talking to myself

In deep thoughts, inspiration, learning, stories by Jay Clouse

Over the past year, I’ve been given the opportunity to speak at different meetups and events, and I noticed something about the Q&A portion that surprised me.

Every time I finished the presentation and move to audience questions, I would be both surprised and impressed by my own answers. That sounds a little arrogant, so let me unpack that a little bit.

In preparing the presentation, I always have a little bit of the “blank page” syndrome in getting started. It’s always difficult to start something, and I always have some negative self talk questioning what I could possibly say that is worth hearing.

This isn’t just the case with creating presentations, but also writing email content, preparing general speaking points, or products in general.

But during Q&A, I have no problems. I am routinely surprised by how easily answers come that I had not previously planned for, thought about, or ever written down on paper (or screen).

What I realized is that I have a lot more knowledge and understanding of things than I give myself credit for. It’s really easy to discount the things you know well and instead fixate on the subjects that other people understand more strongly than you do.

When I was trying to think about what I knew and could share with others, I was doing just that. I was looking past everything I’ve learned and questioning just what I could share. Which is not only doing myself a disservice, but others too.

And so now when I’m trying to think through a problem or idea, I talk to myself. I write down questions as if I’m interviewing or questioning someone else, and then I answer those questions in stream of consciousness journaling as if someone else had asked me.

This allows me to avoid the doubt and negative self talk, and just approach a question or problem as if I’ve been asked about it for the first time. It’s truly helping me break through some self-imposed roadblocks, and it’s going to be instrumental in trusting my instincts.


Dig this? Enter your email address to receive Work In Progress, my newsletter dedicated to both personal and professional improvement. If you are an entrepreneur, freelancer, or creative, this is for you.