For Successful Leadership, Leverage the Mighty Power of Affirmations

The simple things in life are the ones we often glance over – without any thought.

And yet, that is where the biggest part of our power lies: in our thoughts.

How many times have we experienced it to be true that the outside world is a reflection of what’s going on in the inside”?

In other words, whatever is going on in our lives is a mirror to how we may be feeling or what we may be thinking: if we are thinking positively and feeling expansively, then we are setting the stage for higher-level circumstances in our lives and work. If we are not, well, then the opposite has a larger chance of occurring.

If we tell ourselves we are incapable of something, we are likely to sabotage ourselves and not accomplish that thing. If we tell ourselves we are not good enough, we will likely find ourselves in situations in which we show ourselves that we are not.

In other words, whatever we focus on in the secret place of our minds, the universe dutifully brings to us.

Indeed, in leadership and in life, many people have discovered a simple, yet profound truth:

What we say verbally (and internally, via self-talk) eventually materializes into our conscious experience.

We can affect what we want to be or do or have by consciously choosing what we tell ourselves.

And, yes, while that might very well sound woo-woo, there is actually quite a bit of scientific research backing it up.

Leverage the Power of Affirmations to Achieve Success

Numerous studies have noted the positive effects that affirmations provide.

Research at the Annenberg School for Communication, collaborating with University of Michigan and UCLA, discovered what happens in our brains while we practice self-affirmations.

Affirmations, like prayer, actually change the brain on a cellular level—in other words, what you think about matters—a lot. “Thoughts have a direct connection to your health,” says Dr. Joseph Dispenza, author of Physics, the Brain and Your Reality:

“Thoughts make a chemical. If you have happy thoughts, then you’re producing chemicals that make you feel happy. Negative, angry thoughts and fearful thoughts also produce chemicals to make you feel how you’re thinking.”

Neurons connect in your brain by attaching to thoughts and memories. Thoughts then become organized into a pattern. For example: The feeling of love is stored in a pattern. Each person builds his/her concept of love from many different ideas and experiences, explains Dispenza.

What Exactly Are Affirmations, Anyway?

 “Affirmations are statements you make to yourself — declarations of what you wish to be”.

– Sharon Janis

 “Every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation. All of our self-talk, our internal dialogue, is a stream of affirmations. You’re using affirmations every moment whether you know it or not. You’re affirming and creating your life experiences with every word and thought.”

– Louise Hay

As Bryan Goodwin wrote in Affirmations for Better Leadership, saying affirmations with confidence awakens the subconscious mind, thereby causing it to pay more attention to our affirmation – and less attention to that which we are critical of ourselves for.

While affirmations should be your own words, Rick Clonlow writing in LinkedIn shares some good examples to inspire us:

-I am achieving dramatic success in my work.

-I am a good listener.

-I am working smarter, not harder.

True Leaders Speak Authentic Affirmations

When acknowledging achievements done by their team, authentic leaders offer congratulatory praise that is genuine – and personally directed.

Enzo M. Battista-Dowds PhD. RD noted in The Ascent that when we are not genuine, our affirmations aren’t, either.  After all, our listeners can easily tell – by our tone of voice or by our energy – when we are not being genuine with our words.

For example, a leader may tell an employee that they are brilliant, excellent and exceptional, but as Battista-Dowds states, if they are not specific to the person, there is no depth to these words. They are merely empty words that a person with little self-esteem will most likely disregard. To change this disbelief, Battista-Dowds suggests a double affirmation.

Start with a value affirmation and end with a quality affirmation that is specific to the person. This creates compelling affirmations. Examples from Battista-Dowds:

“Your teamwork is fantastic. You’re collaborative.

Your service is stellar. You’re professional.”

Context is everything, says Batista-Dowds, and “doubling-up” is even more powerful. An employee hears their service is stellar and then acknowledges their work is stellar because they are a professional.

Our world yearns for positivity and compassion. An authentic leader inspires others with meaningful and genuine words of praise, specifically tailored for each team member. Employees are uplifted and motivated – a win-win atmosphere in any organization.

We Can Affirm Our Way to Success With Positive Statements

Affirmations needn’t be complex – they are simply positive statements we make that focus on whatever it is that we desire to accomplish.

To be most effective, they are to be repeated frequently and with a strong conviction to create a fundamental shift in our subconscious so that our inner system truly believes in what we are telling it.

Just as important as affirming regularly is surrounding ourselves with people who support us with empowering thoughts. Amy Morin in Psychology Today says the company we keep says a lot about us: we begin to act like the people we surround ourselves with. This is why it is important to associate with those who raise us up.

Affirmations should be words of our own choosing. We can speak them, too, as if we are talking to a friend. Speak in the present tense.

To normalize the affirmation in your thinking, repeat it 10 times for a few minutes, twice daily.

Be consistent. Remember, we often are uprooting decades of thought patterns that create limiting effects for us. Stay grounded in what you want to create for yourself.

And, as the old saying goes, “Act as if.” Doing so helps influence our subconscious mind more effectively so that it believes in the truth of our affirmative statement.

Yes, it really is true: we do have the power to change ourselves. It is within each of us. As we tell ourselves powerful, positive thoughts, we can be witness as our outer world transforms.

