How to Change Your Self Image

Any achievement requires seeing yourself as the kind of person who could do that—even if you’ve never done it before. Whether you want to be a great speaker, an author, a thought leader– it starts on the inside.

For example, back in the late 1990’s I really wanted to write a book but I didn’t see myself as a writer. To me, that meant untold hours of researching, writing, editing, and having good grammar. That just wasn’t me. Yet, I envied people who were authors.

In The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield, he says envy indicates a part of yourself wanting expression. He also says that the more resistance you have to a goal, the more important it is for your life fulfillment.  Damn.

I decide to go to a writer’s conference. I tell people there that I am an author. When they ask to see my book I say it will be ready by November.  To avoid embarrassment, I write the book by November!

Since then I have written 5 books, over 200 articles, a screenplay and 7 plays — all because I now see myself as an author. I also speak on the topic of resistance at writer’s conferences.

Here is a 1 minute fun clip of me speaking at the eWomen Network event entitled The Women and Words Conference. I was talking about the process of writing my book, The Change Artist, an allegorical fiction, and on how to overcome resistance to your creative goals.

Your reality is based on your mental images

According to Dr. Maxwell Maltz in his famous bestseller, Psycho Cybernetics, you act and feel according to the images you hold in your mind. You have certain mental images of your world, yourself and the people around you and you behave as if those were reality. That’s why you may notice that other people can react totally differently to the same situation. If your images are distorted or unrealistic then you are going to have inappropriate responses. In my case, there was no real reason I couldn’t be a writer, other than the fact I’d never done it before. It was an unrealistic self image, since I’ve now proven the opposite.

Think of something you accomplished in your life

Can you remember a time when you believed you couldn’t accomplish something that you have now accomplished? It could be public speaking, writing a book, getting a job, achieving health or fitness, meeting your mate. The list goes on and on. This proves you can change your self image because you have done it before. Now think of something you want to achieve but that you doubt you can accomplish.

An unrealistic self image can block your success

I remember talked to two different people who were chosen to speak at the same event. We’ll call them Ted and Mike. Both had about the same amount of skill level in public speaking and expertise on their topics. Ted saw himself as the kind of person who could learn anything if he just focused on it and practiced enough. Mike saw himself as the kind of person who succumbed to fears easily.

As I expected, Ted did the work to properly prepare and Mike kept procrastinating due to fears. Ted did an excellent job and got invited to speak at several other events. Mike came across as unfocused, unprepared, lost in his head, and nervous. Since then I’ve helped Mike change his self image to be the kind of person who is confident public speaker and now he makes his living in that profession.

Your unconscious mind is impersonal and can be reprogrammed

Dr. Maltz equates your unconscious mind to a servo mechanism that is impersonal and totally responds to directions. It’s like your servant. If you hired servants for your home but didn’t give them any instructions they would probably sit around doing nothing. However, if you told them to polish the silver and launder the clothes, they would do it.

Most people don’t give instructions to their unconscious that will bring them success or they worry about a negative possible future. That is like telling your servants to rob you.   Your unconscious cannot tell the difference between an imagined or real situation, and reacts appropriately to what’s its being given. If you doubt yourself, you will likely attract all the necessary people, situations, and opportunities that ensure failure.

If you can imagine yourself being successful  [despite the circumstances], ignore negative self talk, along with remembering past successes, you can train your unconscious to produce success.

What do you do to program yourself for success?