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Winning At Working: Powerful Thoughts
by Nan Russell

In 1881, the New York YWCA's proposed typing lessons for woman brought protests citing "the female constitution would break down under the strain." I wonder how many women believed that and didn't sign up? Or how many would-be-travelers listened when "experts" determined that riding a speeding train of fifteen miles an hour would cause them to suffocate in tunnels as blood spurted from their noses? These incorrect thoughts are amusing now. But, don't laugh too hard. We have plenty of our own that limit progress and hold us back.

Once Roger Bannister ran a mile under four minutes, proving that the human heart could hold up when running that fast, others quickly followed. And once Olympic champion, Vasily Alexeev broke the weight lifting barrier of 500 pounds, other weight-lifters broke his record knowing it was possible. Yet before he could do it himself, Alexeev's trainers changed his limiting belief by rigging 501.5 pounds of weights to look like 499.

Our thoughts are powerful. What we belief to be true, often is. One of my favorite stories involves an elementary school teacher who was delighted the first day of school to see what a smart class she'd been given. Next to each child's name were numbers like 138, 140, 154. Taking these numbers as the students' IQs, the teacher worked extra hard to challenge the class. By the end of the year, the progress was remarkable. It was then that she discovered the numbers weren't their IQs but their lockers.

Are your thoughts limiting or invigorating? Self-restricting or self-empowering? Think it's impossible and you'll build your own walls. Think you can't and you set yourself up for a self-fulfilling result. Think you can and your thinking can help make it happen. Take Florence Griffith-Joyner who wrote in her diary before the l988 Olympic Games that she would win the 100-meter dash in 10:54 seconds. She did win in exactly 10:54 seconds. That's because thoughts can determine reality.

Years ago, I told a friend about a promotion that would take me from what I knew into a new discipline. She quickly responded, "Nan, how could you say yes? You won't know what you're doing." It surprised me. I'd never thought of saying anything other than yes. "I'll figure it out," I told her. And I did. My thinking told me I could figure things out. Her thinking told her she couldn't. That difference played out in our careers.

People who are winning at working understand there's power to their thoughts. Power to bring results, create realities and banish walls. Power to overcome challenges, eliminate barriers and achieve what others only dream. Want to be winning at working? Power your thoughts to positively impact your future.

(c) 2005 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.

Receive a copy of 21 Winning Career Tips (a free download) at Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development, Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently working on her first book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is a columnist, writer and speaker. Visit

Nan Russell may be contacted at or


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