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Why The Stories You Tell Yourself Matter – The Secret Successful People Know

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Most of our time spent speaking is with ourselves – in our head. The conversations are typically in the form of stories that we tell ourselves about situations or things people have said. These seemingly unimportant conversations are one of the fundamental pillars of success.

These stories form increasing levels of positive or negative feelings that fuel our success. Becoming consciously aware of them and then using them to our advantage is an art in itself. It’s art worth mastering though because the conversations we have in our head can bring us so much happiness when we become aware of how to shape them.

Whether you tell yourself you’re right or wrong, you are correct. The brain can’t tell the difference, and it believes what you say. So why wouldn’t you use this to your advantage and tell your brain little white lies to help you develop and become the person you have always wanted to be?

Below are the 4 reasons the stories we tell ourselves matter:

1. We become the stories we tell ourselves

Who we are is a result of our own personal story. The writer of your story is you. So if you write the story, then why can’t you give it a positive meaning? Well, the best part is you can. Ten minutes before writing this article, I got pulled over by the police.

Their big red and blue flashing lights never seem to make you feel good. As the officer came over to me, he asked me what I was up to, and I told him I was on my way to buy foreign currency for my overseas trip. I then told him where I was going and how excited I was.

I looked him in the eye and told him my inspiring story and mentioned how I had thirty minutes to get to my appointment. The officer then asked for my license and for me to do a breath test. Once I handed over my license he went back to his car to do the usual checks and within thirty seconds he came back and said everything was fine.

He told me to have lots of fun on my trip, and he seemed more cheerful than when I first met him. Normally the checks take five minutes, but this officer didn’t feel the need; he even forgot to breathalyze me (not that there was any point because I’ve already given up drinking).

I then went to arrange my foreign currency account and the place I went to told me that they had sold out of what I needed. This was the second day in a row that this had happened to me.

So, instead of doing pissed off (pissed off is something we act out), I walked back to the car and told myself that it was all good. The reason it was all good to me was that I got to drive around and listen to my favorite podcast, and I got to meet a cool new cop.

As a result of my holiday story, I got myself out of any trouble with the police officer and also made his, and my own day. What I want you to see is that the stories we tell ourself are so important. Being pulled over by the cops and wasting half a day could seem frustrating, but the story I told myself was one of meeting new people, relaxation, and a day of fun. Did I forget to mention it was pouring with rain the whole time!

Think carefully about the stories you are telling yourself and realise that you will become the lead character in your stories. Do you want to be the superhero or the deadbeat loser who is always upset and hates the world?

2. Stories form our view of the world

Right now there are wars, terrorist attacks, kidnapping and a range of other horrible events. There are also people achieving their sporting dream, winning in business, and watching their kids grow up to be leaders.

“The stories you tell yourself about your life, and what you focus on, forms your tailored view of the world” – Tim Denning

3. We decide which stories we believe – stories are a choice

No story that you hear is true or false. Every story matches the truth that you give it. This simple decision of whether you are going to make a story true of false is up to you. It could be seen as nothing more than a flip of a coin.

This 50/50 chance determines whether you win the lottery of life or end up broke and alone. Choose to put your energy and your trust behind the stories that lift you up and give you spine tingling moments.

Spend time with people that have stories which inspire you. Use stories as part of your education and seek out the high-achievers in each field to tell you their stories from their perspective. Mold the perspective of winners into your story.

Before you forget, though, use these stories and the new beliefs you have got from them to inspire others who haven’t discovered your wisdom yet. Don’t be selfish and share your stories.

“Stories are one of the best currencies you have”

4. Your limitations are connected to your stories

One of my perceived limitations currently is public speaking. This limitation comes from a broken belief that somehow I can speak fine in front of fifty people but put me in front of two hundred and I can’t. Why is that?

The only difference between the two numbers is a few extra people. How can a few more bodies in a room stop you from spreading your inspiring message? It can’t. After a lot of study, I now know that this dilemma is caused by a repetitive story in my head that says I am unable to do it.

