You are ALWAYS telling yourself stories…
Have you ever used the phrase “hard-earned money”?
If so, what were you actually saying about money? That it is hard to earn? That it’s hard to come by? How do you think that belief manifests itself in your life?
And yet, as you used it, I’ll bet you didn’t even think of that. I’ll bet you were so consumed by the other part of whatever you were saying that this meaning slipped under your radar.
As-in, “If I’m going to invest my hard-earned money in this, it better be worth it!”
When you say that, you’re talking about the investment and the item, but you’re also reinforcing to yourself (and whomever you’re talking to) that the money is hard-earned.
What if you simply removed the metaphor? What if you said, “If I’m going to invest in this, it better be worth it!”
Or perhaps flip it with an empowering metaphor, “I’m glad that money comes to me in such abundance that it’s easy to invest in this.”
Your language is FULL of these little stories and metaphors…
There’s a book called Clean Language, by Wendy Sullivan and Judy Rees that goes deep into how these metaphors show up in our everyday language.
AND, specifically, how to use language with care and precision to avoid injecting accidental meaning into what you say (or write!), as well as changing your life by changing your language.
As a reader of Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, this is important to understand from two angles…
— First, from a marketing perspective…
— And second, from a personal development perspective…
Let’s look at each.
How to intentionally use metaphors in marketing and persuasion…
Let’s keep talking about “hard-earned money” because that’s a very common and powerful metaphor.
If I’m talking to someone about saving money or avoiding financial loss, I’m going to readily tap into the power and meaning of the phrase, “hard-earned money.”
So I might say…
“You have every right to claim these tax savings — it’s your hard-earned money after all.”
“You can’t afford to risk your hard-earned money on speculative investments.”
“Let me show you how to protect your hard-earned retirement savings from the next market crash.”
You can also tap into the power of this metaphor less directly…
“You worked hard, saved hard, and now you’re ready for a comfortable retirement. Don’t let the games played by Wall Street put that at risk.”
And so on…
But when it comes time to ask the prospect for money, I want to AVOID any idea that money is hard to come by.
“This is just $49 today. Considering just one idea from this could make you thousands — with practically no effort — that’s an absolute steal.”
“The $1,000 you invest in this today could easily be returned to you tenfold with just one client.”
“The price for the next year is just $249. Considering you can’t even get your daily cup of coffee for $1 anymore, that’s an absolute bargain.”
Every sentence of copy in your marketing should be analyzed for metaphors. And where they exist, their meaning should be well understood. And the only metaphors that should be kept are the ones that further your selling message.
Here’s the thing…
If you let even one bad metaphor through, you could be hanging yourself and dooming your marketing campaign to sudden death.
You don’t want that.
So let’s let go of the bad metaphors.
And instead embrace the fact that we can find the right stories to tell, images to use, and metaphors to convey. So, like a great storyteller, we can bring our prospects into our world, delight them, help them feel the way we want them to feel, and ultimately lead them down the garden path toward the destination that is most mutually beneficial.
Now let’s get personal…
Becoming intentional with your internal metaphors is even more powerful…
There’s another book, What to Say When You Talk to Your Self by Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D.. It’s part of this broader self-talk field.
The fundamental premise is that all these little metaphors and other things we say to ourselves are impacting not only the way we think, but our life as a whole.
So, for example, if every time you make a mistake, you say to yourself, “Oh, that was dumb,” you’re essentially telling yourself over and over again that you’re dumb.
If you’re using that “hard-earned money” phrase when weighing spending decisions or going through your personal finances, you’re attuning yourself to the belief that money is earned through hardship.
And the more attuned you are to any one idea, the more you will actually find proof of its truth. (This is confirmation bias and is one of the most powerful thinking shortcuts in the way we humans think.)
Now, the world is full of ways to earn money through hardship.
But it’s also full of ways to earn money in scalable, leveraged ways that are ethical and that often get easier as the amount of money you earn goes up.
So you might consider trying another metaphor on for size. Such as, “every day I’m surprised by all the new ways I discover to get money to come to me in great abundance, with very little effort.”
If you’re used to thinking of money as something that is earned through hardship, this will feel fake to you at first. But if you really try it on, imagining it to be true, then imagining that you’re not imagining… And really get into the feeling that it’s true… You may begin to find evidence of its truth out in the world. And the more you attune yourself to the belief, the easier it will be to find reinforcement for that belief.
This isn’t magic spells and incantations.
This is putting the vast power of your conscious and subconscious mind to work for you, instead of against you.
When you use empowering metaphors and tell yourself stories that support your personal desires, dreams, and destiny, you open yourself up to accepting those things into your world.
Here’s one application of how to use this to change your behavior — and your results…
Have you ever procrastinated? Have you ever put off work and done something that brought you no value?
I’m sure you have. We all have.
What did you tell yourself after that?
My guess is it was something like…
“I can’t believe I just wasted all that time. Dang, if I keep that up, I’m going to crash and burn at this job. And then it’s going to be harder to pay bills. And…”
Can you feel the negative vibrations rippling through your gut yet?
Let’s try a different story.
“I’m so thankful that I caught myself being distracted. You know, it’s becoming easier and easier to catch myself in those distractions. It’s completely normal, of course, to be pulled in directions away from work. But every day I realize more and more just how much power I have to turn my focus back to work and keep up my productivity. And you know what, I LOVE to be productive because I LOVE the way it makes me feel to have accomplished my biggest goals for the day.”
What if you told yourself that every time you noticed you were off course?
What if you put yourself on autopilot towards a successful life?
To give credit where due, I heard this from Gary Bencivenga…
Have you ever wondered how a jet plane’s autopilot system works? Let’s say they take off from New York, and they’re headed to San Francisco. Do they fly in a straight line?
The answer is a resounding no. In fact, even with a clear destination in the computer, the jet is constantly going off-course. There’s wind and a thousand other factors that can make micro-differences in their current direction, that would have them off by hundreds of miles by the time they got across the country.
So what autopilot does is it knows the destination and expects to get off course. And when it does get off course, it makes a micro-adjustment back in the right direction.
And it keeps making micro-adjustments all the way until it reaches its final destination.
You do this, too. Driving down the street, you’re constantly moving the steering wheel in the smallest of ways, to stay in your lane. On your bike, you do the same thing. Even walking, your subconscious is constantly making tiny muscle movements to keep you balanced and headed in the right direction.
You’re just as capable of this from a mental perspective, too.
You can set an intention, such as getting a certain to-do list done today, or using only empowering metaphors in your self-talk. And keeping that intention in mind, you can expect that you’ll sometimes go a little off-course. Yet you can trust your subconscious to be your autopilot, gently correcting you as you go, to help you reach your goal.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,