This article is one in the multi-part series entitled The Entrepreneurial Mindset.
I am a believer in positive self-affirmations. I think they can help you get through difficult situations, give you confidence when you’re not feeling real sure about your abilities, and they even provide a ray of hope that things will get better and you will make it through. However, as it turns out, I’ve been doing them wrong and you might be doing them wrong too, thus potentially limiting your small business success. How could you possibly be doing them wrong, you say? What is the one word that starts most any positive self-talk? It is “I” right? Well, one study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Michigan State, and University of California (Berkeley) which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has revealed that “I” might not be the best word choice when it comes to achieving higher levels.
The Problem with “I”
In this particular piece of research, seven different studies were reviewed and, based on their cumulative findings, the results indicate that using your own name when making affirmations related to stressful situations offers some benefits over just saying “I.” For instance, it allows you to create a little bit of self-distance, which can help lower your stress and anxiety levels over your current situation. Furthermore, calling yourself by name versus using first person terminology allows you to “appraise future stressors in more challenging and less threatening terms.”
Sounds kind of weird, but apparently it worked for LeBron James in 2010 when, during an interview with ESPN he talked about his difficult decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and
join the Miami Heat (whom he later left in 2014, returning again to the Cavs). He said, “One thing I didn’t want to do was make an emotional decision. I wanted to do what’s best for LeBron James and to do what makes LeBron James happy.” And look how well he has done in his basketball career.
Intent on putting this new and unconventional information to good use, I said my morning affirmations just as I always had. “I am healthy. I am strong. I am financially secure. I can handle whatever comes my way.” Then, I tried this new approach. “Christina is healthy. Christina is strong. Christina is financially secure. Christina can handle whatever comes her way.”
What surprised me was how different the two felt. Sure, I still felt empowered and hopeful when saying my positive self-talk statements just the same as I always had, but saying them using my name instead felt almost more solid, if that makes sense. It was as if I was using the same strong conviction I would use for a family member or friend that I thoroughly supported, allowing me to channel even more energy into the statements than when I said them using the word “I.”
Try It Yourself
To see the difference yourself, take your normal daily positive self-affirmations and use your name instead of saying “I.” See how you feel and notice whether or not they are stronger for you, as they were for me and, obviously, the many people who participated in these various studies.
And if you haven’t traditionally used positive self-talk in an effort to get yourself ahead, then now might be a good time to start. Some affirmations that may help you and your business reach all new levels include:
- (Name) is an accomplished businessperson.
- (Name) can effectively handle any situation.
- (Name) knows what is best and can make good decisions.
- (Name) can and will do amazing things both personally and professionally.
Use one or all of these, or create your own. The key is to make statements specific to you, your concerns, and your situation so that you really feel them inside and out.
Feel like sharing your affirmations in an effort to cement them in and make them more publicly known? If so, comment in the fields below. Sometimes committing your words to print makes them stronger yet, potentially making you completely unstoppable.