Tag Archives: self-talk

Happy Talk

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”
Philippians 4:8

Point to Ponder:
Do your words tell the story of who you are and how you view life?

Action Item:
Choose a word to eliminate from and/or add to your vocabulary to better portray who you are and how you view life.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

A few days ago, I read an article in SUCCESS Magazine titled “Happy Talk.” The author Patty Onderko, a busy mom who writes from her home in Brooklyn, NY, instantly grabbed my attention with her subtitle: “Why you should–like the song from South Pacific–“keep talk’in’ happy talk.” As I’d hoped, the article was thought provoking, research based and made the important connection between the words we speak and the effects they can have on our overall health and well-being. Clearly, it was “iGnite material” so I thought I would share it with you.  So even if you don’t use social media (which is referenced in the article), I encourage you to read it anyway, as it’s a good reminder that the words we speak about ourselves, as well as how we speak about others and life in general, are either working for us or against us:

You got to the town parade on Sunday and want to share your weekend adventure on Facebook. Which of the following is more likely to be your status update?

A. “I’m loving the marching bands! So blessed to live in this wonderful town!”
B. “Drinking a bottle of beer at the parade. I hate bagpipes!”

It’s no surprise that different people can have vastly different experiences at the same event; or that people who are negative pick up on the downsides, and vice versa. But recent research suggests you pin down someone’s personality traits–and how positive they are–by the words they use on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

Psychologists from the World Well-Being Project (WWBP), part of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, examined 700 millions words, phrases and topics in status updates from 70,000-plus willing Facebook users who also completed a personality test. Participants’ personality traits were plotted on the five-factor model, or Big Five, which measures levels of extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism/emotional stability and openness to experience/intellect. Using computational linguistics, these traits were then matched with distinguishing words and phrases that can effectively predict personality–and hopefully, levels of overall well-being.

Past studies have highlighted the connection between language, personality and health outcomes. Facebook and the like, however, offer a new playing field for computational linguistics. “Before social media, we didn’t have the data size to fully leverage language associated with people in a data-driven fashion,” says H. Andrew Schwartz, lead research scientist at the WWBP. “There are so many words in our vocabulary that it really takes an enormous database to find statistically meaningful patterns.”

The goal, ultimately, is to track the psychological and physical well-being of humans through their language. “Behavior, psychological states and traits, and health manifest themselves so well in language” Schwartz says. Do people whose social media utterances reflect their emotional stability live longer? Are they healthier? Happier? That remains to be seen, and it’s what’s next for WWBP, headed by the famed positive psychologist Martin Seligman, Ph.D, from the University of Pennsylvania.

In the meantime, the “meaningful patterns” that they found can help you convey a more positive online image and possibly boost your outlook.

1) Count your blessings. Did you pick “A”, the first Facebook status? According to your word choices, you are highly agreeable (meaning cooperative, trusting, modest and altruistic), conscientious (thorough, careful, efficient, organized) and emotionally stable. Blessed in the hallmark for all three traits. You’re also likely to be quite extroverted, with most forms of the word love being strongly associated with the trait.

Even if some things about the parade bugged you, choosing to talk about the positive parts can not only alter people’s perception of you, but also your own perception of your experiences, says Todd Kashdan, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA., and author of Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life. He subscribes to the theory that language dictates consciousness. In other words, the more you mention things you like, the more likely you are to focus on those things and find them in your future, which is why, regardless of your religion, the quote from Philippians is good advice.

2) Recognize your themes. Is the second Facebook status more your style? If so, you are probably more extroverted than introverted, Schwartz says. While you may not have loved the parade, the fact that you mentioned a social, community event is evidence enough, according to his research. Introverts don’t write about parties, sports or parades. While you may be extroverted, though, you may not be particularly agreeable. More than that, though, Kashdan advises being aware of what we regularly mention: “The real patterns are seen overtime. The themes you talk and write about most often become your life narrative. If someone were to write a biography of you based on what you talk and write about, would you like it? Would it be accurate? If not, change the way you communicate.

3) Avoid absolutes. Those inthe “B” camp might also score low on emotional stability. Emotionally unstable folk tend to swear and complain more, using phrases such as “I hate”, “so annoying,” “tired of’,” fed up,” and “for once.” Absolute statements such as “I hate bagpipes” or “I am terrible at math” are language traps, Kashdan says. The more you connect the words terrible and math in your conversation, the more wired together the ideas become in your brain. While you may have trouble understanding complex algorithms, you can probably manage your personal budget. But your verbal absolutism may convince you otherwise over time, and your language can have real-life consequences: You begin to believe your repeated “bad-at-math” slogan and avoid balancing your checkbook, leading to late payments or overdrafts.

