Pay Attention to What You Say After “I Am”

Hand holding I AM name tag card

“You helped me realize, for the first time in my life, I am somebody.”

The woman had a radiance about her as she spoke these words. She had just completed one of my workshops, where she discovered personality strengths she never realized she had, and she wanted to tell her story.

She said, “I’ve always thought of myself as a non-person, and I got treated like a non-person.”

She believed that about herself and dressed accordingly. Her hair, skin, suit, blouse, shoes, and handbag were all the same nondescript color. She said that on several occasions when she had been out for dinner with friends, the waiter took everyone’s order except hers, not noticing that she was at the table.

When she thought of herself as a non-person — guess what — she was treated as a non-person.

As soon as she realized I am somebody, her life dramatically changed.

Begin to notice the power of asking:

What do you say after “I am?”

Are you using words that are positive, life-affirming, supportive, and kind, or are they negative, belittling, and disparaging?

What do you focus on? Words that say I am a non-person or words that express I am somebody?

Which choice will you make?

When Wade decided to pursue an advanced degree, his wife, Ruth, wished he were “still the dumb old school teacher” she had married.

Wade refused to buy into that epithet. He adamantly denied “I am a dumb old school teacher.” He immediately set his focus on affirming, “I am highly intelligent, diligent, conscientious, persistent, and determined.” He did not accept the label, ‘dumb old schoolteacher.’ He earned his doctorate, became a tenured professor in a major university, authored books, and served as a role model to many students during his 30-year career. How different would his life have been if he had permitted the label “dumb old school teacher” to define him?

Think about it.

How often do you take someone’s appellation and make it your own? You don’t have to let that happen!

Don’t allow someone’s negative “you are …” become your “I am …”

Really? Someone’s opinion of you is more important than your own opinion of you?

Awaken to the knowledge that you do not need someone else to define who you are.

Do you not know that you are free to choose what to say after I am?

You have the power to choose to live the life that’s true to you.

Be careful whom you let near your mind.

It’s easy to fall prey to negative thoughts, whether they are yours or someone else’s. It has been estimated that 80 percent of thoughts are negative, and whether that is because of the way the brain is hardwired or because of learned behavior, is an issue for researchers.

The reality is that what you focus on after saying I am affects your attitude and ultimately your behavior and outcomes.

Pay attention to your language.

What you say after I am carries energy.

What you say after I am becomes who you are.

Be careful what you say.

See for yourself how it feels to choose what to say after I am.

Make your own list of 20 affirming I am statements. You can try the following on for size, but all that matters is that you come up with your own list of 20 positive I am statements that are true for you.

Focus on the feeling.

Go ahead and choose what to say after I am!

  • I am a believer, supporter, advocate, devotee, disciple.
  • I am a genius, mastermind, intellect, virtuoso, prodigy.
  • I am a mentor, counselor, guide, teacher, guru, life-long learner.
  • I am smart, skilled, proficient, professional, knowledgeable.
  • I am accomplishing my dream.
  • I am an expert, a whiz, connoisseur, authority, specialist.
  • I am celebrating, rejoicing, partying, reveling, having fun, making merry.
  • I am competent, capable, able, fit, adept.
  • I am confident, self-assured, poised, self-confident, assertive, self-reliant, cool, sure of myself.
  • I am forceful, dynamic, energetic, powerful, determined, insistent.
  • I am grateful, thankful, appreciative, blessed.
  • I am independent, autonomous, free, liberated.
  • I am joyful, light-hearted, jubilant, elated, upbeat.
  • I am motivated to achieve my goal.
  • I am optimistic, hopeful, enthusiastic, buoyant, cheerful.
  • I am ready, complete, organized, geared up.
  • I am relaxed, tranquil, calm, unperturbed, laid-back, easy-going.
  • I am starting fresh, redefining myself.
  • I am successful, notable, thriving, outstanding, acknowledged, booming, extraordinary.
  • I am turning negative statements into positive ones.

There, how was that for you? You have now witnessed the positive effect of consciously choosing what you say after I am.

Let’s face it: For most people, it would have been easier to list negatives!

You have now witnessed the positive effect of consciously choosing what you say after I am. As soon as you pay attention to what you say after I am, you have taken a giant positive step toward Reclaiming the Joy of Teaching!

Whenever negative thoughts pop up after I am, allow it to happen, then use this amazingly simple statement from one of my mentors, Jose Silva, originator of the Silva Method:

“Cancel. Cancel.”

Begin to take notice when you end your I am statement with an error of judgment about yourself.

Immediately say, “Cancel. Cancel.”

What do you say to yourself when you attempt something and do not succeed?

Say “Cancel. Cancel” and follow I am with the words that indicate your success.

Did you not know the answer to a question?

Say “Cancel. Cancel,” and follow I am with words that indicate what you do know.

Whatever the situation, when a negative thought comes up, say “Cancel. Cancel.” Immediately remove that negative thought after I am and replace it with a positive I am thought.

Remember that the brain moves toward what you want, not toward what you don’t want.

Did you ever say you want to lose weight and then turn around and treat yourself to a hot-fudge sundae? Which did you want more? Skinny or hot-fudge?

You know that you must focus on what you do want, rather than on what you don’t want.

You already know what you really want, don’t you? Then use I am statements that lead you to what you want rather than to what you don’t want.

The joy of teaching is just one thought away.

Do you want to Reclaim the Joy of Teaching?

Pay attention to what do you say after I am.

Use the power of “Cancel. Cancel” to replace negative, limiting thoughts after I am, the kind of thoughts that make you fall out of love with teaching.

Yes, “Cancel. Cancel” is a technique that takes some practice to get used to. When you gain the confidence and optimism with this technique, you’ll find that it’s worth the few seconds it takes to “Cancel. Cancel.” negative, limiting thoughts.

Watch what you say after I am, and Reclaim the Joy of Teaching.

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Lynette Relyea thumbnail photoLYNETTE RELYEA
~ The Teacher’s Mentor
~ Speaker
~ Author, Best Selling Book: Reclaim the Joy of Teaching: The 7-Step Guide for Teachers Who Have Lost that Loving Feeling and Want to Fall in Love All Over Again with Teaching