Does Your Inner Dialogue Hinder You Or Help You?

Episode #677

How do you respond to challenging situations?

Are you looking at different perspectives to achieve your goals? 

The impact of inner dialogue depends on its content, balance, and how individuals manage and interpret their thoughts. Developing self-awareness, practicing mindfulness, and seeking support when needed can help individuals navigate their inner dialogue more effectively.

In this episode, we’ll learn how your inner voice can make or break you and what you can do to help you develop healthier thought patterns in order to empower yourself.

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Tim Matthews  00:22

How you doing, brother?

Mark 00:45

I’m good, Tim. How are you doing today?

Tim Matthews  00:48

Well, I’ve loved our conversations. For those of you that don’t know the listeners, what usually happens is we record the episodes back to back. We get released over a number of days, take a few hours, get them all knocked out. And I really enjoyed them. The talk that we had all around, learning to follow that innate wisdom that we have as men, you know, instinct in touch with that instinct is huge. And then on that point, you know, I’m kind of jumping back to that episode, but I just think about people that have blazed trails in the world of time.

I’ve been watching the Conor McGregor documentary on Netflix, and if you’ve seen it, notorious enough, Forever McGregor is what it is. And he just does things his way. He has his way. And it just got me thinking last night as I was watching this, I really admired that about him, where he came onto the scene and he just did things differently, just followed what was true for him. When I think about other people throughout history that have blazed a trail, typically they’ve done something different. They’ve trusted themselves, they’ve followed their instinct, their inner wisdom, right? And it’s led to whatever it’s led to.

So without kind of digressing this episode, I just think it’s incredibly important. That was two episodes ago. Episode number six, seven four, innate gift that all men should access. So, yeah, I’ve really enjoyed it. Love that conversation and love the one about the need for men to spy. It’s really got me thinking about a lot of things. But on this episode, brother, I would love to talk about how we are able to really change the inner dialogue. Right? So I’ll give you a story. You know, I like to tell stories. So Saturday night, I was watching the boxing.

So it was Chris Billham-Smith and Iloki. So these are two boxers in the UK fighting for a title. And as it got to the 10th round, the 11th round, 12th round, clearly these fighters were tired, right? And the commentators start to talk about the championship rounds. Right? We are now in the championship rounds, final stages of the fight, and oftentimes with people doing great things it’s often the fine margins, which is the difference between achieving something or not. And as I’m watching these two boxers fight, I’m thinking about the championship winning rounds. It reminded me of a session that I had recently with my MMA trainer. By no means am I comparing myself to two professional boxers because I would be an injustice to them. But it did get me thinking about a session I walked into with my trainer recently.

And basically what he said to me was, right, Tim, today is going to be challenging. You are not going to enjoy it. I’m going to be pushing you to the point that you need a rest. And at that point, I’m going to push you further. I’m going to be in your face. And when I see your hands drop or I feel you let off the pace, I’m going to be asking you, do you want a rest or do you need a rest? And straight away, I begin to get nervous where I’m like, oh crap, I know where this session is going. This is not going to be comfortable. I am going to be spewing up. I’m gonna be –I could anticipate what was going to happen for me and that was all an internal thing, right?

It was going to be the anticipation of the internal voice that was going to go off when I enter into this space of discomfort, what was going to happen. So obviously, as I begin the session and we go through it and my hands start to drop, I don’t remember at which point through the session, immediately in my face, hands up, do you want to rest or do you need a rest? Do you want a rest or do you need a rest? Straight away, for me, I’m like, want arrest, I want arrest, I want to rest. I don’t need it, I don’t need it, I don’t need it. And it shifted me in voice, right? Because it reminded me that I wanted a rest, but I didn’t need a rest.

And I kept pushing, I kept finding new limits to my performance in that moment because of the triggers, really, in the coaching he was giving me. And it got me thinking. And I shared a post about this in the private community and workplace early in the week. And I asked the men, are you winning the championship winning rounds in life? That round 10, 11, 12. When you’re tired and it’s hard to show up, right? It might be when you’re in the gym and you get to the final reps of a set or the final sets of a workout, how are you handling and navigating that internal dialogue to make sure that that is when you begin to thrive?

