The Self-Talking Entrepreneur

I have written a lot about mindset and how much it influences our lives. Embracing a positive mindset is empowering but it requires us to establish new thought patterns. I thought it might be helpful to catalog some of the more common things that we may say from time to time and offer an alternative. I find that when I intentionally pay attention to what I say verbally and silently, I catch myself before I go down the “negative road.” But if I do not pay attention, it is easy to end up there.

“I never have enough time.” Each of us has the same amount of time. It is all about how we prioritize. I now say, “I have time to do what I choose.” Notice that I am in control now rather than allowing myself to be tugged and pulled along the river of life.

“I just can’t win.” There is no way we can win if we affirm defeat from the start. How about this instead? “I will continue to do whatever is necessary until I win.” There is a hint of perseverance in this statement . . . which often is the secret ingredient to winning.

“I’m sick.” We all probably hear this quite often. In fact, we have most likely said it once or twice (or more). But again, why would we want to affirm something so negative? Here is an alternative. “I see myself as healthy and whole.” Perhaps we are feeling a bit under the weather, but aren’t we better off affirming a positive vision of ourselves?

“I’m struggling with my finances and never have any money.” To allow good things to come our way we need to shed all thoughts of lack and limitation. Why? Because they block the flow of the positive energy, we need to be prosperous. This statement (said with gusto!) will fully open the fire hydrant of creative energy. “Abundance is mine and I claim it!

“Something bad is going to happen, I just know it.” Hmmm. I know that I have been guilty of self-fulfilling prophecies and this one sure qualifies. It is as simple as this. If we expect something bad to happen, it probably will. “I expect everything to proceed in perfect order and visualize the end result that I am seeking.” There is no better way to inoculate ourselves from negativity than with a strong positive affirmation such as this.

“I don’t understand why so-and-so is treating me this way. It’s so unfair.” Conflict with others can lead to a feeling of victimization . . . if we let it. The truth is, we are only victims of our own mindset, and that is something we can control. When we are willing to take responsibility for our own actions we will say, “I am going to make a positive difference in the lives I touch.”

Yes, it is possible that these positive statements may sound hokey. But here is the point. The only way to break out of an undesirable mindset is to replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations that we really believe. The best way to accomplish this is to understand exactly what we say that we want to change, and then be prepared with our replacement thoughts. Having practiced this for years, I can tell you that I still catch myself moving in the wrong direction at times. But that is the key – we catch ourselves and move back into a positive state of mind.

Life is too short to live in anything but a positive mindset. For me, the “negative road” has become a road less traveled. I see this as so for you too.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

Watch Your Language!

Words, words, words. Research by Louann Brizendine of the University of California indicates that on average, women speak 20,000 words per day and men speak 7,000. I share this to point out how many opportunities we have as men and women to create positive or negative energy with what we say. Our words can be uplifting or demoralizing; they can be helpful or hurtful, and they can be passive or aggressive. In my opinion one of the most important things to remember is that what we speak is an affirmation.

As entrepreneurs and for everyone in general, we want our affirmations to be positive. Affirmations have power. They pattern our conscious and subconscious minds. The seemingly innocent things we say are cumulative and can have a profound impact on our lives. Let’s look at some of the “benign” statements that are made every day.

“I didn’t have time . . .” I’ve been working hard to eliminate from my vocabulary any reference to not having enough time. I realize that I make a choice about how I spend my time and I’m not somehow under its spell. Sure, there are things that don’t get finished, but I chose which tasks those were. Understanding this has helped me become much more adept at prioritizing what I do each day.

“I can’t do . . .” This one is dangerous. The more we say this, the easier it becomes to admit defeat – and “I can’t” is clearly the flag of surrender. As cliché as it may seem, I try to replace “I can’t” with my childhood memory of the 1930 story by Watty Piper, The Little Engine That Could. I’ve decided that I’d rather “think I can,” try and fail, than “think I can’t” and not try at all.

“I’m sick.” I refuse to acknowledge this. It’s true that I may get a sniffle from time-to-time but I’m not about to affirm that I’ve succumbed to ill health. If I do feel a bit under the weather I will affirm that I’m healthy and whole. That, along with lifestyle changes I’ve made, powers me past whatever may be trying to ail me.

“I hate . . .” I’m guilty on this one and realize that I need to change. I say things like “I hate red lights, idiot drivers and incompetent bureaucrats.” Unfortunately there’s a touch of anger – albeit fleeting – that is present when I say, “I hate.” And anger – even a short and subtle burst – can have a physiological effect on our bodies. A combination of brain chemistry and muscular response can weaken our immune systems.

“Why did this happen to me?” There are a multitude of variations of victim-speak. “He/she screwed me,” or “I didn’t win the contract because my competitor is unscrupulous.” I’ve been working for years to recognize the fact that I’m in control of my own destiny and I’m not about to give my power to others, especially through verbal (and negative) affirmations. If I lose it’s going to be of my own doing and not because of someone else.

