Two Simple Words. That Make All of the Difference

I was catching up with a friend of twenty years recently, and she said the most profound statement, “The parent’s ‘you are’ becomes the child’s ‘I am.’”

Of course, I didn’t get it the first time.

“Can you say that again?” I said.

“The parent’s ‘you are’ becomes the child’s ‘I am.’ You know, as we grow up, our parent’s say, ‘You are this and that,’ and we just assume those traits because we believe them. They are our reality. We implicitly believe, ‘I am this and that.’ Our lives begin to tell the story of our parents’ beliefs and words toward us.”

“Ooooh, I hear ya. Tell me more.”

When the parent says, “You are never going to achieve this.” The child grows up and believes, “I am never going to achieve this.” Then, the child fulfills this belief by not achieving things. When the parent says, “You are crazy.” The child grows up to believe, “I am crazy.” Then, the child does crazy things.

As parent of four little people, this foundational process that I have intellectually known for years but had not pondered lately sank in deeply.

What am I telling my little people every day?

What “you are” words am I using?

Do I more naturally speak the negative or the positive?

How can I speak truthful, empowering, and encouraging words to them?

How can I use “you are” sentences to highlight their strengths and to empower them to overcome their weaknesses?

How can I speak life into my little people so they grow up to be thriving, vibrant adults?

We all have days when we are less than our best.  How healing it can be to have someone come alongside us and see us for more than we are at that moment!  It can be so life-giving to have a friend, a boss, a spouse, a parent, or a colleague to remind you of who you really are and of who they believe you will ultimately be.

Michael Hyatt—father of five and purpose & productivity extraordinaire—similarly encourages people in a wonderful blog to simply “lead with positive expectations.”  He recommends, “Don’t look for flaws in people. Look for strengths that you can help build up.”

This powerful concept of speaking words that become reality shapes our environments and our outcomes at work, in our communities, and in our homes.

Ask yourself what “you are” phrases you are using in your relationships.

Are your results in line with your words?

How can you use this powerful relationship hack to tweak the results you are getting?


Christine M. Wilson, Co-Founder of Think Time



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The Downside of Positive Thinking

How could there possibly be a downside to positive thinking?

Isn’t it all…well…positive?

Like, team, yes.



Gabriele Oettingen, Professor of Psychology at NYU, says that positive thinking alone can actually deter you from achieving your dreams.


How can that be?


In the research, people who dream big with unrealistic “positive fantasies” actually perform less well than their peers.

Having high hopes with unrealistic expectations does not improve one’s chances of accomplishing what one desires; instead, it serves to decrease one’s energy toward the goal.

For instance, a student who has a big test and fantasizes positively about doing well on the exam–according to the research–performs less well than her peer who dreams big about doing well on the exam but also takes into consideration what obstacles lie in her way.


Oettingen states, “If you complement these fantasies with what stands in the way then you’ll actually get the energy.  And if these goals are attainable, you’ll really go for it.”

She affirms dreaming about what you really want.  “Noticing your dreams and thinking about what you really want can be the first step in making them a reality.”


What do you do next?

Oettingen recommends identifying “a wish that is very dear to you.”  Then, after you have done this, “Switch gears and ask, ‘What is it in me that stands in the way?'”

Really look the obstacle in the face.

Then, make a plan.


Ask yourself, “If this obstacle occurs, what behavior will I do?”

According to the research, moving through these steps is the best way to move through hurdles to accomplish what matters most to you.

Oettingen’s research demonstrates well the “why” behind the Think Time Life Leadership Process.

The system is four step: “Dream – Decide – Do + Review.”

It moves you through identifying, as Oettingen says, “what is dear to you” on a regular basis and moving these visions into your real life.


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Think Time guides you to dream big and then to confront the obstacles that lie within you–boosting your chances of taking the actual steps necessary to accomplish your goals.

In summary, start with the dream.  Just don’t stop with the dream.

What dreams are near to you today?


Christine Wilson, LPC

Co-Founder of Think Time


Think Time 3DR Program

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