You may or may not know who Sara Blakely is, you have probably heard about her story. Starting with $5,000 of her own savings she has become the first self- made, woman billionaire who didn’t get any of her wealth from a spouse or from inheritance. As the story goes, she cut the bottoms out of her pantyhose, created the company, SPANX, and became a billionaire. But there’s always more to the story.
When Sara grew up, she wanted to be a lawyer, just like her father. But after failing the LSAT miserably, twice, she knew that law was not in her future. As she tells the story, she took the next logical step. She travelled to Disney World to try out to be Goofy! But to be Goofy, you need to be 5’8” and she’s only 5’6”, which was the perfect size for a Chipmunk. After three months working as a Chipmunk, she took a new job selling fax machines door to door in Clearwater, Florida. This became her life for the next seven years.
Door to door sales is a difficult job, but Sara stuck with it for a long time. But one day, she was so upset with her life, she pulled over to the side of the road and said to herself, “I’m in the wrong movie! Call the director. Cut! This is not my life.”
That night she drew a line down the middle of her journal and made a list of her strengths and weaknesses.
She asked herself what she was good at, and how that could help her to create a better life for herself.
After making this list, she determined that sales was one of her biggest strengths and committed to herself that night, “I’m going to invent something that I can sell to millions of people that will make them feel good.” She said out-loud, “Universe, give me the idea and I won’t squander it.”
Sara didn’t have any idea what it was at the time, but she made it an obsession and continued to ask herself repeatedly, “What can I invent and sell?”
Two years later she was still asking herself what it was that she was going to invent and sell. Then one evening as she was getting ready for a party, she cut the feet out of her control top pantyhose to go to a party. That night when she got home, she thought, “This might be my idea!”
Ask Persistently With The Expectation of Receiving an Answer
From that point SPANX was still not an overnight success. There is a lot more that can be learned from Sara’s story of determination and grit as she built her company. But what I want to focus on today is the fact that Sara decided what it was she wanted and for two years she continued to ask persistently with the expectation of receiving an answer. So, when the opportunity presented itself, she saw it. She said, “Because I had asked myself the question and set my intention two years prior, that’s the reason I am where I am rather than the millions of other women who had been cutting the feet out of their pantyhose to solve the same undergarment issue.” She had been spending two years questioning, manifesting, visualizing and setting intentions.
There are many things we can learn from Sara’s story. But what I want to discuss is summed up well in The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale when he says, “To change your circumstances, first start thinking differently.” It didn’t happen immediately, but when Sara started to ask herself specific questions, with the expectation of receiving her answers, she started things in motion that changed her life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”
How does this happen?
Let’s first ask, how do you evaluate your life? Your feelings, things that are happening around you and the decisions you make.
Your thinking is the process of asking and answering questions.
We are fortunate as humans to be able to think about what we think about.
As we evaluate our life, things around us, and make decisions, we ask and answer questions in our mind. Therefore, if thinking is the process of asking and answering questions, that means, if you want to make any changes in your life, you should change the habitual questions that you are asking yourself. The questions you ask yourself dictate your focus and therefore how you think and feel.
This is where your Reticular Activating System (RAS) comes into play. The RAS is a network of nerves at the base of your brain that’s about the size of your baby finger. The significance of the RAS is the function it controls. It makes sure that your brain doesn’t have to deal with more information than it can handle. It’s the filter, or gatekeeper of information that it lets in. It takes all of the information you are receiving and decides for you if it’s something that’s important or not.
When we moved from Alberta to Arizona, I bought my daughter a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder. It was a little black convertible. I liked the car as soon as I saw it. I had never seen one before and thought it was pretty cool. But after we bought it, I started to see the same car everywhere.
It wasn’t that I had actually never seen this model of car before. My RAS had just never recognized it as something important to me. But now that we owned one, it was something that was considered important and I began noticing the others.
Have you bought a new dress and then all of a sudden noticed many other people wearing the same dress? Is it just coincidence that you bought this new dress and so did a bunch of other women in your area? No, those dresses were there before, they’ve just become something that is important to you now. The RAS now recognizes this as something that’s important to you and brings it to your attention.
When you change the habitual questions you are always asking yourself, the RAS recognizes those questions as something that’s important to you and will find your answers. Sara was continually asking herself, “What can I invent and sell?” That is why she recognized the opportunity when it presented itself. Her RAS recognized that as something important to her and was looking for an answer.
When a study was conducted on successful people and they were compared to people who had less success, it was found that the biggest difference was that successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.
This is not just powerful when we are looking at our future or setting goals, this is powerful knowledge that helps us in many areas of our lives. We recognize that questions are the quickest way to change our focus.
Let’s take for example a person who is always asking themselves disempowering questions. “What’s the use?” “Why even try? Nothing ever works for me anyway.”
How different would things be if that person consciously changed the questions they were asking. “How will this benefit me?” “What could be good about this?”
If you can develop the habit of recognizing the questions you are asking yourself, when you ask yourself disempowering questions you will recognize it and can make the change immediately.
What You Think About Is What You Become
Our brains will give us whatever we ask for.
What you think about is what you become. When you become more consciously aware of your thoughts and the questions you are asking yourself, you can create the life you want. A more powerful life.
If the goal is to control the habitual questions that you are asking yourself so that you can create a bigger future, how do you go about that? You can engage the power of your RAS by being more intentional with the words you use and the thoughts you have.
Goals and Mindset Questions
Your daily success habits have a major impact on your life. It’s the little things that we do consistently (good or bad) that compound over time and have major outcomes.
I begin every day by writing out by goals and answering a series of questions that I call my Mindset Questions.
By starting my day like this, I’m engaging my RAS to help me find the answers to help me accomplish my goals and desires.
Sara had a goal to invent something to sell to millions. After asking herself what it was for two years, she discovered her answer.
If you don’t have clearly defined, written out goals that you can write out and think about on a daily basis, you can get my Momentum Series for free at https://jeffheggie.com/momentum/. After going through my Momentum Series, you’ll have clearly defined goals and understand your ‘why,’ or purpose behind each one.
My Mindset Questions are an important part of my morning routine as well to prime my mind for the day. You can get them at https://jeff541655.clickfunnels.com/optin1595985660003
To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be clear and focused on what you really want and why you want it. By implementing these success habits into your life, you’ll start to realize those goals and dreams.
Learn more about his topic by listening to The Jeff Heggie Show podcast, “Why Your Self Talk Is So Important.”