I was recently talking to a young protégé of mine-a young woman with incredible promise, but, at the age of 19 years old, not a lot of confidence to go along with the promise. She was struggling with the fact that she had received a great summer job that, in her mind, was designed for someone much more mature (you can read that as “old”) than her 19 years. Her insecurities were showing big time and she was questioning whether or not she should remain with the job. Sound familiar? Have you ever been in a similar place, where you felt that, although you may have had the needed skills, you were way over your head in terms of your readiness to take on the full task?
The longer my protégé and I spoke, the more aware I became of this young woman’s ability to declare what she was NOT, and her inability (or unwillingness) to declare what she WAS. And so began an exercise:
Me: “Given your many self-proclaimed deficiencies, why do you think your boss would have hired you?”
Her: “I’m not sure-maybe he just felt sorry for me…”
Me: “How many other charity cases has this boss hired? Is there a sign on the front of the business declaring, ‘We hire the incapable?’”
Her: (Laughing) “No, the people that he hires are really good.”
Me: “Is it possible that he hired you because the thought you were really good-or had the ability to be really good-or were you an exception?”
Her: “No he says that I’m really good-and that I’m perfect for this job.”
Me: “So he says that you’re really good, but you’re telling me that you don’t feel really good-who’s right?”
Her: “I’m not sure.”
Me: “Perhaps you’re both right: he sees you as really good, and says that to you with his own mouth, under no pressure from you. You see yourself as not really good and torture yourself with this lack of self-confidence. What if you started declaring yourself as really good? What if you recognized your work as good-as your boss does-and gave yourself the appropriate feedback?”
Her: “I’ve never tried that.”
Me: “You can start now.”
A biblical proverb says, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” Although many would say that we believe our way into acting, research has shown that we act (and speak) our way into believing.
When you and I make declarations (i.e., statements) about the person we are becoming, we actually set in motion thoughts and actions that enable us to achieve that declaration. When my protégé starts to declare, “I know this job well,” “I do this job well,” “My customers and colleagues enjoy working with me,” she begins the journey to change and she discovers what others have: the change begins in your mouth.
Today would be a good day for you to start declaring those things that you want to see well-evidenced in your life. They may be tiny flickers of light, but a roaring flame is about to emerge. Start declaring.