How many of us have heard someone at a party say, “I’m just not good at remembering names?” We become what we tell ourselves internally. This is called, “self-talk,” and there’s good self-talk and there’s bad self-talk. Think your bad at remembering names, declare it to the world, and no surprise you’ll be exactly what you say to yourself.
“I’m not good with numbers.”
“Never been good at speaking to an audience.”
“I’m terrified of flying.”
“I’m just not good at relationships.”
“I’m not a good business person.”
And the list goes on…
Before you start sweating like Trump at a BLM rally, the good news is that we can fix our self-talk for the better. The key is to develop positive habits that affect change and identify the negative self-talk we want to fix. I’ll share a personal story with you about my first time shooting during the Navy SEAL Tactical Training course, STT… or at least that’s what they used to call it.
STT was the three-month-long tactical training course you entered after graduating the grueling SEAL selection, the same one Dan Bilzerian almost finished twice. Yes, folks, Dan was almost a SEAL two times over, and full credit to the modern version of Hephner for making it through Hell Week twice. However, SEAL selection is just a right of passage to actually start the real Navy SEAL training. Three months of parachuting, diving, land navigation, and shooting. All this to give newbies the foundation to merge into a SEAL platoon and be able to successfully complete more advanced training with their platoon during 12-18 months of intensive specialized training in all of the above and more.
Shooting. I never picked up a gun before I was 18 outside of Nintendo’s Duck Hunt. When I started the shooting portion of STT I was bad. I had no fundamentals to lean on, so I was drinking from a fire hose on full blast. It was rough, especially in front of my soon-to-be-SEAL peers. These guys were really supportive of me though, NOT. Talk about getting a ton of shit. Very stressful.
I remember going back to my rack at night and having cold sweats about it. It consumed me, “How could I suck this bad?” I’d ask myself (self-talk f’ng with me). Then I had a breakthrough.
I was up for my first combat stress course the next day. Multiple stations, running and gunning for time and hit score. When it got to my turn, and the pressure was on, something clicked inside and I had a perfect course. I remember our class leader looking at me with shock because the previous range days plugging targets for score had not been so kind to me. “I’ll take Webb any day! This guy can deliver when it counts!” he belted out to the whole class.
At that point, I started to “think” about myself as a good combat shooter. I hadn’t had the specialized mental management training yet, that would be years later when I would be running the sniper course as head instructor. But, reflecting back, this was a pivotal moment that nudged me to think and talk to myself differently about shooting.
“I AM a good shot and getting better,” I started saying to myself.
Fast forward and I was one of the top shooters in my first SEAL platoon and sent to sniper school as a new guy with my best friend Glen Doherty. This didn’t happen back in ’99; new guys just didn’t get a spot but Glen and I did, and we both made it. The course was one of the toughest I’ve been through, many a combat-hardened SEAL have washed out of SEAL sniper school, and few will give them a hard time about it because they know how tough it is.
The lesson is, we can change the way we talk to and think about ourselves. This is especially important as a parent. Be a good listener to your kids. Be attentive to how they talk about themselves and if you see negative self-talk find a way to change it before it anchors in and does permanent damage. I have another story I’ll share during my upcoming video series for SOFREP on the power of thought in parenting; all in good time.
So start thinking about yourself differently. Only we have the power to change ourselves.
Another tip? Read With Winning in Mind, by my friend and gold medalist, Lanny Basham. Tons of tips on self-talk in that book, including writing down daily affirmations you can repeat to yourself to motivate and create change through self-talk.
Hope you enjoyed this and please share it with someone who needs to think differently about themselves. I also share a lot of videos on my Instagram @Brandontwebb.