Episode 168: Your words become your reality, with Stephen Woessner.
Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.
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Good Morning Onward Nation…I’m Stephen Woessner. And I have to say — today’s solocast topic has me so fired up because over the last couple of weeks — we have been delving deep into some critical topics likes excuses — or alibis as Napoleon Hill describes them — and the week earlier — I shared with you how destructive the imposter syndrome can be — and — how easy it can be to allow that to happen.
Yesterday, Jodi Flynn — one of our Onward Nation guests — and the host of the brilliant podcast, Women Taking the Lead, invited me to be a guest on her show to discuss leadership, mentorship, and some of the influential women who have been powerful mentors in my life. The conversation was off the charts — Jodi had me teary eyed with her very first question — no joke. The interview goes live in late March and we will be sure to share the link. During the conversation with Jodi we talked about the imposter syndrome — about the constraints the syndrome can place us under — about how the syndrome can grip us in what seems to be paralyzing fear — and then procrastination sets in. Lack of performance sets in — loss of relationships can set in — all the while — the whirlwind of compounding negativity can easily swallow us up — if we let it.
And Jodi had a different term for the imposter syndrome, which I thought was spot on — so I wanted to share it with you. When she is working with her coaching clients — or even keeping herself on the right track moving onward with gusto — she refers to the syndrome as her inner critic. She said that and I thought — oh — now that’s a perfect description. She made me laugh when she said, “Oh yeah, and my inner critic is mean — she has a foul mouth and disposition.” I laughed — but then I thought, wow — this is such a brilliant point because our inner critic can get away with saying things to us that we likely would never allow another human being to say to us — but those comments are going on in our heads every minute of the day. Why?
The imposter syndrome works because the person’s words that have the most influence over you — and that don’t have to ask your permission to speak up — are yours, Onward Nation. You are the one who is speaking over and over again — whispering in your own ear — throughout the day — day after day — month after month — year after year.
So for today’s solocast topic…thanks to the inspiring conversation with Jodi Flynn…I am going to show you how your words become your reality. Your words are what empowers your inner critic. Your words, Onward Nation, are what empowers — or — disempowers your entire life.
Every aspect. It is not some mystic dark magic voodoo — luck — destiny — the winds of fate — the power that someone else possesses and wields it for your misfortune. Well, actually — that last part isn’t entirely true. Because the power to control your destiny is in someone’s hands — your hands — or more accurately said — in your mind.
And I will show you how during today’s topic — your words become your reality.
Let’s dig in by starting with a quote from Henry Ford.
He said, “Whether you think you can — or you think you can’t — you’re right.”
Success — or accomplishing that which you seek and desire, Onward Nation, is oftentimes the result of simply deciding and being committed to the result outcome you want to produce. And believing — and understanding — it is up to you to make it happen for you. It is not someone else’s responsibility. It is your own.
So if you have an idea you want to pursue — a new product — a new business — a new service — a once in a lifetime vacation — and you begin to craft a plan — your inner critic may try to derail your planning process right away with thoughts of self doubt, fear, you’re being too ambitious, what would your family think when you share the news with them, and so on. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t — you’re right. Isn’t it fascinating that before you have even collected any data from the market — given your idea of any sort of litmus test — you already encounter obstacles. In my opinion, more than half the battle of being successful is getting the right words to yourself down on paper so you can retrain your brain — your subconscious mind on what the plan of action will be. Again, Onward Nation, whether you think you can or you think you can’t — you will be right.
So let’s take this deeper.
I have studied and continued to study Napoleon Hill’s timeless work, “Think & Grow Rich.” Hill includes a verse that speaks directly to how your words become your reality, so I wanted to share it with you, Onward Nation. Hill writes:
Please download the episode to hear Hill’s verse.
The words you speak to yourself — the building blocks of the thoughts you think to yourself — eventually become your actions. And your actions direct your destiny. So if you can get the words you speak to yourself correctly aligned with where you want to go — then you will realize your full potential.
Hill dedicates a full chapter to the technique of autosuggestion — which is the process of getting the words you speak to yourself correctly aligned with your purpose — your mission in life — your most vital priorities — what you are striving to accomplish. Tony Robbins also addresses autosuggestion — although differently — he calls the process “Incantations.” What I love about Tony’s process of incantations is how he breaks down the word when he is teaching this powerful technique because he ties it back to the Henry Ford quote I shared with you earlier… “Where you think you can or you think you can’t — you’re right.”
Just look at the word incantation. You can either emphasize the “can” in the word…In – CAN – tation when you pronounce it. Or you can emphasize the word can’t…In – CANT – tation. And even just that subtly could tell you where your thought process is currently.
But neither Tony Robbins or Napoleon Hill were the ones who discovered the power of autosuggestion or incantations. I will argue it comes from the book of Matthew — but will also give you a more modern or recent example.
Let me introduce you to Dr. Emile Coue, who was a French psychologist and pharmacist. It is he who introduced autosuggestion as a form of psychotherapy and self-improvement. Dr. Coue lived from 1857 to 1926. Napoleon Hill first published his Laws of Success in 1925 and then later refined the manuscript into Think and Grow Rich in 1937.
In addition to his discoveries around autosuggestion, Dr. Coue also discovered what became known as the placebo effect.
He became known for reassuring his clients by praising each remedy’s efficiency and leaving a small positive notice with each given medication.
His book, “Self-Mastery Through Conscious Autosuggestion” was first published in England (1920) and then in the United States (1922).
