Tag Archive for 'deconstructing negative thinking'

First Agreement: Be Impeccable with Your Word

Last Monday, a group of us began reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

In the chapter, “Domestication and Dream of the Planet,” we discussed our self-limiting beliefs. These are beliefs we picked up from our families, society, school, work, etc. The reason why they’re self-limiting is because these opinions, or agreements as Ruiz refers to them as, are not really the truth about life and limit us from fully being and expressing ourselves.

Our homework was to read the chapter, “The First Agreement,” and to be conscious of the first agreement throughout the week, which is to be impeccable with your word.

Ruiz defines impeccability as “without sin.” He says, “A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself.”

My favorite part of being a teacher/life coach is that I get the opportunity to share the experience with my class. After reading, “The First Agreement,” I see how I use the word against myself and my capabilities.

I use it when it comes to the things I can and cannot accomplish with my business. I use the word to gossip about others when I do not agree with their opinions. If someone uses the word against me and I agree, there I go again using the word to reject myself. In reality, the poison that person says to me has nothing to do with me, but has everything to do with them.

One example that I’ve encountered many times is at work. If my co-workers have disliked the boss or someone else in the workplace, it captures my attention and then off to the races I go with the belief that the person is whatever someone else said about them.

A couple weeks ago, the timing belt in my car broke. I had only bought the car a month prior to this happening. My cousin, who works on cars, checked the car out before I bought it. When I found out that fixing this timing belt was going to cost me around $3,000 if I’m lucky, I spread the poison to my cousin.

Since then I have apologized, but depending on what mindset he was in when I spread the poison, this could have been completely detrimental to him and what he thought of his abilities. Thankfully, he forgave me and realized that I was having a rough week.

“Mostly we use the word to spread our personal poison – to express anger, jealousy, envy, and hate,” Ruiz said. The word is pure magic – the most powerful gift we have as humans – and we use it against ourselves.

For me, there are two important actions that lead us to be more impeccable with our word.

The first one is creating positive affirmations with ourselves. When we feel good about ourselves and truly love who we are, we are more patient, tolerant, loving, and open-minded when it comes to others. Creating these positive affirmations can turn around our perspective of what is really ailing us that most on the inside.

The second one is surrounding ourselves around people who have similar goals: to become more spiritually free.

People always thank me for helping them on their journey and are surprised when I thank them. I thank them because they are open-minded to change, which continues to inspire me to do the same.


Free Workshop Starts This Monday

Free Workshop Based on The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz


Mondays, September 9th, 16th, 23rd, and 30th

Time: 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Location: The Recovery Center

108 Somerdale Road

Voorhees, NJ 08043


By Completion of this Workshop, You Will Feel Empowered to Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs Through:


v   Becoming Impeccable With Your Word

v  Letting Go of Taking Things Personally

v  Ridding Yourself of Making Assumptions

v  Always Practicing to Do Your Best


Contact: Mignon Brooks (609) 932-0483 or mignonbrooks@collegiatecareercoach.com


Please come equipped with your own book. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz can be found at your local bookstore. Workbooks will be provided for you.


In the second week of this teleclass I’m doing with Jana Fleming, we’re practicing non-judgement. It is a practice that allows us to not judge anything that occurs. Since we were children, we were always taught to judge that something was good or bad based on beliefs we were taught from out family, friends, society, etc. Believe me, it’s easier said than done.

In the nine years I worked as a professor, I’ve observed judgement all of the time. Students would judge themselves as stupid if they got even a B on their assignment. Being as though I was teaching basic skills courses, students were very judgemental about how they did not needed the course.

For others not to judge us, we grow up trying to fit into certain circles of friends. This creates us to loose who we really are and who we really want to be. We judge other people to fit the roles we expect them to play.

Today I encourage you to be the observer in your classrooms and when you are hanging around your social circles. What are you saying about yourself? What are you saying about other people? The more you judge yourself, the more you judge others.

If you catch yourself judging, don’t judge yourself for that. Just be mindful that today you are setting an intention to not judge anything that occurs throughout your day. The more you practice this you’ll be less judgemental of your teachers. You’ll be able to communicate with your teachers and your social circles much better. Because you have made the decision that right and wrong don’t exists. All that exists is the story being played out in front of you.

Take the non-judgement challenge today!

Practicing Detached Involvement in the Classroom

Being engaged in the information you are learning is, of course, super important when it comes to being successful in college. However, try not to label yourself according to how you are progressing in your classes. Remember that everyone progresses at a different pace, and you have the entire semester to do what it takes to be as successful as you strive to be. 

In the beginning of the semester when I start returning essays back to my students, I always notice that their first set of grades can either become a brutal blow to a student’s self-esteem or a boost of confidence. Either way, your grades do not really say anything about you as a person but serve as an indication of what you need to work on to be successful in your classes.