You know, Muhammad Ali was famous for saying, I don’t start to count until it starts to burn. Soon as it starts to burn, that’s when I start to count the reps, because that’s when the real training begins, right? Same in a relationship. How are you performing when you really needed to show up in those championship winning rounds when you’re tired and maybe your partner’s coming at you and you’re feeling like it would be okay in that moment to react, given the tough day that you’ve had?

No. How do you respond? Say, I’m in business, championship winning rounds. And a key to that, right, is being able to really harvest, nurture an internal dialogue that serves you in that moment. I know for me, when my internal dialogue used to work against me, I would find myself telling myself things like, in my fitness, it would be, I’m tired, I need a rest. This is too hard, I can’t do this. And it would show up on my body as well. I’d be grimacing. My body posture would show it. And equally, when I made the transition to harnessing my inner voice more, I’d be saying things like, this is why I’m here. This is what I wanted. This is when it starts. This is what I’m made of. This is my zone.

And it also showed my posture. I’d stand taller, I’d be more relaxed in my face. I’d be a bit smiler, I’d be a bit not smiling like a maniac pushing himself in the gym and just smiling away. By no means am I an athlete. So if you’re imagining me absolutely smashing it in the gym, then it’s all relative. But the same is true in any area. So I want to talk a little bit about the importance of inner dialogue and give the men some ways in which they can leverage their inner dialogue to their favor and have it work for them instead of have it work against them.

Mark 07:08

Yeah, it’s an interesting topic. And as you chat about it and talking about going to the gym with your personal trainer I remember back in the 90s, I was trying to get on the British team for the Camel Trophy competition, and there was a guy who was we were out for a run one morning and I was lagging behind. I was not fit. And he said, come on, come on, do you want this? And there was something inside me that went, yes, I really want this. And it was great because he just kept pushing me forward and saying, come on, you can do better than that.

Just having that internal well, it was an external supporting voice. And you can do this, you can do this, you can do this. I was able to push and to the point where I actually vomited. You talk about spewing out. I was vomiting on the side of the road at Easter Castle. And the moment I did that, he sort of took the pressure off. But once I’d got rid of that, I was off again. But he tapped into the thing that was going to keep me going, rather than the belief that was stopping me from going the belief was that…(Crosstalk)

Tim Matthews  08:11

I love that distinction. I love that distinction, the thing that was going to keep me going, versus the belief that was stopping me from going.

Mark 08:18

Yeah. And that sense of inner belief. Let me go back to when I was getting divorced. We weren’t fighting about the house. We were going to sell it and split the proceeds. And then suddenly I thought, Hang on a minute, I love this house. I’m not going to go, but I don’t know how I’m going to afford it. And they’ll sat quietly. I sat quietly in the garden and thought, what am I going to do about this? And almost in that quiet moment, this little voice said, are you successful at what you do, Mark? Yes. Are you capable? Yes. Are you able to flex to meet challenges? Yes, absolutely.

So you’ll find another job, you’ll get some money coming in. Are you prepared to take the risk and borrow some money on the mortgage for the next three months and live on the mortgage? That’s simple. So there was just that internal voice that said, look at it from a different perspective. It was actually, there’s something inside me challenging me, to look at me from a different perspective. And the moment I could do that and tapped into what I knew about myself, which is I’m capable and flexible and hardworking, the decision was easy.

Tim Matthews  09:23

I love that. I love that. Yeah. I think David Goggins, I love how he talks about it, right? He talks about callous in the mind. The whole idea there in his books is and he’s an extreme example of this, right, but nevertheless, an amazing man, in my opinion. Yeah. He talks about the concept of putting himself in basically these extreme situations so that you can call us your mind. You can basically harden your mind. And in doing so, you will change the inner dialogue. Right?

I mean, he shows you how powerful inner dialogue can be when you’re able to conquer it, because, you know, he was able to do things with his body and his fitness that led to him breaking bones and so on, because he literally pushed through the pain barrier that much that it became unhealthy in many respects. He almost died from a lot of the fitness things that he did. But it just shows you what is possible, the length that you can go to when you’re able to push through those limitations that come from listening to that voice.

