Self Talk

Naomi Honey:
Right. So, we just had the Women’s International Parkour Weekend in London. And I didn’t do it this year, but there were two years where I did run a session specifically on that, on self-talk and the impact that it has on your movement, and that was really interesting. So, really the best way is to just talk about that briefly of what we did. We paired people up, and they had a challenge to work on of something that they could …

Craig C:
A physical challenge, right?

Naomi Honey:
A physical challenge. Mix of physical, technical, but something that they couldn’t just do, but was within their reach with some work. But we started off and I said, “Okay, so we’re going to listen to those negative critical voices.” And so, one thing was they were like, “Yeah, bring them up. What do they want to say?”

Naomi Honey:
And the other thing was that actually the rule was they had to say them out loud, and not just they have to say them out loud, but they were with a partner and they had to direct it to their partner. And so, suddenly what you’re saying about you get arrested if you said it out loud, they were having to say it out loud. And they were saying the stuff they were thinking about themselves, but they were having to direct it to someone.

Craig C:
Second person, right?

Naomi Honey:
Yeah. And suddenly, so two things happened. One, that those people, they were really embarrassed to say it out loud, of course, because we all are. We say stuff to ourselves that we would not dream of telling anyone, because it sounds so harsh when you say it to someone else. But we normalize it when it’s to ourselves.

Naomi Honey:
And then, the other thing was that the other person would go, “That’s so harsh.” Even if they might say a similar thing to themselves. Suddenly when it’s being said about the other person, they’re like, “That’s so mean, and that’s not true.”

Craig C:
Can I change partners?

Naomi Honey:
And people were just so sympathetic. And suddenly hearing, “That’s what you was saying to … No, you don’t need to.” And so, all of that was really interesting, because suddenly is not just in the private realm of your own habits out there. And another thing that was interesting in that was the energy of the whole group was right down low. Everyone was … it was quiet.

Craig C:
Chill. Right.

Naomi Honey:
It wasn’t just chill, it was stressed. People were quiet and people were anxious because we were saying, Let’s hear this, let’s get it out.” Then the next exercise was, right, we’re still in pairs, this time we’re going to celebrate, and we’re going to celebrate whatever. And do, you do the jump, do the wall run, whatever. It doesn’t matter if you don’t make it. Doesn’t matter if you fall on your ass and whatever. You just go, “Yeah, that was amazing.” And it was really difficult for some people at first, and then they got into it. And the energy comes up. Everyone’s having a good time. And suddenly, doing it is the win. Doing it successfully isn’t …

Craig C:
The win?

Naomi Honey:
Yeah. We don’t care about whether it’s successful or not successful, inverted commas. Just doing it, going for it, having a go is the win. And oh my God, it’s suddenly so much fun. There was a ton of energy. There’s a video of that, actually, and you can really see the difference.

Naomi Honey:
And what’s more, people started to get it. But that wasn’t the target, the getting it, but people did start to get it. And I think the thing that’s really important is uncoupling the thing of it’s only good if it’s good, and otherwise it’s not. And then, the challenge that people have to that is, “But I don’t want to say it’s good if it’s not good. I want to have a quality control.”

Craig C:
Yeah, the fear of losing quality control, right?

Naomi Honey:
Exactly. Right. But the thing of that is, we’re amazing at that, right? We have so much practice of knowing when something’s not good and of critiquing it. We’re really, really good at that part. The bit that we’re not good at yet is praising ourselves. But you know what? Being nice to ourselves and rewarding ourselves just for giving it a go and just for trying something.

Naomi Honey:
And so, the exercise I’d really recommend is practice being incredibly nice to yourself and celebrating yourself, but giving it a go. And think of it in terms of you know when a kid tries anything, standing up, walking, riding a bike. And they try it they fall over, and they try it and they fall over, and they try. As adults we keep saying, “Yeah, that’s brilliant. Great, great. Have another go.” And the kid can keep going. Whereas if you picture that child, and they tried it and they fell over, and the adult is like, “Well, that was rubbish.” That’s really going to dampen the kids enthusiasm and ability to do it again.

Naomi Honey:
And then, so say the kid tries it five times, “Good. Yeah, it’s getting a bit better. Well done.” And then they’re like, “Okay, you really should’ve got it by now because you’ve tried it 10 times and you haven’t got … ” That kid’s going to … they’re going to stop trying. Right? And we’re just big kids inside. So, it’s that. Treat yourself like a little child learning to do something and be encouraging, because you’ll get it.

Naomi Honey:
And I really learnt that. I learnt it the long, slow, hard way through parkour. But I use that technique in my coaching, and I explain it in that way. I use it in parkour coaching now, too, but I use it in personal coaching, because people have these blocks about all sorts of different stuff. Everyone’s got it.

Craig C:
The people in parkour are regular people who brought their regular problems to …

Naomi Honey:
Oh my goodness, that happens so much. Yeah, absolutely. Stuff comes out. So yeah. So, that’s an exercise I would really recommend, and I’d recommend it in life. If there is anything that you find difficult, acknowledge that you find it difficult. And so, in giving it a go, you’re being really brave.