I have seen students start off well in the beginning of the semester and then slack off because they think they are sure to pass with a high grade in the class. I have also seen students who begin the semester with weak grades and work hard to get really high grades at the conclusion of the semester. Either way, detaching yourself from the grades you get and using them as a tool to help you grow in the learning process is the way to go. It keeps you striving for more to improve on and will prevent you from giving up when things seem a little tough.

Believe it or not, your professors are not expecting you to walk into the classroom knowing everything they have set out to teach you throughout the semester. If that was the case, what would be the point for the students or the professor to even show up to class?

Look at your assignments and exams, see what is working for you and continue doing that. If you notice that something seems tough, go to your professor or your school’s tutoring center for extra help. You can even make a friend with someone else in the class who seems to understand the information you are learning. Everyone explains information differently, so hearing the information you are learning from someone else might just give you the tips you need to move forward successfully.

But by all means, do not give up. You are not your grades. Do your best and remember that your best in each class will differ because some information will be easier for you to learn than other information.

Turning Around Negative Self Talk

Research shows that a person experiences as many as 60,000 thoughts per day. The thing about these thoughts of ours is that most of them are the same 60,000 thoughts from day to day. The question is: what are you thinking about?

In our current society, most people’s thoughts are centered around worry, fear, and stress over a variety of topics. We worry about work. We worry about school. We worry about family and other close relationships. And the list could go on. A lot of that worry and fear stems from how we feel about ourselves.

It comes from our own perspective of life and how we’ve been trained to think. This training came from our environments growing up. They include our parents, teachers, friends, group affiliations, etc. Our thoughts result from what we’ve been taught for many years as children, and they continue into our adulthood life. That’s fine for the thoughts that support what we want in our lives. But when our usual thinking no longer works for our lives, we need to let go of the of thoughts and adopt new ones that serve us better.

Let’s use an example Don Miguel Ruiz wrote in his book, “The Four Agreements.” If someone told you when you were younger that you were stupid and you accepted what they told you, you might continue thinking that you were stupid for the rest of your life. That is until you make the choice to break that agreement and think something different about yourself.

Examples of this abound. People make agreements that they are fat, that they are ugly, that they do not deserve to be loved, or that they are not good at doing something. In my case, I always agreed that I was bad at math, until my Seton Hall statistics professor asked me if I was planning to be a math major because I performed so well in his class!

Now this is important to take note of for two reasons: (1) When it comes to dealing with other people, it’s important recognize that everyone does not think the same way you do. In this world, believe it or not, people weren’t raised to think the same way you think. So, don’t let someone else’s perspective, or even actions, personally offend you because it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with their personal thoughts of themselves and the agreements they‘ve decided to make about themselves. (2) On a personal level, we have the power to change our thoughts. We do not have to hold onto thoughts that no longer work in our lives.

When we think and talk bad things about ourselves, we hold ourselves back from the vast opportunities in front of us. We disqualify ourselves from success before we ever get started.

How Do We Change These Thoughts?

  • Choose one negative thought that you have about yourself. For example, I was working with a client a few months ago who wanted to be a nurse but never pursed it because she thought that the education process to achieve that goal was going to be too hard and would take too long.
  • Write your negative thoughts down on a piece of paper. Take a look at it. In some coaching sessions I’ve had with clients, just looking at the negative statement makes them realize how far from the truth the negative thought really is. But for some of people who have agreed to their negative thoughts for years, a quick fix is not that easy.
  • As you are looking at this thought, reflect on it in present time. Don’t think about where it originated from and use your reason as an excuse to keep it. The past is in the past. How is this thought serving you now? If you find that it’s not serving your life positively, then it’s time to change the words you wrote down.
  • Changing the words is the next step. This is creating an affirmation for yourself. Using the example I used about the student who didn’t go to nursing school because she didn’t think she’d be capable for success, and she didn’t think she’d be able to sustain the amount of time it took her to get her degree. Through our work together she realized that her thoughts about the amount of time it would take was actually a limiting belief, which was not even accurate. She thought she’d be in school for six to eight years. She didn’t realize it could be accomplished in four years, like other bachelor degree programs.
  • Covert your negative thought into a positive affirmation. The important part of this affirmation is to use a see, hear, feel model, focusing on those particular sense to make the affirmation as real as possible. So this particular client’s affirmation turned into, “In four years, I see myself walking down the aisle at graduation, getting my nursing degree. I hear my family yelling my name to cheer me on as I walk up to the podium to receive my degree. I feel the excitement throughout my body as the degree is placed in my hands.” Decide how many times you are going to repeat your affirmation per day. The more you say it to yourself, the more you believe it. As a result, the more likely you are to take the steps to accomplish your goal and feel confident in doing so.

Follow these simple five steps to turn negative thoughts about yourself into positive ones that will help pull you forward.