The power of your thoughts

A few weeks ago on holiday in Greece, I found myself suspended in mid-air at the top of a cliff – freaking out! My hands were shaking. My legs felt like water. There was no way I was going to abseil down this 70-foot cliff, my absolute intention a few moments before. Now, I was frozen. All I could see was a dramatic tumble to the rocks below or more likely, a humiliating clamber up to the safety of the ledge. I realised I was saying out loud, “I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I can’t do it!”

It was quite a moment. One of those moments when the world stands still. Slowly, I became aware that my instructor was calmly talking. He was telling me sensible things about it being totally safe and that it was my irrational mind talking. I realised I had a choice. I could funk it or I could fly. I took a breath. “I can do it. I am safe. I can do it!” I found myself saying.


And then… I was abseiling down. True, not particularly well, but I was abseiling. I could do it. Four abseils later, I was leaping down commando-style, loving every second.

Abseiling down that rock-face was one of the most exhilarating and rewarding experiences I have ever had. And I so nearly didn’t do it – because of the quality of what I was saying to myself in my head.

As Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can’t, you’re probably right.”

In my work as a coach and trainer for the third sector, I find that clients can often be stuck in negative thought patterns which don’t serve them well.  “I’ve simply got too much to do” or “I’ll never find a job in a charity” or “My manager will never listen to me”. My experience is that success is quite often just a different thought away.

Our negative thought processes can easily become self-fulfilling prophecies. If I’d carried on thinking “I can’t do it”,  I absolutely 100% guarantee I would never have made that first descent. Our thoughts are powerful beyond measure. They create our feelings, which lead to actions which lead to results.

I believe that all of us in the third sector must use every weapon in our armour to get the results we want – a better and fairer world. We need to make sure we are thinking the kind of thoughts that will fast-track us there.

In my one-to-one coaching and training programmes, I support people working in the charity sector to harness the power of their thoughts to be more effective at work. Call me on 0208 772 7807 or email to discuss how I can help you or your staff be the change you want to see in the world.