Any skill can be acquired, and our brain is malleable no matter how old we are. The way to fix a limitation in your life is to change your story. Like the editor of a movie, you have to get into the heart of this BS story and edit out the disempowering parts. Then, replace these parts with stories that confirm that you can do the perceived limitation.

Now when I speak publicly I tell myself the following chapters of a new story:

– What I have to say is inspiring and valuable
– People think I am good at it when I practice
– The more I practice, the better I become
– I was made to do this

Through this simple flip in my story, I’m well on the way to overcoming this limitation. Your story about your limitations is tied to your goals. Unless you create new stories or rewrite the old one’s, you’ll be stuck with the results of the past.

“If you consistently whack yourself over the head with stories of times when you failed then your brain will default to its comfortable state of indecision and doing nothing”

It’s easy to do nothing, and it’s hard to grow as a person without any effort or energy.

For a period of twenty-four hours I want you to write down all the stories you tell yourself. At the end of the twenty-four hours have a look at them all and read them back to yourself. Ask yourself the question, are these stories moving me forward or holding me back. You’re already smart and more powerful than you think – trust me.

What stories do you tell yourself? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship.You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Brickwork India

    Aug 9, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Hi Tim,
    Thoughtful and Realistic!, The stories we tell ourselves are the stories we live.

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 13, 2016 at 11:04 pm

      Thanks for your feedback it is greatly appreciated!

  2. Toño

    Aug 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Good morning (or is it a day for you) Tim! The exciting article which resonates greatly with me! I really enjoyed your story with that cool cop and currency exchange, as it may sound funny, I have dealt with some similar circumstance myself. Of course, it was related to my job, and at first, I was about to upset and hate everyone, but I was rather into change and realized all the negativity is the poison for you alone and others may not even care!

    How you handled your day, though, was a real mastery and a piece of art, Tim. I am still working on reacting calmly but your example is the perfect opportunity for me to learn. Muchly appreciated!

    I am really into that theme now Tim, and I am happy you dived deep into it as well. Now is the time of self-love, self-appreciation, and positive attitude. There may be others who can bring you down so instead be the one who can motivate and uplift yourself. It’s a time when you can change your belief system and encourage yourself to become the greatest. As Buddha said, ‘All that we are is the result of what we have thought’, so better install some good stuff into your head so you can make your day and your life!

    Daily motivation, that is!

    Much love for your story, Tim, it was a good experience so thank you for sharing and reminding how important to rule the day! Take care and stay healthy, my friend, speak soon!

    Peace!

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 6, 2016 at 6:15 am

      Toño thanks for sharing your experience. being calm in your life is not everything, you also need to be able to find the good in the seemingly not so good. There are not too many people who would enjoy being pulled over by the police but it can be an amazing experience if you let it. Life can be the same amazing experience if you allow yourself to perceive it that way too!

      Speak soon my friend.

  3. Alex Reyes

    Aug 5, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Completely true, Tim!

    The stories we tell ourselves usually come from our childhood times. If we take the time to understand them and change them accordingly, we can change our whole world. No kidding.

    Also, it’s very inspiring how you are tackling your own fears and doubts. I will keep challenging my own stories and rewriting them as I see fit. Thanks, man!

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 6, 2016 at 6:12 am

      Alex thanks for your kind words and I love the websites you build for people. Best of luck reshaping the stories of your life and finding new ways to inspire yourself towards success my friend!

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Success Advice

If You Want Your Business to Grow, You Need to Increase Your Capacity in the Following 4 Areas

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Every entrepreneur must come face to face with the reality that there is only a limited amount of time, money, and people that you can use within your current position. The question is how do we increase or maximize the things that we find limiting?

As we walk through our hectic and often over packed ten, twelve, or fourteen hour work days, one of the questions that we should be asking is “What can I do to get more, to do more?” Instead, we just put our heads down and plow through the ever growing mountain of work. We are limited by capacity.

Webster’s dictionary defines capacity as “the maximum amount that something can contain.” As an entrepreneur, we have to be a little more creative than the average person and find ways to increase our capacity.