That which we affirm has a higher probability of manifesting than that which we do not. Why then would we want to affirm anything but positive results for ourselves?

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

Little Engine That Could

Visually Unimpaired

What does success look like for you? Is it something material? Is it a relationship or something intangible? What are you doing to achieve this success? How strongly do you believe that you can achieve it? How badly do you want it? What would you say if I told you that you can absolutely stack the deck in your favor? If it sounds like I’m selling swampland think again.

Success is not so much an end result as it is a constant state of mind. When we see success as an end result we may have a tendency to believe that we are less than successful during the time we’re working toward the end result. Think about it this way. Suppose we want to close a really significant transaction and it takes a long time to do so. Perhaps there are a lot of blood, sweat and tears along the way. A natural human reaction might be, “I know this transaction is going to be hard and I’ll make large sacrifices to complete it. But in the end, all the pain and suffering will be worth it.” There is an implication in this statement that we won’t be successful until the transaction is closed. I submit that this does not have to be the case.

We can visualize our success from the outset. Visualization is another form of affirmation and you’ve heard me talk before about how powerful positive affirmations can be. So how does it work? Let’s use the example of a significant transaction described in the preceding paragraph. We begin by sitting quietly and formulating exactly what the desired end result will be. It’s important that we be as specific and detailed as possible. Where will the closing take place? Will other people be there? Is there a specific date and day of the week that this will occur? Once all the details are discovered we are then in a position to begin the visualization process.

“Today, Tuesday, July 22nd, begins with a clear blue sky and bright sunshine. A closing meeting with the buyer is scheduled for 11:00 AM. I am wearing my black pin-striped suit with a purple tie. As I walk into the boardroom I am greeted by James, my attorney; Todd, the attorney for the buyer; Susan, the buyer; Fred, the buyer’s banker; Linda, my banker, and John who is a consultant I work with. All parties have big smiles on their faces. A three-inch pile of documents is neatly stacked on the highly-polished mahogany conference table. We make short work of signing the documents at which point Fred hands me a cashier’s check in the amount of $2,500,000. I hold the check for a moment before sliding it across the table to Linda to deposit in my account. We all shake hands and then depart to the Capitol Grille for a celebratory luncheon.”

By visualizing our success in such vivid detail, we are setting the stage for it to become reality. Before we go to sleep at night, we allow this visualization to permeate our mind and being. When we awaken, we see the same vision. This becomes a pattern that allows us to celebrate our impending success every single day. We feel the joy of closing the transaction a multitude of times – to the point that it is a fait accompli. No longer do we have any doubts about whether it will happen for we’ve already seen it over and over. I challenge you to try this. You can’t stick a toe in the water. You must jump in cannonball-style. Do it with your clothes on! Visualize with abandon and the results will be spectacular.

We are destined to succeed if we believe without condition. And we can believe without condition when we see our success being repeated in our mind’s eye.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

goggles

A Road Less Traveled

I’ve written a lot about mindset and how much it influences our lives. Embracing a positive mindset is empowering but it requires us to establish new thought patterns. I thought it might be helpful to catalog some of the more common things that we may say from time to time, and offer an alternative. I find that when I intentionally pay attention to what I say verbally and silently, I catch myself before I go down the “negative road.” But if I don’t pay attention, it’s easy to end up there.

“I never have enough time.” Each of us has the same amount of time. It’s all about how we prioritize. I now say, “I have time to do what I choose.” Notice that I’m in control now rather than allowing myself to be tugged and pulled along the river of life.

“I just can’t win.” There’s no way we can win if we affirm defeat from the start. How about this instead? “I will continue to do whatever is necessary until I win.” There’s a hint of perseverance in this statement . . . which often is the secret ingredient to winning.

“I’m sick.” We all probably hear this quite often. In fact, we’ve most likely said it once or twice (or more). But again, why would we want to affirm something so negative? Here’s an alternative. “I see myself as healthy and whole.” Perhaps we are feeling a bit under the weather, but aren’t we better off affirming a positive vision of ourselves?

“I’m struggling with my finances and never have any money.” To allow good things to come our way we need to shed all thoughts of lack and limitation. Why? Because they block the flow of the positive energy we need to be prosperous. This statement (said with gusto!) will fully open the fire hydrant of creative energy. “Abundance is mine and I claim it!

“Something bad is going to happen, I just know it.” Hmmm. I know that I’ve been guilty of self-fulfilling prophecies and this one sure qualifies. It’s as simple as this. If we expect something bad to happen, it probably will. “I expect everything to proceed in perfect order and visualize the end result that I am seeking.” There’s no better way to inoculate ourselves from negativity than with a strong positive affirmation such as this.

“I don’t understand why so-and-so is treating me this way. It’s so unfair.” Conflict with others can lead to a feeling of victimization . . . if we let it. The truth is, we’re only victims of our own mindset, and that’s something we can control. When we are willing to take responsibility for our own actions we’ll say, “I am going to make a positive difference in the lives I touch.”

