Here is a guided meditation to help leaders recognize and work with self-talk.

If you can hone in on self-talk, you can train yourself to be less distracted by yourself and more present for others. Following old narratives, a leader who remains in their head can’t be present or open enough to have a presence or vision.

Why this technique is essential for leaders

What holds most people back from experiencing contentment and clarity is activity in the inner senses. No matter how much you want to do something, if you have voices in your head that don’t help support action, you’ll show up as less than you want.

Leadership requires presence, deep listening, and vision. This is hard to do meaningfully if you only pay attention to your inner talk space. Especially if you aren’t aware, you’re doing that.

This technique helps you notice how often you talk to yourself. And, instead of noticing it’s happening and judging it (which usually leads to more unpleasant self-talk), you learn how to notice and have equanimity with yourself.

As your skills develop, you’ll notice that mental talk has less of a pull on you. It doesn’t add to the suffering. Right now, we are simply investigating whether there is mental talk and greeting, both experiences with neutrality, which builds equanimity. Equanimity supports deepening leadership skills.

HEAR IN also builds concentration through momentary concentration. Whenever you focus on a sound and label it,  you build concentration. It’s like a rep at the gym.  It builds sensory clarity through discernment and detection; you’re aware of it happening instead of reacting unartfully without knowing why.

If you can artfully discern and detect sensory events, they have less of a hold on you.

In only 10 minutes a day, this technique (audio and written guidance shared below) helps you to focus on what you want to focus on, catch distracting inner dialogues before they root, and help you have equanimity in your leadership role.

Technique: HEAR IN

Focus – Inner talk space/mental talk

Practice type – Appreciation (appreciating things as they are)

Written Instructions

Bring your attention to the inner talk space — this is usually near your ears. It’s where you talk to yourself, replay past conversations, or plan future ones. In this technique, you bring your attention to noting and labelling if there is any activity in your inner talk space.

If there is an inner talk activity, note it and label it HEARIf there is no activity, note it and rest in it. Or you can label it RESTDrop the focus on REST or HEARand then scan again for activity or rest in the inner talk space

Things to watch out for:

You may find that HEAR IN feels very different from external sounds. Sometimes it’s easier to have equanimity when you do HEAR OUT because you aren’t the one creating the sensory activity, you only track it.

In HEAR IN, a part of us is creating the activity. This may bring up judgemental feelings. If that happens, try not to get drawn into the feelings, let them be in the background, and return your attention to the technique of noting and labelling activity in the HEAR IN space.