Below, we’ll identify the four areas where we need more capacity and ways to get more with less:

1. Time

Every human on this planet is granted twenty-four hours a day. That is it. Your capacity is a total of twenty-four hours. Within that amount of time you must manage several different demands. Our goal is to buy back our time, when we can, and operate at peak performance when we are accomplishing our daily task list.

First, without staying in performance shape, you will lose the ability to stay at optimal performance levels. Our bodies are truly a machine with an amazing capacity, but when it is abused by lack of sleep, improper nutrition, and lack of exercise, you are reducing the capacity at which you are able to work and function. The closer you are to peak performance, the more you are able to accomplish in a shorter amount of time.

Second is our mental condition. Here is what my experience has taught me. If I am mentally rested, I can think and make decisions faster because I can reason more quickly in addition to understanding the circumstances and information at an extremely fast pace. 

When your brain is healthy, it becomes easier to absorb and process information at a lightning fast rate. Taking the time to allow your brain to rest will give it the ability to function at peak performance.

Third is our ability to train and delegate. So often, entrepreneurs are control freaks. No one can do it as good, as fast, or with the same passion as they can. While that may be true in most cases, you are only one person with twenty-four hours in a day. 

You’ve got to delegate and accept people’s help. If you add one person that’s willing to give you eight hours of work a day, you have now bought back hours in your day to focus on activities that will generate more income and grow your business. Why wouldn’t you want to add more hours to your day by delegating out the appropriate task to qualified individuals?

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

2. Money

Money tends to be a sensitive topic. We all have beliefs that were formed through our childhood on the concept of money. With many different views and beliefs on this topic, let’s just focus on the fact that money is a tool that will either help grow the company or a tool that limits a company’s growth.

It is always amazing that the faster a company grows, the greater the challenge of money becomes, and this could potentially cause the company to implode on its own success. How do we then increase the capacity and have more money available to keep the company healthy?

Here are a couple of things to watch out for: 

  • Keep an eye on your budget and get accurate figures. 
  • Look at your Accounts Receivables. If they get too long, they could cause significant cash flow issues. 
  • Find investment opportunities. There are many private investors that are often willing to invest in companies that have true growth with solid foundations. 
  • Look at additional profit generators, products, or services that fit within your current business model. 

Each of these are ways to increase the capacity that money contributes to the growth of your business.

3. Space and Supply

I will never forget exactly where I was standing when I had a manufacture call and tell me they were unable to supply anymore products. They had sold us everything they had, and they weren’t going to have anything available to sell for at least another six months. At that time, we were selling customer printed t-shirts and had tens of thousands of orders that we needed to fulfill within the next thirty days.

Space and Supply are tied closely together. Space is often associated with the production. Do you have a space large enough to meet the demands of the supply? If production can only create 1,000 products a day and buyers need 5,000 a day, there is a conflict. 

A business needs to understand that challenge, and there are only 3 solutions to this problem: The business figures out how to increase production within the current workable hours, adds more workable hours with the equipment and space, or adds more equipment and space to increase production.

Space and supplies are assets that can be used towards the business advantage. Here are a few questions to ask when making decisions based on space and supply. 

  • Evaluate your supply channel. Are they able to maintain a solid supply of your raw product materials to match your growth as a company? 
  • Are there back up supply manufactures that can create a safety net for your raw products? 
  • Evaluate the amount of space you have available along with the time the space is usable. Can you run a second or third shift with the current space and equipment?

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. People

Your employees are likely going to be the most important way to create more capacity. We talked briefly about delegating to qualified individuals to increase capacity around your own personal time. The next phase is to create more capacity by adding additional, trained people. 

You need to create leaders of leaders instead of you being the leader of followers. Don’t miss this because the greatest of all companies focuses on increasing their capacity by training leaders of leaders and not just a loyal following.

Entrepreneurs tend to be a lonely bunch of souls. Too often, we are misunderstood and looked at with slight amount of annoyance. Others just don’t always know how to take someone that is passionately thinking outside the box. 

People skills are a must in order to have more than just yourself work to achieve that dream. As an entrepreneur, develop the social skills to work with individuals that are different than yourself.  