I remember that one of the first times I experienced this, it was in a CrossFit workout and there was just a sense of stillness and calmness. Like I was going through the workout, like I remember being on the assault bike and I was just going and I just was in a groove. I was just in a rhythm and I was looking on the floor in front of me and just going, boom, boom, boom, and just feeling and hearing and sensing the rhythm of the bike and then when I got off that, I moved to the next station. The thing that just kept coming to us, keep moving, keep moving, keep moving, keep moving, keep moving, keep moving. That’s all it was.

I wasn’t paying attention to the time. I just knew I had a certain amount of work to do. I was like, boom, boom. Kind of like a metronome, if you will. It wasn’t until the trainer came over who was leading the workout and told me my time and told me and was surprised, actually, with how well I was doing. I was surprised too, but I just almost entered this kind of quiet space, if you will, this distillness of where that inner critic, that one, that voice that comes in and tells you how you can’t do it and you’re too weak or you’re too tired or whatever it may be, it had gone.

And I had to work. Like, I had to go through it. There was a period, I remember clearly in that workout, there was a period where that voice was loud, but I just had to keep going. It’s almost like I broke through into a space that was a lot more still and a lot more silent and in a good groove.

Mark 11:55

Do you find in those moments that you’re also having fun?

Tim Matthews  11:59

Do you know what I’d say? I’m enjoying it. Yeah, I was enjoying that workout when I broke through and I was in that groove. Yeah, definitely.

Mark 12:09

Yeah. I once did a mountain bike marathon. It was 150km, about 12,000ft of ascent over two days. And on the way back, I just thought, I’m not going to win this. I’m just going to have fun. And I just went at my best pace with a smile on my face, and I got to the finish line in one piece and then collapsed in the medic tent and was on a drip, but I had a smile on my face. I’d gone through that pain barrier. I wasn’t competing anymore. I was just doing it for the pure joy and fun of it as fast as I could.

Tim Matthews  12:42

Wow. Yeah. You raised a great point. When I shared with you the topic of this episode, you said, hmm, isn’t that similar to the idea of which wolf will you feed? And I love that. So for the listeners, for those of you that don’t know, there’s a fairball do you want to tell it, Mark, or do you want me to?

Mark 12:59

You’re probably more familiar with it than I am. You’ve told it a few more times.

Tim Matthews  13:03

So it’s a story that we tell the men in the Activation Method. It’s a story of an old Cherokee, and you may have heard this story before on this show, and an old Cherokee is talking to his grandson, and he starts to tell him about how there’s a battle going on inside of him. The grandson looks up and he looks a bit scared and he’s like, what do you mean?

What do you mean there’s a fight going on inside of me? He said, look, son, there’s a fight going inside of you and inside of every single man. And that fight is between two wolves. By this point, the young boy’s curiosity is definitely peaked. So the old Cherokee man continues. He said, yes, there’s one wolf who is angry, critical, judgmental, a little bit evil in some respects. He’s not a very nice wolf.

There’s another wolf inside of you that’s good. This wolf is loyal, honest, strong, courageous, and these two wolves are always at war. And the little boy turns towards him and goes, well, which wolf is going to win? And the old Cherokee says, the wolf that you feed. And when you shared that, when you reminded me of that before this episode, it’s so true. The wolf that you choose to feed is a wolf that is going to win.

So if in those moments of those challenging workouts where you find yourself telling yourself things like you’re tired or you’re too weak, or you can’t do it, or whatever it may be, if you let your foot off the gas, if you skip those final two reps, if you avoid really step into the line, well, which wolf are you feeding? Whereas in that moment, if you actually are able to recognize which wolf is showing up for you and take control of the story in the situation and choose to rewrite it in the moment by using a little bit of saveness, you can even have a conversation with it. No, no, I am I can do this.

Yes. Come on, come on. And the more you do that consistently, and you apply that to every territory self, health, relationships, wealth and business, and you commit to getting uncomfortable and you choose to feed the right wolf. This is why your ARS is so important. A key component of the ARS is journaling. Whether you’re journaling around how you see yourself, the vision that you have for yourself, the way that you show up in alignment with whatever it may be, there’s ways that you will then feed the right wolf.

That’s why we give the men the chart of intentional living for married businessmen because every week they review their week. They see what their score is for the week they stack their wins for the week they feed the right wolf. That’s why every week on the inner circle, accountability call, we asked the men, if every week was like this, would you achieve your goals? Yes or no? It’s helping them see how they feed in the right wolf. Mr. Hainsworth, I can see you on the edge of you see a sense there’s something you want to contribute.

