They say you always teach what you need to learn, and so I’m sharing below some things I’ve been taught and try to practice — not always consistently, I’m afraid — in the hope that these tips may be helpful to you.
It occurred to me that dating and doing business (two areas where I’d like better results) have a lot in common. How you think about yourself has a lot to do with success in both areas.
What's your inner radio station broadcasting?
Let’s say you become interested in attracting a certain client. You do a little research on the client’s business and determine that the two of you would be a good fit. So you start “courting” the client.
You call and ask for a coffee date, just to get acquainted. If it goes well, you’ll meet at the client’s office to chat with a couple of other people on his or her team. And if everyone gets along and feels there’s mutual benefit in joining forces, you’re off on a new relationship. One that you hope will be long-lasting and profitable for both of you.
But let’s rewind for a minute. Before you have a solid relationship, you have to start out on the right foot.
When you approach your potential match, whether a potential date or a potential client, the response you get relies in great part on how you come across to the other person. You want your first impression to be positive, of course. So are you putting forward your best self? Not a phony, over-confident, back-slapping self (“The Pusher”), but a confident friendly, open self (“Genuine Me”)?
Your self-image is based on your habitual self-talk. What you believe about yourself shows, and it will either turn people on or turn them off.
Think of your self-talk as a radio station in your head that broadcasts advertisements to yourself all day long. Tune into it consciously for a day. Make notes about what you hear. Are your advertisements pessimistic or optimistic? Do they constantly judge and criticize yourself? That would sound something like, “I look terrible in this outfit. My belly’s fat, my haircut is wrong, and I’m too short, so nobody will take me seriously. No wonder I can’t do better at (fill in the blank).”
Wow. Do something about the things you don’t like and can change, like the haircut and maybe the belly. But think about the “short thing” logically for a minute. You can’t change it anyway, so you might as well quit beating yourself up about it. Do you know of any short people who get taken seriously? Sure you do. Napoleon, Robert Reich, and Madeline Albright, just to name a few.
There may be a reason you don’t get taken seriously, but it isn’t your height. It may be because you don’t take yourself seriously, so you’re subconsciously cuing others not to, either. Identify what’s really going on. Remember, not all the ads on your radio station are true. In fact, most of the negative ads are either misguided or just plain wrong.
So where do you start rewriting the advertisements on your radio station so they support you instead of tearing you down?
1. Become aware of what you’re saying and believing about yourself.
2. Identify any negative thoughts you continually have about yourself, your future, other people, and the world in general.
3. Catch yourself in negative self-talk, and stop. (Some people recommend snapping a rubber band around your wrist whenever you catch yourself thinking negatively — and literally, snap out of it.)
4. Finally, let go of the negative thought and substitute something positive. Here’s an important point. Your mind can never think of nothing, so you have to give it something else to think about besides the negative thought you just booted out. Affirmations can help.
Did you know that whatever you believe tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy? Positive thoughts and beliefs can radically improve the quality of your life and your success in your business. So watch your beliefs, improve your thoughts, and enjoy a better future.
By the way, here’s a good article about self-talk and that familiar syndrome when we’re stressed — “awfulizing.”