Success Secret: Change Your Internal Dialogue
Everyone in business knows that words are important. Some companies spend millions of dollars to get the perfect wording for their corporate, marketing, and sales messages.
Since words are important, it's absolutely crazy to be careless when you're communicating with the most important person in your business world: you!
Just as the words you use to describe your company to customers predetermine how successful your company will be, the words you use when you talk to yourself (meaning in your own mind) predetermine how successful you will be.
If your internal dialogue constantly uses words that leech your energy, you'll always be fighting an uphill battle. What's more, that negative self-talk has a habit of slipping into the words you say to others, which can cast a pall on everything you do.
By contrast, if your internal dialogue uses words that uplift you, you're greasing the wheels to become more successful. What's more, a positive internal dialogue is inevitably echoed in your day-to-day speech, making those around you more success-prone, too.
Because this is an important point, I'm going to illustrate it with one of the examples from yesterday's post: Rejection.
How the Word Rejection Creates Failure
I cannot tell you how many times I've heard the following remarks from would-be entrepreneurs: "I don't like selling because I hate rejection." They're usually not aware that they're making an important part of their job more difficult than it needs to be.
The word rejection carries emotional baggage. It conjures up memories like 1) getting shot down when asking somebody out on a date, 2) not getting a hug from a loved one when a hug was desperately needed, and 3) not being "good enough" for somebody else, even though you did your best.
Making a lazy mental association of selling with rejection is just plain stupid, because nobody like being rejected. That's the last thing you want in your mind when you're trying to communicate the value of your ideas and products.
Top salespeople--the ones who earn millions of dollars a year--never think about selling in terms of rejection. If a situation or customer call doesn't go their way, they use different words, like speedbump or God's delays are not God's denials.
I'm not talking about something theoretically here. I know from my own personal experience that using a more powerful word than rejection to describe your sales process can accelerate your success.
When I wrote my first business book, I got 20 so-called rejection letters before I got anyone interested in it. Here's a fact: Some writers feel utterly crushed when they get even one rejection letter. Many of them give up, because the "rejection" makes them so miserable.
In my case, though, I wasn't bothered, because I never thought of them as rejection letters. I thought of them as stepping-stones. Every day, I removed those letters from their folder, laid them out on the floor, and physically walked over them, imagining how fabulous I'd feel once I got my first big book contract.
I then used that emotional energy to sell the book idea to even more agents and publishers. Eventually, those stepping-stones led to a contract, and that book later became a huge success, launching my career as a professional business writer.
How to Change Your Internal Dialogue
If you really want to be successful, you'll spend the extra effort to edit your internal dialogue so that it supports your goals. This is not at all difficult, and here's the basic recipe:
1. Listen to Your Thoughts
As you go through the day, be mindful of the words that you use, in your own mind, to describe your experiences and those around you.
2. Write Them Down
Recording your internal dialogue on paper will help you see more objectively the words you use, because you take them out of the context of your habitual mental use of them.
3. Categorize Each Term
At the end of the day, mark each word or term as positive, neutral, or negative relative to what you're trying to achieve.
4. Substitute More Powerful Words
For negative words, devise neutral alternatives. For neutral words, devise positive alternatives. For positive words, find alternative words that are even most positive.
5. Post the Alternatives Where You Can See Them
This is just a simple list with the old words in the first column pointing to the new words in the second column.
6. Make the Substitution Habitual
Whenever the old words show up in your internal dialogue, consciously substitute the alternative word. Continue until the substitution is automatic.
Here's a quick example, taken from the world of sales:
- Frustration->Nervous Energy
- Failure->Sales Lesson
- Feeling Good->Feeling Fantastic!
- Cold calling->Dialing for Dollars
The more time you spend transforming your internal dialogue in this way, the more your thought processes will reinforce your quest for success.
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GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist
Geoffrey James is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed over a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is "Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts that You Need to Know."