Yes, it’s possible that these positive statements may sound hokey. But here’s the point. The only way to break out of an undesirable mindset is to replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations that we really believe. The best way to accomplish this is to understand exactly what we say that we want to change, and then be prepared with our replacement thoughts. Having practiced this for years, I can tell you that I still catch myself moving in the wrong direction at times. But that’s the key – we catch ourselves and move back into a positive state of mind.

Life is too short to live in anything but a positive mindset. For me the “negative road” has become a road less traveled. I see this as so for you too.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

road

The Jinx Factor

I was talking with a friend recently who was sharing information about an opportunity that was materializing for him. But he didn’t want to get too much into the details because in his words, he didn’t want to “jinx it.” The next day as I was taking my daily walk I started thinking about his comment. I know I’ve used the same phrase a few times, though I don’t really believe in jinxes. I’ll bet you have too. Then my thoughts expanded to go beyond the simple “jinx factor”.

Have you ever been in a place where everything seems to be going perfectly and then the following thought creeps into your mind . . . “what is going to go wrong?” Of course at the conscious level this is all about whether or not we deserve our good fortune. We’re so used to struggling and toiling that sometimes when the journey becomes smoother we can’t believe it will last and are conditioning ourselves for the next shoe to drop. I suppose this could be deemed the “jinx factor.”

I have come to a few realizations in this regard. Our mind is the most powerful organism in the universe. And we can create self-fulfilling prophesies. If we think something bad is about to interrupt our bliss, then we’ll probably find a way to make it happen. Another realization is the fact that whatever we attract in the way of a negative experience usually won’t be the result of something external. There are days when I drive the speed limit on a certain route and every stoplight turns red. Am I jinxed on those days? I think not. There are times when I think a business deal is done and then something over which I have no influence comes out of nowhere and blows it up. Did I somehow jinx the deal? I think not. External factors that are totally uncontrollable just happen. Did negative energy or bad karma draw them to us somehow? I doubt it. It’s that which we control with our mind and our being that matters.

This leads us to the final point of this discussion. Even joking that we “don’t want to jinx” something is an affirmation and affirmations have power. Instead of worrying about jinxes, we are better served visualizing and affirming favorable outcomes. Doing so aligns us with the positive energy that we need to impact that which we control in the desired manner. When we find that nagging thought entering our consciousness that says, “what is going to go wrong?” we recognize it, chase it away and replace it with an affirmation or a visualization of success.

Jinxes make for interesting novels or television programs but don’t exist in reality. On the other hand, the power of our mind is very real and can attract that which we affirm. Maintaining a positive focus on what we desire allows us to live without the fear that some outer force will deny us our good. In the infamous words of Groucho Marx, “A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.”

black cat

And So It Is

Question: When the world seems to be crumbling around them, some people seem to be able to stay positive no matter what. How do they do it?

Answer: This isn’t as hard as it may seem. I’ve said it before; we all make choices. When the sledding gets tough we can wring our hands in despair and play the victim card. Or we can maintain a positive outlook and move through the difficult situation. The choice is ours and only ours. Personally I find that it takes less energy to stay on an even keel all of the time than it does to ride the emotional roller coaster.

Staying positive doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of practice. The first step is to truly understand the physiology of positive thinking. Dr. Richard J. Davidson, director of the University of Wisconsin’s Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, reports that “activation of brain regions associated with negative emotions appears to weaken people’s immune response to the flu vaccine.” There are many other physiological benefits that have been proven to occur with positive thinking. Thus, we have to make a concerted effort to stay positive in order to protect and enhance our health. If we begin to feel a bout of negative emotions and thinking coming on, we must consciously remind ourselves that we must break this cycle in order to stay healthy.

There’s another thing that we can do to practice positivity. Some call it self-talk. I call it positive affirmations. Positive affirmations are statements that are meaningful to us – kind of a positive pep talk. We need to say them often and with gusto. We say them throughout the day when we’re feeling good and also when we may encounter the opportunity to move into negative thinking. For prosperity we might say, “My life is filled with unlimited abundance!” For health we might affirm, “I am healthy and whole in mind and body!” For relationships our statement might be, “I am harmonious with each and every person in my life!” At first it may seem a bit weird to be saying words like this. Why? Because the world may see this as a bit woo-woo. But that’s OK because I absolutely guarantee that it works.

Try saying positive affirmations in groups of ten, at least ten times each day. Eventually you’ll give a great deal of feeling to the affirmations and they in turn will become ingrained in your psyche. You will absolutely believe what you are affirming. Then, when a negative thought creeps into your mind, you’ll gently release it and replace it with a positive affirmation.

We are blessed by the fact that we have the power to make our own choices. And one of the most powerful choices we can make is to always remain positive about our lives. We affirm a positive thought . . . and so it is.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

Winston Churchill