Why your self-image is holding you back (and the exact steps you need to take to fix that)


After my breakdown, of course eating well and discovering The Right Way To Train played a huge part in dragging me out of those dark times. 

But I want to share with you now something that played just as big a part, but may not be so obvious.

About 5 years ago I read a book by Dr. Maxwell Maltz call Psycho-Cybernetics.

It’s a terrific book, and since the 60’s, without any marketing or advertising, it continues to sell hundreds of thousands of copies every year through word of mouth alone.

To give a little background, prior to writing the book, Dr. Maltz had worked as a reconstructive cosmetic surgeon for decades.

He’d often repair serious facial scars or other deformities on patients who’d been involved in car collisions or work accidents.

Afterwards, he’d hold up a mirror and let them see the finished work for themselves.

He noticed that a huge proportion of these patients would feel no better about themselves than they had before, even though their scars were entirely removed.

He discovered that these people were assessing how they felt not by the mirror he held, but by the internal mirror of their self-image.

So he set about researching how this deep-held self-image affected people’s potential, and further still, how it could be changed. Psycho-Cybernetics was born.

I really want you to understand the impact of this, as it’s really helped me develop and grow over the past number of years.

And it can help you too…

Imagine in the figure below that the green area represents your entire potential in any area or number of areas.

(I’m not a physiologist or a neuroscientist - these figures are purely representational and I made them to help get my point across)

This green area represents your unfettered level of potential at whatever you turn your hand to - whatever you set your mind to.

Simple, right?

You want to play piano, you sit down and learn.

You want to learn a language - take a class and you’ll soon be fluent.

The next image represents your potential, as before, but this time, with your self-image overlaid.

So what does that dotted line mean?

It’s a limit imposed by your self-image and Dr. Maltz discovered that...


So why is your self-image less than your true potential?

In short, because of the beliefs you hold about yourself. Maybe when you were a little girl your dad made a throwaway comment that you being clumsy.

Now, as an adult, you find yourself making excuses to others, sometimes excusing yourself aloud “Don’t mind me… I’m always knocking things over”.

You now believe what you were told about yourself, and in that one area of your life, a limit has been set.

We all hold these beliefs. Very few have any actual foundation in truth.

Have you ever said to yourself any of the following?

I would never be able to do that!”, or

I’m terrible at languages”, or

I tried everything and I just can’t lose weight”, or

That’s just the way I am

That’s your self-image talking, and it limits your ability to ever push through that dotted line and reach your full potential.

I want to be really clear here…

This isn’t about positive thinking… or as I say telling yourself positive lies.

You can tell yourself you’re a billionaire, or a famous movie star, but this won’t make it real.

This is counter-productive because it’s not congruent with your inner beliefs.

Psycho-Cybernetics is about changing your self-image, the way you see yourself. It's about being honest with yourself - in terms of your past and your future.


If you're not a billionaire or a famous movie star, there's no thought crime for stating the truth. Being honest will help you go to the next level - whereas the fake positivity has far less chance of helping you.

If you want to go somewhere in life, you must know where you are now. You cannot set a proper course if you tell yourself you already are where you want to be.

You have a goal. You recognise you are not there yet.

So you put the time in.

You picture what you want - but you also picture where you are NOW - in relation to the goal.

That's Psycho-Cybernetics.

It's positive and life-changing because it deals with the way things are as well as the way you want them to be.

If you want to achieve your goals and dreams - and do so without fighting with yourself about what you believe, then take the next step forward.

Start where you are - then move.

So how to change your self-image?

There are a few ways but each uses your imagination.

The book speaks about visualisation rather than imagination, but I think some people have a problem figuring out how to visualise, and agonise over whether they’re doing it right or wrong (confession: I did).

But we’ve been using our imaginations to write compositions since we were children, so everyone knows how to do it.

Yes it’s true, you can ‘imagine’ yourself better.

If you can use your imagination, you can improve your self-image (and performance at pretty much anything).

How? Two ways...

  1. Mental rehearsal

  2. Daily affirmations

Mental Rehearsal

Your brain can’t tell the difference between you mentally rehearsing something and you actually doing it. Really.

For example if you play golf, and you want to improve your putting, you can practice wherever you are.

The secret if to fully immerse yourself in the experience. Imagine everything very vividly… the breeze on your face, the feel of the club in your hands, the firm green beneath your shoes - the more detail you provide, the more ‘real’ the practice becomes.

Imagine yourself making the perfect putt, the satisfying sound of the ball dropping into the hole, the crestfallen look on your opponent’s face, you pumping your fist in delight - make it as real as possible.

You’ll notice an improvement next time you play.

So maybe you don’t play golf - how can you use this technique.

Maybe you have to give presentations at work. You can practice this too in advance so you nail it on the day.

Imagine yourself before your presentation, calm, confident, prepared.

When the time comes, you walk calmly up and take your position, breathing slow and steady, in control.

Paint the picture so clearly and imagine yourself giving the perfect presentation. You hold your audience in the palm of your hand.

You can rehearse any situation, and improve your performance. Always imagine yourself at peak performance.

Daily Affirmations

Often as children, we’re conditioned to hold certain beliefs.

We can become conditioned usually by hearing/seeing/experiencing something repeatedly (like Pavlov’s dog)

“Money doesn’t grow on trees”, “You’ll never amount to much”, or, conversely, “You can be whatever you want.”

The good news is that we can use this to our advantage, and effectively recondition ourselves.

By using affirmations, preferably daily until you feel you’ve accepted the belief.

You decide which affirmations to make for yourself, but creating them is simple.

Just decide what’s not working for you, then affirm how you’d like it to be instead…

“Life is really hard for me” becomes “Life flows easily for me”

“I’m terrible at presentations” becomes “I’m great at presentations”

“I’m not worthy of my dreams” becomes “I’m worthy of my dreams”

You get the idea.

Craft yourself as you wish to be. After all you have unlimited potential.

What I do that works for me...

I’ve been practicing mental rehearsal and affirmations for years.

Recently I’ve been reading more and more Tony Robbins’ stuff, and I’ve implemented his daily ‘Hour of Power’ priming routine.

I confess that I don’t spend an hour on it… maybe twenty minutes, but his template is TERRIFIC.

I really can’t recommend this to you enough. You need this in your life.

I’m giving this life-changing template to you for free… just pop your email address in the box on this page and I’ll email you the 365 page priming booklet to you straight away.

About the author 

Jessica Cooke

Over 7000+ successful women over 40 have benefitted from going through my Thrive Coaching Program since 2008.

When I'm not coaching, I love spending time with my family, playing pickleball, and reading. Every chance I can get, I'll take my two Miniature Schnauzers, Buster and Ozzy for a walk in nature.

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