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

—Napoleon Hill

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Career advice for leaders , Smart leadership strategies , Career achievement moves for leaders

Leaders, Try These Smart Strategies to Reach Your Goals

Strong leaders spend a good deal of time focusing on the success of the people who work for them – sometimes at the expense of their own career achievements.

If your leadership abilities alone are not taking you where you want to go in your career, try incorporating the following smart strategies to reach your goals.

Career Achievement Moves for Leaders

Shift Your Leadership Focus – Just like the people they supervise, leaders are more effective when their work feels meaningful. Have you lost the drive for your work? Look for actions you can take to create more meaning in what you do.

Try “job crafting,” says Yale professor Amy Wrzesniewski in a recent Inc.com article on successful leaders. This means being proactive about adding meaningful tasks – however you define them – into your workday and making them part of your job.

Don’t Wait To Be Ready – Even the best of us can create excuses about why we’re not where we want to be. Yet, putting off your career goals means waiting that much longer to actually achieve them. Take some common sense advice from a FastCompany.com career advice article and “ just go for it” – even if you don’t feel ready. Now that’s what I call a bold move!

Lead by Building Up Others – While this may seem like a given, it often takes conscious effort. When you show your confidence and trust in others, you make them stronger and build relationships that can help you reach your career goals. A win-win!

Leaders Practice Accountability – According to a 2015 study done at Dominican University of California, over 70 percent of participants who sent weekly updates to another person accomplished their goal or made steady progress – compared to the 35 percent of participants who didn’t write down or share their progress. As a leader, demonstrating strong accountability skills sets a strong example for your team.

At Authentic Leadership International (www.boldermoves.com), we partner with leaders around the globe to develop effective ways to improve your leadership skills – while keeping your own unique career goals in mind.

Words of Wisdom from Successful Leaders

While we each have our own path, it’s often good to hear how other corporate leaders have achieved success. Here are a few quotes to inspire you from the Inc.com site:

  • Richard Branson: The Virgin Group founder asserts, “The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures, rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me… a setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.”
  • Emily Hughes:  A business consultant for Google Fiber, Emily’s advice is to talk to a lot of people. “It was a way for me to recognize what skills I had, and also what skills I wanted to learn to be able to do what I wanted to do.”
  • Sheryl Sandburg: “Believe you can do anything. This is important for everyone and especially for women. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t have both a meaningful professional career and a fulfilling personal life. When you hear someone say you can’t do something, know that you can and start figuring out how,” affirms Facebook’s COO.
  • Jim Whitehurst: The Red Hat CEO states, “Find a rhythm where you can have enough time for family and friends, feel satisfied emotionally, and still excel at work, because building a great career is a marathon, not a sprint.”

As a leader, focusing on your personal career goals is never wrong. In fact, it sets an amazing example for your team members on what to do right to succeed.

Looking for new and bolder ways to manage your teams while making steady progress in your own leadership career? Sign up here to access my free Weekly Bold Move.

 

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The Impact Of Body Language On Success

The Impact Of Body Language On Success

Most people believe that success is a function of brainpower—that intelligent people either are now or will be successful at something in life.

The truth is that success is a result of many different variables, and recent studies have shown that a good brain is not the only key to achievement. Your body language also plays a significant role in helping you grab the brass ring, and there’s science to back this up.

The Science Of Body Language

In a recent Huffington Post article, Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, discussed a study done by Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy on the impact of body language on success. Cuddy showed that “people who use positive body language are more likable, competent, persuasive, and emotionally intelligent.”

Positive body language includes any targeted gestures that help get your message across, such as eye contact and body stance.

Cuddy found that the right body language actually affects your hormones, making you feel more confident. It also helps you appear more likable and competent to the person or group you’re dealing with and has a powerful role around influencing the attitudes of others. Finally, improving your body language helps you to more effectively share your emotions and ideas with others.

Examples Of Positive Body Positions

The site 99u.com describes some kinds of body language that can help take you from negative and scared to positive and confident.

Open Up – Known as the “Power Posture,” this is standing with your feet wide apart and your hands on your hips or spread apart on a table in front of you. Spending time in this pose “increases testosterone, risk taking, pain tolerance, and belief in one’s own leadership abilities.” It also helps you to breathe better, which can calm shaky nerves.

Smile – Spending time deliberately smiling can help you to feel more positive and trigger positive memories, says the article. Turning your frown upside down is more than just a cute way to get kids to smile. It will give you more confidence.

Use Gestures – Just make sure they’re well-related to what you’re saying. Some studies proved that presenters were viewed as more effective and competent when they used hand gestures versus immobile hands and arms.

 

Any of these can give you an edge in negotiations or presentations by making you feel more confident and relaxed. You can even do them before and during a phone call or web conference.

The Importance For Women

Santa Monica College published an article describing body poses that women in particular should avoid because they send the wrong messages and can interfere with success. These include crossing your ankles while standing, tilting your head, “shy” or flirty glances, and mannerisms that broadcast nervousness such as playing with hair or fidgeting. Read the full article for more.

Changing your body position will change how you feel, which can be more effective than your brain in attaining the life you desire.

 

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