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My Mantra – how I self-talk my way to success

As a qualified coach I am well-versed in the theory around self-limiting beliefs, the ‘head-tapes’ we play to ourselves, or our ‘inner chimp’ to quote a particular Management book. A recent request in a group I’m in from a fellow-freelancer to help overcome those negative voices led me to think about the different messages I have employed to turn my own fears and anxieties into something positive.

What is a mantra?

A mantra is a short saying or ‘affirmation’ that we say to ourselves to help remove negative thoughts or self-limiting beliefs, and replace them with something more positive. A mantra is completely personal to that individual, and you can come up with different ones for the changing times and seasons of your own life.

The idea of a mantra brings to mind meditative practices and chanting, but certainly nothing so formal needs to come into play. Anytime you get those pangs of anxiety, or feelings of self-doubt, a mantra is something to cling onto, to get you focused again and moving forward.

I have had some very different and distinct mantras at different times of my life, and each has had a powerful role to play.

I Am Strong

This was my first and most powerful mantra. I came to it whilst going through the hardest time of my life, that of personal and family challenges, so big and overwhelming I felt like I was being buried under the weight. To deal with the stress, the not-sleeping, the sheer exhaustion of the many burdens, I would put on my trainers and go for a run. As I ran and could feel my physical body exert itself and reach goals like keeping going until I reached a certain point in the distance, I would tell myself ‘I am strong’. Of course, there was a link between the physical challenge and the emotional battles I was sorting through in my head. This mantra for me meant resolve, toughness, focusing on what one positive thing I could do that day to move things forward, to make sure I had enough in my ‘tank’ to lift those around me that were in my care. It was my reminder to myself that I had been through hard things before, that I had unique depths of strength that I could summon up to get through each day one at a time.

Keep Moving Forward

In the early days of my business every day I was faced with dozens of decisions to make. Working on your own means you don’t always have someone to bounce off, and it would be easy to agonise over every single decision. I concluded that sometimes it didn’t matter what I chose, I just needed to decide, act, and move on. Forward movement and gaining momentum, was what was important. Achieving anything, whether big or small, would then have the added benefit of making me feel good, that I’d achieved something, which would then feed back into the cycle of positivity making it more likely that I would keep moving forward instead of stalling.

Go Big or Go Home

This one may sound cheesy, and it certainly has an American sitcom kind of feel to it, but it helped me with my business model, as a constant reminder to raise the bar in terms of my goals and expectations. The aggressive edge to it is much needed when you are delving into the world of sales and marketing for the first time and trying to summon up the courage to put yourself out there. Anytime I have an idea that I then want to shy away from, I challenge myself by saying ‘Go Big or Go Home’…

Walk Before You Run

This is my current mantra! I sometimes overwhelm myself I have so many ideas, so many possibilities and things I want to do. I have to remind myself to stop and be logical, to follow my strategic plan and focus on building the foundation. It fits well with the notion of baby steps, of breaking larger goals down into smaller, more manageable chunks, and of being patient… something I am not very good at.

So these are my personal messages that I play, call them mantras, affirmations or whatever you want. But I know they work for me. What works for you?

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