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This Too Shall Pass

We live in a world where we've been taught, indeed, conditioned to believe that a negative view is likely to equal a realistic result; and that a positive vision is one which translates to an unrealistic outcome. It therefore becomes increasingly difficult to truly believe we can change anything or have any success at all in our lives - because ultimately we're just not that special are we?

Just pause and think about it for a moment - isn't the negative view the one we take more often than not? Isn't it the way we generally speak, write, and communicate?

We're not even out of 2010 yet and most radio press and industry leaders are saying radio is headed for a hard year - 2011 hasn’t even started and we're looking for excuses already.

I find myself writing about this stuff so often, but it's because of the prevalence and depth of 'it' that so much can be focused on it. It’s because 'it' tends to drown and suffocate us all. Too often we become our own sad, self-fulfilling prophets.

It was Henry Ford who said, "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." It's the word 'think' that I really want you to look at.

At the base of most singular or collective failure is negative self-talk or in other words - negative thought.

Negative talk (to oneself or amongst us and our peers) is the very best way to keep your self-esteem (or in this case your radio station) beaten down - regardless of the frequency and volume you use. At any time, frequent or infrequent, via full frontal assault or soft shrug, negative self-talk is insidiously and poisonously destructive - even deadlier when it turns into the spoken or written word.

Many people habitually give themselves negative messages throughout each day as and when things begin to go wrong. They'll say or think things about themselves like 'loser', 'stupid', 'foolish', or 'inadequate'. You can insert your own words here.

It's also true of how we communicate in a group - particularly if things aren't going well and we need to justify our non-performance as opposed to taking responsibility for it.

How many times have you found yourself discussing with your sales colleagues the reasons why you can't sell the radio station (as opposed to why you can)? We all know these conversations intimately: the rates are too high; the format isn't right; the economy is soft; the car dealers haven't got any money; and you can insert your own words here - all these statements prove realistic outcomes - right?

If a parent said "you're a loser", "you're too fat", "you don't speak properly", or "you're worthless" to a child with any frequency, what chance would that child have of building a good sense of themselves - a good foundation of self esteem?

The answer is, none!

If you have witnessed a parent publicly berating a child in this way - wouldn't you concede it was abusive? Some of you may even be compelled to step in, or even contact the authorities to intervene because ultimately it is abuse, and it's unacceptable at any level.

Yet you've been this abusive (and even more) with yourself, haven't you?

And what about your radio station - do you verbally or meditatively abuse it?

Is it any wonder that most of us are less than successful?

Is 2011 going to be a tough year for radio? Nobody actually knows!

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right."

Is it any wonder that our industry suffers in the way it does?

If you don't think this is serious stuff cast your mind back - when was the last time you and the station sales crew sat around the boardroom table and talked about what's great about your radio station? When was the last time you thought to yourself you did a good job? More to the point when was the last time you said to yourself "you're a bit of a loser"? An hour ago? Five minutes ago?

Would you let anyone else abuse you in this way? I don't think so.

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right."

The truth is we're not perfect, everyone makes mistakes, some days we just feel down and everything goes wrong, but the secret is to know how not to buy into the negativity.

I've often used a line I heard long ago…

"God doesn't make junk!" I've said sincerely to salespeople who have been struggling with their self-confidence. "And I don't see any standing in front of me!"

It is the truth isn't it?

The next time you have the urge to put yourself down why don't you try and lift yourself up? Use words in your self-talk like good, strong, intelligent, valid, caring, talented, loving, loved, and substantial. Find your own words and add them to your inner-list. If you have the courage ask someone close to you to write down ten words that they think describe you - I guarantee you'll be surprised.

While they're doing that, perhaps you could sit and write down ten words that positively describe your radio station - I know you'll be surprised.

If you've been meditatively abusive to yourself or verbally abusive about your station (and its staff) than its time you changed.

"I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done." Henry Ford.

Sell without regret

Michael Tate

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