This article originally appeared in Inc.
The Law of Attraction–the belief that positive thoughts attract positive outcomes while negativity begets negative outcomes–has gotten a lot of attention in recent years. Some people don’t believe it exists, while others swear by its effectiveness. Whichever camp you’re in, there are lessons business leaders can learn from its core message. And, these lessons can help you in both your personal and professional life.
As a business coach, I often see leaders who miss opportunities by attracting the wrong things to their business because of too much negative thinking. Their companies are at risk of failing because their leaders have not incorporated the Law of Attraction into their everyday thoughts and actions.
Some of the biggest successes in business, politics, sports and entertainment credit the Law of Attraction and visualization for their success. As legendary basketball player Michael Jordan once put it, “You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” As a business leader, you have to envision yourself in the place you want to bebefore you can get there.
Here are five steps to put the Law of Attraction to work for you, your company, employees and clients.
There’s one question every business leader must answer: What do I truly want? You need to be specific about what you want so you can figure out how to get there. Do you want to find your next great hire? Do you want to grow your business 20 percent by year-end? Hyper-focusing your mind on the answer to that question will set you on a course to consciously and subconsciously make things happen. Then you can set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound) so you and your team members will know exactly what you’re aiming to achieve.
Each of us has a voice in our head. Self-talk is something we do throughout the day. Like the proverbial angel or devil on our shoulder, that voice can be either positive or negative.Think about the number of times you criticize yourself each day. You’d be surprised how often it happens, and how destructive that kind of talk can be.
A negative internal monologue puts focus on negative thoughts and will make them grow. The Law of Attraction asserts that whatever you give focus will grow, and an essential step in feeding positive thoughts is gratitude. When you feel yourself going toward the negative, think of specific things you are grateful for to reset your thought process in a positive manner.
Mastering positive self-talk and making gratitude a daily focus will keep you confident and motivated and put you and your team on a trajectory for success–instead of mired in the worry of what could go wrong.
Business leaders should use language that affirms positive outcomes. Think about the subtle difference between the words “I am” and “I will be.” The former puts you in the mindset of already achieving what you want, while the latter implies something you will do in the future. Be mindful of how you express yourself. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali is famous for saying, among other phrases, “I am the greatest!” I’m confident that you’ll agree: “I will be the greatest” just doesn’t pack the same punch.
Visualization is one of the most essential tools in every leadership toolkit. To gain maximum benefit, you must make your visualization as realistic as possible. Athletes have been successfully using visualization for years in their training. A golfer may visualize the perfect chip shot or a basketball player the ideal process for making a free throw.
Visualization allows you to envision how you will successfully navigate business challenges and opportunities. It can be as simple as closing your eyes and imagining–in as much detail as possible–the upcoming steps you must take to achieve success. It can be as brief as a few minutes or as long as necessary to complete the mental picture of what you want to accomplish. Mornings and evenings are the best visualization times because that’s when we tend to be the most relaxed.
Enlist others to hold you accountable for what you’ve committed to do. You’ve followed all the steps outlined above, so don’t keep it to yourself. The more people you’ve got pulling for you–and keeping you accountable–the better. When you invite team members to hold you accountable, you are giving them a unique opportunity to see your thought process and how you visualize success. Let them know what you’re working to attract, and you’ll receive the support you need to achieve your next goal.
Whether you believe in the Law of Attraction or not, telling others about your goals is a win-win proposition. By turning these five steps into habits, you give others the opportunity to help build your company and team–and tap into a new way of thinking that will benefit you both professionally and personally.