“We become what we think about most of the time, and that’s the strangest secret,” the late, great Earl Nightingale said. What are you thinking about most of the time? How often are you thinking strategically about your business, your sales, your clients, your future?

How often do you spend thinking about nonsense? Politics? News? TV? Things that you can’t control?

So much that is happening in THE world is happening in a New York minute. You expect instant response to texts and emails, instant coffee, instant internet, instant service, instant everything – and so do your customers.

The challenge is, how often do you take a few minutes for yourself, to slow down? To stop and THINK? Probably not enough. Or is it NEVER? Yeah, that’s it – never!

I’m sure you would agree that thinking is important, but how often do you schedule time with yourself to think? Time that’s uninterrupted time, time without text or app notifications, time without checking Snapchat or Facebook, or Instagram, time in silence and solitude to think?

ACTION: Make the time. Schedule the time. And document your thoughts and ideas.

The prospect often says, “I want to think about it,” but the paradox is you may not have thought about it.

You and your customers want answers right away.
You and your customers expect answers right away. But, it’s OK to say, “let me think about it,” as long as you mean it, and will take the time to think it through.

Thinking takes practice.
How often are you spending time doing nothing else but thinking?
Did you learn how to think in grade school or did they just make you memorize?
Most people learned to memorize, and thinking is an acquired skill for many. But the more you think, the better at it you will become.

Here’s how to maximize your effectiveness

  • Schedule time on your calendar. Aim for the same time every day and make it a routine. Make this time with yourself sacred – let nothing get in the way.
  • Clear your head before you begin. I have been using a meditation app called headspace for the past three weeks and find that my ideas are exploding after I slow down and rest my mind.
  • Drain your brain before you begin. Let go of any negativity that may exist. It’s hard to be creative when you have negative thoughts in the background.
  • Be TOTALLY alone. Remove distractions. Turn your phone on silent and put it face down on the table. Forget the alerts. Pretty much anything can wait 20 minutes. No Google, no texting, no Angry Birds. Seriously! If you’re concentrating on shooting the bird – “You become what you think about.” Think about that one.
  • Play music or background noise. It helps you tune out everything else. Classical on low volume is best. Or any music without words.
  • Create a peaceful thinking place. Your thinking place should be open and inspiring. Aim for greenery and natural sunlight. Create an inspiring place so you can let your thoughts wander. Environment is important but just doing it is more important.
  • Try 15 minutes a day. You don’t become thoughtful and self-empowering in a day. It takes days, months and years. But it starts with a day. Invest 15 minutes a day (minimum!) thinking for yourself. As it gets easier and you see it become fruitful, increase this time each day.
  • Write ideas down. The minute you get a thought or idea, write it down. Create a thought file and flesh out your ideas on paper (or a word document). They key is to save your thoughts and document your ideas.

So now that I’ve got you thinking about thinking, what’s your plan to START?

  • When are you going to think?
  • Where are you going to think?
  • Got it scheduled?
  • What are you going to do with your thoughts?
  • What kind of action will you take?

CAUTION: If you’re thinking, “now is not the right time to start,” there’s a reason. It’s likely your brain is blocked or distracted. Write down what’s bothering you or holding you back from focusing on yourself and thinking creatively.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with negative thoughts. The answer is: Take a step back and see thoughts (both positive and negative) with more mental clarity. It will reduce fear and worry.

REALITY: What you think about is a choice. And the attitude you bring to thinking is a choice. Positive input leads to positive outcome.

Take a note from the Little Engine That Could: THINK YOU CAN! The power of positive thinking and hard work will pay off.

I think you can, I think you can.

Jennifer Gluckow blogs regularly at Sales In A New York Minute.

©2017 Jennifer Gluckow and Sales in a New York Minute.