High Performance Leadership: Are You Talking To Yourself?

High Performance Leader“…Do not think what your thoughts dwell upon are of no matter…Our thoughts and conversations are where we invent ourselves.”

High performance leaders engage in an uncommon conversation. With themselves. Now, talking to your self can be a good thing. (Others might say, ‘maybe not out loud!’).

I believe talking to ourselves is something most of us may not pay a lot of attention to. Yet high performance leaders definitely do! Why is that? Why do high performance leaders pay attention to what they tell themselves? Is there something to learn here? I believe there is.

One important note on this topic: this internal chatter is something we couldn’t stop even if we wanted to!  (Believe me, I have tried.) For high performance leaders and everyone else, it is happening at every moment, of every day. But why, then, is it so important to pay attention to these dialogues? I think it is because the high performance leader is having is very different uncommon conversation than the rest of us.

Consider these scenarios:

  • Simply standing in front of a conference room making a presentation to your business team, the high performance leader may be talking about how important is to do the right thing, and the rest of might be trying to get right.
  • Being in a time-out huddle with your championship Lacrosse team that has only 10 seconds left on the clock and your down a goal, the high performance leader might speak about the courage required to win and the trust in their team. Another leader maybe talking to their assistant coach trying to figure out the best play to run.
  • Having a conversation with your child about teenage drinking, the high performance leader may be talk about how much love they have for their child and how hard it can be to make the right choices. Another parent might be explaining what kind of punishment will levied if drinking happens.
  • Being interviewed by a network correspondent about the level of corruption your presidential administration is currently being investigated for. A high performance leader would take accountability and ensure the importance of the values trust and integrity. Another kind of leader would express the party line and minimize the event.

In each case, regardless of circumstance, this internal chatter is crazy at work managing, discerning, influencing and framing every one of the perceptions you’re having, the choices you’re making, the words you’re communicating, and the impact you’re having on others.

When I shared these thoughts with a very senior business leader, his eyes first bulged in disbelief, as though I was offering him some New Age Coaching concept. After a brief pause, and through his pursed-lipped grin he said, “I don’t do that…do I?” I paused and then replied, “no, you don’t do that; you’re the exception to the human condition!” His eyes got even bigger and he began to laugh out loud…and said, “busted…I just got busted…and yes, I do, do this, thank you!”

So dare to have the un-common conversation with your own self. Become aware of this un-common conversation, and how powerful it is. And then, gain access to it and reshape it. It is the first step towards becoming a high performance leader. Every individual that is performance-minded will attest to the same. Whether a respected captain of business, President of the United States, Congressman or Senator, a professional athlete, or a committed parent…each are fueled and charged with an internal dialogue – a critical internal conversation that compels them beyond current constraints to achieve success.


Here is a very insightful blog about leadership development