4) Be inspired. Other words that positive, open, emotionally stable people use are: universe, dream, music, writing, and books. So if you heard about a great band recently, why not share it and talk about it? Talking about new things (if, say, you always post about your kids or your business) opens up your world to expand your opportunities, Kashdan says.

As for new things, talking about new things is great, but doing new things is even better! And so, during the month of July (only one week away) and in the spirit of summer, we will be encouraging you to shake things up and suggesting new things for you to try in iGnite and around the city. After all, and as the article says, “new things open up your world.”

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The Most Powerful Tools We Have (The ‘Antidote for Exhaustion’ Challenge III)

“Your word is the power that you have to create. Your word is the gift that comes directly from God. Your word is a force, it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think and thereby to create the events in your life. Your word is the most powerful tool you have as a human; it is the tool of magic. Depending upon how it is used, your word can set free,
or it can enslave you more than you know.  All of the magic you possess is based on your words.”
– Don Miguel Ruiz

Points to Ponder:
Are you careless with your words?
What things in your life do you do half-heartedly?

Action Item:
Focus this week on being impeccable with your words and always doing your best.
And, if you haven’t already, order your copy of The Four Agreements to read over spring break.


by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Throughout last week I found myself relying on the advice of Don Miguel Ruiz’s two ‘agreements:’ don’t make assumptions and don’t take things personally. It really is amazing how often I need to apply these rules to my life and how much energy they conserve. I was doing a good job until Friday morning, when my father accused me of something that created an exorcist-like reaction in my body. The scenario was this: Tuesday night after putting the kids to sleep, I got a second wind and stayed up too late.  As I was about to go to bed, my three-year-old son Durant woke up and didn’t go back to sleep for another three-ish hours. Needless to say, I got about two hours of sleep. Then the next night, while I did go to bed at a decent hour, Durant and Malaine (my ten-month-old daughter) woke up again in the middle of the night…when it rains it pours, right?! Thankfully, after a diaper change and bottle, Malaine was back to sleep, but not Durant. As you might expect, I was in a sleep deficit and my body was beginning to shut down. By Thursday I had a scratchy throat with mild body aches and by the evening I was feeling pretty rough, but nothing I felt a good night’s rest couldn’t cure.

It just so happened that Thursday night my dad and step-mom spent the night with us. Typically my energy is pretty high, but that night it was low and they were aware of the past two days’ events. So, Friday morning, after a healing night’s rest, my father, whom I adore, put his arm around me and said,  “You know, for someone who has a health and fitness business, you sure don’t do a good job of taking care of yourself.”  He also suggested that my Achilles heels are lack of sleep and stress. It was at that exact moment my head spun around and my eyes bugged out of their sockets. For a minute I was speechless, but not too long afterwards I respectfully disagreed and told him all of the reasons why he was absolutely wrong. I also told him I knew he was coming from a loving place, but that he needed to retract his words. I also suggested that if he were to survey 100 moms with a three-year old and ten month old, who also have a busy traveling husband, they would be stressed too! And, ON TOP OF THAT I AM RUNNING MY OWN BUSINESS!!! Whew. I think you get the picture. Inside I was offended and fuming, which led me to call both my mom and my husband, Russell.

Clearly I took everything my dad said very personally, which led me down a rabbit hole of assumptions… Do I come across like a crazy stressed person and even worse, am I not being impeccable with my words? Do I not walk my talk, as Don Miguel Ruiz suggests is so important? Are my words meaningless? Am I a horrible leader? I’m a horrible mom!, etc. etc. etc.

While replaying by dad’s words and trying to remember that he was only trying to help, it dawned on me that while it might not always look pretty or even appear the healthiest, I can say with confidence that I always do my best, which is one of the four agreements. And, as long as I am doing my best then I can appreciate his concern, but it doesn’t go beyond that. I must also have personal confidence and discernment so I can honestly critique my best, without needing the approval of others, which is what I was shopping for from my mom and Russell.

