Leadership – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday September 26, 2007

“Leaders breathe life into the hopes and dreams of others and enable them to see the exciting possibilities that the future holds. Leaders forge a unity of purpose by showing constituents how the dream is for the common good. Leaders stir the fire of passion in others by expressing enthusiasm for the compelling vision of their group. Leaders communicate passion through vivid language and and expressive style.”

Page 18 of The Leadership Challenge, 4th Edition by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.

Like previous editions, the 4th edition of The Leadership Challenge is chalk-full of inspirational language and practical tools to develop your leadership skills.  The two leadership experts share their the latest  research and examples in a 25-year search to define the characteristics that transform ordinary people into extraordinary leaders.

 The validity of their research has been tested across time and culture. It turns out that the factors that create a great leader are pretty universal, and thankfully, a learnable skill.

Their research-tested model (they have interviewed nearly 75,000 people over the years) continues to center on “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership”:

  1. Model the Way
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart

The Five Practices are comprised of the “Ten Commitments of Leadership”:

  1. Clarify values by finding your voice and affirming shared ideals.
  2. Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.
  3. Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities.
  4. Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
  5. Search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and by looking outward for innovative ways to improve.
  6. Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience.
  7. Foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships.
  8. Strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence.
  9. Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
  10. Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

Kouzes and Posner take you on a journey along the path of leadership you will not soon forget. If you are a leader or want to become one, this book is an absolute must.

Peace…

Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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The Affirmation Spot Solution – Tuesday September 11, 2007

The Affirmation Spot Solution

Audio affirmations are the solution for fitting affirmations into your busy schedule. Audio affirmations allow you to get your affirmation repetition in a multitasking environment. You can listen consciously or unconsciously and get the benefit of your affirmations. There is no need to set aside special time to repeat and memorize them. You “absorb” them the way you do lyrics to a song as you go through your day.

So, what’s new about audio affirmations? There are hundreds of CD affirmation sets available on Amazon or around the Internet. True, but you pay $15 – $100 for a CD set that is hard to lug around and contains many affirmations you don’t need. These sets are also bulky and hard to transport.

Digitally downloaded MP3 files, however, are easily transported on mini-devices like MP3 players or cell phones. They are readily usable on other equipment many people have access to during the day such as computers and CD players.

The Affirmation Spot allows you to:

  • Download individual affirmations in the convenient and flexible MP3 format.
  • Pay only for affirmations that you specifically select to target your professional, personal, and recreational goals rather than those selected by the company making the CD.
  • Select from three different versions of most affirmations:

    • Exercise version which is recorded to upbeat music and at a louder volume for exercise, high activity, or power motivation needs.
    • Relaxation version that is recorded to peaceful or relaxing music and at a lower volume. These affirmations can easily be listened to while working or relaxing.
    • No Music version which allows you to play your affirmations in tandem with your own soundtrack.
  • Select from an ever-growing library of MP3 affirmations, visualizations, meditations, prayers, and bible verses that allows you to use these powerful tools in areas of your life most affirmation companies have never considered.
  • Play your affirmations on any MP3-capable device – your iPod, MP3 player, MP3-capable cell phone, computer, or burn them to CDs
  • Play your affirmations where and when they will do you the most good – in the locker room before the big game, on the way to your sales call, driving in your car, or relaxing in your hammock.

Affirmations are really daily vitamins for your mind. Just like you take you take vitamins for your physical health you need your daily intake of positive thoughts of your choosing to keep you on track to your goals.

Please visit our website and look around. Try a couple of our September Featured Affirmations. As always, your thoughts, feedback, or stories about how you are using the affirmations are welcomed.

Psychologically, today is a tough anniversary for all of us. Please remember to tell the people close to you what they mean to you today.

Have a peaceful and prosperous Tuesday!

 Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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The Traditional Affirmation Dilemma – Monday September 10, 2007

The Traditional Affirmation Dilemma

Affirmations are an extremely powerful tool for creating and maintaining thoughts that support your goals in life. The question is not whether affirmations work, the science is overwhelmingly in on that point. Most people struggle and fail with affirmations when they cannot find the time to do the repetition required for affirmations to succeed.

Affirmations work much like a personal ad campaign. The only way Coca Cola alters your thinking about its products is to deliver its message repeatedly. The same goes for affirmations – your own personal ad campaign. For them to work, you have deliver the message over and over until it becomes part of the fabric of your thinking.

