How Do You Talk to Yourself?

Meg is a smart, motivated entrepreneur with a husband and two kids.  She came to me for coaching because no matter what she did she couldn’t seem to make her business successful or her family life smooth.  As she explained her situation, it became apparent to me that Meg was being abused.  She was the victim of verbal abuse, and she was surprised to see that she was the abuser!

Meg abused herself verbally every time she thought about her business or her life.  She would begin by thinking of all the wonderful things she could do to make everything successful.  Then she would immediately remind herself that she wasn’t intelligent, knowledgeable, charming, energetic, loveable, capable or competent enough to actually do what she wanted to do.

Once she started on that negative train of thought it became a “self-fulfilling prophecy”, where the more she predicted failure, the more she failed.  She created a downward spiral that was so steep and fast I was amazed she still had a business or family at all.

Meg had no idea she was talking to herself this way.  She thought she was a positive and upbeat woman.  However, when she started paying attention to her thoughts, she realized she was constantly beating herself up with words.

Meg understood that her words had nothing to do with the reality of how loveable, capable and competent she is.  Her negative self-talk was a thinking pattern that she’d learned from the adults in her life when she was very young.  They had always focused on what she couldn’t do rather than on what she could, and it had become a habit she carried into adulthood.

Ask Empowering Questions

Meg decided to change this habit of verbal abuse by focusing on what she can do, and asking herself empowering questions.  Instead of saying, “There is no way I can finish this project by Friday” (which is negative, limiting and self-defeating), she switched to asking herself, “What do I need to do to finish this by Friday?”  This simple change of phrasing made a big change in the message she gave herself, and in the outcome.  She was now speaking to herself in an empowering manner, with the assumption that she has what it takes to get the job done.

As Meg paid more attention to how she spoke to herself, she realized that she also spoke to her employees, customers and family in the same defeating way.  Instead of focusing on what they can do, she always focused on what they can’t possibly accomplish.  She never indicated that she really believed in people and their ability to be successful.  It was no wonder that her husband and children were grumpy and avoided her, her employee morale was low, and her customers were scarce.

Once she realized this she was able to look realistically at where these thought patterns originated, and realize that they did not, and never had, really applied to her.  They were concepts laid on her by the people in her childhood, who were very unhappy themselves.  They taught her what they knew, but she recognized that now she’s an adult the old message don’t fit, and she no longer needs to continue the negativity.

Now when Meg talks to herself, her employees, customers and family, she asks questions that open up possibilities and get people moving and motivated to succeed. She indicates that she believes in people, and empowers herself and them with strong guiding questions.

These questions usually begin with “what”, “how” or “who”, and are designed to move herself and others forward.  As a result of this simple shift in attitude the atmosphere at work and home is much lighter and more optimistic, she is much happier with herself and others, and her business is beginning to grow.

So, how do you talk to yourself and to those around you?  Do you continue to believe the old, negative messages and thoughts from long ago, and verbally abuse and undermine everyone by focusing on what can’t be done, or do you focus on the positive and possibilities and create a brighter future for everyone?

If this sounds like you, you might want to try asking empowering questions, and see what happens.

Please comment so others can benefit from your wisdom and experience 

For FREE worksheets on ways to empower yourself, see the Resources Page on our Inside Jobs Coach website. 

If you’d like to bring positive changes into your life, we have the perfect thing for you.  Check out The Rapid Power Pack, and begin to create the life of your dreams.

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Welcome to!

I am so excited to be launching my new website! This is my place to share the lessons I have been teaching for years in my practice. This is my place to coach you, if you’re ready, into living a healthy and satisfying life. I will be posting free information as well as in-depth articles (that you can purchase for a minimum fee) to use as a road map on your personal journey. Articles about business, leadership, communication and claiming your own personal power.

At this stage in my life my focus is to give back, to be a teacher and share what I’ve learned with as many people as possible. I want to share what it takes to be emotionally healthy so that your relationship with yourself and others will be effortless, uncomplicated, trouble-free, and fun.

Whether for business or personal use, these recommendations were created to help you reach your maximum potential. I wish you great success in your new life adventures! Remember, I’m learning right along with you!

Sandy Abell

Your Business & Life Coach

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Compliment, Endorse, or Acknowledge? (free article)

“Appreciation is like an insurance policy. It has to be renewed  every now and then.”
~ Dave McIntyre

Last week I was talking with a client who mentioned something I had done and referred to it as “a good job”. As pleased as I was to receive the compliment, I noticed that in some way it felt a bit empty. It was nice that my client felt positively about what I’d done, but I still had no clue as to what he liked about it or how it had helped him. It was pleasant but vague.

