The greatest form of knowledge is knowing yourself. Knowing yourself starts with knowing your thoughts. Your mindset is nothing more than a compilation of your thoughts. Your thoughts have incredible power to shape your life and the lives of others, because your thoughts and interpretations of circumstances directly influence your beliefs, and ultimately, your actions.

Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or cannot, you're right." In other words, what you think is what you get. That is why it is critical that you know your thoughts.

You draw into your life that which you constantly think about--good or bad. If you are always thinking about why you can't seem to get a break, or when the next shoe will drop in your relationship, or why you don't get as much recognition as your colleague, then you are programming your mind (and those around you) to turn these thoughts into your reality.

Negative thoughts are landmines along the pathway to being your best. Fortunately, the reverse is also true. If you consistently and intentionally nurture positive thoughts and expectations, you paint a picture of future success on the walls of your mind.

Some people ask, "How can I be positive when negative situations are a reality--they just show up in everyday life?" Bad things do happen and they sometimes "just show up." However, it is your interpretation that makes a situation negative. A situation doesn't drag you down or lift you up, but the way you think about it does.

The great news is that you are in control of what you think. No one else has this power unless you give it away. You are the conductor of your own thoughts. Inspiring coaches choose to understand, control, and change their thoughts to form a positive mindset, which helps them elevate their coaching game.

The Media in Your Mind

Media  is  omnipresent  in  today's  world.  Your  cell phone, computer, billboards as you drive, the floor tiles in the grocery store, banners at a ballgame, taglines on a t-shirt--we take in media impressions minute by minute instead of only during the evening news in pre-Internet days. The subconscious mind is most receptive five minutes before you doze off at night, still a common time for watching the broadcast news on television.

Unfortunately, much of the news today shows the worst side of people and the world. When you hear a news story, remind yourself that it's considered news because it is unusual. Doing so will help you balance potentially negative input with more uplifting thoughts.

So how can you remain well informed and maintain a positive outlook?

Monitor what you watch. Make the choice to watch more programs that are educational, artistic, spiritual, or sports- and comedy-oriented. These types of programs stimulate positive thoughts. Before you start reading or watching a news feed or broadcast, take a quick inventory of all the things you are grateful for.

Additionally, make it a habit to finish your reading with an inspiring story so that your mind is primed for a positive day.

The most important and pervasive source of input is you. No one is with you as much as you are. You have an opportunity every day to consciously give yourself positive input and reinforce your own positive actions.

My wife has a practice of giving herself mental high fives. That is, she frequently tells herself (often out loud), "Great job, Julie!" You talk with many people each day, but the most important conversation is the one you have with yourself.

Your mind can be your greatest ally or your worst enemy. Input from others, media, and yourself plants expectational seeds of success or failure in your mind. Seek positive inputs and you will improve your chances of producing positive outputs and responses. The choice is yours.