Our thoughts create our reality. If we focus on growth, love, and joy in our mind’s eye, that will be our physical experience as well. If, on the other hand, we give "air time" to thoughts of limitations, fear, and failure…that is what we will experience. To be all that you aspire to be, adopt two techniques that successful sports teams and performers have been using for decades: visualization and affirmation.

If you were a fly on the wall in the locker room for a big game of nearly any sports team, I guarantee you would not hear, “Let’s hope we don’t drop the ball, fumble, or lose our focus today.? Instead, you’ll hear, “We are lean, mean, and prepared.? Or something similar. Before a Broadway performance, you won’t hear a star muttering, “I hope I don’t forget my lines, or trip on that cord, or fall into the orchestra pit.? If you were to hear such an utterance, one or all three of the dreaded foibles would probably follow. That’s how powerful our thoughts are. To reach your aspirations you will need to master the art of enabling thoughts used by the world’s greatest champions.

Unless asked to focus on our mind conversations, we typically play the same mental "tapes" day in and day out, without considering either the quality of the messages or the impact they have on our lives. To better understand the mind/body connection, consider the last time you thought, "I'm getting sick and tired of this job (the weather, a relationship, or life in general)." Chances are that soon after you started running that mindtape, you actually got sick. Or, try to remember what happened to your energy the last time you answered, "Fabulous" when someone asked how you were. You probably got a jolt of energy that quickened your pace and automatically made you smile.

Perhaps an experiment will demonstrate the principle. First, lower your head, slouch in your chair, and say out loud, "I feel fit and fabulous!" It doesn’t work, does it? Now, jump to your feet, thrust your arms overhead, make fists like Rocky Balboa, and shout, "I feel depressed." That doesn’t work either because your mind and body are not in sync. The mixed signals have created internal dissonance. If you continued to think, "I’m depressed," but behaved like a champ, your system would self-adjust. Either your mood would elevate or your grand gesture would fizzle. That's why if you're feeling angry and someone makes you smile, you suddenly feel less angry. We cannot hold onto negative emotions while behaving in a positive fashion. Our thoughts and bodies are wired together. Every time you think, "I’m tired," you transmit a powerful signal throughout your body to "behave tired." Expect your body to respond with heavy eyelids, poor posture, and reduced energy. On the other hand, when you think or say, "I feel great," you send a signal to your control center to "resume peak performance mode." Expect your adrenaline to pump, your endorphins to rise, and your energy to climb. Each day give yourself a lift by saying out loud, “I am living a life I love.?

The mind/body connection has been well documented by many medical experts and authors. If you'd like to explore this area further, consider reading one of the many best-selling books on the topic such as: Timeless Mind/Ageless Body by Deepak Chopra, M.D., Spontaneous Healing by Andrew Weil, M.D., and Timeless Healing by Herbert Benson, M.D. It is safe to assume that positive thought, prayer, and meditation have a positive impact on our health and well-being.

There are many techniques that will help you to succeed (reframing, solution sleuthing, balcony viewing, and esteem feeding). Three of the most important are affirmations, evictions, and visualizations. See if any of them appeal to you as tools you might use to refill your reservoir of positive energy

Practice the Art of Affirmations
Although we all experience ongoing "mind chatter" (at about 200 words per minute), you can consciously choose the kind of chatter that occupies your mind. One way to do this is to develop and use a list of personal affirmations. An affirmation is positive self-talk. You might think of an affirmation as a wish that you state as if it had already come true. For instance, if you wish you were a better father, a more thoughtful lover, and a successful investor, an appropriate affirmation could be "I am a terrific father, a sensitive lover, and a wise investor.? To be effective, affirmations must be phrased in the present tense ("I am," not "I will be") and in the positive ("I am calm" vs. "I’m not nervous"). Consider what you would like to be, feel or have. Then write an affirmation for each. You might create daily affirmations that you recite at the beginning and end of each day or situationally specific affirmations for occasions such as delivering an important speech ("I am calm, prepared, and entertaining"). Consider using professional achievement affirmations ("I am exceeding my goals") and personal achievement affirmations ("I am fit and energetic"). Repeat your statement confidently, as if it is true…soon it will be. Here are some sample affirmations that you might consider. Modify them, combine them, or write your own: "I am lovable and capable," "I am enough, just the way I am," "I am fit and beautiful," "I have everything I need to be happy," "I accept myself and others," "I am fulfilling my purpose and using my unique gifts," or simply "I love my life."

It is important to determine what is most important to you and write related affirmations so that you can focus your mental energy on your priorities many times throughout a day. Whatever you do, start rehabbing your mind chatter ASAP. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll see by changing how you think.

Become a Master at Evictions
The more you fill your mind with positive self-talk, the less room there will be for negative talk. However, that does not mean that a negative thought won’t slip in from time to time. You might find occasional disabling thoughts like these: "I’ll probably mess up," "I’ll never be able to?" "My life stinks," “I don’t want to, but I should??or "I just can't cope anymore."

If such a disabling message shows up, just notice it and then boot it out. That's right. As soon as you hear a negative thought, hit the pause button, and say out loud, "Evict that thought. That was before. This is my belief now: I am _______." Erase the thought from your mind's computer and replace it with an empowering thought. Make a commitment to evict any "rowdy regulars" the next time they show up.

