The Simple, Impactful Strategy That Helped Me Change My Life
I went thru my rebellious phase in middle school.
I never gave much thought to anything but being with my friends and having fun. My friends were having fun by getting in trouble and I started to go down that road, too. However, I had a mom who really loves me and she put me in private school.
I HATED IT.
Back then, I didn’t see how much of a blessing it really was. Now that I’m older and a mom, I do.
Isolated from my friends, I had time to get back to what I really love, learning. I didn’t want to talk to any of the kids at the private school, so I read a lot. I figured if I had a nose in my book, they’d get the picture and not try to talk to me. It worked. I read a lot of books during that time. Now don’t get me wrong -- I still got in trouble at school, but overall I was heading in the right direction.
I was in ninth grade when I realized I really wanted to do something with my life. Something inside of me clicked and said, “Hey, I want to see the world. I want to see how far I can go.” As a result, even though I started out at a public high school, I went back to the private school. I felt like it was in my best interest. I could tell my mom was surprised by my decision, but she supported it.
At the private school, I took trigonometry (do they even offer trig anymore?). Since I had transferred in the middle of the school year and each school had a different structure, I was behind in some of my classes, especially trigonometry. One day during class my teacher, Mr. Wyatt, called on me. I didn’t know what was going on, so I tried to laugh off the fact that I was completely lost. He asked to see me in his office after class.
“Great,” I thought. “I barely been back at this school and I’m already gettin’ in trouble.”
Mr. Wyatt was surprisingly very encouraging and taught me something I’ve never forgotten. “LaTisha, you’re smart. You’re gonna get this. However, you have to be careful with the words you speak because they have power. When you say that you can’t do something, you’re right and you’ll continue to be right. The Bible says that the tongue has the power of life and death. It’s true. So don’t make a joke about not knowing. You can do this.”
It was the first time I ever heard such a way of thinking and I never made fun of myself again. People hide behind self-deprecating humor because they don’t want to risk being made fun of by others. I’m grateful Mr. Wyatt taught me this back then because it set me on a path of success.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again -- the simple, most impactful strategy that you can implement if you want to create the life of your dreams is to change your mindset: the thoughts that you think, and the words you speak.
If I could only teach one thing to you, it would be this -- you are the creator of your own life. It starts with the thoughts you’re thinking. If your life isn’t how you would like for it to be, examine what thoughts have been floating around in your mind. I bet you'll find that some of them you’re probably not even aware are there.
The beautiful thing is that YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS AT ANYTIME. I am forever talking about Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life because it has changed my life. One of the things Louise is adamant about is the fact that your power comes from the fact that you are the only thinker in your mind. Even if you think you have no power in your life, you are 100% in control of the thoughts you think and the ones you choose to entertain.
Although I had a rocky start, I turned it all around. I graduated from high school 6th in class. I went to college on a full ride, had a successful career in Latin music, reinvented my life when it fell apart, got my MBA from Rice University (the Harvard of the South), worked for two years in Corporate Finance, became a Master Life Coach and yoga teacher, became a mother, and now I’m here teaching others how to live the life of their dreams. Talk about a run-on sentence, boo!
So how did I get from middle school misfit to MBA Master Life Coach Maven? Here’s the simple, impactful strategy that I used to create the life of my dreams and continue to use to this day:
1) I became aware.
Of my thoughts, my words, my actions. I realized that I was the only factor in my life that I could control, so I was gonna be the best I could be.
My first step was to take an honest inventory of where I was in my life.
I made the connection between the thoughts I was thinking and what I seeing in my life. Nothing changed on the outside and yet everything changed because my inside changed. I started to see possibility everywhere. Instead of complaining, I put my head down and started working. My prayer became, “God, give me the chance. I promise I will do the work. I just want the opportunity. Show me where to go and make it so that I don’t miss what you’re telling me.”
People underestimate the importance of awareness. You CAN’T change something you don’t even know is there.
2) I became vigilant with my thoughts and my words.
If I didn’t want it to happen, I didn’t speak it. I am a firm believer that what we think about, we bring about.
If there’s a problem, I immediately go into solution seeking mode. Many people just complain about the problem, instead of using that energy to find solutions or people who can help them solve their quagmire.
This was really hard for me when I was around my friends and family. It’s still a point of tension today. “Oh, LaTisha, you’re so serious. You should lighten up.”
Huh? Are you serious? FOH with that BS. (Yes, I cuss a lot in my real life.)
Mr. Wyatt showed me the power of the tongue.
Hafiz said, “The words you speak become house you live in.” I want to live in a mansion. I want to live my best life and I know in my soul that it starts with the thoughts I’m thinking and the words I’m speaking. I want to speak life. Get away from me with that death shit. Real talk.
Here’s your new best practice: imagine that everything you think and say will come true. How will you change the thoughts you think and words you speak knowing this is true?
Self-deprecating humor is a way of hiding. Negative thinking is a way of talking yourself out of your blessings. The words you speak have tremendous power. Just look at your life now.
Want to see where you’re going? Find out what’s going on with your internal dialogue and the words you’ve been speaking out loud. Are you exuding expansion or contraction?
The reality is that we are all facing challenges in our lives -- lack of resources, debt, haters, health issues, etc. Why add ourselves to the list of things that we are facing?
Nah, boo. It’s like that quote,
Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
Every thought, every word is important. Take yourself seriously.
3) I became compassionate.
I had been my own enemy for so long. Everytime I failed (and I failed a lot), I’d hear the words of every person who ever hated on me, spoke ill of me, and said I’d never be anything. I’d go down that rabbit hole and just be down on myself. It discouraged me and made me want to give up. “Why even try? It ain’t gon do no good. This is who I am. It’ll never change.”
Once I became aware of this pattern of thinking, I started to cultivate compassion for myself. “Hey, you’re doing the best you can. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Do your best and God will do what you can’t.”
Even now, when I realize I’m being mean to myself mentally, I acknowledge what I’m trying to do and I honor it. I have become good at giving myself a pep talk. I know that I have to be my own best friend in order to see what I believe.
I still have days where I fail and I figure it’s just an opportunity to be even more tender and compassionate with myself.
4) I became resilient.
Like Cardi B, my mantra is “Knock me down 9 times, but I get up 10.” It’s okay to fall down. It’s not okay to stay down. In every situation, there is a blessing, a lesson, and love. Our job to become aware of them, seek them, and cultivate them.
I love that quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that says, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.” This means that, no matter what, I gotta go for what’s in my heart.
I’m very fortunate to have learned this simple strategy at an early age in my life. Even when I find myself deviating from this core belief of mine (which I do, from time to time, because life is hard and it’s real out there), I know that I have the power to change my life because I am the author of my story. I always come back to this strategy to set me on the right path.
Now it’s your turn. Comment below and let me know how you can implement this strategy into your life and one action step you’ll take starting now.
I’m cheering for you. Like you’re winning a book reading contest.
From the Front Row,