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As a writer, I love words. They are fun to learn and play with, not to mention they are helpful in communicating. And, as it turns out, they are very powerful.

This powerful-ness applies to the words we write, but also to the words we speak (and sing) to others — and to ourselves. That said, I want to share a little about personal mantras: what they are, why they’re powerful, and why you might need one to help you create confidence and consistency in your conversation-and-connection efforts — or in anything else in your life or career.

See if you find this as fascinating as I did when I first read it:

“Research shows that thinking of a word or phrase that affirms your values – and repeating it over and over – produces powerful physiological changes. It can lower cortisol levels, enhance endurance, and reduce perception of effort during physical exertion. Perhaps even more compelling, it can quiet the mind.  (2015 study in Brain & Behavior)…Mantras can create and strengthen new neural pathways that are positive and not toxic.” – Elizabeth Bernstein, from
“One Habit to Make Your Happier Today”, The Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2017

Did I mention that I love mantras?  Both creating them and using them? For example…

Several years ago when I was doing distance cycling, I had several mantras. Some were silent prayers and meditations that kept me calm prior to the long training rides I had to do. (One was simply “Ride your ride.”) Some kept my mind entertained while my body did all the work. (Those were mostly peppy song lyrics from the 70s and 80s.)  Some mantras helped me climb steep hills, which I’m not very good at. (I can’t repeat those mantras here.)  Some just kept me steady and strong overall so I didn’t give up. (“You can do this.”)

For every purpose and challenge, you can create a mantra. Or you can come up with one that you use as an overall theme for your entire life. Take for example the Shakespeare line, “To thine own self be true.” That covers a lot of bases, right?  Another example:  “Every day is a fresh start.” Or my mom’s favorite: “It doesn’t cost a penny to be gracious.”  It’s your mantra. You get to choose it and decide how to use it. You can even change it whenever you feel like it.

Your mantra can be a single powerful word. A string of words. A phrase. A line from a book, movie, or play. An entire poem or song if you wish.

A few tips to create your mantra

  • Think of a challenge, how you want to handle it, and how you’d like to master it and feel when you succeed.
  • Picture a wise mentor or someone you admire. Or picture yourself as older and wiser. What would that person say to you? What would be their advice?
  • What words or phrases seem to resonate with you consistently or make you feel good?
  • Jot your favorite words and phrases down in a notebook or on sticky notes. You can post these on your mirror, wall, window, or bulletin board.
  • Sit with them. Ponder them. Which ones do you come back to over and over again? (Some favorite words of mine include:  Love, Joy, Ease, Grace, Courage, Connection, Faith, and FUN.)
  • What words, phrase, or quote would inspire you to do and be your best and truest self?
  • Which words could help you go where you’ve never gone before?
  • What words or phrases could help you be happier, more fulfilled, and more relaxed?

Work on creating your mantra(s) for your conversation-and-connection efforts or whatever you wish. Let me know how it’s going. I sincerely want to hear about it!

BONUS:  By the way, if you’re a parent, mantras work wonderfully with kids!  Teaching them this secret can change their lives.

In the meantime, why not join the thousands of people who have found their personal conversation-and-connection mantras and lots of other helpful wisdom within the pages of my award-winning books, The Intentional Networker and More Than Just Talk. Both are available on Amazon or with other online book retailers and at BookPeople in Austin, Texas.  Another idea: my books make great gifts that keep on giving.

Thinking this concept would be great for your team at work? Let’s schedule a conversation about how I can create and deliver an engaging and compelling presentation, workshop, webinar, or discussion for your organization. Or be a guest on your podcast.  So many possibilities!  Hey! There’s a great word for a mantra!