If you follow me on twitter, you’ve noticed a daily post for the last 5-6 weeks (if you want to see them, go to @realrickarpin on twitter). It started with this one:
Today is the day that matters. Today I will treat others w/ kindness, respond w/ patience and mercy, and above all clothe myself w/ love.
There are others, and I continue to think about and work on them. I thought I’d take a moment to explain these affirmations.
The genesis of doing affirmations in the first place was a combination of advice from my leadership coach and some events in my leadership journey. My leadership coach helped me identify negative self-talk as an issue. I do a lot of thinking, a trait I get from my mom. I dream at night pretty much constantly, often about work or other events in my life. I ruminate on “losses” or setbacks, something I’ve written about before, most recently here: https://rarpin.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/athletes-and-injuries/
I’m sure many of us who do a lot of thinking and self-talk tend towards the negative side of self-talk. So my coach thought I needed to be intentional to balance things out, hence affirmations.
I also had suffered some leadership setbacks, for example discussed here: https://rarpin.wordpress.com/2017/05/29/squeezing-problems/. So I put the two together and started a daily affirmation to focus on what I want to be (a positive look forward) and what I need to work on to be the leader I want to be.
The first affirmation was inspired at the same time by a message I saw at Central Christian Church, also written about in the post cited above. You can see it here: https://www.centralonline.tv/media/subpage/?sid=78&mid=253&vs=teaching
The idea that you can choose what clothes to wear, and you can clothe yourself in kindness, humility, love. One of my common self-talk items is blame, and excuses. This reminds me that it is my choice. My reaction to what happens around me, I own that.
Tangent – at the same time I was reading the book “Extreme Ownership” which I highly recommend and will write a review of it soon. But it contains a similar concept, as a leader everything is your fault that happens within your team. No excuses, extreme ownership.
The other thing I really wanted to capture was the notion of focusing on what is in front of me. Right in front of me. So not yesterday, for sure. No looking back, if I made mistakes yesterday let’s learn from them and move on. But also not too far ahead, so that I miss the moments that matter. So the word “today” seemed really important to me.
Finally the idea of patience and mercy, I am often too quick and not being empathetic, not thinking of others because I am whizzing through the day. So these words resonated as words that would remind me how to behave for the whole day.
If you don’t suffer from negative self-talk, I salute you and maybe this post isn’t that useful. If you do suffer from negative self-talk, you will have to think through your own call to action, how to frame an affirmation that will help you find balance. Hopefully you can get some great advice like I did, or some divine inspiration by seeing a message that was timely or reading a book that resonates. Best of luck, and stick with it. I will write about my other affirmations in future posts.