One of the best parts of my job is the front row seat on life change. I’ve seen discouraged and defeated doctors, just days away from packing it in, go to incredible heights – loving the journey and process as much as the destination.
It’s my job as a coach is to find and fan the spark of success into a roaring fire. What that frequently looks like is assessing where the doctor’s at mentally and emotionally and then laying out a game that takes the doctor to his or her desired goals.
During that game I play three parts: That of a coach, cheerleader and referee. I send in plays from the sidelines, cheer my clients on as they execute the play and make sure they stay “in-bounds.” By “in-bounds” I mean you don’t run a negative conversation on yourself or run the wrong way when adversity shows up.
During the whole process I have a coach, cheerleader and referee conversation with the player (client). It’s what that conversation teaches that’s so fascinating. Let me explain: I noticed that every successful doctor had or developed the same way of communicating. Not only was there a predictable attitude, but topics and phrases as well. Example: Winners start off talking about wins. They aren’t bragging, just excited about their success. Secondly, winners who talk about wins create energy in those conversations and what do you do with energy? That’s right – pick another target or goal and set out to win at that too. Again and again a predictable six-step conversation would appear. Here are the steps:
Wins: This assumes you’re in the game and swinging at the ball. Even tiny wins are wins and they’re where we direct our focus.
Near-term goals: Winning produces energy for the next target, step or project. Near term goals are realistic, require “right now” action and are six weeks out or less.
Action steps: The things you are motivated to do and need to do to reach your near-term goals. There is no success without action. Successful people take action. If you act because the wolf is at the door, that’s
Brainstorming: This is where coach and player put their heads together and strategize.
Problems: Everyone has them, but winners never expect to be problem free, they don’t focus on them and they certainly don’t talk about problems at the top of a coaching call. They don’t stick their heads in the sand, but they aren’t problem focused – they’re solution focused.
Affirmation: A comment of positive projected fact about the future! My favorite is “It’s ALL an adventure!” or “Kickin’ butt and takin’ names.” I never knew what that meant, but I’ve always liked it.
NOW, here’s the fun part: I had a particularly frightened client who obsessed over her problems, wasn’t making much progress and frankly was no fun to talk to. I told her that all of our calls had to follow the successful pattern of wins, near term goals, action steps, brainstorming, THEN the problems and affirmation. I sold the process well and she was up for it.
On our next phone call she dove right into the crisis of the day and started spiraling out of control. “Hey, remember the new protocol?” I asked. She didn’t. I reminded her and required 11 minutes of wins before we talked about anything else. Slowly at first – because she wasn’t very good at talking about wins. Then with more confidence she started listing one positive event after another. Eleven minutes into it she was a new person; excited and ready to set some new near term goals. “My problems don’t seem so bad. I guess I’m really headed in the right direction.”
WOW! This was coaching dynamite! Teach the struggling how to talk like winners and make our coaching calls what amount to a “foreign language lesson.” Like learning a foreign language, this didn’t happen over night or without resistance – old habits die hard, but results were amazing. It wasn’t long before she noticed when she got off target or “backslid” into a bad habit. She liked “the new her” a lot more. Remember this article is about life change. By the way, she added 120-plus visits a week to her practice
Let me summarize: Winners (successful people) have similar thinking patterns that show up in their speech. They are either innate or acquired. Teach yourself to communicate like a winner and success can quickly follow, but remember, if you don’t ACT differently, you’ll get the same results as you always have. WARNING: Steer clear of the pessimists who eagerly relay the next impending disaster. Staying away from them is great advice.
Instead, support the new you by hanging out with people who speak success fluently and demand the same of you. Find groups that share great action-oriented information, set goals, share their wins and engage in a little friendly competition. Here’s to your success!