This started me thinking about the difference between compliments,  endorsements and acknowledgments. What my client said to me was a compliment.  A compliment is a positive statement about a behavior or thing. It’s emotionally detached. Comments such as “great job”, “nice play”, “beautiful jacket”, or “good work” are all compliments. They are nice to receive, but really don’t say much about the person receiving them. Compliments are appropriate for showing appreciation to people you don’t know well such as the gas station attendant who washes your windows or the clerk in the grocery store, but may leave someone you have a relationship with feeling appreciative but empty.

An endorsement is much more fun to receive, because it’s a positive comment that is specific and personal. An endorsement is focused on a person’s ability or skills, and says something about them and how capable and competent you think they are. Examples of endorsements are: “You really have a talent with numbers”, “Your athletic ability is outstanding”, “You always look so stylish and chic, you make that jacket look great”, “The warm friendly manner you use to answer the phone makes people want to call us”.

An acknowledgment is even more personal and is the best of all because it’s a positive comment that focuses on who the person is. It acknowledges the unique individual underneath all the talents, skills and facade. An acknowledgement is affirming and empowering, and can be a great motivator to encourage a person to continue with desired behaviors. Some examples of acknowledgements are: “You are such an intelligent person, I can always count on you to get it right”, “You are a natural athlete and have a can-do attitude, which makes you a joy to coach”, “Your eyes are so lovely, and that jacket really brings out their incredible color,” “You are thoughtful and kind and it shows in the way you treat our customers.”


Compliments, endorsements and acknowledgements can be delivered separately and, in situations where you don’t know the person well but want to give praise for something, a simple compliment is appropriate. However, the most effective to give and the most fun to receive is a combination of all three. When a compliment, endorsement and aknowledgement are combined it’s an affirming and motivating experience for the recipient, and is a “feel-good opportunity” for the giver. Examples of the combination are: “Great job! You really have a talent with numbers. You’re such an intelligent person I can always count on you to get it right!” “Nice play. Your athletic ability is outstanding. You are a natural athlete and have a can-do attitude, which makes you a joy to coach.” “Nice jacket. You have a talent for choosing just the right thing to wear, and this outfit emphasizes the lovely color of your eyes.”


Giving praise and appreciation not only applies to how you speak to others, but also to how you talk to yourself. Hopefully your self-talk is positive and helps you feel validated and motivated. Remember that when you speak to yourself you can choose to be vague with “nice job”, or specific and affirming with an endorsement, acknowledgement or combination. Of course, it goes without saying that compliments, endorsements
and acknowledgements should only be given when you truly feel what you’re saying and are sincere with your comments. People can detect insincere praise instantly and you will lose all credibility if you give praise you don’t feel.

So, I’d like to suggest that in the next week you take some time to notice how you verbalize your appreciation for others and yourself. Do you thoughtlessly hand out compliments, or do you give thought to what you want to say and take the time to share a heartfelt endorsement or acknowledgement? You may find that as you do more endorsing and acknowledging, your clients/customers, employees, family and friends will seem to blossom, and you will blossom along with them.

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You’re Talking But Are You Communicating?

Several years ago my two young children, my husband and I were traveling in the car. The traffic was heavy and my husband was tense at the wheel. The kids were giggling and playing in the back seat and in frustration  my husband said, “Will you kids please be quiet so I can focus on the traffic”.  The kids responded by lowering their voices and playing in a less rowdy  fashion. Their father became more agitated and said, “Quiet down, NOW!” The children lowered their voices a bit more and continued to giggle and play.  Their stressed father then turned around and yelled, “I said BE QUIET!!!”, at which point the shocked children stopped talking  completely and the mood in the car became incredibly tense.

When I later reflected on the situation I realized it had been a  failure to communicate. When my husband used the word “quiet” he meant silent,  but our children interpreted it to mean less volume. A very  uncomfortable situation was caused by the lack of a common word definition.


What happened in the car that day is very common when people  attempt to communicate. We often think we’re having a meeting of the minds but later  discover there’d been no connection at all. How often have you walked away from talking with someone thinking they’d understood what you said, and then found out s/he had no clue what you were talking about?

Has this happened to you? Do you think that because you’re talking  you’re communicating? Are you confident that the message you hope to send is being received exactly as you intend?

For just $1.29, learn the steps to communicating clearly and effectively.

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Packaged Communication Articles

Communication is the key to success, both personally and professionally and not many people have the tools to develop successful communication skills. I have put together communication packets for you to download and study at your convienience. For just $1.29 refine your communication skills and start living a less stressful life!

Click here to view and download communication packets:

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