Example of a "mind map." Photo via Flickr (torres21).
"I AM. The two most powerful words in the world, for whatever we put after them becomes our reality." — Susan Howson, author and coach.
This post continues with the theme of self talk by looking at creating powerful self-talk statements you can use to enhance your self image and change some of the limiting beliefs in your subconscious.
Begin by acknowledging the skills, abilities and talents you already have. The first step is to make a list of your current strengths with this exercise. At the top of the page in large bold letters write the words, "I AM / I HAVE." Then make a list of all the positive traits and attributes you currently possess. You can make different lists for different areas of your personal and professional life.
The lists can include such qualities as:
- Good communicator
- Great sense of humor
- Good investigator
- Great interviewing skills
- Skilled with my firearm
- Environmental awareness in the field
- High level of functional fitness
- Devoted to my family
- Committed to learning
This is no time for modesty. This is your list, so feel free to go all out and list ALL of your traits and attributes. Once you think you have them all, dig deeper and add a couple more. You can ask close friends or family members to give you suggestions or you can keep this exercise to yourself.
Once you've come up with this list, grab a thesaurus and find as many other words or phrases to describe those attributes as possible. The goal is to make this list of positive traits and attributes as large as possible. Be creative with not only the list but also the look of this document. It can be an orderly document of points you create on the computer, or it can be hand drawn and look more like a mind map.
Now that you have an extensive list of your current traits and attributes, take a few moments to reflect on the items on the list and feel good about yourself. Read through this list at least once a month (some people do it weekly as an energy booster) and add to it with new accomplishments. Watch your list of positive traits and characteristics grow.
The next step is go back to the list of things you want to accomplish. Start with one goal or mission. Now create a story for yourself by imagining how you will think, act, feel about yourself and talk to yourself once you've accomplished that goal. Once you have the story, come up with one statement that encapsulates the entire story for you.
Write out the statement using language that is Personal, Empowering and Positive (P.E.P. Talk). Start this sentence with the words "I am" or "I have," and write it in the present tense. I like to refer to these statements as W.I.N. (What's Important Now) statements. By making a W.I.N. statement, you know, accept and believe whatever follows the "I am" statement and the story behind it.
Here are examples of effective W.I.N. statements:
- I am a strong and powerful runner.
- I am a confident and dynamic speaker.
- I am skilled with my firearm and am an excellent shooter.
- I am a focused and powerful lifter.
Once you have the W.I.N. statement, create opportunities throughout the day to repeat this statement to yourself. Use emotion and imagination when you repeat these statements to yourself. Use these statements before events, during events and following events.
I've successfully used these strategies myself and have seen powerful changes in hundreds of officers and athletes who have used them, often in conjunction with imagery, to change limiting self images and beliefs.
Self Talk: Auditing Your Internal Dialogue
Self Talk: Taking Charge of Your Internal Dialogue
Editor's Note: Brian Willis is the deputy executive director of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA). Contact him via his website Winning Mind Training.