Don Miguel Ruiz suggests that being Impeccable with your words is the most important of all four agreements, because it is the correct use of your energy; it means to use your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself and others. If you make an agreement with yourself to be impeccable with your words, just with that intention, the truth will manifest through you and clean all of the emotional poison that exists within us. But making this agreement is difficult because we have learned to do precisely the opposite. We have learned to lie and gossip for example, as a habit of communication with others. And more importantly, we have learned to lie to to ourselves, as in telling ourselves we aren’t good enough, thin enough, smart enough, pretty enough or qualified enough, which negatively effects our relationship with ourselves and with others: how we communicate with ourselves is a reflection of how we love ourselves, which gives others permission to treat us exactly the same. It’s the law of attraction.

Finally, by always doing our best, Don Miguel says that it allows the other three agreements (‘don’t take things personally,’ ‘don’t make assumptions,’ and ‘be impeccable with your words’) to become deeply ingrained habits. He also suggests to “keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next, as everything is alive and changing all of the time. Therefore, your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good. But, regardless of of the quality, keep doing your best because doing your best will allow you to be productive and to be good to yourself, because you will be giving yourself to your family, to your community and everything. Doing your best is taking action because you love it, not because you are expecting a reward.”

All in all, life is too short and too precious to not living amazingly. And, by applying the common-sense wisdom and powerful tools from The Four Agreements we optimize our ability to live our best blow-out life. If you haven’t ordered or read the book yet, it’s not too late. The iGnite team is reading it over Spring Break, and it can easily be ordered here on Amazon for less than $8.00. It will be at your doorstep within two days of ordering. The Kindle Edition is available too. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am!



Creating New Possibilities

As the seasons change from winter to spring and the flowers and trees bloom, Mother Nature reminds us of the infinite and continual possibilities that await us today, tomorrow and for the rest of our lives.

“At every point in time, there are infinite possibilities and a parallel reality exists for each possibility, so there are literally infinite branches…”
— the character of Daniel Jackson in the TV series Stargate – Episode: ‘Point Of View’

Action Item:
Recognize the stories you have created about yourself and your life that are not serving you. Create new, exciting possibilities for your life and view of yourself, knowing that you have the power to choose your reality.

By April Black

By April Black

I attend the Landmark Forum last weekend, which was a personal development and education conference. It was a truly unique experience and I am thankful to lululemon athletica for giving me this opportunity. Since last weekend, I have been open to new possibilities and more aware of the life I am creating for myself. Landmark is designed to give you the tools to “live life powerfully and live a life you love.” You learn that you are the only one responsible for your happiness and for your view on any and every situation, including your view about yourself.

This has been my biggest struggle and I am now far more aware of the stories I create about myself and the language I use to think and talk about myself. My reality for a very long time has been that “I am not good enough,” much in line with Amy Younkman’s journal entry, Being Good Enough, just a couple of weeks ago. I have been telling this to myself for years, finding plenty of evidence and living my days knowing this to be true. I’ve fought compliments, never stopped to applaud my accomplishments, and constantly thought about what more I could be doing or what I don’t have, instead of what I DO have. But at the end of the day, I have created that reality… it does not actually exist in space.

Who is the one choosing to believe ‘I’m not good enough’? I am, although I have the power to choose a different story. And why have I been holding on to a story and a reality that makes me feel badly about myself?! It’s because I have really believed it to be true, but I created that reality and have gone forward proving to myself day in and day out that it is true. You will always find evidence to support your view and prove your view to be true.

However, someone else may see me in a completely different light- and to them, their view is just as 100% true as my story and picture of myself. I find this incredibly comforting, as I am surrounded by many inspiring, supportive, and generous people who think the world of me. I trust and love these people, and know they wouldn’t spend time with me and care about me as much as they do if they thought I was a dud! So to them, this is the woman I am – and I much prefer to think of myself that way than the way I have previously created. Is this a challenge for you, too? The Weekly Intention Guide was created to walk you through some brainstorming for yourself if you’d like inspiration.


iGniters work out with compassionate, driven and inspiring people to help us strive for continued growth every day.

You paint your view of yourself and of others…. The paintbrush is in your hands. While this is one area of my life I am opening up new possibilities for how I view myself, this can be done for every facet of your life – your relationship with your parents, children, husband, friends, coworkers, and so on. There are infinite possibilities and stories to be created. You have the power to choose stories that make you feel fulfilled, and live a life you love.

