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I've admitted in the past to being an NPR fan, and the other day heard an interesting story about the overwhelming number of campaign ads that the good folks in Florida were blanketed with in the run-up to yesterday's primary. The political marketing expert being interviewed maintained that, if a person hears something over and over, they start to believe it. It becomes a part of their reality and way of looking at the world (or, at an aspiring Republican nominee). This got me thinking about how powerful recurring messages are to us in our work and personal lives. Marketing firms, the media (elite or otherwise), those who use social media, and just about any company selling a product or service all use repetition to create awareness and (they hope) action.
But what about our own internal messages? What power do those have over us? If I tune in to WSKS, my own private radio station, what do I hear? Heck, I don't even have to tune in; my mind is already locked in to receive a constant stream of thoughts. These range from mundane ("Looks like rain today.") to strategic ("What are the best ways to help this client move forward?") to judgmental ("He's a lousy singer, but terrific dancer.") to revisionist history ("She has never been on time in her life."). But the internal thoughts that I am most concerned about are those that send messages, images, or just plain propaganda that prevent me from seeing myself or others with a clear lens. Which thoughts are grounded, versus just conjecture?
I also listen for the overall tone of my thoughts. Which ones engender positive or powerful emotions that move me to action? Which take me down a dead end, or get me caught up in an endless loop of worry or complaining? Which ones build my confidence or stretch me to take a risk? I notice what my "Top Ten" thoughts are that my internal station plays the most, and try to figure out why those are the platinum hits. I consciously work to create a new, fresh playlist and retire the golden oldies that no longer serve me or reflect who I truly am or aspire to be.
What are the internal messages you hear all day? How do they impact how you show up at work? What will increase your awareness of your internal playlist, and give you the discernment and discipline to change what needs to go? If I can support you in refreshing your internal messages, please give me a call during your next commercial break.
Sharon Keys Seal
P.S. Speaking of commercials...if you or anyone you know would be interested in having me facilitate a meeting, planning session, or retreat, please let me know. I'm getting certified in the "i2a" facilitation model, and need to facilitate a few groups by end of May. In exchange for your feedback on the i2a process, I am offering substantial savings. Please call to discuss how I can serve your company or team. Thank you!