We have hundreds, if not thousands of thoughts every single day. And each thought is a powerful inner voice that guides and shapes our feelings which leads to our choices, behaviors, and outcomes. That inner voice chatter is sometimes positive and sometimes negative; sometimes constructive and sometimes destructive. Our self-talk is potently commanding and it is the core source of energy that services the operating system for the most powerful computer in the world – our brain!
We have spent out entire lives conditioning our minds to think a certain way. We have literally programmed our brains, again the most powerful information processors in the world, to believe certain things as well as to not believe certain things; on how to communicate; on how to react, etc. Without being employed by any Geek Squad, we have built a computer operating system that has conditioned our lives for both success and failure in life.
When we accomplish a goal, our behaviors and beliefs that led to achieving that success are affirmed, whether we acknowledge that cognitive realization or not. And when we are empowered by someone who encourages us, that positive discourse is also engrained in our belief system that we can achieve whatever that goal is we set. Verbal persuasion, social reinforcement, and performance accomplishments are all foundational elements that build self-efficacy which is the genesis formulating our belief system. A strong level of self-efficacy suggests that we believe we can accomplish the goals we set for ourselves whereas a negative sense of efficacy suggests the opposite.
So many times in life, most specifically in relationships and in organizational leadership, it is not what we need to learn, it is what we need to unlearn to achieve the results we want. We must continually keep programming our minds on what is possible rather than what is not, on reasons why we should work toward a goal rather than on excuses why we should not. Successful people share many common characteristics and one signature quality is that they see opportunities and possibilities not through sight, but rather through the power of their mind. Leaders envision a goal manifesting in their life before it actually does.
Continually successful people do not wait for every condition to be exactly correct or in alignment with every life circumstance, rather they know that in order to achieve something they simply need to get started. Effective leaders are passionate, have a vision for their goal, and are willing to take significant risks and learn along the way. And if they make mistakes, which even they admit they do more than successes, they ask themselves the right developmental questions to learn from those mistakes. As a result, they are better, more experienced from what they learned did not previously work.
A few years ago, I actually designed and ordered thousands of t-shirts with the following quote: ‘Opportunities are not seen with the eyes, they are seen with the mind.’ Everywhere I go, I still wear this shirt. Whether I am at the gym, on a boat, in a store, etc., people ask me ‘Excuse me, but where did you get that shirt?’ I love watching their responses when I tell them to ‘Visit my website and order one.’ They usually respond with ‘Seriously?’ and with a tone of disbelief that I made the shirt. But regardless, they appreciate the positive mantra which the shirt displays. I wear the shirt as often as possible in hopes of initiating an inspirational conversation that awakens other’s awareness that we can condition our belief system for success. It’s not about me, it’s about the meaning of the shirt and how others apply its interpretation to their life. It’s about what we vision in life, not what we see.
I intentionally chose this month’s topic for a specific purpose. For reasons which I do not understand yet, I have had an extremely high frequency of conversations with others in the past 2-3 months about mental conditioning, or success conditioning as I prefer to label it. During my seminars and with coaching clients, I share this concept of needing to unlearn certain things for success, rather than learn, and it sincerely seems to strongly hit home. I am finding that this ‘theory’ is changing people’s lives not only because it is simple, but because it works and is having lasting, significant impact. You do not need to wait any longer in order to accomplish that goal; rather, you simply just need to get started.
What is it you have always wanted to accomplish? What is something on your ‘bucket list’ or ‘vision board?’ What are you waiting on?
If you are not somehow in process of working towards that goal, you are likely more creative in finding ‘reasons’ rather than ‘results.’ How is that working for you?
Again, to achieve the results you want, you no longer need to wait. Simply just get started. I have coached people who want to write a book, become a speaker, start a new business, get out of their ‘rut’, go back to school for a degree, geographically move, improve their relationships, etc. Yet with each person, they have initially convinced themselves that these objectives are only in the future and that they need more time to plan for designing the ‘plan’ or strategy. Beyond initiating the conversation with me, which is the first step, they do not feel ready to take that second step of action, the most important step of action.
I have experienced these folks have already convinced themselves, because of life-long mental conditioning, that they need to have a full-fledged business plan before putting rubber to the road and pursuing that new goal. Or, for other fabricated reasons made up in their mind, they feel they need to wait in order to have Planet Earth be better aligned with the sun. Their conditioned minds have ordered them to wait – and they listened. As a result, no results. Only hopes of ‘someday.’
Well, I do believe that having a strategy is important and that timing is important. And I am proud of anyone who is cautiously taking a leap of faith outside their comfort zone which will significantly impact their life. I acknowledge that making a life change or committing to a goal of great magnitude takes time and careful consideration. But to be blunt, from my own life experience and after dozens of coaching conversations, talk is cheap and leads to nothing but inefficiency. I believe in results, not reasons. No one has to wait for anything – they just need to get started. As Tony Robbins says, “The road of ‘I’ll do it someday’ leads to a town called nowhere.”
So in order for you to manifest any change in your life, you first have to know what the change looks like – 80% of achieving any goal is simply knowing what that goal is. After you know what it is you want, then simply get started. Do not wait. The longer you wait, the longer you wait. Develop a plan, fuel it with your passion, and expect to work hard. I can guarantee you that you will begin making positive change in your life that you will be proud of. Do not convince yourself that you need to wait any longer. The time is now – just get started!
Kevin Snyder, Ed.D.
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