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Discover the Power of Priming and Affirmation: A Personal Odyssey Through Challenging Times

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

" I felt run-over, overwhelmed, and fell into a depression. During this time of trial, two quotes kept me going. First, I could hear Mel Robbins saying, “No one is coming to push [me] out of bed” and into action. I had to become “my own hero.” The second was a quote from Tony Robbins, "What if life isn't happening to us, but for us?" Could these setbacks, paradoxically, be in our favor? "

This week I hosted a lively webinar with a group of amazing people who were in various stages of job hunting and interviewing. Going through the rigorous process of landing a new job can be stressful as you ride the emotional rollercoaster of barriers and breakthroughs. I know personally, that confidence in my skills and abilities can rise and fall throughout the journey as you excitedly anticipate a round of interviews only to lose the job to someone "more qualified" or a "better fit."


This week webinar reminded me of my own personal journey over the past three years and how two simple, yet powerful NLP tools, Priming, and Affirmations, helped me get through my trials and tribulations. The power of positive affirmations in combating negative self-talk and feelings of depression and anxiety has become increasingly discussed among psychologists and neuroscientists alike. Here is my own personal testament to the power of these tools.


From Peaks to Valleys: A Journey of Contrasts

2019 was a golden era for our family business. We broke records in revenue and customer satisfaction. Waitlists for our services were at an all-time high. We had an amazing management team in place with years of experience. Our staff numbers had grown to 90 during the summer and 50 throughout the year.


As my wife Kerrie and I considered our next set of business goals, we kept coming back to our long-held dream of building our own flagship site, complete with a modern facility and state-of-the-art equipment. The challenge was finding affordable commercial land in and around our existing location. One-acre properties with a dilapidated "teardown" building sold for tens of millions of dollars.


So, we made the bold decision to relocate our family 800 miles away from our business where commercial land prices were still affordable and the economy was growing. This plan would necessitate the selling of our 33-year-old company in Seattle.

We were on the brink of placing our Seattle location, valued at several million dollars, on the market when the unforeseen COVID-19 pandemic abruptly halted our plans, literally days before posting the business for sale. Like countless others, we grappled with the initial shutdowns, the lingering lockdowns, and operating at limited capacity for extensive periods of time. These business barriers resulted in an alarming 70% revenue drop and staggering net losses.


The Silver Lining: Seizing New Horizons

Thanks to the PPP and SBA emergency loans, we were able to struggle through the pandemic. During this time of closures and reduced capacity, I chose to chase my own deferred dream: higher education. Instead of an MBA which seemed the obvious choice, given my past work experience, Organizational Psychology beckoned, a field that applies psychology to work and includes important areas such as leadership development, team effectiveness, organizational culture, and talent management. This course of study ignited a passion I hadn’t felt in years. Learning and personal growth became the anecdote to my pandemic blues.


More Mountains to Climb

But 2021 threw further trials our way. First, the rented building in Seattle, that housed our business, suddenly and without warning, suffered extensive damage, necessitating another shutdown. Then, two months later, Kerrie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Due to the anticipated two-year closure of the building, Kerrie and I made the painful decision to close our doors permanently.


I felt run over, overwhelmed, and fell into a depression. During this time, two quotes kept me going. First, I could hear Mel Robbins saying, “No one is coming to push [me] out of bed” and into action. I had to become “my own hero.” The second was a quote from Tony Robbins, "What if life isn't happening to us, but for us?" Could these setbacks, paradoxically, be in our favor?


The pandemic, in its eerie silence, gifted me the time to pursue my master's, a decision that suddenly became a lifeline in the wake of our livelihood dried up and our retirement nest egg permanently closed. More importantly, the subsequent business closure gave my wife the space she needed to heal physically from cancer and emotionally from the loss of her 33-year-old company she had started from six students to teaching nearly 40,000 lessons annually. In typical Kerrie fashion which is to never do anything small, she not only successfully navigated a lumpectomy and radiation, but also completed certification courses as a Health and Life coach, Clarity Catalyst facilitator, and Positive Intelligence coach.


NLP, Affirmations, and Resilience

Our academic sojourns separately and serendipitously introduced us to the marvels of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and the power of positive intelligence. The crux is disarmingly simple: our words and thoughts mold our reality. As Henry Ford astutely remarked, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right.” I had often quoted Ford to my kids as they were growing up. Now, it was my turn to internalize what it meant. NLP Priming and Affirmations are effective tools to combat the negative self-talk that inevitably comes when facing adversity. Along with daily scripture study and prayer, these priming and affirmations became my morning ritual, fortifying me for the day ahead.


Charting New Waters

By the end of 2022, I earned my master’s in organizational psychology. Now, embracing 2023, equipped with a trove of new insights, I set forth on my third professional career. In my mid-fifties, I seek to, once again, start a new company, re-establish our livelihood, and rebuild our retirement. The focus this time is on my new-found passion of imparting 30+ years of experience along with an in-depth study of leadership, team effectiveness, and employee engagement. Along the way, I have also discovered the power and absolute need for the two most important skills of the 21st century: resilience and adaptability. This journey led to the inception of Gordon Creek - a name inspired by the creek near our home, albeit with no ancestral ties.


We relocated to this new community just prior to our three years of tribulation. Yet, our deep faith in God, the support of our amazing family, and our newly minted friendships felt heaven-sent. As our trials unfolded one after the other, this vibrant community enveloped us with their warmth, support, and constant encouragement. Truly, life was happening for us and not to us.


Inspired by our supportive community, I want to pay it forward by providing services to our clients led with empathy, encouragement, and support as they grapple with the modern workplace's quandaries — the escalating employee burnout and disengagement crisis that have led to record levels of turnover. In addition, Gordon Creek helps with the challenges of fostering unity and authentic connection in the new age of remote and hybrid teams.


As the physical boundaries of workplaces blur, we ardently believe in forging team unity. Harnessing advanced facilitation techniques and the powerful and proven Insights Discovery Model, ensuring enhanced communication and authentic connection even in virtual realms.

Beyond organizations, we champion individuals and teams! For those shadowed by unemployment, battling unsupportive environments, or wading through toxic cultures, we offer hope. Leveraging tools like NLP, Facilitation, and Insights Discovery, we aim to reframe negative narratives, foster adaptability and resilience skills, and encourage the development of learning agility.


If you find yourself searching for a beacon of hope amidst life's challenges or seeking ways to turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones, we warmly invite you to connect with us at Gordon Creek. Together, we can pave a path that not only helps you weather life's storms but flourish in our ever-changing world.

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