When we talk about self-affirmations, there will always be people who agree that self-affirmations really do work and those who don’t believe in that wishy-washy kind of stuff. I’m in the group that believes that self-affirmations do actually work and can be a way for leaders to become more successful, kind, courageous and empathetic. In short, it can change what kind of leader we are, what kind of leader we will become and what sort of leaders we mentor.
So, what is the definition of self-affirmation? Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines self-affirmation as being the act of affirming one's own worthiness and value as an individual for beneficial effect (such as increasing one's confidence or raising self-esteem). Many people, not just leaders, use affirmations as positive statements that can help them to overcome any negative and self-sabotaging thoughts.
Negative thoughts are not healthy for us, our mental health or our brains and we should be encouraging everyone from a young age to counter negative thoughts about our bodies, personalities, confidence, and facial features. We are all beautiful just the way we are and it’s time that we realise that. Don’t worry about what other people think of you, be yourself, your true beautiful self. We all have doubts at some points in our lives, but it’s important to put aside any self-sabotaging thoughts and embrace who you are.
You are worth it.
Even our world’s most successful leaders have had self-doubts at some point in their lives. There was once a time where they had negative thoughts and thought that they weren’t good enough, weren’t courageous enough, couldn’t start their own business, weren’t pretty enough and weren’t confident enough. But they managed to work through those negative thoughts. To this day, I’m sure that they still have those moments of self-doubt. Because it’s human nature.
Self-affirmation can make you a better and more successful leader because someone who is able to see the positive in things and can separate themselves from negative thoughts will be able to help their team members and colleagues feel more confident and create a ripple effect. By being positive and confident, you will create a team that feels valued and a safe workplace environment where everyone feels appreciated.
Still not sure about the power of self-affirmations? There has been extensive research done by universities across the world who look into the power of self-affirmations and what it does with our brains.
According to the Annenberg School for Communication, collaborating with University of Michigan and UCLA, research has shown how a simple intervention -- self-affirmation -- can open our brains to accept advice that is hard to hear. Read the full study here.
Carnegie Mellon University, led by Carnegie Mellon University's David Creswell, found that people can boost their ability to solve problems under pressure by using self-affirmation. Read more here at Benefits of Self-Affirmation - Carnegie Mellon University | CMU
Here are my top tips on how to make self-affirmations work for you as a leader.
You can practice self-affirmations and make it part of your daily routine, whether you look in the mirror when you first get up to start the day or while you’re in the car on the way to work, or if you take public transport, you can look up inspiring quotes to start your day on a positive note. It’s important to make this a daily thing if you want to continue to challenge those negative thoughts, but don’t worry if you forget a day every now and again.
2. Clean up your workspace
Make positive changes around you, especially in your work environment where you spend the majority of your daily life. Whether you work remotely or in an office, make sure your workspace, station or desk is clean, free from excessive paperwork, add a pot plant and make sure your chair is comfortable. Then put-up inspiration quotes around your workstation, so when you stop for a break or lunch, you can see the self-affirmations. Not to mention those passing by your workstation at work will see them and be inspired too.
3. Self-affirmations on paper
It’s time to decorate your workspace, not for Christmas, but make up cards with positive affirmations on it as a reminder. Or buy yourself a calendar with positive quotes on it, one for every day. Even if you can’t say your affirmations out loud to yourself, you will be able to read them out to yourself, especially if you’ve had a bad day work wise to remind you that you are worth it.
4. Self-affirmation for the team
This is a great one for leaders who are leading a team, encourage your team members to put up positive quotes around their workstation as a reminder, or as part of the weekly meeting make up some weekly self-affirmations for the team, or just make sure you’re giving members of your team compliments on a weekly basis to help them on their self-affirmation journey.
- I am successful.
- I am confident.
- I am powerful.
- I am strong.
- I am getting better and better every day.
- All I need is within me right now.
- I wake up motivated.
- I am an unstoppable force of nature.
- I am a living, breathing example of motivation.
- I am living with abundance.
- I am having a positive and inspiring impact on the people I come into contact with.
- I am inspiring people through my work.
- I’m rising above the thoughts that are trying to make me angry or afraid.
- Today is a phenomenal day.
- I am turning DOWN the volume of negativity in my life, while simultaneously turning UP the volume of positivity.
- I am filled with focus.
Share with me your favourite affirmations?