By “product”–I don’t mean something you sell.
By “product”, I’m talking about YOU.
Judith Viorst said, Demanding that people love us because we cannot love ourselves is an iron-clad guarantee of further rejection.
Let me tell you a story.
One early dawn, I woke terrified that I was going to address a crowd of ten thousand people. No, the size didn’t bother me. I was used to speaking to large crowds. What bothered me was that the organizers wanted me to speak in pure Tagalog.
I’m ashamed to say this, but they could have asked me to speak in ancient Greek, and it would have been almost the same. Yes, I spoke Tagalog conversationally, but I suck at it. (Why? Long story: My family migrated to Cebu when I was one year old. So as a kid, I grew up speaking English and Cebuano, not Tagalog. But we transferred back to Manila when I was 8, so I forgot my Cebuano–but growing up, I had such a hard time speaking in Tagalog, I just ended up speaking in English.)
Boy, was I petrified that day.
But as a public speaker, I also knew that it would be a complete disaster to go up the stage in the state of mind I was in. If I stood in front of them doubting my ability, I’d never be able to impart my message. I’d stutter, fumble with the microphone wire, and drown in my own sweat. And my audience would fall asleep.
I knew this rule: If I won’t believe in my product, no one else will…
So I closed my eyes and began to imagine myself giving thatTagalog talk with awesome fluency. I pictured in my mind the audience being inspired and moved by my stories. My visualizing worked so well, I was even feeling the inner elation of speaking well. I mentally told myself, “Gosh, you’re a great Tagalog speaker, Bo.”
I then prayed and believed that this would be my reality.
A few minutes later, I was on stage. And my vision did become reality!
I was more dynamic than usual. Ten thousand people were at the edge of their seats, listening to me. More importantly, I found myself fluent in Tagalog. Sure, I made a LOT of grammatical mistakes. (Only practice can cure that one.) But the important thing was that I wasn’t distracted by them and so weren’t my listeners.
Why? Along the way, I’ve learned a secret about our minds I want to share with you. Our subconscious doesn’t know the difference between what we experience and what we vividly imagine. As Richard Eyre would say in his book, Lifebalance, “Our subconscious doesn’t know the difference between something that happens and something that is thought.”
That’s why Olympic champions use visualization exercises. Before the actual event, runners imagine themselves crossing the finish line. Swimmers feel what it would be like to be the first one to touch the swimming pool tiles at the end of their race. Weightlifters visualize themselves carrying the heaviest poundage ever.
They repeat these visualizations thousands of times.
So why can’t we?
I believe that no matter what job we hold, we are in the business of selling something. As employees, we are selling our services to our companies. As entrepreneurs, we are selling goods we either manufactured or bought from another entrepreneur. But these things–our services and our goods–are but secondary products.
Our most important product is ourselves.
Close your eyes. Visualize that you are the masterpiece of this universe, fashioned by the Creator, in His beautiful image.
Do you believe in your product? In your capacity to serve and bless others?
Do a visualization exercise. Close your eyes and picture the best that you can be. What kind of person do you want to be? See that person in your mind. Feel what it means to be that person, now.
Believe in your product.
May your dreams come true,
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