Traditionally, people used cards or the “mirror chat” to memorize and repeat their affirmations. But in our busy modern world, who has the time? Other people sign up for affirmation services that send affirmations daily through e-mail or by text message on their cell phone. These are great, but what about the repetition and do they really target the area of your life you are trying to impact? You have to write them down and repeat them or use them later. You’re basically back to cards or the mirror chat.

You need a way to get the repetition that allows affirmations to work and in a format that allows them to do it without disrupting your busy schedule.

Tomorrow I will discuss why audio affirmations are the solution for affirmations users with busy schedules and how modern technology like MP3 players allow you to take your affirmations with you anywhere you are and use them whenever you need to in your life.

Have a peaceful and prosperous Monday!

Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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Is Positive Thinking a Learned Skill?

In the training world, there is constant discussion about what constitutes a learnable, trainable skill and what falls into the realm motivation or determination. For instance, I can train a sales manager with the knowledge and the skills that can make he or she  better at coaching sales representatives. However, I cannot train a sales manager to be motivated to use those skills.

Lately, I’ve given a good deal of thought into whether positive thinking is a learnable, trainable skill or whether it relies completely on the motivation of the individual. It’s fair to call any ability that can be enhanced with practice or additonal knowledge a learnable skill.

By this definition, positive thinking meets the criteria. There are teachable techniques that can help people see the world or themselves in a more positive light.  A couple that I have employed successfully over the years are thought stopping and tick-marking.

Thought stopping involves mentally or verbally saying, “stop” when a negative or unwanted thought comes to mind. Sometimes the process requires you to say, “stop” mutlitple times to discontinue the negative thinking. This process is most effective when you can replace the negative thought or visualization with one that is positive or healthy. This technique is effective for people battling depression, obsessive thoughts, or addiction. However, anyone can use it in their daily lives. The fact that you are not dealing with a serious mental condition makes it that much more effective.

 Tick-marking is another way to stop negative thoughts and embark on a positive thinking program. When we are afflicted with negative thinking we often don’t realize how many times during the day we are thinking negative thoughts to ourselves (negative self-talk). For some, there is a constant stream of negative thoughts, self judgements, and critiques of everyone and everything around them. Because we are what we think about all day long, unchecked these thoughts spill out into their lives – their view of the world, their self-esteem, and their interactions with others.

Tick-marking is a technique where you have a little note pad with you all day long. Everytime you think a negative thought you make a tick mark on the note pad. Some people find it effective to categorize the negative thoughts. This is an awareness tool. Once they become aware of how many negative thoughts go through their minds in a day, many people become motivated to do something about it. Until there is awareness there cannot be action.

So, I come down on the side of those who believe positive thinking is a learned skill. That said, it is very much a commitment too. Developing a positive outlook on life has many of the same characteristics as a diet or an exercise program.

First, you have to be motivated to change. Until you see negative or demotivated thinking as a problem in your life, you are not going to commit to change.

Second, you have to stay on the program. If you begin an exercise program, you will reap the benefits of it only as long as you continue exercising. If you stop, your muscles will atrophy and your fitness level will drop to previous levels.

Replacing negative thinking with a positive outlook works in much the same way. It requires an ongoing commitment and you will see the benefits only for as long as you work at it. If you don’t provide constant positive fuel and apply techniques that work for you, the negative thoughts can return. Face it, we live in society where there is a lot of negativity and fear perpetuated for a number of reasons. If you don’t take charge of your own thinking, it is easy to fall into the societal malaise.

Third, you have to keep the end in mind. When someone goes on a diet they are going to be successful as long as they continue to visualize their life at the goal weight. What happens along the way, often, is the demons of the present take control and steer the person off course. The dieter falls back into old habits and the diet fails. A positive thinking program has the same pitfall.

Especially when you are using positive thinking to improve a certain area of your life, it is critical to keep the end result in mind. Your old negative thought patterns are going to rise up and try to get you off course. In fact, the closer you get to your goal, the more intense they may become. The only way through this gauntlet is to keep moving step by step in your new, positive direction.

Finally, you have to believe. You have to believe that change is possible. You have to believe that by using affirmations or other positive thinking approaches you can change your life and your mind. Without the belief, the commitment to reach your goal is not going to be there.

You can teach yourself to be more positive or to change your mind about certain aspects of your life. Once you know how all that is left is to do it!