In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill proclaimed, “Repetition of affirmation of orders to your subconscious mind is the only known method of voluntary development of the emotion of faith.” Leaders in personal development like U.S. Andersen, Shakti Gawain, and the late Dr. Wayne Dyer all encourage affirmations as a means to shift your brain toward manifesting your goals, as do business motivators including Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy.
But is it all just self-help fluff, or can affirmations actually help to create a productive, successful business mindset?
By definition, affirmations are declarative statements that aim to establish a new pattern of belief. They can be thought, spoken, written, or visually produced, with repetition being the key to creating a neural pathway that embeds the belief.
We are constantly affirming both our positive and negative beliefs, whether we do it consciously or not, with our most recurrent thoughts. If we say to ourselves over and over again, “I’ll never make a sale in this down market,” then certainly, we are not setting ourselves up to become successful salespeople! So there is a good argument for consciously creating affirmations that support what we want to see in our reality.
But affirmations alone aren’t magical spells that will suddenly manifest our goals. Too many times, through pop culture phenoms like The Secret or snake-oil salesmen that want to make a quick buck selling over-optimism to people in need, we’re convinced that the thought will become a thing on its own if we just believe it enough.
A well-crafted, effective affirmation is rooted in more than wishful thinking.
As you are creating your affirmations, keep these points in mind:
1. Keep them positive.
Focus on what you do want, not what you don’t want. “I am attracting the best clients” is a better choice than “I am replacing these horrible clients” because it puts what you want in the spotlight. By focusing on “horrible clients,” even if it’s to get rid of them, you are reinforcing their existence in your mind.
2. You must be able to believe them.
“I will have a million dollars by Friday” is not a good affirmation if you aren’t playing the lottery, selling yachts for a living, or waiting on a sickly rich uncle to die (I jest). Affirmations that are too far out of your realm of belief or capability create what is termed cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is when contradictory beliefs are experienced at the same time, and induce inner conflict or even anxiety as a result.
You certainly can’t gain a successful business mindset when you’re anxious, so if you’re not ready for a big affirmation, try to exercise your mental muscles with something that is positive but general. “I am attracting more buyers and my fees are expanding,” though not very specific, is a good starting place for building confidence in your affirmation practice. You can then work up to more precise financial goals and prospecting targets within your affirmations.
3. They should correspond with your goals and inspire you to action.
Affirmations can be a very useful part of a good business plan. For example, if you’ve developed a strategy for one of your marketing campaigns and are ready to start implementing it, getting in the right mindset is going to be key. Crafting a list of affirmations that align with milestones and goals can reinforce the plan and keep it on track. If one is, “I am easily capable of drawing ten new buyers to my product,” our brain will open and adapt to contacting those ten buyers, because we will more readily accept how easy it is.
If being a salesperson has not come as naturally to you as creating that product did, affirmations like this can help get you over the hump of person-to-person selling. They won’t do the work for you, but they can be a tool in creating a mindset that is more eager to do the work with a positive attitude.
By incorporating a practice of affirmation development into your life and business, you can join great thinkers and successful leaders in overcoming any negative mental blocks that keep you from your goals. Especially with a successful business mindset, it’s important to keep your affirmations positive, believable, and action-oriented, so you’re not just floating in a cloud of optimism. Over time, you will build a more confident thought process with a way to measure your results and more easily hit your business targets.