Know that you are already whole, complete, and perfect, and nothing is “wrong” with you. Stop filling your days with thoughts and stories about yourself and your life that don’t serve you. Join me as I work on choosing positive, powerful, and exciting possibilities for my life instead. Paint a beautiful picture of yourself, knowing you could choose something different, but why would you? Use the Weekly Intention Guide to recognize your stories and create new ones. Every day is a blank slate! You are the artist of your life.

Now let’s paint, and never ever stop believing in yourself and loving yourself. This week’s video is a hysterical reminder of what IS possible. Not only is the little darling too young to be able to memorize the inspirational speech (but he does), but listen to his confidence when Ellen asks him if he knows how adorable he is. Oh to have the confidence of a five year old. Enjoy and be prepared to laugh and be amazed!!

JOIN THE DISCUSSION- How do loved ones in your life describe you? Is that different from how you describe yourself?

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“I Can, I Am, I Will, I Do” : The Effects of Self-Talk

Congratulations Gretchen! During the second week of our Journey, Gretchen Huddleston said “I am going to win the first place Monarchs on the Move prize.” Her words became reality on September 22 when she punched her eighteenth hole. Gretchen’s motivation and conviction through words led to a determined spirit. Now she has $100 of Monarch Money and new iGnite shirt to celebrate with. WAY TO GO GRETCHEN! (Second and third place prizes as well as prizes for anyone who gets all eighteen holes punched are still available, so follow Gretchen’s lead and get those holes punched!)


If you do not conquer self you will be conquered by self.
— Napoleon Hill

Action:  Speak, receive and reprogram your brain with words and phrases that support your goals and the life you desire.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Having a coach as a father was great even though there were times when I didn’t appreciate it. My sister and I were the “sons” my father never had, so he raised us to play rough with the boys and stand up for ourselves — even fight with boys if necessary. Despite the occasional annoyance of all-sports-all-the-time talks, I am very thankful because he and my mother built up our confidence with their words. If we ever fell, bumped our heads, or scraped our knees, Dad would make us say out loud “I’m mean and tough” over and over until we stopped crying. Our tears disappeared and our cries turned to smiles. There was magic in those words, and he taught us more powerful chants as we grew.

Mom had magical words too. She boosted our self-esteem with compliments. Even when we absolutely knew we hadn’t done our best, she would tell us how proud of us she was, how well we did and how pretty we were. Words lacking confidence or positivity were not tolerated. “I hope”, “I need”, “I wish”— unacceptable! Instead, we were encouraged to speak in confident phrases such as “I am,” “I will,” and “I do.”  These subconsciously encouraged us to take action.

Looking back, I realize that our parents taught us the power of “self-talk”.  By using words that are positive, confident and convincing, they created programs in our brains that empowered us to believe that we can achieve all things and that nothing is impossible. As I often say, we are products of our past—good or bad—and we are programmed to believe and see ourselves in ways that are not accurate. It is up to us to eliminate self-doubt and believe that we have the power to change and achieve anything. Doing so takes setting an intention and reprogramming our brain with “I am,” “I will,” and “I do” statements:  “I am open minded,” “I am patient,” “I will ask for help when I need it,” “I do love and care for my body,” “I will exercise everyday.”

Another opportunity to reprogram ourselves comes through accepting and believing the compliments we receive. When we reject a compliment, we are essentially saying we aren’t good enough, we don’t deserve kind words, and we don’t want them. We are also denying the complimenter the right to be kind, and sending a negative message into the universe. It’s important that we all speak and accept loving, kind and positive words.

There can be no doubt when setting goals. We must write them down and use persuasive self-talk to achieve them. There should be no uncertainty in your language. Two weeks ago many of you boldly wrote down your goals. During the process, Monarch Patty Huffines shared a past success story. She told us that when she was going through her divorce she was asked to write down what she wanted — with or without a man in her life. She took out a legal pad and wrote down everything she could think of, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Within one year, 80% of what was on her list had been achieved and by the third year, everything was!!! She is living proof that we can create anything we want. Patty has written down a new set of goals and recently spoke excitedly and confidently by saying she KNEW her desires would come true. She has no doubt.  Neither should you!

This week’s video features well-known self-talk expert Dr. Shad Helmstetter and shows the power and positive effect that self-talk can have on your life. When you reflect on your life, will you say “I wish I would have” or “I’m glad I did”?


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