect your performance?
The most amazing part of this is that your subconscious mind and body have NO CLUE as to whether youve implanted positive or negative words. Whatever you implant is taken in and stored for you. Dont believe it? Just check out how fast your negative words come firing out. They are repeated over time and have become an unconscious habit. You dont think about themthey just fly out!
Language is a habit. For many, negative language has more of an emotional impact than positive language. This is only because weve practiced being negative and feeling negative more than positive. This emotional charge makes language even more powerful. Ultimately, you are the choice maker of the words you use. It might be difficult to change negative words all at once so try the following steps and see if you can begin making changes that will get easier over time.
Heres what top performers have learned to do:
  1. They understand that language has power and it affects their emotions, actions and outcomes.

  3. Learn to use constructive language away from the game. Find 3 times in your day to speak positively about yourself.

  5. Find a buddy who is willing to catch you when you speak in negative terms about yourself (Im no good, Ill probably blow this or I finally did it right!, etc.). Find at least ONE positive thing you did on every hole!

  7. Journal. Daily journal entries that begin with 3 positive entries.

  9. Say It Anyway!'players think they are lying when they say something positive and dont feel positive. The truth is that you dont have to feel positive to say it. Underneath your negativity there is a place within you that IS positive and optimistic! Its the part of you that shows up when youre in the zone. Its already there so SAY IT ANYWAY!

Language has great power and remember; your words will impact how you feel, what you do and your outcomes. Be very aware of the words you use and begin questioning your habitual self-criticism. Its only a habit and this habit can be busted!
Copyright 2004 David Breslow. David is the author of Wired To Win and offers a highly acclaimed Perform In The FlowZone' program for sports and business. David has appeared on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio, etc. For more programs/services/products or sign up for a free newsletter (write newsletter in subject box). Also, review the new series of Performance Training Manuals available online! Contact: David Breslow at 847.681.1698 Email: or visit the web: For book orders call toll free: 1.888.280.7715