Popularized back in the ‘60s affirmations are something TONS of coaches, influencers and even psychologists will recommend their clients practice regularly. There’s science to back up the effectiveness of affirmations, too! After 60 years it’s worth asking, can we make affirmations better and the answer is, yes! Instead of a practice of affirmations, a practice of ask-firmations can make this practice even more effective.
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Affirmations are positive phrases or statements used to offset and challenge negative thoughts or beliefs. For those of us caught up in negative self-talk or looking to raise our self-esteem or create a more positive narrative of ourselves affirmations can be incredibly helpful. Research done in the 1980s as well as the last couple of decades shows the positive benefits of affirmations. They help to drive our self-identity and regular, consistent use of affirmations can shift how we think of ourselves. Talk about a powerful tool.
After 60 years of popularity, it is worth exploring if simple affirmations can evolve and if we can level up the results we get from this practice. I first heard of ask-firmations from Coach Machen Macdonald, who joined us on our podcast. If you would like to hear him talk about ask-firmations you can head over to our podcasts here.
Ask-firmations are another way of saying an affirmation. A traditional affirmation likely will have a clear formula of: Visualized and present tense, declarative sentences. For example: Today I am experiencing tremendous gratitude and am drawing my ideal clients to me.
An ask-firmation on the other hand will rephrase this into a question formula: visualized and present tense, interrogative sentences. For example: How can I experience tremendous gratitude today and draw my ideal clients to me?
Coach Machen isn’t the only one talking about ask-firmations, however. In one of my favorite sales books out there – To Sell Is Human, by Daniel H. Pink, Pink mentions the strength of ask-firmations.
Both Coach Machen and Pink establish clear and logical rationale for an ask-firmation instead of an affirmation. Ultimately, affirmations are build me up declarations and ask-firmations are questions. The difference in how our brain reacts to being told vs being asked is immense.
In sales, telling isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not all that effective. The best sales tools use good questions. This is because people respond MUCH BETTER to questions than they do to being told. What’s true about other people is also true about us. Asking ourselves a question about how we are going to make our traditional affirmation happen, does something to our brains. It makes us problem solve!
By asking ourselves a question we are much more likely to try to reason out ways we can achieve our affirmation. If our affirmation is to experience gratitude and draw clients to us, we will start thinking about HOW we can experience gratitude and in what ways can we help our clients find us.
The difference can be startling, and we encourage you to try this methodology out. Run an experiment and see if it’s a change that benefits you.
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