Welcome to the second post in our Positive Priming series. Last month, we defined positive priming and talked about some of its benefits. This month we’re going to be talking about the powerful effects of priming yourself.
Do you want to have more resilience in the face of stress? Do you want to be the can-do person in your organization? Do you want to be a person who bounces back from challenges quickly? Do you want to be a positive role model for colleagues and family? Or do you simply want to be happier? Positive priming can be a very helpful tool in accomplishing all of these goals.
The fact is, if you want to be a highly influential person, positive priming is the key. Learning how to energize yourself before an important or stressful event has far-reaching effects, and can eventually help you to influence and prime others. (Priming others is the topic for next month’s post.)
More and more research is showing that your thoughts affect your mood, your relationships, your wealth, and your health. In fact, everything you experience affects how you will react to the next situation. These occurrences build on the DNA you already have and continue to form who you are.
Consider the experiences you have on a regular basis: What TV do you watch? What books do you read? Who do you hang out with? Other people’s habits rub off on you—for good or for bad. You’ve probably noticed that negative people can bring you down. Why? Because they are priming you to be negative. Humans are incredibly suggestible, so we need to purposely prime ourselves as much as we can to live the way we really want.
Play an Energizing “Inner Movie”
My favorite self-priming tip is playing past successes in your inner movie. When approaching a challenge think about a past success. Play the memories in your mind of the good feedback you received, and what you did best to receive that feedback. The more you use this inner movie, the more powerful it gets.
When I am about to get up and speak on stage I play an inner movie of a speech I gave that I really enjoyed, especially the best moment or two and the praise people gave me afterwards. Then I think of what I most like about my current topic and the group I’m about to speak with. These ways of priming myself boost my confidence, energize me about the speech itself, and enable me to be authentically passionate and build rapport.
Build Your Positive Priming Muscle
Another self-priming tip is to energize yourself every day (at least once). This can be when you first wake up, on the way home, or whenever you feel you most need to be energized. Think back to an accomplishment that has been the most energizing for you. Practice doing this every single day for a month. It works like exercise: building your positive priming muscles. In fact, after doing it everyday for a month there is a part of your brain called the basal ganglia that will kick in. It takes over habits for you and will start to actually run positive priming for you without your having to think about it as often. You still have to nurture it occasionally, but habits like this make it easier and easier to achieve success.
Turn a Negative Into a Positive
Another idea is to recognize areas of your life where you routinely negatively prime yourself (put yourself down, minimize your ability, view a situation pessimistically, etc.) and brainstorm how could you instead positively prime yourself consistently in that situation.
For example, I have some serious physical issues with my shoulders and there’s some potential I may never dance again. This fact brings me down when I think about it. But a while ago, I saw a video of a man with cerebral palsy who creates art with a typewriter. People asked him, “How do you do that? I couldn’t do that, and even though I have increased ability, I still don’t try things like that.” To which this wise man replied, “What can you do?” Wow! This blew me away. So I took question of “What can you do?” and created a sign that I posted over my desk. I see it every day, and I get renewed energy from it when I feel like I can’t do something. It shifts me out of that “I-can’t-do-it” mindset.
What do you do to positively prime yourself? Comment below or connect with me on social media to share some of your ideas and what works for you. I would love to hear about your experiences with priming.
If you’d like to learn more about priming yourself, check out the following links.