You may not realize it, but all of us allow metaphors to powerfully affect our thoughts and feelings. If we aren't careful, a negative metaphor will get a stronghold and really take us down. A positive one can catapult us forward.

Negative metaphors lead to negative thoughts that lead to negative behaviors. Battle and conflict are at the core of the negative metaphor worldview. With this mindset there are winners and losers and too often, we associate ourselves with the losers.

How have you allowed the economy to affect your mindset, for example? I recently caught myself with a bad metaphor. I was sharing with a colleague my frustration with the slow nature of my business growth in these tough economic times. I told her that I feel like I am pushing my business uphill by myself and it's getting heavier. Or maybe you feel like the Dutch boy with his thumb in the dam, knowing that sticking his thumb in the dam isn't the solution, but not knowing what else to do.

Positive metaphors have the power to have you see tough times and challenges as opportunities. They are win/win scenarios that are put in your life to teach you lessons, make you stronger and better.

What if we chose to embrace a positive metaphor instead? That layoff was a gift which allows you to be an explorer on an exhibition; seeking the next exciting opportunity or discovery of how to use your gifts, talents and passions in a new way. Or maybe you see your future as a blank canvass and you can paint it fresh and new in any way you choose. Can you see how waking up with that as a metaphor would change your thoughts and your behaviors?

Now I choose to look at my business challenges as walking through a giant maze. There will be a reward when I find the right path, so, I need not be too frustrated on the journey. I may have to step back a few steps and try something new, but eventually, I will get the the reward at the end of the maze and the path will become clearer. I just need to keep my eye on that prize.

Metaphors are powerful things. They can be used to uplift and propel you forward, or they can be used to hold you back. The metaphor that you choose to control your thoughts is up to you. So make it a good one!

What is your metaphor?

Author's Bio: 

Patty Sadallah has 29 years experience as an organization development consultant and executive coach. She is a Dream Partner Catalyst and coaches and consults nonprofits and women owned small business owners around issues of focus and planning, moving them toward her dreams. Find out more about her coaching and consulting at

She is also the President/Founder of the Redwood Sisterhood, an international women's support community that offers personal and professional development learning opportunities, community bartering through time banking and fun networking events. Here, she brings together the talents and the needs of women and allows these connections to strengthen and uplift the membership. Learn more at (

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