Author of Being The Effective Leader and The Effective Leadership Guide

If you look very carefully at the people around you, you might be able to notice something that at first seems strange – many of them spend a lot of time doing things they don‟t really want to do. Mostly without realizing, they have given up striving after what they want, and are instead trying to please others by doing what they think those others would like them to do.

You may not realize it but the odds are that you are one of those people…

However, even if you are, you haven‟t always been like that – as babies we all instinctively knew what we wanted. For example, you knew when you were hungry, and devoured the foods you did like while having no hesitation spitting out anything you found unpleasant. You had no problem expressing your needs and wants – with no inhibitions or holding back – until those needs were met. It stands to reason that even before we could talk we all had everything necessary to get everything we needed. The fact we are still here today proves it!

Your capabilities as an infant were actually even more amazing than that. A study of the brain by Harvard University reached the conclusion that almost every one of us is born with genius capabilities. Without going into the details, what the research did was to evaluate the presence of the “genius mind” in various age groups by looking at the way they behaved in certain situations. Incredibly, the researchers found that 99.9% of

babies operate at a genius level (and that means you almost certainly did too). We can see this from how fast they learn.

So as babies we could survive even without knowing how to speak and it turns out that almost all of us were geniuses. Unfortunately, what the researchers in the Harvard study also found was that by the time we are five, only 20% of people still operate at that level and at age 20, only 2% of us are able to tap into the genius capability we were born with.

The key point here is worth repeating and I hope you will remember it: at one time in your life you were a genius! The question is, is there anything that you can do now to access more of that capability?

The answer to this question may also have been provided by the Harvard study. It concluded that the main thing that limits us as we get older is what they called “the learned voice of internal judgement.” What they meant by this is that we learned to talk to ourselves in a critical way, for example telling ourselves that we are rubbish, that we can‟t do such-and-such, or that we will never be any good. We didn‟t always say these cruel things to ourselves, but learned them from somewhere else as we were growing up. This means that you are your most important critic. It may feel as though it hurts most when other people speak to you in a nasty way, but it is actually much worse when you do it to yourself.

I believe that this represents a huge opportunity, because if you started doing this you can also stop,

which means that more of your true capability can be reclaimed! To do so, you must become aware of the silent conversations that you have with yourself – they are much more important than most people realize and have a huge impact on what you can achieve.

We all talk to ourselves in virtually every waking moment of our lives and are seldom aware that we are doing it. What matter most is, do you forgive yourself when you mess up or do you tend to keep on telling yourself off over and over again? Perhaps it is worth asking yourself, if someone else was to talk to you the way that you talk to yourself, how much time you would want to spend with them? If the answer is “not much,” you definitely need to change your internal conversation.

The goal here is to increase your belief in yourself, because it is what you believe about yourself that ultimately determines how successful you will be.

As I read the manuscript for this book I was reminded of a thought provoking story I heard about the three times World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Mohammad Ali, who was also voted Sports Personality of the 20th Century by the BBC. Ali was visiting a gym and met a young boxer who was in awe of Ali and aspired to have similar success for himself. On meeting Ali the young man said something like, “You‟re my hero. Every time I look in the mirror before a fight I build my confidence by saying to myself, „I am Mohammad Ali, I am Mohammad Ali‟.”

I think you‟ll like Ali‟s reply, which was,

“How strange, that‟s exactly what I used to say!”

Those few words sum up an incredibly important message, and one which is central to this book. Ali knew that he couldn‟t become the best by trying to be like someone else. The only way he could maximize his own achievement was to identify and develop his own unique gifts.

None of us are any different to Ali in this respect, yet many of us behave more like the young man in the story. If we are to avoid continuing to limit ourselves we need to get back in touch with who we really are or, to use Sue‟s words, to live according to “Me Pressure” rather than peer pressure. We must start to believe in ourselves.

This book holds so many gems of practical advice to help you on this journey. The principles that Sue has outlined in it have been tried, tested and refined for centuries by the world‟s greatest achievers. They worked for them and as you learn to put them into practice they will work for you too.

It is true that some of the things in this book are much easier to talk about than to do, but Sue shows the trademark of all of the best teachers – she consistently walks the talk of her own messages and holds herself accountable for her results. Not only that, she has literally given up her own security, and triumphed over her fears, in her quest to help you – the teen or young adult – to get more of what you want in life. It hasn‟t always been easy, but she has never for one moment allowed that to distract her from her goals.

This book holds not only Sue‟s very strong intention to bring the best she knows to you, but also all of her very considerable heart. For that reason I believe that she is just the right guide for bringing these most essential of life skills to you. We can all thank her for sharing so much of herself and her hard-earned insights in this book.

Michael Nicholas

Author of Being The Effective Leader and The Effective Leadership Guide

Click Here For Michael’s Leadership Style Academy Website