“My business is failing.” With a look of resignation and defeat, Tom uttered those pitiful words to me in early spring. By summer, it had become a reality. His business had failed. But did it really have to go that way? Had Tom prophesied his business’ downfall? Had his own words caused it to happen?

Predicting Business Downfall
The future is undetermined. If you talk about your future negatively, you prophesy your own downfall. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

According to Tom, his business had “been failing” for two years, since the economy made a turn for the worse.

Prophetic Words

I didn’t realize it at the time, but Tom was speaking prophetic words. He was speaking future events into current reality.

Saying “my business is failing” is, in its essence, a prediction of future events. It’s no different than saying, “I am going to eat.” That is a predictor of future behavior and activity. Hours later you “will have eaten.”

To suggest “my business is failing” is to declare that at some point in the future it “will have failed.”

“My marriage is failing” is no different than saying “I’m going to be divorced.”

“My child is failing math” tells me that the end result will have been an “F” in math.

If Tom were to tell me now what he told me then, I would respond much differently than I did then. Here is how the conversation might go today:

Tom: My business is failing.

Matt: It is?

Tom: Yes. Our sales are down 70%. The bills are piling up. I had to lay off all but eight people last month and I can’t even make their payroll.

Matt: The mere declaration that it “is failing” sounds to me like you have already given up. Failure is inevitable in your mind. It’s the only option. So you have two choices and neither involves delaying the inevitable.

Choice One

Quit right now. If the ship is sinking, get off the ship. Cut your losses.

Wait no more. Why delay the inevitable?

Choice Two

Two, stop prophesying that it is failing and re-build your business.

Declare right now that your business is going to succeed and develop a vision of what that looks like. Then work towards that.

Tom: C’mon. This psycho-babble positive thinking crap isn’t going to work with me, Matt. I mean I can’t even pay…

Matt: Listen. I’m not suggesting you look at this through rose-colored glasses. You have a current reality that is not what you want. But the future is yet to be determined. I am telling you the first step…the very first thing you must do that will determine all of your future success…is to stop talking about the future negatively. Stop prophesying your own downfall.

I said that you need to re-build your business. Start all over today, but with years of lessons built up. Are you better off financially today than you were on day one?

Tom: Yes, of course.

Matt: That’s right. You have more money, seven insanely loyal people on board, and years of knowledge stored up. Not to mention all of your contacts, equipment, and other resources. So with that in mind, start where you are and go where you want to go.

Tom: But how?

Matt: Do you remember when you first started your business?

Tom: I do.

Matt: You always spoke in future positives, didn’t you?

Tom: Of course.

Matt: You had no money, no team members, no clients, and everyone thought you were crazy. Would you have said then that your “business is failing?”

Tom (laughing): I definitely wouldn’t. All I could see was the light at the end of the tunnel. I was blinded by it, in fact.

Matt: Then get that back. Get back your swagger. Get back the attitude that nothing and no one is going to stand in your way. Stop speaking negative words over your future and get back to what will be…a successful business with a great leader.

Immense Power

Your words have immense power! And I want for you to use that power to your advantage.

Tom represents all of us. His business is our business. It’s our children, our marriages, our relationships, and our health.

And like Tom, we must change how we speak about it.

Your future becomes what you say about it today. Choose your words wisely.

What have you been negatively declaring about your future that you need to stop?

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7 thoughts on “Are You Predicting Your Own Downfall?

  1. Steve Daniel says:

    Proverbs says it like this: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..” God knows that what ever we think, we will bring it to pass. If we belive that we are successful, then our actions eventually will bring that to fruition. If we think we will fail, we will.
    Henry Ford said it this way, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
    Our mids are powerful things that dictate to our bodies what direction to take, so it is no wonder that people who concentrate on the negative or always see the negative, will never enjoy life or have a great sucess. Those who concentrate on whatever is good, true, just, will have that in their lives. The only person that can change your future is you, but it first must start with changing what you think and say.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Well said Steve!

      Keep focusing on what is good, true, and just.

  2. James Allen said, ” As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” A man is literally what he thinks, because his character is the sum of all of his thoughts. Therefore, it important for us to control our thoughts because they are what drive our actions. Thanks for sharing Matt.

  3. Jon Stolpe says:

    I don’t have the time or resources to be a “successful” author. First, I need to change my definition of success. Second, I need to remember to keep my priorities in perspective. I have a job. I have a family. I have my faith. I have my health. These are priorities to me. Finally, I need to keep my chin up. Anything is possible through God. I don’t know my future, but I know the One who holds it in His hand.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Good point Jon. Now I have that song in my head 🙂

  4. Jana Botkin says:

    There are 2 conflicting thoughts about speech rattling around in my mind: One is the main thought of this blog, and the other is “Easier said than done”. The latter is a cliche that irritates me to know end, because EVERYTHING in life is easier to say than to do. . . So I’m trying to figure out how the two concepts interact.

    Not being a contrarian – just thinking.

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