Nail Your Most Important Conversation of Today

This article comes from Dr. Laura Mixon Camacho’s Mixonian Blog found here:

Don’t you love it when you see you’re having a positive impact? In a recent coaching session about how to have more impact (read “be heard”) in this client’s organization, I immediately saw that what she thought was the problem, was not actually the problem. Yep, mostly what you think is the problem is not the root problem. Seeing that is what solves the problem. Crazy but true.

So before Ms. Manager could begin talking differently to colleagues and bosses in her organization, she would be best served by changing the way she carried on that Most Important Conversation of Today—her MICoT.

Most self-talk is tacky and destructive. Instead of encouraging ourselves, we tend to squash our potential. I promise I’m not eavesdropping…. but your thoughts just come out if you talk to someone long enough. Sample comments:

“I’m so dumb.”

“I’m sure I’ll mess it up; I always do.”

“I’m retarded.”

“I could never do that because I’m too ADD.”

“I should know that by now.”

“What a clumsy ox.”

These are icky conversation habits. You may not remember or realize this kind of talk is going on inside your head. Play detective and look for the messages you tell yourself.

There are 2 Big Problems with these kinds of habitual negative conversations.

1. You feel worse, not better. Your energy is negative and that’s bringing you and others down.

2. Even worse, it stops you from moving forward. You don’t work properly on getting better at it. You shut down. You may even get defensive. (This is what happens when people don’t have Growth Mindset.)

But wait, there’s more! While you’re berating yourself on the inside, this is the message people around you are perceiving:

He doesn’t want to do this.

She doesn’t know what she’s doing.

He’s being defensive.

Her feelings are hurt.

He doesn’t want to work with me.

….Not exactly the message you want to send out.

Other people can’t hear the conversation in your head, but they sense there’s something off about you. And there is. What’s off is your own confidence to master the task or project at hand

That’s why having a Growth Mindset is the foundation for high performance. Your mindset determines your self-talk.

10 Sample self conversation starters, including positive thought-provoking questions:

  1. The reason this seems hard is I’m new to it.
  2. I only need to impress myself.
  3. What others think of me is none of my beeswax.*
  4. The more time I spend with this, the better I get at it.
  5. It’s a learning experience.
  6. I’m ridiculously great at  ______________. (Note: you have to fill in blank.)
  7. What’s the upside here?
  8. Will this matter in 3 years?
  9. How can I feel better right now?
  10. How can I make this fun (or less difficult)?*

Write a few of these down, or put them in your phone as reminders. Nail that MICoT and everything else falls into place. If you don’t value yourself, how can you expect others to do so? Outside validation is not the solution is appears to be.

*These are my personal 2 favorites.

Have a great conversation with yourself. It’s the most important talk you’ll have all day.

Laura Mixon Camacho, PhD, started her communication training firm, Mixonian Institute, in 2009 after a successful career in both the United States and Venezuela.  Laura has degrees in Economics, Spanish, Business and Communication that give her a unique perspective to help managers raise levels of engagement, performance and productivity.  See more at

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