“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Henry Ford
The way you think about a situation, as in the words you use to talk about it either out loud or in your head, will directly affect how you feel about it. This will then govern how you behave, and will affect how the world sees you and responds to you.
If you go into a presentation thinking ‘I’m useless at public speaking’, or into a job interview thinking ‘I’m about to be rejected yet again’, you’ll drag yourself down into a depressed mood, and your voice, expression and body language will sink with it, so the audience or the recruiter will think … no.
Then you’ll have the self-satisfaction of thinking ‘see? I was right.’ It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sometimes we’d rather be right than pleasantly surprised, because to change the way we think can be tough. Old habits, and the attitudes of those we mix with, can be a powerful barrier to getting what we want.
You can’t control everything, but you can control how you think, feel and behave in any given situation. And that’s a great step towards controlling what then happens to you as a result.
Before a presentation or an interview do you habitually think “I’d be perfect, I’m worth it, I can and I will, I have the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need”? Or do you go down the same old route of “I always fail, I’m a disappointment, I regret, I make mistakes, what’s the point, I’m always being rejected”?
Then do you feel optimistic, focussed and energetic? Or depressed, sad, frightened, sluggish, panicky and sick?
Your physical and emotional response can be directly triggered by the conscious thoughts and language you use around a situation, which are entirely within your control.
Then once you’ve created your mood, your physical and emotional state governs your behaviour. So, when speaking in public, or going in to a job interview – which one is you?
Not making the effort, a gloomy expression, looking a bit down at heel, slumping in your seat, defensive body language, speaking too softly, not engaging, giving brief, dull answers …
Or looking well groomed, listening, smiling, making eye contact, using positive language and an attractive tone of voice?
Your audience or your interviewer can only react and respond to the information you give them. Your impact is within your control.
So next time you catch yourself reciting the same old list of negatively-charged criticism, remember that if you carry on down that route you’ll feel bad and your behaviour won’t do you justice or trigger the response you want.
Instead, get into the habit of listing your good things; your skills, successes and achievements, your compliments, thank yous and testimonials, and consciously go over them to get you into the positive frame of mind you need to do your best to achieve the result you want.