We talk frequently with business leaders and entrepreneurs about success behaviors and what it takes to become a high achiever. While many people believe that this is something we are either “born with” or not, nothing could be further from the truth.
Regardless of academic performance, age, race or socio-economic circumstances, the ability to be successful, and to have the relationships, career, financial security and life satisfaction that we want, is entirely on us! After all, some of the worlds most admired leaders have come from the poorest of circumstances.
The ability to “flick the switch” does not require a personality transplant; it simply requires us to become aware of how we talk to ourselves and the mental pictures we create. Our brains, while very sophisticated pieces of equipment, are also very simple. That is, if tell ourselves something (the words we use and the pictures we create) then our bodies will respond accordingly. After all, our brains were designed to detect danger, to keep us safe, and compel our bodies to act.
For example, if we continually have the rhetoric running through our head …“I’m so tired, I’m really stressed, I don’t have enough time in the day, I can’t lose weight, I have no energy, I hate my boss, I’m terrified of public speaking, the traffic is killing me….” then it stands to reason that our brains will provide an opportunity for us to escape…we get sick, we quit our jobs, we have panic attacks, we eat poorly, we self-sabotage to fit the story we have created for ourselves.
Successful people don’t think like this. They see everything as a new opportunity or possibility and they are very careful about how they speak to themselves. No successful person uses the words “I’ll try”, or “I’ll see what happens”, or “I’ll give it a go”, instead they say “I’m doing this”, and “this is going to work” and “I’m good at this”. They have an unshakable and fundamental belief in self, regardless of negative feedback from their past.
They talk to themselves like they are coaching their best friends, respectfully and powerfully. They consciously “choose” every day what they will say to themselves, how they want to feel, and they use success rituals and habits to get there. Remarkably, their bodies respond accordingly! They have more energy, they don’t get sick, they get things done, and they attract what they know and truly believe they deserve.
So, where does this leave us teaching our teens about what it takes to be successful? Here are a few tips:
- Choose your words carefully – become aware of your own dialogue. Do you use negative words to describe daily events – it’s killing me, I’m terrified, I’m exhausted, it’s driving me crazy etc? Understand that the things that frustrate us aren’t actually “killing” us and change the language. Add some new words to your vocabulary – it’s challenging, it’s exhilarating, I feel energized . I am fantastic at solving problems, I have excellent coping skills. I will do this.
- Shift the paradigm for your kids – Start helping them to use the same positive language and encourage them to be kind to themselves. The teenage years are fraught with angst regarding self-worth so teach it from the inside out.
- Cultivate their natural talents – to foster self-confidence and self-belief. Everybody has a natural skill so look at what your teen enjoys doing, even if it’s not what you consider to be a worthy skill. Encourage them to stick with sports or creative or academic pursuits that they are good at.
- Make gratitude an attitude – talk about the things you are grateful for. This focuses the mind on what you have versus what you don’t have and you become increasingly optimistic and less materialistic.
- Write it down – encourage your kids to journal and/or schedule to set goals and prioritize time. When you commit it to paper there is more chance of ‘getting things done’ and a greater sense of passion, purpose and achievement.
Remember the goal is happy, resilient kids – things won’t always be perfect but they always have the power to choose their reactions! For more tips on creating success habits, check out this article.