Many American thought leaders of the time adopted his ideas and methods, such as Norman Vincent Peale, Robert H. Schuller, and W. Clement Stone, and then became famous in their own right by spreading his words.
Dr. Coue developed what he later called, “The Coue Method”.
The application of his mantra-like conscious autosuggestion, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” It is sometimes quoted as saying, “Day by day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” Or, “Day by day, in every way…I’m getting stronger and stronger,” which is similar to the Tony Robbins version.
The Coué Method centered on a routine repetition of this particular expression according to a specified ritual—preferably as much as twenty to 100 times a day, and especially at the beginning and at the end of each day. And expressed out loud — with full emotional power and belief.
When asked whether or not he thought of himself as healer, Dr. Coué often stated that “I have never cured anyone in my life. All I do is show people how they can cure themselves.”
Coué believed that curing some of our troubles requires a change in our unconscious thought, which can be achieved only by using our imagination — and getting our thoughts correctly aligned with our goal.
Coué noticed that in certain cases he could improve the efficacy of a given medicine by praising its effectiveness to his patients. He realized that those patients to whom he praised the medicine had a noticeable improvement when compared to patients to whom he said nothing.
This began Coué’s exploration of autosuggestion. The good doctor certainly believed in the effects of medication. But also believed that our mental state is able to affect and even amplify the action of these medications. By consciously using autosuggestion, he observed that his patients could cure themselves more efficiently by replacing their “thought of illness” with a new “thought of cure”. According to Coué, repeating words or images enough times causes the subconscious to absorb them. The cures were the result of using imagination or “positive autosuggestion” to the exclusion of one’s own willpower.
Coué thus developed a method which relied on the principle that any idea exclusively occupying the mind turns into reality, although only to the extent that the idea is within the realm of possibility. For instance, if a person firmly believes that his or her asthma is disappearing, then this may actually happen, as far as the body is actually able physically to overcome or control the illness. On the other hand, thinking negatively about the illness (for example, “I am not feeling well”) will encourage both mind and body to accept this thought.
Likewise, when someone cannot remember a name, they will probably not be able to recall it as long as they hold onto this idea (for example, “I can’t remember”) in their mind.
Coué realised that it is better to focus on and imagine the desired, positive results (i.e. “I feel healthy and energetic” and “I can remember clearly”).
So the experiment that lead to the discovery of the placebo effect went like this. Coue was making his rounds with patients and providing them with their medication. He also instructed each patient to say out loud to themselves with full enthusiasm, belief, and faith — “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” And to repeat the process 100 times a day — with conviction.
What Coue noticed was an increase in the efficacy of the medication as a result outcome of the words his patients were audibly saying to themselves each and every day. So then Coue tried something even more radical. He replaced the medication with a placebo — while instructing his patients to continue with the autosuggestion as they had been doing.
And the result outcome was staggering. His patients continued to recover despite the absence of medication.
Onward Nation…your words affect your thoughts…your thoughts affect your actions…and your actions affect the trajectory of your life.
How often do we see professional athletes walking into a stadium before a big game listening to their noise cancelling headphones? Why are they doing that? To block out the distractions and to listen to music to increase their concentration — their mood — tempo — their thinking.
Or, how often do we see Olympic athletes getting ready to ski jump, race downhill, snowboard, do a gymnastic routine, and we can see them visualizing the result outcome — rehearsing over and over in the mind the moves they need to make — the result outcome they want to see.
That is the power of visualization, Onward Nation. And it is a visual version of the principle of autosuggestion developed by Dr. Coue. Elite athletes know they need to get their words right — their visualization right — in order to direct the actions they take during their performance or competitive event.
Well, if autosuggestion and visualization can be used to increase the efficacy of medication — or to guide the performance of Olympic athletes — and used by Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan, and many of the other industrial giants interviewed by Napoleon Hill to direct and influence the words they spoke to themselves…then why not you, Onward Nation?
I mentioned earlier that autosuggestion can be connected back to the book of Matthew in The Bible. And perhaps in a future solocast — we will dig deeper — but for now — let me just share with you…Matthew chapter 7 versus 7 reads, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
These are the power of your own words, Onward Nation. When mixed with faith and the belief that the result outcome will occur — if we ask — by conditioning our minds that the result outcome is indeed possible.
But many of us don’t ask. Why?
The fear of rejection. “What if I don’t receive what I have asked for?”
Or, pride. “I don’t want to sound silly for asking.” Or, “I cannot ask because if I do ask, that means I am less because I was forced to ask — or forced to submit.”
Don’t fall into the mental trap that is as old as time itself, Onward Nation.
Instead…realize that your inner critic attempts to derail you every day — but — as in all aspects of your life — you have the power to change the outcome.
Your inner critic will listen to you — but — you need the right script. You need to give conscious thought to the words that will create the right thoughts — then the right actions. Your thoughts become your reality — and the origin of your thoughts are the words you speak to yourself throughout each and every day…and what you ask for.
Remember Dr. Coue’s autosuggestion… “Day by day…in every way…you are getting stronger and stronger,” Onward Nation!
So with that…I want to say thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.
However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine — I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.
And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation…good or bad…I always want your feedback. My direct email address is email@example.com — and yes — that is my actual Inbox. No fancy filters or filing system and I read and reply to every single email.
So please let me know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.
We will be back tomorrow with an incredible interview with John Warrillow — he is the author of several groundbreaking books, “Built to Sell” and “The Automatic Customer”. His insights are counter intuitive, John’s strategies and recommendations are precise, and the entire conversation is packed full of wisdom that can be applied to your business right away. Please don’t miss it.
Until then, onward with gusto!