Beliefs and behaviors are inextricably linked. If the inner messages we hear are of success, love, and joy…that will be our experience. If, on the other hand, we give “air time” to thoughts of limitations, fear, and failure…that is what we will experience. Henry Ford once said, “If you believe you can or you believe you can’t…you’re right.”
To better understand the mind/body connection, consider the last time you thought, “I’m getting sick and tired of this job (the weather, a relationship, or life in general).” Chances are that soon after you started running that mindtape, you actually got sick. Or, try to remember what happened to your energy the last time you answered, “Fabulous” when someone asked how you were. You probably got a jolt of energy that quickened your pace and automatically made you smile. Your thoughts and body are wired together. To be all that you aspire to be, try decorating the rooms of your mind as you would a favorite retreat…with things that calm your spirit and fire up your energy. Here are four simple techniques to help you maintain an empowering mindset:
eviction, visualization, reframing, and solution sleuthing.
Become a Master at Evictions
No matter how positive you are a negative thought may slip in from time to time. Some common ones are: “I'm going to mess this up.” “I'll never be able to….” “I don’t want to, but I should.”
Perhaps you can think of a few "favorites" of your own. Then get in the habit of booting them out. As soon as you hear a negative thought, hit the pause button, and say out loud, “Evict that thought. That was before. This is my belief now: I am _______.” Erase the thought from your mind’s computer and replace it with an empowering thought. Make a commitment to evict any “rowdy regulars” the next time they show up.
Create Great Visualizations
What do sports coaches, success gurus, and inspirational writers all have in common? They all believe in the power of imagining your success before you actually create it. All believe that if in a relaxed state you can see yourself-in great detail and living color-successfully performing a feat before you actually perform it, you will etch a pattern of success into your brain that will guide you to success in the physical realm. This important habit of success allows you to perform every challenge twice: first with your imagination and then with your feet.
Begin by seeing yourself-dressed appropriately-moving toward your performance spot. Note details such as what you are carrying, what the temperature is like, and who else is there. Feel how excited you are for the opportunity and how confident you are that you will succeed. See all the details as you progress from one successful phase to another, until finally you complete your objective and leave the site feeling fulfilled. Take a tip from top performers…to be successful in your field, first see the success in your mind.
Learn to Reframe Situations
The difference between optimism and pessimism is often described as seeing the glass half-full or seeing the glass half-empty. Reframing is a technique that enables you to see the glass “half-full” more often. Whenever you are faced with a setback or disappointment, look beyond the obvious negative to see if there is any positive consequence, no matter how small. For instance, if you get stuck in traffic-clearly an annoyance to most of us-consider if any good could come of that. You might find that it is the only time all day that you will have to reflect in silence, or you might find that you hear a radio interview that you would not have heard otherwise. Perhaps that twenty-minute break is exactly what you need to mentally prepare for the meeting that you are racing to. Deliberately choose to see whatever good is woven into life’s large and small frustrations. Pay attention to the surprise blessings that appear in your life…sometimes disguised as mistakes, disappointments, and irritations.
Become a Solution Sleuth
To maintain inner confidence, become a master sleuth…someone who can track down creative solutions to almost any dilemma. Such success breeds more success. But, as you might have guessed, effective problem solving requires an inventive state of mind and problems often evoke fear that makes us contract -rather than broaden-our thinking. When fear rears its head, most of us mentally circle the wagons, instead of scouting out a new trail.
Solution sleuthing is a technique to free up your imaginative responses. Instead of stating-or thinking about-a problem as a complaint, turn it into a question. To consider the different impact that a complaint or a question has on your creativity, try imagining your initial response to each. Someone complains to you: "I just don’t have any time for myself." Probably your response would be to commiserate with them, saying something like: “I know; life’s a rat race. Nobody has any personal time.” On the other hand, someone asks you a question: "How can I find one hour each week just for myself?" It's likely that you'd be intellectually stimulated…as if you were presented with a riddle to solve. Your response might be something like: "Hmmm. You could try….” Intuitively your mind would start scanning for possible solutions. This simple shift can have a strong impact on reducing stress and increasing success in your life.
Practice these four mind power techniques-eviction, visualization, reframing, and solution sleuthing-and you'll soon find yourself in a winner's frame of mind!
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Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D. is a life-balance expert and national speaker. She is the author of Create A Life That Tickles Your Soul and the upcoming Recharge in Minutes (Fall, 2003), and regularly appears on radio, television, and in national print media. Visit her website at: www.zoglio.com.