Here is a 3 step plan to have great capacity with people as your allies:

  1. Start by learning how to delegate your own tasks to buy back your time. Identify the tasks that are easiest to delegate and document how you do them. This will give you a specific job description, set achievable goals, and create a daily action plan that is now something that is teachable. 
  2. Use this system and apply it to the other things you are currently doing. I would suggest building out an organization chart and dividing the different tasks you do within the company. Then create a plan that will allow you to hire the right person and move you onto the next area in the organization that you will systematize. 
  3. Finally, create the culture. Culture is like a child, it will grow whether or not you pay attention to it. So be intentional. Learn what it takes to build a culture that attracts the employees that want to be there and grow with the company. 

Each of these four areas has an incredible amount of potential to increase your capacity, and allow your business to grow. Don’t attempt to tackle everything at once. Identify just one area that you will commit to grow within the next three to six months. Take action and implement. 

What is your next step? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

The Importance of Failure: Why We Should Fail Forward

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What Is failing forward? Will Smith said it best in a viral Instagram video that engaged the world. “You’ve gotta take a shot, you have to live at the edge of your capabilities. You gotta live where you’re almost certain you’re going to fail. Failure actually helps you to recognize the areas where you need to evolve. So fail early, fail often, fail forward.”

Failing forward is about using leverage on your mistakes and making a realistic assessment of the risks involved. It’s your ability to live with the downside, control your emotions and experiment with new approaches. When we fail forward, we need to look at the reason why we fail and understand that it’s all part of the process of achievement.

Here are 4 Reasons Why We Fail:

1. We Are Too Distracted

Distractions are everywhere. They can take us off course and could make it impossible to keep our mind on our goal or purpose. It’s important to be selective, strategic and supportive in our distractions. We all control certain aspects of our day, so be selective and prioritise tasks that are in line with your goals.

We should be strategic by understanding when we work best. Personally, I write more efficiently in the early mornings and late evenings. So that’s what I stick to. Try different things and see when you are least distracted. You’ll then be able to be supportive and generous with your time. Being supportive of others costs us little and drives our own success whilst boosting our health and happiness.

2. Lack of Self Belief

Lack of self belief runs differently from person to person. Our experiences, childhood history, genes, culture and life circumstances play a part in our self confidence. The truth is, we can’t alter the experiences that our past has given us. What we can do though, is change our thoughts to gain more belief in ourselves. Ways to increase our self-belief is to find out more about ourselves. We can do this by taking care of ourselves physically and emotionally. Giving ourselves a healthy support system and understanding our emotions are just a couple of ways to practice self-belief.

3. Fear of Failure

Failure often induces fear. When we fear failure, we allow ourselves to stop doing the things that can help us achieve our goals, help us move forward and open up possibilities we never thought were possible. We should have faith in ourselves and start to shift our inner dialogue from ‘not good enough’ to ‘more than enough’. If our inner critic takes the lead on self talk, then it’s more than likely we aren’t feeling good enough. It’s important to surround ourselves with positive people and positive thoughts.

4. Procrastination

Procrastination is a common reason for failure. It’s delaying or putting off a task or action to attend to at a later time. Procrastination is essentially giving in, to feel good. We prefer avoiding negative emotions and stressful tasks, which are the very things we procrastinate about. The first step to overcoming procrastination is recognising we do it.

We then need to understand why we do it and use appropriate strategies to prevent it from happening. We may not know that we are procrastinating and this can be damaging to reaching our full potential. With a solid understanding, we can get to the core of our reasons and make positive changes to fail forward.

Now that you know why we fail, here are the 3 ways you can fail forward:

1. Take Risks

When risks are taken, we generally overestimate the chances of something going wrong. What we focus on tends to magnify in our imagination and in return, causes us to misjudge an outcome of a situation. The reality is, the likelihood is often a far better return than we imagine it out to be. To take risks, we should not be afraid of failure.

