Be Your Best

Archive for June, 2015

The Art of Self Motivation

by on Jun.23, 2015, under Blog Posts

Todd Gifford - Success Coach

Todd Gifford – Success Coach

Learning how to motivate myself and manage my daily motivation is something that I feel is not only one of the most important skills one can have, but may be one of the greatest gifts I can give to myself.

If you really want to achieve the success in life that you seek no matter how you define it, it does not just come to you because you want it to — most of the time anyway.  You have to make it happen.  And in order to make it happen, you have to be motivated to take action.  And to keep yourself consistently motivated, you have understand a fundamental principle:  all motivation comes from within.

I think one of the biggest differences between an ordinary person and an extraordinary person is their degree of consistent motivation and passion.

Creating Self-Motivation

So if motivation is one of the most critical aspects of success, and motivation comes within, then what is the secret to staying motivated and creating motivation.  Underlying motivation is your desire.  Desire is sort of the root of motivation.  There first has to be strong desire in order to create motivation.  This was a concept outlined in the bestseller book ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill.  Desire is analogous to fire — a small fire makes a small amount of heat.  A big desire creates big motivation.

In order to create consistent motivation, I need to tap into and strengthen my most important desires.  In the midst of the daily trials and tribulations, it is very easy to never sit still long enough to put some undisturbed thought into what your most important desires are.  Left to chance, it seems like I am always reacting to the moment and the events that are happening around me.  I have to consciously carve out time to quietly think about my desired feelings, desired outcomes, desired goals, desired health, etc…  This all boils down to identifying most my important desires as of right now.

Intensify your Desires to Drive Motivation

But just thinking about what you want or desire is not enough to create the type of sustained motivation that drives success.  You really need to intensify those desires by thinking intently about how much you really want those desired outcomes and, another key secret ingredient that I have found to be an outstanding way to intensify desire: think about how much you do not want the alternative to those desires to happen (imagine extreme pain).

This should not be a one-time exercise.  The more you can carve out some time to explore and identify your desires and the opposite of those desires, the more your desires can create excellent and sustained motivation.  Remember that your desires change as your life changes and evolves.

My Goals from 3, 5, 10 years ago…

I do a pretty good job of writing down my goals (formal manifestation of my desires), and I find it interesting to review the ‘old’ goals 3-5-10 years later.  When I review these, one of the interesting things is how many of these goals I achieved or surpassed but never really consciously realized that I did achieve them — because it took me a little longer than planned.  But the other interesting thing I find is how some of the goals I had 3-5 years ago are not that relevant or desired today.  Of course, “excellent health” has always been on my goal list over the years, but the way I perceive that I need to achieve excellent health changes.  Things evolve.  As I get older, I find that I need to ‘do more’ in order to achieve the same ‘excellent health’ goal.  Dang, I wish that was the other way around!!  Some changes are more dramatic — to the point where I cannot even remember having that particular desire.

Your Beliefs Are Critical to Your Motivation

Another key part of creating self-motivation is examining your beliefs — beliefs about yourself and beliefs about what is possible.  Belief in yourself is really a foundational starting point for all achievement and success.  You need to have courage, patience, positive attitude, etc… But it starts with an essential ingredient of an absolute belief in yourself.  The “how-to-do-it” always comes to the person who believes “they-can-do-it.”  As I have written about in previous articles, be very careful how you talk about and to yourself, as all that self-talk feeds your beliefs about yourself (ie. exchange “I am always late” with “I am a very prompt person and work hard at it”).

Beyond believing in yourself, you choose what you believe is possible.  Belief is a very powerful thing we all have, and it can be creative or destructive.  Try to remember that as the famous Irish poet George Russell once said: “We are self-fulfilling prophecies.  It doesn’t matter if your beliefs are true or false, your beliefs eventually become facts.”  Earl Nightingale famously said something very similar: “We become what we think about.”  Your beliefs are much like a thermostat — they regulate what you accomplish in your life.  If you believe you are stuck, you are.  If you do not think you are stuck, you aren’t!  And remember the old saying: “If there is no wind…row!”