Mark 16:04

Choice. It’s about knowing which choices and where to direct my energy, knowing the choices I’ve got and where to direct my energy. That’s the wolf do. I put my energy into the positive and the supportive and the loving or do I put my energy into something other than that?

Tim Matthews  16:23

I love that and I think a key thing here as well is consistency. You got to consistently feed the right wolf and oftentimes when men find themselves feeding the wrong wolf they’ll beat themselves up thinking that’s going to help them feed the right wolf. But it isn’t. You just continue to feed the wrong wolf. That self-criticism, that self-loathing, that self. You’re still feeding the wrong wolf. And for some men they try and send like they’re motivated from that place pushed by pain but doesn’t work. You’re not going to change, you in a dialogue from that place.

Mark 16:53

I think there’s an awareness piece that comes to this as well. Just aware of what the two wolves are and recognizing the signs when they’re happening, when they’re alive.

Tim Matthews  17:03

Talk about that a little bit will you? The signs and those two wolves are alive. And I mentioned a few things but expand.

Mark 17:10

So maybe I’m fixing the car, I’m trying to get my wrench for our American viewers, I’m trying to get my wrench onto a nut that’s in a really inaccessible place and I slip and I can go into this rage. I don’t know whether I’m swearing it myself or the car or the wrench but there’s this rage that comes up inside me and everything is going wrong and I end up catching my hand on under the car. I cut myself and the wrench goes across the garage and I’m building up a hollow of stress in my body that’s not working for me. If I go to the same situation and I look at it and go I’ve got time, there’s no rush.

Let me make myself comfortable, let me keep the working area clear, let me get to a nice place on the car. Oh, get some light in there. I can see where my hand is. Maybe even jack up the car. So I take some more time, I take some more care for myself and take the pressure off myself to actually perform. That nut comes off without any oh and put some lubricant on there. So for me it’s around consideration and these are the kind of archetypes that are alive in me as I’m doing this consideration for myself. Self-care, patience, a level of ease as opposed to I’ve got to get this done in the next half hour.

I’ll just do it quickly. I’m kind of rushing. The impatience kicks in, the anger kicks in. Just recognizing I can make a choice, I can take myself away from the pressure or I can put myself under the pressure. And the piece of me that wants me to put me on self and put me under pressure is the stuff that wants to get the most amount of stuff done now. And the piece of me that’s prepared to take the time is the one that goes just be just be enjoy being with yourself and just spending time with yourself while your right hand is doing this with a wrench.

Tim Matthews  18:59

I love that. It reminds me of in Cuba, one of the experiences we took the men through was all around controlling the narrative, becoming aware of the narrative and controlling it. And we took the guys through a process and an exercise, really, and then took them through a process and took them through the same exercise again. And it was a very physically exerting exercise. And the point of that was to elicit this in a dialogue, right? And for them to just be able to witness it, hey, what is it saying? How is it?

And then when we took them through a process I won’t reveal what the process is, obviously, just because it’s private to the men that were there. When we took them through the process and then went through the same exercise again, when they controlled the narrative in doing self-fed the right wolf, their energy went through the roof. They were smiling, they were laughing, they were having fun. And this was in a very physically combative exercise. And they were shocked by the fact that towards the end of the day, this was a long session, several hours, they were feeling more energized, lighter, more excited than the first time around.

And when I initially said to them, right, we’re going to go through that again, they sunk. But when I said to them, but this time, I want you to control the narrative, and here’s what I want you to do through the roof. It was amazing to see. So those of you that are in Cuba, Iron Man, Chief Cleaver, I could go on and on. If you’re listening to this now and you’re considering this, anchor into that space, anchor into that memory, that was a clear example of you guys feeding the right wolf and the impact that it had on your life in that moment. Mr. Hainsworth, thank you so much for being here again. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these three episodes. Let’s do it again. Any passing words before we hop off?

Mark 20:54

No, that’s the wolf in me that’s decided. Okay, I’ve said enough for tonight.

Tim Matthews  21:05

Well, guys, thank you again for joining us. We really appreciate it. We love that we get to do this for you. Until next time, that’s a wrap on another episode of The Powerful Man Show.

Mark 21:17

Thanks, Tim.