Create Great Visualizations
What do sports coaches, success gurus, and inspirational writers all have in common? They all believe in the power of imagining your success before you actually create it. If you can see yourself—in great detail and living color—successfully performing a feat before you actually perform it, you will etch a pattern of success into your brain that will guide you to success in the physical realm. This practice is so commonly endorsed that you won't have to look very far to find star athletes mentally rehearsing a competition before they ever enter an arena. You’ll find top salespeople viewing (in their mind's eye) a vivid documentary of their sales pitch before they ever show up at a prospect's door. The most dynamic keynote speakers deliver their words to thundering applause many times over (on the big screen in their mind) before they actually step up to a podium.

This important habit of success allows you to perform every challenge twice: first with your imagination and then with your feet. Wayne Dyer wrote a wildly successful book on the importance of visualization. You’ll See It When You Believe It describes how to succeed with the practice of visualization by attending to important elements such as being in a relaxed state, including specific detail, and focusing on a positive outcome. The next time you are faced with a challenge, find a quiet place and take a few deep breaths. Begin by seeing yourself—dressed appropriately—moving toward your performance spot. Note details such as what you are carrying, what the temperature is like, and who else is there. Feel how excited you are for the opportunity and how confident you are that you will succeed. See all the details as you progress from one successful phase to another, until finally you complete your objective and leave the site feeling fulfilled.

You might think of visualization as a series of affirmations in pictures. If you acquire the habit of using both, you will soon see many positive changes in your life. Take a tip from top performers…for success in your field, first see the success in your mind. 1489words

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This excerpt is from Create a Life that Tickles Your Soul (Named “Outstanding Book of the Year?and “Most Life-Changing?in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2000) ?Suzanne Willis Zoglio, Ph.D. Available in bookstores nationwide, from Amazon.com, or from 1-800-507-BOOK. Subscribe to a FREE motivational newsletter from the author’s website: www.tickleyoursoul.com.

Author's Bio: 

AUTHOR PROFILE
Suzanne Willis Zoglio, Ph.D.

Suzanne is an author, speaker, and facilitator. Through her writing, motivational speeches, and personal growth seminars she helps individuals and work groups release their full potential.

Dr. Zoglio is founder of the Institute for Planning and Development, a management consulting firm located outside of Philadelphia in Bucks County, PA. Team building and executive coaching clients include: American Express, ITT Sheraton, SmithKline Beecham, Rohm and Haas Company, Lockheed Martin. A keynote conference speaker, Suzanne has addressed groups nationwide, including the American Society for Training & Development, Association of Quality and Participation, Society for Human Resource Management, American Association of University Women, Professional Secretaries International, National Association of Bank Women, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals, Pennsylvania Association of School Personnel Administrators, and various Chambers of Commerce and Rotaries. She is also a regular speaker for TEC International, an association of CEOs.

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

Dr. Zoglio received her Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from Temple University in 1986, her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Lehigh University in 1974, and her B.A. in Secondary Education from Rhode Island College in 1968.

PUBLICATIONS/AWARDS

Books: Create A Life That Tickles Your Soul (Tower Hill Press) was honored with “Outstanding Book of the Year?and “Most Life-Changing? in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2000. Teams At Work: 7 Keys To Success and Training Program for Teams At Work (Tower Hill Press, 1997); The Participative Leader (Irwin Professional Publishing, 1994). All available in bookstores nationwide and from online book sellers. Published Articles: “Teams Ride the Waves of Change?in Productivity Digest/Singapore (February, 2000); “Teams At Work?in Executive Excellence, (June, 1995); “Making Teams Work: Management Magic?in Chase Counselor, (Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, March, 1995); “Managing Team Conflict?in Total Quality (March, 1994); “Seven Keys to Effective Teams?in The Office Professional (July, 1995); “Fighting The Good Fight?in Philadelphia Enterpriser (September, 1995); “Seven Keys To Effective Teams? in Teams, (IFS Intnl Ltd., November, 1995), "Finding Agreement: The Manager As Consensus Builder" in Getting Results (February, 1997), “How To Ride The Waves of Change?in Solutions (February, 1998), “New Challenges Can Reinvigorate Tired Teams?in Employee Relations Bulletin (June, 1998). Awards: Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award (Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce, 1997), Outstanding Woman in Business Award (Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce, 1992), Eminent Counseling Practitioner Award (Pennsylvania Personnel & Guidance Association, 1979).

COMMUNITY/PERSONAL

Suzanne donates a portion of book profits and non-profit speaking honorariums to Habitat for Humanity. She has served on the boards of directors of numerous community organizations including Doylestown Hospital, the Doylestown Health Foundation, the Central Bucks Family YMCA and the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce. She has also been a volunteer leader for the Central Bucks School District Alliance for Education and the Bucks County Historical Society. Suzanne has volunteered her speaking and/or consulting services to numerous community groups including NOVA (Network of Victims Assistance), Area Agency on Aging, Bucks County Historical Society, Bucks County Community College Foundation, Community Conservatory of Music, YMCA Management Resource Centers, and various Women in Business Groups. Suzanne resides in Doylestown, PA with her husband, Michael J. Zoglio.