Be Your Best,
Todd D. Gifford

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Your Internal Dialog, Using Pattern Interrupts, and The Principle of Maximum Error—Why Each of These Concepts Should Be Very Important To You

by on Jun.02, 2015, under Blog Posts

Todd Gifford - Success Coach

Todd Gifford – Success Coach

We all do it.  I do it.  We tell ourselves how ‘bad’ we are all the time every day.  We say to ourselves “I am always late”, “I never can do this right”, “I am terrible at X”, or “there is nothing I can do on this”.  This is what I call Internal Dialog — talking to ourselves about our self.  The problem is with internal dialog is that your brain does not try to decipher or filter what you put into it via your internal dialog — it just processes what you give it ‘as is’.  Essentially, all of your internal dialog results in directions given to your brain, negative or positive.  It’s pretty powerful stuff, but it is so ‘under the radar’ that you really don’t think much about all of this going on.

If you think of your brain as a computer, and it’s a fair analogy to use based on science, negative input creates negative output.  Your brain essentially seeks to become what you put into it.  Not sure if you have ever heard the saying: “You become what you think about”.  I believe this saying was coined by the late Earl Nightingale in the 1950’s.  The nice thing is that you can completely control your internal dialog or self talk, but you have to make an effort and pay attention to it to build up some good positive self talk.  For all the bad things about negative internal dialog, just the opposite is true with positive internal self talk.  Work hard to change your ‘I can’t…”, “I never…”, or “It doesn’t…” dialog to: “I can…”, “I always…” and “It will…” positive statements.

All action starts with a thought. Thoughts are translated by words and pictures, so the words you use with yourself and the pictures you create need to be positive ones for you to consistently achieve positive results regardless of what you are doing.

Pattern Interrupts
Pattern interrupts are a very valuable tool, because even if you work hard on using positive self talk and positive internal dialog, there will be times you start “talking” negatively to yourself.  A pattern interrupt is a technique to catch yourself doing this and ‘jolt’ or ‘interrupt’ this situation, and sort of reset the situation.  An analogy of a pattern interrupt is when you are shopping and a Fire Alarm goes off.  No matter what you were thinking or what type of mood you were in, that fire alarm interrupts your pattern, and your focus and thought instantly change.  Even if you were in a sad mood, when that fire alarm goes off, you are instantly transported out of that mindset to a different mindset.  You can create your own pattern interrupts to reset your mind to a positive position.  Let’s take the example that you are running late to a meeting, and your internal dialog is saying “you are always late, every time”.  All that is doing is telling your brain “you will always be late”.  Using a pattern interrupt, when you catch yourself thinking this, then you can imagine pushing a huge ‘reset button’, and saying to yourself, ‘this is not like me, I am always on time.”  It seems a little corny, but just remember, to your brain, input = output.  You really do have control over how you feel at any given moment.  The proof that you can change how you feel instantly is in the fire alarm example — ever notice that a while after the fire alarm (pattern interrupt) happened, you don’t return to the same state of mind you were in before it happened?  You hit the reset button.

The Principle of Maximum Error
Most negative internal dialog revolves around mistakes and errors, and beating yourself up for doing this or that wrong or poorly.  I came across a very interesting principle, known as Dancoff’s Formula or the Principle of Maximum Error.  Over 50 years ago a scientist named Sidney Dancoff appeared in a leading physics journal.  Dancoff worked on many projects in nuclear physics, including the first atomic bomb, as well as biophysics (the intersection of biology and physical science).  The journal article described a formula (describing microscopic biological processes, but I think applies to all areas of our lives) that says: Optimum development occurs when an organism makes the maximum number of mistakes consistent with survival.  In other words, it is saying that the more mistakes you make, the closer you get to being the best you can be, provided the mistakes you make don’t kill you.  That basically means that nonfatal mistakes should not be avoided, but rather considered good.  That is not to say they will not be painful, but pain most times equates to learning — and learning moves you toward mastery in some way.  Bottom line is that you have a real reason to use positive vs. negative internal dialog when you make mistakes, because the learning from the mistakes is moving you towards being better.

Be Your Best,
Todd D. Gifford

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