How GUTSY are You?

Deb Cottle is a coach and motivational speaker based in Amelia Island.  She is the founder and president of World On A String, Inc., a company focused on improving people’s lives through coaching (on-line and in person sessions) and motivational products.

Cottle has been featured in motivational books, and her GUTS formula for success is a popular topic for her presentations to groups.  I caught up with her by phone to ask about her coaching process.  She says it took her about ten years of observing successful people to come up with the formula.  She has worked with people all over the world (she’s currently coaching clients via Skype from as far away as Hong Kong and Belgium) and sees a pattern in the way they manage their lives and careers.

First, she says, successful people Gain knowledge (G.) Even if you’re not currently working, she says, you have the opportunity to learn something new about your craft, your industry or your passion every day.  Many professions require workers to take courses and maintain certifications, but there’s no reason why you can’t take on your own education as a part of your job search.  If you can’t afford to enroll in a training program, you can research articles online.  It’s a great way to sound informed in an interview and provide proof that you’re staying current in your field between jobs.

Second, Cottle says that successful people Use positive affirmations (U.)  Most people aren’t aware of how many negative statements they feed themselves on a daily basis, according to Cottle.  “Whether it’s ‘I’m just not good at math,’ or ‘I’ll never get that job,’ people are telling themselves things that actually cause harm.  Your brain takes everything literally, so when you say you’re going to fail, you’re setting the stage to make it real.”  The alternative is to talk to yourself about how good you are – and say it like you mean it. Turn off that little (or big) voice in your head that thinks you won’t ever get the job of your dreams.  According to Cottle (and many others), what you think is what you get.  Imagine success and success will eventually find you.

The T in GUTS stands for Train your thoughts.  It’s the corollary to using positive affirmations.  When you find yourself being less than positive, Cottle recommends a technique to stop that pattern and get back to positive affirmations again.  She actually asks clients to say “STOP!” or “CANCEL”out loud when they start thinking negative thoughts.  She also helps them replace the negative thoughts with a positive, action-oriented thought: “What can I do right now that will get me on the right track / earning more / get me the interview /  tomorrow?” Be patient; training takes time.  (Anyone with a dog or a two-year-old knows this.)

The S in GUTS stands for Set realistic goals.  Cottle advises people to have two sets of goals: realistic, shorter-term goals that you can reach more easily (and celebrate) and longer term goals that set your sights on wild success.  Celebrate when you achieve the smaller ones, she says, but never give up on the big ones.  And don’t let the universe off the hook for what you really want.  Cottle says that when she decides she wants to earn extra income in a given month, she’ll name a figure and affirm it each day. “I say out loud that I’m looking for an extra [number of dollars] this month – or more.  I don’t want to sell myself short.”  Holding the universe accountable; now that takes GUTS.

(Deb’s proven and 4Step GUTS FORMULA teaches others how to change their thinking, correct negative self-talk, gain more knowledge, and set realistic goals. Deb is producer of the Music & Motivation CD series, co-author of the books, Success Simplified, featuring Dr. Stephen Covey, and Roadmap to Success, featuring Dr. Deepak Chopra. Women with GUTS!, a documentary featuring domestic violence prevention advocate Denise Brown, along with three other inspiring women, will be available in January. Check out her website at for more information.)

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