Last week, I spoke of texting some friends about the state of the world and changing the conversation to more positive thinking. When I asked for them to let me know 3 things they were grateful for, the first response was, “Not a whole lot of good these days. I’m alive and healthy. That is pretty much it.”
My heart sank. This person has a wonderful family, two beautiful children, income, and has a spark for life that challenged me to better since the day I met her. Have our lives really come to this? The only thing to be thankful for is breath? (Don’t get me wrong, breathing is powerful, important, and amazing! But, honestly, there is so much more to be grateful for).
This got me thinking. Have you ever heard yourself saying:
“This is too hard/impossible to….”
“I could never do….”
“I’ll try, but no guarantees.”
“This is such a nightmare!”
If you lived through 2020, chances are yes. When we do this, we set ourselves up for failure. We set ourselves up to find the nightmares, the impossible, and to dwell on the negative. Psychological research has found that your subconscious interprets what it hears literally. This means your mind and body will follow the direction your words lead. In other words, your words are POWERFUL! If you want more opportunity, life, love, etc. project the positive things into the world each time you open your mouth – or more importantly, repeat in your mind.
Your words can change how you view yourself and your body. They can transform dreams into goals and goals into reality. They can also create negative thoughts, feelings, anxiety, and depression.
Those who speak negatively, view life and all circumstances as negative. They create a pattern of negativity in their life. Those who speak positively, view the glass half-full to speak, are achieving goals and success in all aspects of their lives.
The language we use impacts on how we are perceived by others. I have created entire teams based on the language they use. Negative language leads to demoralized teams and failures. Making excuses leads to missed deadlines and disunity. Positive language leads to success in the face of difficulty. Giving solutions leads to moving forward on a project.
Our brain and mind are powerful. They ensure our body functions daily without our thoughts. They ensure we learn and grow. They are rewireable! Let’s do just that! Spend 24 hours monitoring your speech (and thoughts). Then, have someone else do the same for the next 24 hours. Then, you can really see where changes need to be made. This puts you firmly in command, shifts your energy and, in doing so, makes you someone others want to listen to.
1. Have a drum major mentality: Drum majors lead bands of hundreds in intricate field shows and parades. Their heads are held high – eyes on the horizon. Their posture is straight, and they march with confidence. Their facial expressions are strong. Their tone of voice carries authority. Stand up tall. Shoulders back. Smile. Take on the world with a posture of authority. This will amplify your presence, and it will ensure the words you say come out in a way that will have an optimal impact on who hears them.
2. Reframe your words and thoughts: As Henry Ford so aptly put it “If you think you can or you can’t, your right.” Stop thinking “I can’t” and “I won’t.” Instead, see yourself accomplishing things and change your language to “I can” and “I will.” Speak “I have love”, I love,” and “I create…”.
3. Absolutes are not your friend: I teach my son taking tests, absolutes are wrong. If the question states only, always, never, etc.; pick the answer false. Ignore that answer in the multiple-choice questions. Don’t use this language in your test-taking or your life. Instead of “They are a complete idiot”, say “they see things differently.” Instead of “I could never” state, “I can with help.”
4. Stop apologizing: My older brother has hounded me on this for years. It is a hard habit to break. I apologize for not agreeing, for someone else bumping into me, for my success. Why? To bring me down so others feel better? As Rachel Hollis put it, Girl, Stop apologizing! You have value. Your success does not minimize others. Stop. Just be respectful.
5. Ditch “Should”: Growing up I wanted to be a Navy Seal. I was told I could not because I was female. So then, I wanted to be the first female president of the US. (I even attended the National Young Leaders Conference in DC and had my first interview at a lobbying firm at age 15). Then I became a mom. My dreams took a back seat. (Don’t get me wrong – I do NOT want to be President or a Navy Seal now). The word “should” entered my life as an excuse. “I should write more, but my son needs…,” “I should work out more, but my life is too busy,” “I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but I am on the road too much.” I had to learn to change “should” to “could.” “I could write more when I plan it in my schedule,” “I could work out more with an accountability partner,” “I could eat more fruits and vegetables when I bring them with me on the road.”
6. Commit. Don’t try: When we say, “I’ll try” we are not committing to anything. When we do not do it, we excuse ourselves. When we commit we congratulate ourselves. A simple change from “I will try to work out this week” to “I will work out this week” commits our minds to accomplishment. There is a reason why Nike’s slogan “Just do it” is still impactful decades later. As I tell my son and the youth I work with, break up with “try” and marry “will.” Stop trying. Start doing.
7. Stop labeling: I love labels! If you look at my kitchen, labels are everywhere! But, labels in life, are limiting and debilitating. Labeling yourself as “lazy”, “fat,” “disorganized,” “spender,” “terrible at…” tells your brain you are those things. Just because you are those things today, does not mean you have to be those things tomorrow. You CAN change! Start saying things like, “I am hardworking,”, “I will be organized,” and “I will be better with money.” Change is one step away.
8. Problems are opportunities in disguise: We all have “problems.” What differentiates successful people is how they look at problems. Successful people look at problems as opportunities. Instead of “I failed” and “Well, that didn’t work” they look at problems as “I know what doesn’t work.” Instead of “What a nightmare!” it becomes, as my son says, “What an interesting challenge.”
You are capable of more than you think. You do not have to live in this state for the rest of your life. You have the power to change. You are amazing. You are wonderfully made. You have a unique purpose. Choose to speak what brings out the best in you. Be more positive and see the change it makes in your life.
I would love to hear how your positive words and thoughts are making impactful changes in your life and the lives of those around you. Drop a comment. If you like what you read, please share. Together, we can make this world a positive one.