Shane Kempton: Flicking the switch on your internal technology

In part one of this two-part feature, Shane Kempton explored why we feel flat after achieving our goals. In part-two, Shane shares how to flick the switch, turning on our body’s internal technology.

OK, so we know from part one that our central nervous system is the main driver for everything we experience in life; sensations, perceptions, thoughts, emotions and behaviours.

The way we experience these is via the brain/body language of neurotransmitters and hormones.

Finally, we learnt that not only does the brain control the body, but the body can control the brain and influence the way we think.

By being proactive and harnessing the power of our central nervous system and our brain/body connection, we have at our disposal a ‘potent internal technology’ that undoubtedly has the most impact on our success, happiness and fulfilment.

All we need to do now is ‘flick the switch’ on this potent system.

That switch is your ‘personal leadership’ and how you apply it to these three key levers.

Lever 1: your self-talk

Your self-talk is a power lever to switching on this super powerful, internal technology.

Importantly, the type of language you use, either positive or negative, will determine if this internal technology moves you closer to your ideal life and best self, or further away.

From personal experience and from witnessing many coaching clients in their darkest times, we know negative thinking and self-talk work as powerful influencers on our state of mind.

The more we think negative, the more likely we are going to experience life negatively.

I would say that our negative thinking is our greatest enemy.

The power of negative thinking is backed by research from Christine Porath and Harvard University.

They discovered that negative thinking is four to seven times more influential on our state compared to positive thinking.

They also added that when we say our thoughts aloud, they are 10 times more likely to impact our state and, therefore, our behaviours, compared to not speaking those thoughts out loud. 

So, when we speak our negative thoughts aloud, those words are 40 to 70 times more likely to adversely influence our state of mind, behaviours and emotions.

Therefore, we must be mindful of our self-talk and proactively choose the language that best serves us.

The elite soldiers, professional athletes and high performers we referenced in part one apply their personal leadership by using self-talk words and language that acknowledges and rewards the fact that they are competing, showing up, putting in the effort and striving to be their best in every moment.

It’s never negative language like “I’m not good enough” or, “Everyone is more skilled than me”, but rather smart neurolinguistic language like; “Although I’m not there YET, I’m on track”.

Or perhaps, “Although you haven’t finished your workout YET, good job for getting up today at 5am to go to the gym”, and, “We haven’t made 30 calls YET, however nice job on making your first prospecting call today”.

The “YET” in all those phrases is the key. It keeps things real.

They acknowledge that although they haven’t arrived (Lag Measure), they are on track and doing the right actions (Lead Measures) to get there.

They are proactively rewarding themselves for the effort they are making through their internal conversation.

The beautiful side effect of this means they don’t survive or thrive on other people’s external opinions, but rather their own approval and inspiration. 

Warning: In Carol Dweck’s outstanding and must-read book Mindset, she emphasised the importance of the word ‘yet’ and its relevance to having a “growth mindset”.

She also warned of having a “false growth mindset”.

That is when we are incorrectly rewarding ourselves for the wrong or no effort.

Telling yourself, “Good job”, or you are, “On track” when you didn’t make any effort that moved you closer to your ideal life keeps you stuck and what Carol defines as the “fixed mindset”.

Lever 2: compelling vision

A key influence on your self-talk is whether or not you have an exciting and compelling vision for the future.

Again, from personal experience and many of my coaching clients who feel like they are in a rut often don’t have anything to look forward to.

If you believe your best days are behind you, your self-talk language is most likely going to be negative and comprise words or phrases of defeat like, “I’ll never be that strong again”, or “I’ll never fit into those jeans again”, or “I’m too old to learn this technology stuff”.

Creating a compelling vision for the future takes personal leadership.

You have to make the time to learn what’s possible, to get out of your comfort zone, to seek the help you may need and the discipline to do the work.

I have absolute belief that our best days are ahead of us, no matter what stage of career or life we are at.

It’s not going to be the same as it was last year, five years or even 10 years ago.

It will be different, but different doesn’t have to mean less than.

Your best days will be relevant to your stage of life, but you have to strive for it.

You will need a mental picture of what that looks like.

Think about what your best self could look like in 12 months if you started today to prioritise your health, your wealth and your relationships.

Now create a vision around that. Does it excite you?

If not, you are not thinking big enough. If it does, use that compelling vision to drive your language and behaviours.

Lever 3: your world view

This may be the last lever, but it has a huge impact and influence on the first two.

How do you see the world? How do you see yourself in it?

You may not have thought of these big questions, but we all have a belief system and filter that drives our behaviour.

We live in a cause and effect world.

For effect or outcome, there is something that caused it.

In simple terms, I don’t buy into the ‘suddenly’ myth. Things don’t suddenly happen.

There were lead up events or behaviours that caused the outcome. 

As an example, I didn’t suddenly put on 5kg.

It was due to poor diet choices and a lack of exercise.

Likewise, I didn’t suddenly lose those extra kilos.

It was a decision to change my mindset about my food and lifestyle choices and aligned daily disciplines over the past 12 months that caused it. 

Right now, you can use your personal leadership and choose to believe that you want to live at the cause level of your life.

You can take ownership and responsibility of every experience and choose to be proactive rather than reactive.

When you live your life this way, you have ownership over it.

This is empowering, as you are now the driver, the conductor and the architect of your life.

Through your personal leadership, you have flicked the switch.

You are now living at the cause level of your life, and you are proactively choosing to believe that your best days are ahead of you.

You have a clear vision of what that looks like, and that excites you.

As you are using positive self-talk that acknowledges that, although you are not there YET, you are doing the actions and on track to achieving this vision, your central nervous system is firing in your favour and feeding you all the grit, motivation and power you need to succeed. 

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Shane Kempton

Shane Kempton is the CEO of Harcourts WA and the network high performance coach.