During COVID lockdown, I fell in love … with bike riding. I’ve always enjoyed riding, but never really had the time to commit to it. Now with less airplane travel for work, I’m obsessed!! It’s not just with the rides, but it’s with the music that I keep pumping through my earbuds.
Now, when I ride, my playlists consist primarily of 80’s and 90’s rap. In my mind, I’m a rap goddess. Seriously. Name the song and, mentally, I can keep up word for word. Yet, when I’m off the trails and attempt to rap out loud, different story. My mouth can’t keep up with my mind. While I might think fast, I articulate slowly.
This shouldn’t be surprising.
Our minds take in so much and move so quickly; articulation works at a different speed. But when we’re able to match words to our mental impressions, that’s when the magic happens … not just in the frivolous singing of our favorite upbeat songs, but in leading, coaching, and developing ourselves.
When we talk out loud, we’re able to:
- Crystalize a thought
- Motivate ourselves
- Discover meaning in an idea
- Cultivate a better attitude
- Better express an opinion
This makes sense, right?
There’s a reason why businesses invest in role-playing sales conversations during training, even though 99% of professionals hate role-playing. Just because you know something, like a selling skill or sales model, doesn’t mean you can articulate it. Being able to put words to thoughts sharpens your communication abilities, not to mention your overall cognitive abilities.
Most of my work as a coach is creating the space for people to think out loud. I’ve got a firm belief that people are more than capable of solving their own problems, challenges, as well as sorting through opportunities and finding their direction. They just need to spend time articulating what it is they’re thinking, and then, have someone listen to help them find patterns in their speech, like ideas or themes that keep reoccurring.
You may not have a coach*. But, by all means, talk to yourself … out loud! In the car, when you’re out for a walk, or even when – like me – you’re on your bike. (Sure, do a sing along, too … fun music is a great mood elevator!) Just whatever you do, remind yourself that you’ve got a powerful, highly relevant, and often under-utilized, self-help tool that’s capable of helping you lead yourself to a better place.
*You’ve got a friend, partner, or mentor, right? A third party provides great counsel because they’re often not invested so deeply in the situation. Don’t forget that your listening ear can be a great service to others, too.
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