I did a visualization exercise with one of my clients this week to help her shift from her practical and tactical mindset to a greater connection to her feelings and her heart. The result was that she was surprised how quickly she was able to view her life and business from a different perspective. In short, she realized that her attitude about work colored her experiences every day and that being more present and mindful of gratitude is a powerful way to approach her life.
This holiday season has been greatly affected by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. I cannot even fathom the pain and grief of those families who lost their little ones. I grieve with them every day. But we can learn much from this tragedy that has nothing to do with gun control or mental illness. We can learn to appreciate our loved ones and our lives and focus on being present and living every day in gratitude.
Many of us understand the power of gratitude. Some of us have a daily practice of journaling and recording what we are grateful for in our lives. Many of us pay lip service to it, talk about how grateful we should be but don’t embrace it spiritually.
Now is the time for those of you who don’t have a daily practice of gratitude to change your focus. You subscribe to this blog because you want to be successful. Enough of the focus on what’s wrong! Shift to the emphasis on what’s right, what’s positive, the potential. This positivity fuels you to not only be present and loving, but to see your career through a different filter. There are always new lessons to learn from every work situation, good and bad. There are always ways to improve your skills and advancement potential. Be grateful for what talent you have. Learn from those around you and take the time to appreciate your life every day. That’s the best advice I can give anyone who wants to have a successful career.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a prima ballerina. I loved to dance and was fortunate enough to take ballet lessons a few times a week. In my mind, I was on my way to becoming a professional dancer. In fact, I took my ballet shoes with me wherever I went and offered to dance for anyone without hesitation. I had no preconceived notions about my limitations. I had the passion and talent and believed anything was possible.
But somewhere along the way, I received messages that being a ballerina was not for me. I did not have the” right” body type and certainly the lifestyle of a professional dancer was extremely challenging. The point is that all that energy and passion for dancing; all my dreams of being a prima ballerina were squashed. I no longer believed that I could be whatever I wanted to be. I began to see my life in terms of limitations.
We build our persona or our identity based on what we believe we can or can’t do. In fact, these beliefs define our lives and predict our future. We become prisoners of our own perceived limitations.
How tough would it be for you to push aside your limiting beliefs and open yourself up to a new world of possibilities?
How difficult would it be to listen to your true inner voice and find your passion and purpose in life?
In this inspiring video, Caroline Casey asks, “Why are you fighting so hard not to be yourself?” Her key message is that we pretend to be something we’re not because we lost our belief in ourselves.
Believing in yourself without limitations, without labels, allows you to be the best you can be. Are you up for the challenge?
Watch Caroline and let me know.
Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all? Who’s the smartest? Who’s the most successful?
If you’re like most women I know, you will look at your reflection in the mirror and knock yourself down, and look for ways to berate yourself.
Why is this so? In a New York Times article last week, author Stuart Bradford quotes Dr. Kristin Neff, an associate professor of human development at University of Texas at Austin.
I found that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.
According to the author, research suggests “that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health.”
Do we ever give ourselves a break though? We set high standards for ourselves. Sometimes we can’t possibly meet these standards. Often our goals and expectations are unrealistic. That doesn’t stop us, however, from beating ourselves up when we fall short of where we think we should be.
When we don’t have confidence, we look to others for validation. We look to our partner to complete us. We measure our success by our wealth. But at the end of the day, there is really no one who can give us this confidence but ourselves. It needs to come from within us, not from any image in a mirror.
If we accept the fact that self-compassion is better for our overall health and well being, how do we get there? It is, after all, very difficult to unlearn years of behavior.
The first step in any personal development work is to be aware that you need to boost your self-compassion and confidence. Once you identify this is an area that you need to address, you can begin to look for methods that work for you. Dr. Neff recommends that we consciously work to develop a habit of self-compassion. She suggests positive affirmations, meditation, writing a letter of support. I would add keeping a journal of your successes.
It takes time and effort to change behavior and belief systems, but the next time you look in the mirror, try to see yourself as others see you. Be gentle with yourself. Recite your positive affirmations to your reflection and SMILE.
Someone at work approaches you after a meeting and tells you that you did a really great job on a project. What do you say?
Are you more likely to say, “Thank you. I worked very hard on that project and I am proud of how it all came together”? Or do you say, “Oh, it was nothing”?
A good friend tells you that you look very nice and they love your new outfit. What do you say?
Do you say something like, “This old outfit? I’ve had it for years”?
Why can’t we say, “THANK YOU”?
Why can’t we take credit for our accomplishments and acknowledge when someone is complimenting us?
There was an interesting article May 4th in the Wall Street Journal on this topic of accepting praise, Why Do Compliments Cause So Much Grief? The author, Mick Wiggins, commented that we have no difficulty acknowledging compliments from those people we crave them from: peers, bosses, the opposite sex, wives, and even strangers some times.
