Monday, October 12, 2009

Stop Selling Failure by Talking Yourself Out of Success

By Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS

One of the obstacles I face with my professional clients is their inability to recognize and overcome sabotaging self-talk. Through coaching them I realize how personal image can be, and how easy it is to be overly critical of ourselves –when we really need to be our own biggest fans. We often catch ourselves saying things like “I am not good enough to get that higher position”, or “I’ve gained weight and I feel fat”, or “I’m losing my hair and developing more wrinkles.” But what’s worse is that we often do not catch those negative critiques and instead let them slip past our radar and become assimilated into our core identity. When that happens they become empowered because we start believing them to be true. So we need to instead empower ourselves with positivity, not sabotage ourselves with negativity. Being critical of our image blocks the flow of positive intentions that help us flourish. But a thriving inner drive is sustained by daily positive thoughts and expectations for the future. When you switch on self-talk it generates an inner dialog of positive thoughts and affirmations, and you start to believe it and get energy and confidence. The impact is transferred to your personal presence and inspires a happier, more successful life. Let’s explore five techniques to create more confident image through self-talk: Score More Points and Win the Self-Talk Game

I find it interesting that when I ask a client to rate himself or herself on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the highest; the majority of people give themselves a rating between four and seven. Since it is your choice to evaluate yourself, why not award yourself a 10? We are all full of so much potential but we don’t tap into it because we get caught up in the negative talk that lowers our self-graded score. Think four or five and others will respond to you accordingly. But think and feel that you deserve a nine or 10 and your confidence will be contagious. Others will see you differently and respect you for it. Every morning, when you are getting dressed for work or sitting in traffic, think and say to yourself that you are a 10 – or even an 11 – and remember that you deserve it and are worth it. You’ll be amazed how much more positive and confident you feel by just owning and acknowledging your valuable self worth.

Access Your Personal Attributes
Okay, so we all have a few challenges, but I have yet to meet the perfectly proportioned male or female who has no personal flaws. We are all human and that’s what makes us unique and interesting - versus looking like we were all cookie cutter people like something out of the Stepford Wives. Really look at your personal attributes or ask a trusted colleague to point out your greatest features. If you are a woman ask yourself, do you have a long neck, broad tapered shoulders, shapely legs, or a smooth complexion? Do you men have great eyes, broad shoulders, a genuine smile, long muscular legs, or chiseled facial structures?

Both men and women have numerous positive features we utilize in the image industry to highlight unique body architecture. Look for your own great features and then play them up by highlighting them through dress and style, to build a powerful look and stand out from the crowd.

Positive Thoughts = Positive Results
The negative thoughts that live in our subconscious mind are an invisible, silent and powerful force in our lives. But the good news is that so are those ultra-potent positive thoughts. Self-talk dialogs leak into our subconscious mind from the outer world, and they also percolate up from deep within the subconscious level to influence our conscious awareness. Flourish into a beautiful, sassy woman or a handsome, successful man through positive affirmation, not negative self-criticism. Realize that you can continue to develop and aspire to have that big corner office if you keep the flow of positive energy going to grow and expand. Capture the power of the positive mind, and then capture the opportunities that present themselves to you because of your positive outlook and demeanor.

Daily Affirmations
Affirmations are designed to help you overcome negative self-talk, however this process works only if you say them aloud. Knowing them isn’t enough to really move you from vision to action. State your affirmations in the present tense such as “I am a prosperous, young high achiever.” Don’t use the future tense, as in “I want to become a high achiever.” Future talk sounds like you are talking about something indefinitely postponed. Rather than delay success, go ahead and picture yourself as a prosperous high achiever. I recommend writing out some daily affirmations about things you wish to achieve in your life. Start today to say and think about them, to shift your energy toward improvement in those areas where you desire greater growth.

Positive Affirmations Fuel and Drive Our Dreams
Whether you are looking to change careers, achieve a high level position, or gain greater confidence – it all can happen through positive daily affirmations. As a Senior Level Executive with Macys, Inc. I often coached executives who didn’t believe in themselves and observed how positive self-talk, positive affirmations, and belief in themselves inspired an internal shift. They transformed a lack of confidence into a powerful presence of confidence and self assurance. Opportunities to work on key projects, chair committees, and lead teams were then presented to these people as they became major players in our succession-planning process.

Positive affirmations are powerful statements that lead to an end result you expect. Setting an intention, you expect to get the intended result – just like when you set an alarm clock you know that it will wake you up at the chosen hour. Think about your personal image or professional life and identify an area of your life that is not working to your satisfaction. Change those sabotaging and limiting beliefs and reprogram your brain with positive affirmations, such as “I am a confident credible business professional who is capable of being the Director of Sales,” or “I am a professional who is influential and trustworthy with a dynamic personality.” Look in the mirror when you first start this process or daily exercise of claiming affirmations, because the hardest sell is always to ourselves. Say them out loud. Allow yourself to claim them. Change those conversations and thoughts in your head to attain the results in your life that you desire.

Through practice of these techniques you will be amazed how your internal energies shift to create a more powerful presence, giving you greater productivity and many subsequent health benefits – as you bring to fruition the kind of results you deserve.

Sarah Hathorn is a certified image consultant, speaker, brand strategist and corporate image advisor. Illustra Image Consulting works with individual men and women who wish to update their fashion and professional presence. The company also provides corporate image services to organizations that wish to enhance their corporate brand within the marketplace. Illustra Image Consulting Copyright © 2009, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS 678-528-1239,

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