I grew up in a family that does not communicate at all.
I grew up in a shophouse where mum usually operated her clothing store while dad just sits in the storeroom watching stocks and performing dad duties. My brother and I, we would rather text each other despite of being under the same roof.
Things began to take its toll during my school days. Often, I was being bullied or not wanting to be associated with. For many years, I tried doing everything else to be part of a group or have close friends but some stayed around and most of them left. I hated school, the fear of getting beaten up after school ate into me and no amount of help from the teachers would suffice. My grades were bad and I started to mix with the outcasts, picked up bad habits and skipped school often.
It sucks to return home knowing that there will be no one around to talk about your day, greet you or even accompany you. With that, I created my imaginary friends. Some were plush toys, furniture and anything I can find around my house. I built my own family.
As I grew older and entered the working life, I continued to talk to myself but this time around, without my imaginary friends in play as they were long gone; I grew up. Whenever I have difficulties at work, I would talk to myself and figure out ways to solve them. I am talking about, talking out loud, not in your thoughts.
All these practices of mine became very useful applications in my daily life especially when it comes to going for interviews or proposing new ideas to clients. Since I have a strong advantage for creating visuals, I will create scenarios before interviews and it helped me out a lot.
I used to read up a lot about the ‘how to’ and ‘what if’ before my job interviews and I realised that those pointers were irrelevant to me.
Why? Simply because they are written by someone else who went through something different, resulting in an entirely uncommon expectation or outcome.
Talking to myself opened up doors for preventing failures, neutralising aspects of anxiety or feeling overconfident, etc.
How does it work?
Simple, I talk to myself. I picture myself sitting in the interviewer’s room, creating scenarios and tasked myself with different roles to play in. I became the big boss, the dude who wants the job and that extra dude who sits in the room quietly observing the whole situation, like an imaginary 3rd party who oversees everything from a non-relevant person’s point of view. I view my subjects from different angles.
With this skill of such, I have no problem selling products, teaching anything that I hardly know, presenting ideas or conducting talks.
I landed myself with an operations manager job previously and my main responsibility was people; Customers, clients and my team. The hardest part of it all is dealing with people, whether they are from your side, similar frequencies or someone who is strangely different in every way.
Once again, I created scenarios and acted in my very own movie.
It helped a lot.
How does it feel?
Damn good. It feels like you have a “support” system floating around you, it feels like you have someone to talk to regardless of failures or successes, it feels like you have already broken the ice before and warmed up to every stranger you’re going to meet.
However, several situations took me by surprise too. Situations that were different from what I visualised or situations that left me speechless. Talk to yourself, ask yourself questions and answer them realistically. The more honest you are with yourself, the better you will be able to handle situations of such in the future, training you to be an all-rounder in handling situations like these.
You should try it too.
“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell.” — Matchbox 20
Thank you, Imaginary friends.
This goes out to you guys!