Do you remember Al Franken’s SNL character Stuart Smalley? He was a member of several 12 Step programs. The Smalley character did a show called “Daily Affirmations.” The show always began with affirmations like…
“I am good enough.”
“I am smart enough.”
“I am fun to be with.”
“I am an attractive person.”
“I deserve good things.”
“I am entitled to my share of happiness.”
“I refuse to beat myself up.”
I enjoyed the humor. Franken showed how anything carried to extremes can begin to sound absurd. On the other hand, I’m a fan of affirmations. Rule 6 in my book 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success encourages people to “harness the power of affirmations.”
Affirmations are positive self-talk. They help you fake it ’til you make it. For example, many people have some trepidation when they start a new job. They wonder, “Is this job too much for me? Is it too big of a stretch?” Affirmations can help here. If you tell yourself something like, “I have the necessary skills and the desire to succeed in this job,” several times a day, you’ll begin to believe it. You’ll begin to act as if you’re a success in your new job. Soon, you will be. You will be, because you’ll be willing to learn the skills and do the work necessary to become a success.
Make Yourself a Star
When I opened my consulting and speaking business way back in 1988, I set out to become a star in my field. I liked the star metaphor. One of the first things I did was go to the U.S. Star Registration website. This site lets you name a star. Most people use this site to give an unusual gift. I did it as an affirmation.
I named a star after myself. Once I did that, I could say, “Bud Bilanich is a star,” because Bud Bilanich is a star. Bud Bilanich, the star, is Catalog Number TYC868-1011-1 in the constellation Leo. Bud Bilanich has a Visual Magnitude indicator of 11.2. Right Ascension is 11h 58m 21s. Declination is 11 degrees, 43’ 18”. I have no idea what all that means, except the constellation Leo, which I chose because my birthday is August 14. But I do know one thing for sure. Bud Bilanich is a star!
And I have become a minor star in my field. I have published over 15 books. I am respected enough in the pharma industry that I was offered a position on the Editorial Board of this publication. I have spoken to audiences all around the world. I publish a blog that is so successful, I often have requests from people to pay me for the privilege of writing guest posts.
Would all of this have come true without my star affirmation? Maybe. Probably. But that affirmation really helped me keep going when times got tough. You don’t have to go to the lengths I did to make affirmations work for you. But affirmations help. They are powerful.
Affirmations alone won’t guarantee that you’ll get what you want. You have to do the work. But they will build your confidence and give you the willingness to keep moving forward to the life and career success you want and deserve. Try this—it works; even if Stuart Smalley is a bit of a caricature.