The above quote, and the title of this Coaching Tip, is attributed to Emile Coué a French psychotherapist (1857 – 1926). Mr. Coué developed a method of autosuggestion which relied on the principle that any idea exclusively occupying the mind turns into reality, although only to the extent that the idea is within the realm of possibility.
W. Clement Stone (1902 – 2002) used the Coué methodology to build a very successful company. Mr. Stone was founder of the Combined Insurance Company, was one of the great philanthropists of the 20th century, and co-author of “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude” and “The Success System That Never Fails.” He started the Combined Insurance Company with $100 borrowed from his grandmother and turned it into a billion dollar enterprise by 1979. It is reported that he had his sales force recite aloud the following affirmations, among others, at the beginning of each day:
“I feel happy; I feel healthy; I feel terrific!”
“Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”
Since the subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between fact and fantasy and since our thoughts determine our actions, is it any wonder that his sales force was successful in building a huge business? Is it any wonder that Mr. Stone lived to be 100 after reciting the above statements thousands of times in his life?
Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, would tell people, “You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting.”
Both of these successful entrepreneurs knew that continuous improvement was the key to personal and business success. There is no improvement without change. For performance and results to improve, people have to improve. It is common for people to want results to improve without having to change or improve themselves. Doing the same things and expecting different results is futile.
In 1972 I heard Charlie “Tremendous” Jones say, “We will be no better five years from now than we are today except for the books we read, the positive messages we listen to, and the people we associate with. What books are you reading; what personal or professional development messages are you listening to; what seminars or workshops are you attending; in what ways are you getting better every day?
If you were to get .003 better every day, you wouldn’t notice, nor would anyone who knows you. And, if you did that every day, at the end of the year you would be twice as good as you are now – with compounding, almost three times better. You, and everyone else, will notice.
- Look at all the things you do on a regular basis and pick one you’d like to improve.
- Determine an action you can take to improve it and take that action.
- Repeat this process every day with the same area as long as needed to make it a habit; then pick a new area to work on.
- Say, “Thank you” when people start noticing your improvement (be patient).
By devoting 10 minutes every day to continuous improvement, you will enjoy over 60 hours of improvement in a year. If you choose to only improve on week days, you will still enjoy over 40 hours of personal improvement. I’m confident you won’t miss what you displace in those minutes.