Yet, he noted that we do have trouble sometimes listening to our loved ones and closest friends.
My mom will be delighted to tell you all about this. Recently, I told her about a flattering note I’d received from an old (male) friend. And she shrieked in exasperation: “For years, I’ve been telling you what he just said, but you never bother to listen to me”.
I had to smile when I read this because I don’t know how many times I have said that same thing in frustration to my family and friends!
Another interesting point the author brings up is that we only hear what we want to hear. If we are feeling really secure, we have less difficulty accepting the praise. During times of self-doubt and insecurity, we will react very differently and either misinterpret the compliment and the intent, or put ourselves down instead of graciously acknowledging the compliment.
In my recent interview with Marci Shimoff on Head Over Heels Women’s Business Radio, Marci suggested that we have what’s called a negativity bias. She calls it the Velcro Teflon Syndrome. What this means is that we tend to Velcro to us the negative things that happen to us. The positive things are more like Teflon and tend to slide off.
She gives an example of how you are at work and during the course of the day, you got ten compliments and one criticism. When you drive home at night, what do you remember?
The criticism, right?
We need to reverse the Velcro Teflon Syndrome so that when we receive positive feedback on our work, for example, we say, “Thank you. I really worked hard on it and I’m glad you appreciate it”, instead of “Oh, it was nothing”.
I think that when we listen carefully to the compliments and positive feedback that come our way from anyone and acknowledge the praise, it can actually boost our self esteem. That being said, we need to be mindful about the process. Instead of letting the compliment slide off, velcro it. Resist the impulse to shrug is off and put yourself down. Listen, register the compliment, and accept the praise.
Listen and acknowledge and recognize that you deserve the praise!
Are you feeling the buzz? At least here in the northeast, spring has sprung. After a long and painful winter, the warm weather is such a blessing, and the change happened so suddenly that we were caught off guard. The beginning of the week, we were still in winter doldrums and by mid week, it was easy to forget the stormy winter and look forward.
The advent of spring has brought a great new energy and optimism. Can you feel it? Let’s dust off the negative energy, the worries of the recession and the fear that accompanies it, and embrace the new positive force.
What does this mean for you personally and professionally?
What have you put off this winter due to low energy? exercise? proper diet? quality time with friends and family?
Maybe it’s time to choose a new stretch goal. Use all the positive energy to fuel your self confidence. You can do anything!
Forge new relationships. Get out and build your social network. It’s an investment in you and your business or career.
Focus your energy on getting a new job, taking on new responsibilities, completing a difficult project.
Look for opportunities to collaborate or partner to build your business. The possibilities for co-creation are endless. Tap into your creativity.
Yes, spring has sprung. Can you feel the buzz?
Our thoughts have the ability to create our reality and it is our daily challenge to put aside negativity and focus on a positive attitude.
There are many techniques that people use to re-frame the negative into positive affirmations and with consistent practice, these methods help us to create the positive life we desire.
Controlling our negative thoughts is not an easy task. One method I suggest is the use of language. When we use positive powerful words, these words can affect our subconscious mind and help to reprogram our negative beliefs. Word choices such as “I will” instead of “I’ll try” for instance make a powerful statement of intent.
Positive self talk is an important vehicle to building self-esteem and self-confidence. Often we are more comfortable dismissing praise and putting ourselves down. What do these negative statements do to our self-esteem? Why not practice positive self-talk instead?
Follow this routine for 30 days and I guarantee that you will begin to see the difference in your self-confidence.
- Begin with journaling. Make daily entries about your accomplishments, big and small.
- Answer these questions. “What makes me unique?”. “What are my strengths?” “How have these strengths helped me in the past or in my current job?”
- Review your journal entries of recent accomplishments to connect with your talent and value. What can you truly brag about? What do these successes say about you?
- Create a personal “bragging” statement. Be authentic and positive. Print out the statement and keep it visible so that you can refer to it often. Recite it out loud daily. “This is me.” “This is what makes me special.”
Positive self-talk is an important component to successful self-promotion.
Practice the above mentioned routine daily for 30 days and see the difference it will make in your self-esteem and self-confidence.
May Group Teleclass: The Power of Positive Self-Talk
In this fun and interactive group class series you will:
- Explore your limiting beliefs around positive self-talk. What holds you back?
- Connect with your own value and talent. What makes you unique?
- Practice positive self-talk to build self-esteem and self-confidence. It really works!
Classes will be held consecutive Tuesday evenings 7-8pm EDT starting May 5th.
$125 for three one hour sessions. Workbook included.
Register online: http://womenssuccesscoaching.com/services/group-coaching
One thing that all successful people have in common no matter what their career or talent is that they see themselves as successful and they have an abundance of positive energy.
Do you realize that you can CHOOSE to be successful?
Do you realize that your thoughts create your reality and that if you believe you will be successful, you WILL be successful?