2. Understanding Failure Should Be Your Motivation

It may sound comical but, be happy when you fail. We’ve been taught to believe that when we fail it’s because of bad attempts, bad judgment and bad luck at improving our lives. For example, we link failure with the colour red (to stop) and success with the colour green (to keep going). In reality, we are stronger and more courageous when we fail. It’s a sign of improvement, so we should recognise that failure is growth and if we’re not making mistakes, we are not really trying. Use failure as motivation and keep going.

3. Perseverance

Perseverance is the ability to recover from failure. Your chances of success is also dependent on your persistence and your willingness to persevere. You have two options when you fail: Become self-defeated or become resilient and encouraged. Perseverance requires a goal, a passion and patience. It’s important to set your own pace when persevering and not comparing your failures to others. In doing this, when we fail forward, we are more in tune with ourselves and more controlled with new approaches.

“Recognize that you will spend much of your life making mistakes. If you can take action and keep making mistakes, you gain experience.” – John C. Maxwell

Think of it this way. When we’re at the gym pushing ourselves in the weight room, the trainer would yell “One more rep!”. Our trainer wants us to succeed, but also wants us to fail. They want us to be uncomfortable to the point where our muscles fatigue. Why? Because of muscle adaptation. That’s where our muscle growth comes from. It’s the ability to learn how to get comfortable being uncomfortable. This concept doesn’t just apply physically within our muscles, it applies mentally and in our minds. In understanding this perspective, we can fail forward with more awareness and are in a better position to achieve success.

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Success Advice

The Most Overlooked Element of Success (Spoiler Alert – It’s Not Mindset Nor Strategy)

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It’s always important to have someone show you “the ropes” in the beginning stages in your business. When I started my own business venture two years ago, I hired numerous coaches and mentors across MULTIPLE disciplines to work on getting my business off the ground. Every coach with a different strategy and mindset technique to share, leaving me feeling like there’s no end to chasing for the “next best thing.”

Someone is always trying to give you their “Magic Pill”

You know the moment when you are desperate to start making money (and stop your savings from bleeding)? You click on a link that leads you to a sales page, that tells you the coach has “the best kept secret” or “the exact 7-step formula to start your business” – those of you who’ve been there know what I’m talking about.

You see, I had a weakness for that kind of copywriting. My heart would scream “Take my money and share your secret already!” Through pushing my own boundaries, implementing different strategies, and months after months of falling left, right and sideways – I realised strategy and mindset alone is not enough to get your career or business off the ground. You need the right conditions.

You can’t copy and paste success or failure. You need to have the right environment in order to gain traction and take things to the next level. I’m not referring to external conditions – because  the best conditions that cannot be “ctrl+copy+pasted” from someone else’s success formula are allowing yourself to fail so many times that you become thick-skinned, so you no longer feel self conscious.

“Dreams don’t work unless you do.”– John C. Maxwell

Imagine you’re trying to grow a beautiful garden of flowers. You’ve got all the items: landscaping tools, the instructions, the commitment and all the love and attention you can give to your garden. But wait a minute – you need the right conditions to be met. That’s when you need to look into temperature, amount of water, sunlight, pH of the soil, and pest control to make sure your flowers can flourish and blossom.

The same goes with your career and business. You need to have the right conditions in place, and create the perfect environment for yourself and your work to thrive. That’s why we need to take things one step further to close the gap that acts as a bridge from where you are to where you need to be.

We need to open up the dialogue to talk about how we can get more support as entrepreneurs, because it’s not written in the “Rulebook of Success.” We need to talk about the areas we may have overlooked that are just as important as Mindset & Strategy.

It’s Time To Fill In The Gaps

I’m telling you, just the realisation itself blew my mind. Because having a thriving business is no longer just about following someone else’s “7-Step Formula” or a “blueprint” and hope that it works for you. It always makes me chuckle when people use that word, no one’s business is identical in my personal opinion. Neither is it about journaling your butt off.

In more practical terms, building your business upon the right conditions is about these following things, and so much more. It’s about not needing validation from other people but yourself. It’s about finding the right support community. It’s about going through the process of deep, inner work. It’s about fitting your life and business and fun and family into your schedule.

