Who are we talking to?

Column by Michael Norton
Posted 7/14/20

Have you found yourself talking more to your pets these days than ever before? And if you don’t have pets, have you found that you are talking to other things around the house more? Maybe the …

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Who are we talking to?


Have you found yourself talking more to your pets these days than ever before? And if you don’t have pets, have you found that you are talking to other things around the house more? Maybe the television? And if you are not talking to your pets or things around the house, are you talking to yourself more?

I know that I have. And the conversations I am having with my dog have been wonderfully insightful. She has had a lot to say to me as I share my thoughts, concerns, and ideas with her. And I have to tell you, she is a great listener and very smart. Our discussions are nothing short of brilliant.

Now talking to the television is a whole different story. The television doesn’t really care what I am thinking, feeling, or saying. It tries to control what I am thinking feeling, and saying, but it doesn’t care, and it is a terrible listener. Even when I have yelled at the television, it still never pays attention to me.

And yes, we all do talk to ourselves whether we want to admit it or not. I recognized that I have even been talking to myself more and more lately too. My concern came when I realized what I have been saying to myself, and I picked up on a few areas where I should be spending more time in my positive self-talk conversations, and definitely identified some negative self-talk topics that needed to be dropped immediately.

Let’s deal with the negative self-talk first, as this talk track can be troubling and disruptive. And since we never know what the “next normal,” will be, it can be easy to have troubling thoughts in troubling times. Thoughts of worry, doubt, fear and scarcity. Those can be very disruptive, negative thoughts that can eventually lead to lack of sleep, stress, tension, resentment, loss of focus, lack of energy and even anger. I was having some of those conversations with myself, and I experienced some of the feelings mentioned above, including the physical reactions that go along with them. That’s why I had to end those parts of the discussions immediately.

Positive self-talk is not just flowery affirmations, although sometimes we need those too. Positive self-talk should include conversations around what we can and should be doing. Whether I am talking to my dog or talking to myself and want to keep it positive, the conversations center around family, friends, opportunity, responsibility, creativity, faith, hope, taking action, what’s next, and what if. The “what if” discussions are the best. What if I could …? What if together we could …? And then fill in the blanks with as many thoughts and ideas as possible. Now some of my dog’s ideas are crazy, but we have agreed that we should never criticize each other’s thoughts or ideas, not until we have talked them through together.

In the last couple of columns, I wrote about the “what” part of the discussions we are having lately, and then about how most people love a good story. Today’s focus is on “who” we are talking to, and how important that is when we realize the person doing both the talking and listening, is usually us. And the “what” we are talking about in our own self-talk drives the story we tell ourselves. And that story can shape how we think, speak, and act. Sometimes when we talk to ourselves, we ask questions, and that’s OK too. The question is, do we want our story to be a bad or negative one? Or do we want a good or even great story to tell?

How about you? Who are you talking to these days? How’s the conversation going? And what’s the story being told? I would love to hear all of your answers at and when we realize that who we are talking to the most is ourselves, and we focus on positive-self talk, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.


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