Do you subscribe to the idea that change is an “inside job?” Getting a new job or starting a new business is not simply about fielding opportunities. And change is certainly not a matter of “luck.”
It is about focusing on what’s going on inside you: what you like to do, what you’re good at, how you want to spend your time, what aligns with your values.
This is particularly true as we get older. We know more, and we’re less inclined to put up with a situation that doesn’t work for us. But sometimes, we may not be clear on what we do want, and we need a way to figure that out, and increase our level of certainty.
One of my book’s guiding principles is the idea that “form follows thought”—the notion that if you consistently align your thinking in a certain direction, positive or negative, you stand a very good chance of creating a matching result. There’s nothing mystical or magical about this process. You make hundreds, maybe thousands, of big and little decisions every day, many of them habitual. Setting an intention creates a kind of filter in your mind that helps you make the kinds of choices that will invariably point you down the road to fulfilling your goals. By setting an intention and using behavioral tools to reinforce that intention, you can slowly but surely redirect your entire being toward your goal.
Strategy #14 – Create Your Affirmation
Creating an affirmation is a great way of working the “form follows thought” principle into your life and career. It’s an activating statement composed and then recited at regular intervals to shift your attitude and/or behavior. I was first introduced to affirmations over thirty years ago and have used them periodically, especially when I was in the midst of a transition and needed to focus on a particular goal.
There are some ground rules or guidelines that are helpful to follow in the process of composing and using your affirmation:
- An affirmation is a statement of “becoming,” not a statement of “being.” It uses gerunds (the verb form ending in -ing) to underscore the idea that you are engaged in an ongoing process of making that statement into a reality.
- An affirmation is one sentence. It can be a long sentence with plenty of modifiers, but it works best when its message is contained within a single breath. I’m not sure why this works, but in my experience, breaking an affirmation into more than one sentence dilutes its power.
- An affirmation depends on the positive. Affirmations are not about stopping bad things; they’re about starting good things. If you hold a negative set of images in your head or repeat them verbally, even with the intention of stopping them, the negative words and images are still going to dominate the message. Don’t defeat your purpose before you start. Compose your affirmation from a completely positive angle, packing it full of positive, uplifting words and images.
- An affirmation is about you. Trying to control or influence what others do through an affirmation is pointless. An affirmation is designed to help you support your own behavior change. It realigns your thought process so that you see possible choices that you didn’t see before. By composing and repeating the affirmation, your mind directs itself toward opportunities it sees to fulfill the affirmation.
Here are a few examples of affirmations:
“I am successfully completing and publishing my book on career reinvention for boomers, eloquently expressing my five-step process and making it engaging, appealing, and inspiring to my readers.”
“I am working out four days per week, feeling energy, clarity, and a sense of accomplishment, listening to my body and supporting it with healthy nutrition and plenty of rest.”
“I am creating my new business, connecting with funders, partners, and customers to support my vision and collaborate with me on a profitable launch.”
Starting your affirmations with an “I am” statement really nails the idea that this is about you, focusing on you and what you can control. One approach is to acknowledge what brought you to your present situation as the context for focusing on your future goals:
“I am grateful for all of my past career challenges and accepting them into my life as blessings going forward in my new career.”
“I am accepting and honoring all of my previous career experiences, centering in the lessons I have learned and applying them to my continued professional success.”
Experiment with the affirmation process and see how it can charge your reinvention process, and maybe even bring you luck!