The Transformative Power of Positive Self-Talk

A couple of weekends ago the US Open Golf Championship was held at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California.  One of the great venues in golf, located in one of my favorite places on Earth.  It was a hotly contested tournament with Gary Woodland winning the tournament, three strokes ahead of the next contestant.

The 18th green at Pebble Beach Golf Links, July 2009

This story behind the story began in January in Phoenix, Arizona.  I’m not sure how this was arranged, but a young lady named Amy Bockerstette met Gary Woodland on the 16th tee at the Tournament Players Club in Scottsdale during a pre-tournament practice round.  To see what happens, check out this video.

Obviously, Amy is a talented golfer.  She is a Special Olympian, also.  Watching her drive that ball, then blast it out of the bunker right on to the green and the going on to hole the putt was quite the feat, inspiring to golfers and non-golfers alike.  It was not lost on Gary Woodland and his playing partner either.  Amy and Gary developed a real connection, resulting in sharing in the celebration of Gary’s win at the US Open.  Gary ended up surprising Amy while she was appearing on The Today Show (link to video).  There are a few other cool details to this story, but I’d like to draw attention to that original video (see above).

Agile Best Self Principle #5: Create a best self environment of motivation, trust, and support for yourself and others.

Agile Best Self Principle #5 is about supportive environments.  For us as individuals, “supportive environments” means regulating your own self-talk as a way to build trust in self. In this article from the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of positive self-talk are extensive, including increased life span, lower rates of depression, resistance to illness, improved cardiovascular health, and better coping with stress.

Back to Amy’s story, we see her and her parents working together to make this experience special.  Watching her father help her line up her tee shot, you hear the words “you got this, kiddo” and she echoes back “I got this”.  An amazing affirmation in what I would imagine being a stressful situation for any golfer, let alone someone with a disability.  In listening to the conversation leading up to this, one could conclude this type of supporting and affirming language is the norm in the family.

In my work leading up to the co-creation of the 12 Agile Best Self Principles there was a defining moment in late July of 2018. My work on mindfulness was finally paying off, and I remember the day when I made a choice to stop listening to the inner critic and choose positive language whenever possible in all I do, especially at work. The result was profound. Changing the inner self-talk at work freed me from my fixed mindset, and made it easier to try new things that improved my work results. The benefits continued into my whole self and helped with my overall outlook, and most notably my sleep patterns.

In our best self journey, our goal is to get a little better every day. The inner and outer dialogue is a large part of that best self improvement equation. What are your strategies for managing your own self talk? Could you improve your own inner dialogue? Could you apply improvements to your inner dialogue to your interactions with others?

Copyright © 2018 – 2023 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

Published by Brian Hackerson

My personal philosophy is to be a light.

One thought on “The Transformative Power of Positive Self-Talk

  1. I started a challenge this month, and Day 1 was “snap a selfie and write down 3 things you like about yourself that you see in the photo.”
    Positive Self-talk is something I have been working on a bit this year. This challenge really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’m not high on selfies, especially of just me, and then writing down three things I like about my physical self was difficult. I also didn’t need to make it as difficult as it was. It really was rather simple, and there is a lot of benefit from doing it. There is the little pick up from getting through it.

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