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Self-Talk: Developing Your Inner Coach

Image Credit: Nicolas Hoizey

· Inner Work,Reflection

Usually about this time of the year I am focused on intently reflecting and reviewing data. I can feel the urgency to make needed changes from the gaps that I see all around me. All the evidence is there, the change in mood of my students, the dread and excitement that fills the space simultaneously. The “almost got-it" kids and the “I am drowning kids” all look the same to me; they are a reflection of all the things I could have done but have not. In my quest to equip students with the tools that they need and offer relevant feedback, I can never seem to fully recognize my own journey—because in my mind I have not done enough. And, even though I want my kids to know that stumbling and starting again is an essential part of the journey---and indeed normal, mentally, I am not sure that I have lived that truth. I know that getting up from a fight is in my DNA; however, habitually, I do not visualize victory.


In my coaching journey, I transferred the same conditions of success. I was able to see the steps that teachers took towards their goals; I was able to ask questions then step back and wait for the cue to give more. I was able to jog alongside them, cry with them, reflect with them, and create new plans for the minute, the hour, or the year. However, after I had made those plans, in my quite time when no one else was there, I refused to acknowledge the work that I had done. Maybe in doing so, I would falsely validate myself; I would be taking part in something I didn’t truly deserve. I would be resting. I would be receiving and believing that I had done a good thing. It was much easier to take the we and disconnect it from me. After all, there was so much to be done.


As a form of mental resistance to the “you’re not good enough” syndrome, I have decided that the small victories can be acknowledged. I can write them, I can whisper them, I can do an instant replay and smile. I allow myself to feel the joy of those accomplishments. And, in true Elissa fashion, I continue to reflect and to be critical, but it is not the first and last step. Success is my default because I believe that I am worthy of it. And I know that taking responsibility for my challenges and my stumbles does not erase what I have learned from them, how I have grown from them, and the impact I have been able to make in the lives I have touched.

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