By Tino Mantella
TLG President & CEO
My wife and I recently enjoyed a getaway to Beaufort, South Carolina. One morning, I decided to take one of the bikes from our bed and breakfast hosts to maintain some semblance of my exercise regimen. It was a beautiful morning and all was right in the world, until I took a spill. Don’t worry, only my ego was damaged, along with a bloody scratch on my leg – nothing serious. The strange thing is that right before it happened, I started thinking that I would fall. Then, when I was attempting to traverse a narrow sidewalk passage, bam, I went down.
Thinking back, I know if I hadn’t envisioned falling, I would have been just fine. Perhaps it was karma because in the back of my mind I knew I needed to write something about “self-talk” for our newsletter. So, I suppose I was lucky to tee up a story to pass along to you. In other words, I fell for you. …Whatever it takes…
I have heard and read quite a lot about “affirmations” since taking on my role as President & CEO at Turknett Leadership Group. Affirmations are often described as positive declarations we make to ourselves. It is said that positivity can ward off self-sabotage. Typically, for an affirmation to take hold it needs to be rehearsed many times. A positive affirmation can be pretty much anything that helps you feel good about yourself. “I make great decisions” and “I am proud of myself” are a couple of examples. On the flip side, your inner voice can be harmful. “I am not good enough” and “I am too old,” for example.
Self-Affirmation is Key
Paula Spencer recently wrote an article for Parade Magazine titled “How To Shush Your Negative Inner Voice, Think More Positively and Teach Kids To Do the Same”. In the article, she references research by the University of Michigan Psychologist, Ethan Kross, who states that “bad is stronger than good”. I take this to mean that the negative voices in one’s head can rule. Once a bad thought gets into our respective heads it can be very hard to dislodge.
I tend to believe that there is a more powerful force than self-affirmation – the positive voices of others. I have often coached young people looking for their next job to reach high and to find friends who tell them, sincerely, that they are ready and can exceed expectations if given the opportunity. Further, I strongly encourage them to avoid the boo-birds. Those that, for a variety of reasons, offer negative feedback like “you are not ready,” “you need more time”, or “you need to wait your turn.”
I was fortunate to have two parents that were always encouraging me as well as my siblings. They helped us to believe that nothing could stop us. My mom offered the most fervor regarding my capabilities. She even told me I was a great singer. Fortunately, there were enough honest people in my family who told me that I couldn’t sing. Heck, maybe mom was right and I could have been the next Frank Sinatra. Who knows, maybe it’s not too late. Self-affirmation – it’s NEVER too late.