123rf35644994 smallI am always looking for ways to live up to my potential and over the years I have been introduced to many ways to examine and apply the power of our thoughts. Earl Nightingale determined in the late ’50s that we become what we think about most of the time; his insight became known as the “Strangest Secret.”

Although this principle is true, I wasn’t taking ownership of it on a regular basis. I failed to make it second nature and my habitual thought process and [quotes]this stalled my career almost completely; I knew I was “under living” [/quotes] and set out to do something about it.

On my quest to no longer “under live,” I enrolled in the Investment In Excellence for the ’90s (IIE for the 90s) program by Lou Tice. He introduced me to [quotes]a simple and easy way to understand and leverage seemingly complex psychological principles[/quotes] and concepts which enabled me to begin my progress toward realizing my life’s potential.

Comparing the “Strangest Secret” – where our success is determined by the thoughts we have in our daily lives – to IIE for the 90’s, the difference I’ve found within myself was IIE brought simpler and easier ways to manage and control my thoughts.

Effort and time required

It gave me effective ways to change my thoughts therefore my results, sometimes in an instant but more often than not, through a continuous process. Why is that? It’s because paying attention to our thoughts and controlling them is simple to understand but not always easy or quick to do. It takes a conscious effort over a period of three weeks to three months to change and for the “new you” to show up. Let me tell you, [quotesright]it’s worth all of the effort, energy and conscious thought that it takes. [/quotesright]

Here’s an example of how I used that and other principles I learned from IIE. As a hockey goalie I wanted to reduce my goals against average and I wanted to improve my golf score (who doesn’t?). Concepts and principles from IIE amazingly helped my ability to stop pucks.

I was introduced to another powerful mindset principle on being clear about “WHAT” you want and “WHY” you want it. Napoleon Hill, a legendary pioneer in the field of self-improvement, talks about the same thing, of having a Burning Desire. [quotesright]Most of us don’t have a clue about the huge role that concept plays[/quotesright] in keeping us stuck where we are. Understanding its power gives you that slight edge, the difference maker that will break you free and focus you on changing your life for the better. [quotes]This is a critical point: don’t get stuck on the “HOW”[/quotes] you are going to do it in the early stages of setting the goal/s and the results you want. The “How” will almost magically appear once you know with crystal clarity exactly what you want and why you want it.

From personal to professional

Here’s another example from my life that I’d to share. There came a point in my life where I had no clear specific goals and was definitely what Zig Ziglar called “a wondering generality and not a meaningful specific.” I was stuck in a place of huge dissatisfaction. I knew the principles, but I’d only applied the What and Why principle to fun personal things; I hadn’t used it to earn more money, improve my career or anything that would make my professional life better in the long run.

So with the burning desire to improve my professional status and break free from being a wage slave, I thought to myself: “I need to prove that this IIE for the 90’s stuff would work in areas that really mattered, like being totally responsible for my results.” [quotesright]I decided that I wanted to run my own business, [/quotesright] that was my What and Why.

Here is how that played out. I signed a new client who had a computer program for directional oil and gas drilling. I needed a laptop with certain specifications to work with my new client. The specifications that I was looking for was a spreadsheet, a word processor, a high-end display and – oh yeah – I wanted all of this for free. I had zero budget. I used this as a case study to test if [quotes]knowing my What & Why and Stifle the How[/quotes] would work.

When I met people, new or old acquaintances, I’d always solicit their help in my quest for a free laptop with the specifications I needed. Sometimes I would get laughed at and get comments like, “Are you crazy? You can’t have all of that for free!” Other times, I would be offered help. My first success was when I was offered the use of a laptop when the owner didn’t need it. Unfortunately, more often than not it turned out that we both needed it at the same time.

I had to refine the result I was looking for and be more specific about that laptop. [quotesright]My What became clearer. [/quotesright] In addition to the word processor, spread sheet, and HD screen, I also added it had to be available 7-24. Keep in mind: I had no budget whatsoever.

I continued my quest. Whenever I met some I asked if they could help me. Again, I was laughed at by some but more often, it piqued others’ interest and support. I had planted seeds in the minds of many people. [quotes]But the ideas were lodged within their RAS. What’s that?[/quotes] The RAS is another of those complex psychological principles that Lou made easy to assimilate.

Work with your brain

The RAS, the Reticular Activator System within our brain is a net-like group of neurons that filters things out that are unimportant and makes us heighten our awareness of things that are important to us. Example: When you get interested in a new car, you start seeing the ones you’re thinking about everywhere. That’s why having clear, specific, emotionally-packed goals and desired end results is so important. You start spotting things related to your goals like you spot new cars.

Continuing with my mission of getting a laptop for nothing, I was offered up another laptop. Alas, it wasn’t what I needed either. It did have almost all of the attributes that I had asked for, so that in itself was a success of sorts, but the thing is (I’m dating myself here) it was DOS – OS. I hadn’t thought of specifying that I needed a Windows-based laptop. Well guess what I did? I refined my specs to include that it had to be a Windows-based laptop.

Amazingly, I arrived at the goal that I had set. I had a laptop with everything that I was I looking for and within my “zero” budget. [quotesright]This Lou Tice, Napoleon Hill stuff really works – not just in life but in business! [/quotesright] The key was being committed to my desired outcome and not buying into the “Nay Sayers.” Each so-called failure gave me what I needed to learn, adapt, and get specific about. [quotes]The HOW took care of itself. [/quotes]

[quotesright]Why is this relevant to you? [/quotesright] I wouldn’t have started on the path if I had not applied those powerful principles and I would never have bought out my client. Today, I own the software and sell it to directional drillers all over the globe. Moreover, those principles helped me creatively find a way to have the software program rewritten in a way that works on Windows systems from Win XP to Win 10  – without mortgaging my house or using my money to get the job done!

Knowing the power of the “What & Why and Stifle the How” principle led me to do what really made my heart sing. I knew I loved to help people succeed and prosper but I didn’t know how to do that in many cases so I resolved to fix that deficiency.

Business coach benefits

That clarity lead me to become a certified business coach, which filled in a couple of voids. Coaching gave me proven strategies and methods to effect change. New training programs we now have available enable me to do even more of what I love. Today, I am happily facilitating training programs in a variety areas of business, athletics, sales, and leadership.

My new skills and systems give me more tools like personal assessments, that let me help people take charge of their lives as I learned to do and stop “under living.”

I’ll leave you with a couple of parting thoughts to help you change your future.

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Lastly, two books that will make a huge difference in your success:

  1. “Smart Talk,” by Lou Tice
  2. “Slight Edge,” by Jeff Olson

- by Coach Phil Gilkes