Saturday Night Live’s Stuart Smalley made us smile with his use of positive self talk. “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me” was averred by Al Franken as he played this character.

While he found eye contact with his reflection in the mirror, viewers detected a mildly desperate man placing all his hopes of self esteem into this one technique.  His self affirmations ultimately served as easy targets for our jeers.    Those who practice affirmations as a way of creating a vision fulfilled life, know much more than self esteem can be realized and desperation has no place in the practice.   If we want to enhance affirmation skills, unfortunately, Mr. Smalley should not be the model we look to.  Instead, look to the marketing industry.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “We become what we think about all day long.”  If you need proof of Emerson’s insights, just peek at marketing.   Advertisers have long known the secret.  The more people are surrounded with an idea or a product, the more likely they are buy into it.  Need more proof?    A 30 second Super Bowl commercial can bring in over a million dollars.  Companies won’t waste a cool million on tactics that don’t work.  Advertising is still around and still interrupting our television shows because it works! In some form, we do become what we think about, which is why successful vision oriented people surround themselves with the positive outcomes they’d like to attract.

Businesses know advertising is an investment.  So too are affirmations.  Positive self talk allows an individual to invest in their vision, their dream.  Play around with these sentence starters as a way to focus the investment in yourself.

  • I am _____________.

-abundant, happy, certain, successful, prosperous, intelligent

  • Today, I intend to ____________.

-celebrate two successes, come up with a brilliant idea, laugh at myself

  • I  always find ___________.

-loyal clients, supportive colleagues, a new idea when I need it

Should SNL ever bring back Stuart Smalley, we’ll laugh at his self esteem boosting antics, all the while knowing we should do the opposite.  He’ll be our reminder to think big and be open.