NEW JERSEY, February 16, 2014—As a counselor for a large university that specialized in business training for adults with full-time jobs students were all busy with work, life, family, and other commitments. Many of them were fearful about achieving their educational dream and doubtful about even making it through their first course.
My job was to help them find their inner motivation for completing this mission and coach them through the process to graduation.
One of the most empowering questions I would ask students was: “If you could wave a magic wand and be anything you wanted to be, what would you be?” or “what one great goal would you set for yourself if you knew you couldn’t fail at achieving it?”
This was very effective because it allowed the student to think honestly, and free from the negativity of their own minds. It allowed them to think without interrupting their thoughts with fear and doubt.
So today I ask you: If you could build the business of your dreams, and knew that you wouldn’t fail, where would you be five years from today? What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew that nothing would stop you from realizing that dream? Take a minute and really ask yourself this question.
The old saying that “we are our own worst enemies” is so true! In most cases the students had their ups and downs, but we always stayed focused on their final goal of graduating keeping the positive win in sight, and their negative thoughts out of sight and out of mind. Words are very powerful because we use these groups of letters to form fear, doubt, and self-confidence in our minds. Before anything becomes an action it must first be a thought, right?
You see, everybody has a different story. Some folks had it good growing up, the rest of us – maybe not so much. Many of us didn’t grow up being taught to focus on the positive outcomes, and to envision what our success would look like if we eliminated doubt and fear. So thinking this way feels unnatural or even unrealistic at first. However, the reality remains; we are what we think we are. Changing the paradigm of our thought process to consider what our lives would be like if we knew we couldn’t fail offers us a clean interpretation of our genuine desires and goals.
So this isn’t some old fake it ‘til you make it speech; this is the reality of learning to consider our options from a strengths-based perspective. To achieve success in our business, our life or our careers we must use our strengths to get ahead. Our weaknesses have never helped us love our families, enjoy our free time, or make this world a better place. It’s our strengths that allow us to open our hearts and offer the word our talent, our wisdom, and other gifts.
So it’s clear that our actions in life and business are successful because of our strengths and that’s exactly why we need to match our thinking to be based on strengths as well. To approach it any other way would be unbalanced and cause us to have less control over the outcomes of our thoughts than we should. Wouldn’t you agree that the only person in-charge of how you think should be you (besides God, of course)?
Remember this thought: If you could build the business of your dreams, and knew that you wouldn’t fail, where would you be five years from today?
Remember that just as top athletes must invest in practicing their skills and encouraging themselves. Think of Mohammed Ali’s consistent self-affirmation “I am the greatest” so in the same way we as the leader of our life, career, or business must also invest in practicing our new skills of considering our future from a position based on our strengths and using positive mentalself-talk to counter self-doubt and fear. Practice makes perfect!
The author is currently working on a TED Talk , “The Politics of Personal Empowerment: Four Words to Impact and Influence Others”, being presented next month. If you want more info on that please enter your email here to stay connected and receive advanced information.
About the author: Rich Valdes is CEO of RichValdeS.com which offers concrete skills and training in communications, sales & marketing, and political strategy to help people succeed in business and life to influence and impact others for good.