It’s about confronting all of your fears and having difficult conversations that you’ve put aside. It’s about cultivating experience and building thick skin from your failures (so, you can not fail even if you used someone else’s fool-proof method). Building a successful business is shedding your old identity and building a new one – all the while finding new people along the way that support your vision.

“There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.” – Zig Ziglar

Shower Love Onto Every Part of Your Business

Your success is built upon all the other things that happen in between and along the journey for every self-made person that no one told you about. Every element of non-business related strategy is a piece of the puzzle that shouldn’t be overlooked. That’s why I’m calling the intentional business owners and entrepreneurs forward – to focus your energy on plowing through every inch of your soil and give attention to things that are also “behind the scenes” – so that you can build a thriving empire upon a rich, fertilized foundation.

What part of this article resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

An NLP Coaching Trick That Revolutionized My Life and Can Do the Same for You

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Success is driven by a variety of different things, such as your environment and different opportunities that come up in life. However, the vast majority of where success comes from is your mindset. 

While your mindset plays a huge role, there was something I learned through NLP, known as Neuro-linguistic programming, that completely revolutionized my ability to create success in my life. 

Success And Achieving It Is All About Your Core Programming

Because success is dependent on your mindset, it is naturally dependent on your programming. Like many others who have started practicing personal development, you have likely developed a level of mindful awareness as to your mindset.

That level of mindfulness helps you understand what is going on an internal level, shaping your life, and bringing you the results you are experiencing. Now at this point, it is only fair to say that even when you are going strong on your path to success, unpleasant things can still happen. A key part of achieving success for myself hinged around learning to walk away and let go, which enabled me to free myself from various negative factors.

Having a high level of mindfulness means you can discern surface level chatter from your mindset. Each thought provides insight from deeper levels of your mind, which when pieced together through meditation, can really open amazing veins to mine success from. Changing those layers of thoughts and beliefs about yourself, life, business, and the world around you offers great value as a result. Going to the depths is where real magic comes though.

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” – Mother Teresa

Values Where Core Inspiration and Motivation for Action and Your Ability to Succeed Come From

At the core of your mindset, are your values. Your values are then wrapped in outer layers of personal beliefs and experiences. While most people are aware of surface thoughts and some gain awareness of core beliefs, very few ever understand their actual values. Yet with values being the foundation of everything in your life and thus your ability to achieve success, they are the most critical to understand and know.

Values are incredibly simple things too, because they are generally comprised of single word descriptions. They are usually intangible, apart from one or two exceptions. Often when people do find out what their values are, there is suddenly a huge wave of understanding as to why they have been getting the results they have in life. I know I was shocked when I first went through an exercise to discover my values for relationships, work, money, and personal development. I suddenly had a list that defined everything that had been going on and why.

When things like love are way down on a list, certain challenges become very understandable. Likewise, seeing money at number five in my values for work shocked me and made me realize why things had been so challenging.

Just getting this insight gave me a massive wake up call. Understanding what your values are brings an opportunity for more than just understanding, it brings a chance to take action in a way which can revolutionize your life. Through gaining this deep insight into how I was creating the circumstances of my life, I was then able to take action, adapt, and change my core values so I could get the real results I wanted.

Clearing a Path to Success Thanks to Some Key NLP Coaching Techniques

Clearing my way to success did involve a degree of releasing various layers of negative emotion, which I did through Time Line Therapy and some NLP coaching techniques. Time Line Therapy enables the release of a lifetime of negative emotion in around one hour, making it powerful when done right. Having used Time Line Therapy to cleanse out, I found myself in a wonderful place of empowered clarity.

From there, I was able to completely reconstruct my values system by empowering myself with the values of the person I knew I needed to be to enjoy the success I had visualized. As time progressed I found that there were more opportunities coming my way, or maybe I just noticed them better. Either way, things had definitely shifted up a gear.

“The mind moves in the direction of our currently dominating thought.” – Earl Nightingale

This NLP coaching technique has massively transformed my life, and my ability to achieve success with my goals and dreams. It’s beautifully simple, yet hugely powerful.

Have you ever practiced NLP techniques? Share your thoughts and beliefs about it below!

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