The power of Affirmation

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The power of Affirmation

My Grandfather always said this was the best month of the year—“Great people were born during February!” he’d say. His list would often be different but might include Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Ayn Rand, Hank Aaron, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Michael Jordan, Smokey Robinson, Ansel Adams, Victor Hugo, Henry Wadsworth, Norman Rockwell, Thomas Edison, “and of course you and me.” Not to forget Valentine’s Day on which he not only had his Birthday but also his anniversary.” His words always made me feel proud, special and in good company.

As this “best” month begins, the narratives I tell myself strike me as instrumental in how they shape my experience. Do I hold “limiting beliefs” or “un-limiting beliefs” of others and myself? I can see how they either hold me back or launch me forward. My pride at sharing a Birthday month with great leaders prepared me in a small but meaningful way for being a great leader. How often to other stories fill in the blanks without my consent? Refrains like, “I don’t have the resources,” or “I’m just too busy” become self-fulfilling prophecies if I’m not careful.

I’ve heard it said that Sam Walton (founder of Walmart) once responded to someone who asked if he knew that they were in the midst of a recession with, “Oh I’ve thought about it and I’m choosing not to participate.” That’s a powerful statement, setting the stage for what may have allowed the company to stay in growth mode despite circumstances to the contrary.

Mindful leadership entails well-placed and well-articulated intentions that show up in our work, our homes and in every interaction we have every day. I believe we are always at choice to see the kind of future we want to participate in. What affirmations will you make today and will they launch you forward or hold you back?