The Power of a Positive Statement

The Power of a Positive Statement

1024 682 Caroline Flanagan

The Power of a Positive Statement


It’s easy to forget who you are, where you’ve been and how much you’ve been through to get where you are today. A Confidence Affirmation is the perfect antidote.

“Remember who you are” booms the deep resonant voice of Mufasa’s ghost from the heavens. He is talking to his lost confused son Simba, a.k.a. the Lion King, a.k.a. the Disney movie I’ve watched repeatedly over the last 10 years as one after the other each one of my children becomes obsessed with this gripping tale of loss, friendship and redemption.
“Remember who you are”.
I had reason to reflect on this idea last week when I attended a presentation skills training course at the Pitch Perfect Club, a club for presenters who want to up their game on the presentation circuit. It was something of a surprise. I had expected hours of dry teaching on the technical craft of giving presentations, and instead found myself with coloured pens and glitter glue cramming the story of my life to date onto an A3 sheet of flip chart paper. “Who are you?” the course presenter asked me.
The task was daunting at first. There are certain moments in my past that have happily laid buried for the best part of thirty years. But when I worked through the emotional moments of my early childhood through to the more varied and interesting parts of late adolescence and my early career, the clouds disappeared and I found myself basking in the warm glow of historic adventures and past achievements.
Thinking about and committing to paper the events of my life in this way turned out to be a curiously rewarding and uplifting experience. The memory of certificates won, prizes received, grades attained and challenges overcome brought with them a sense of wonder and surprise at just how much a young Caroline had achieved, conquered and survived. There were moments when I thought, how did I do that? I bet your experience would be the same.
It is easy to forget who you are, where you’ve been and how much you’ve been through to get where you are today. It’s amazing how easy it is to down play your past achievements, forgetting how daunting a challenge they were as you approached them, and how much courage you had to show each time life demanded more of you than you thought you could give.
It happens to us all, but I see it all too frequently in a woman who has made the transition from woman to mother. Whether it is a mother taking time out of the workplace, or those who continue to work when their children are born, one of the most common complaints is that they have lost their confidence.
Is this you? Is it someone you know?
Somewhere along the journey to motherhood you forgot who you were, and now see yourself as so much less than you are. This loss of confidence that comes after motherhood is one of the Five Pitfalls of Working Parenthood that I write about in my book Babyproof Your Career: The Secret To Balancing Work and Family So You Can Enjoy It All, and it is one of the key reasons working mothers I know have for feeling that they can’t have it all.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Let me introduce you to the Confidence Affirmation. A Confidence Affirmation is a positive statement you repeat to yourself over and over again that makes you feel powerful and extremely capable. In other words, it helps you to access your most confident self, the self that has achieved so much to date. Repeating the statement helps you to override the negative inner dialogue that is holding you back from realising your full potential, such as “I’m not good/clever/talented enough”. Of the many confidence tricks over the years, I find the Confidence Affirmation the most reliable and accessible way to change fearful behaviour and limiting thoughts. It has worked for me over and over again, and I’ve watched it transform my clients.
“My name is Caroline Flanagan and everything I touch turns to gold”. This is my Confidence Affirmation and it has been serving me for over ten years. On first reading it seems both audacious and outrageous. Imagine how I felt when I first looked myself in the mirror and said it aloud. I felt so unconnected to the power in that statement I felt physically sick. But I said it out loud to myself every day, several times a day, and for months until I got completely comfortable with it’s truth and could say it to myself with sincerity, humility and passion. And I say it again and again whenever I feel nervous or scared or out of my depth – when I’m about to stand up and deliver a talk to a large room full of high achieving women for example – and its effect really is mind-blowing.
Affirmations are powerful because they create a state of belief that frees you to do extraordinary things, the things that your inner critic doesn’t believe is possible and doesn’t want to let you even try. When I say to myself “Everthying I touch turns to gold” I am not saying that I’ll never fail at anything again in my life, that I’ll never make mistakes. I’m calling upon my deepest inner resources to work together towards achieving a goal that I would otherwise be too afraid to reach for. I’m removing the interference of my inner critic, so that instead of using all my energy battling my insecurity, fear and self-doubt, all of my physical, emotional, spiritual, creative and intellectual energy can freely work together to help me achieve my goal.
Your Confidence Affirmation is the most powerful statement you can make about yourself. It is the opposite of what your inner critic says to you when you are feeling fearful or insecure. If the statement doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable (because it feels like you’re bragging) then it’s not powerful enough. Here are some examples written by women who attended one of my Confidence workshops:
“I am great, even if I make mistakes, even when I have a bad day – I am still great and can achieve anything”
“I am a shining example of applying courage in the pursuit of success”
“I can do anything I want. I am extremely bright and radiate optimism”
“I am a strong woman with years of technical expertise behind me and so much more still to give”.
“I am master of my own destiny”
“I am an extraordinary woman with extraordinary gifts. Everything I am comes from within.”
If you don’t already have a Confidence Affirmation, there’s no time to lose. I bet you right now there is something you are anxious about or fearful of, some way in which you doubt yourself.  It’s your Confidence Affirmation that will give you the power to meet these challenges. If you don’t already have one, here’s what you need to do:
1.Recall a moment in your past when you felt confident – even if just for a second – and create a one sentence statement about your most powerful self in that moment. It must be:  (a) in the first person (“I..”) (b) in the present tense (“I am..”) and (c) so audacious that when you say it out loud to yourself it should make you feel completely uncomfortable.
2.Write it down in at least 3 places you will see it every day. My favourite locations are:
•on business cards placed in my wallet and in different handbags
•on a postcard above my desk
•on a postcard tacked to my mirror
•on my moodboard at home
•on the inside of my wardrobe
3.Say it out loud to yourself as you look in the mirror, every single day if possible, and to yourself whenever you are looking for the courage to speak up or take action.
There is no rational reason why a woman should feel less confident after childhood than before. It happens because motherhood makes you forget who you are. The Confidence Affirmation is a powerful antidote to this type of forgetfulness, silencing your inner critic and reminding you of how far you’ve come and how much more you have to give.
I’m continually fascinated by the power of affirmations and would love to hear how you get on with the above. Why not share your affirmation in the comments below for others to use and enjoy.


Caroline Flanagan

Caroline Flanagan

Caroline Flanagan is an Author, Coach and Inspirational speaker on issues relating to women in the workplace. Caroline is the founder of Babyproof Your Life, a niche coaching service for career-focused women who don’t have children yet but know they want to in the future. Her book 'Babyproof Your Career: Prepare to keep your career on track before you start a family' was published in October 2015.

All articles by: Caroline Flanagan

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