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.


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