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I was at a women’s networking group meeting on Tuesday night. One woman was describing a project she was working on and she proudly told us about a couple of what sounded to me like significant accomplishments. Then, without taking a breath she said, “BUT I didn’t do…” Can you hear a sucking sound as you read this? It’s the sound of the woman sucking the positive energy right out of the room and turning what could have been a cause for celebration into a downer dwelling. Instead of leaving us with things to feel good about, she took us down the path of gloom and doom.
Another woman was sharing her accomplishments and said, “They were just little things”. JUST little things? They sounded pretty significant to me!
When we minimize our efforts and our accomplishments, we rob ourselves of the positive momentum we need to keep going. We give the impression of not valuing what we do. If we don’t value our work why should others?
Here are some typical self-defeating things I often hear women say,
“I’m sorry to bother you but could you do me a little favor?”
“This might be a stupid question but…”
“I’m sort of going to try to…”
“I could be wrong but I think…”
“I did the first three things on my to-do list but I didn’t get to the last two.”
The language that we use gives our listeners a sense of what we think of ourselves and it regulates our own personal power and energy.
Notice the difference in energy if the 5 phrases above were said this way:
“Excuse me, do you have a few minutes? I’d like to ask you something.”
“I have a question, …”
“I am going to do _____ by _(date)____.
“I’m proud that I did the first 3 things on my to-do list and I’ll do the last 2 by the end of next week.”
Notice how often you say ‘but’ or ‘just’ or otherwise use language that minimizes your accomplishments and therefore you. Kick that ‘but’ to the curb and consciously choose more empowering language.
Yes, you read it right. I want you to BE YOUR OWN VALENTINE. Love yourself, honor yourself, show compassion for yourself, shower yourself with loving messages, gifts and indulgences that make you feel taken care of.
It’s nice to have others express their love and appreciation for us but sometimes, we are so down on ourselves, so full of self-doubt that we can’t let the love of others in. We feel unworthy of love and so, when it is shown to us, we don’t trust it, can’t accept it and inadvertently push it away.
What happens when we shun affection from others? They stop demonstrating it. And, when they stop, we feel disappointed and make them wrong. We don’t realize the we might have been the cause of the withdrawal.
So, if you want love to come your way, start by loving yourself and expressing love. Open the vessel for love to pour in!
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.”
Happy Valentine’s Day
We often look at highly successful people and think they are full of self-confidence. We compare how they appear on the outside with how we sometimes feel on the inside… insecure, incompetent, inadequate and, it makes us feel worse. We think, ‘I’ll never be as good as, as successful as, as competent as…” But even the most confident and successful among us feel self-doubt. Even New England Patriots star quarterback, Tom Brady needs a little help from his friends before a big game. And his beautiful wife, Gisele, captain of his personal support squad, reaches out and asks for it.
The Boston Globe shared this in this morning’s edition of the paper:
The New York Post got its hands on an e-mail meant for Gisele Bundchen’s inner circle that asks friends of the Tom Brady-Bundchen pack to pray for the Pats. According to the story by the Post’s Todd Venezia, the e-mail says, “My sweet friends and family, this Sunday will be a really important day in my husband’s life. He and his team worked so hard to get to this point and now they need us more than ever to send them positive energy so they can fulfill their dream of winning this Super Bowl. So I kindly ask all of you to join me on this positive chain and pray for him, so he can feel confident, healthy and strong. Envision him happy and fulfilled experiencing with his team a victory this Sunday. Thank you for your love and support. Love, G ’’
When you are feeling a bit shaky, do you reach out and ask for help? Do you envision yourself being successful, happy and fulfilled and ask for others to hold that vision for you?
I hope Eli Manning’s envisioners are not as powerful as Brady’s!
Successful change emanates from the heart, not the head. In order to be successful, to stay motivated we need to let go of ego and embrace possibility.
Ego is engaged when we have to be right, need to look good, are afraid to fail.
When we are in the realm of possibility, we are open, curious, calm.
I had a client, Donna, who wanted to lose 10 pounds… you know, that last 10 pounds you want to lose for years? I asked her what she had tried before and she gave me a list of diet programs she had tried to follow. She said they didn’t work because she felt deprived, had to think really hard about what foods to eat and what not to and, in the end, when she wasn’t successful, she beat herself up, told herself she was bad and wrong… and, or course, ate to sooth her feelings. In a word, Donna stayed stuck.
I suggested that she forget about the weight loss goal for a moment and to just imagine what was possible for her if she was at her goal weight… forget how you might do it or whether you should or shouldn’t… just feel what opportunity is available to you if you are at your idea of an ideal weight. She lit up, she was inspired. She saw herself feeling light and energetic and active and strong. She saw herself feeling fit and positive… She was inspired by the possibility of being that fit, energetic person. With that inspiration and vision in mind, we set out to create a plan for her to lose the 10 pounds… driven from the heart, not the ego.
I had another client, Jane who wanted to get back into an exercise routine but couldn’t find the time and get into the habit. Again, I asked her to think about what was possible for her if she were exercising? She created a compelling vision of herself strong and fit and energetic. With that as a backdrop… we began to work on the how. Along the way, each time she found herself resisting going to the gym or working out, I asked her to notice what was running the show… her head full of ‘shoulds’ and reasons why not, or possibility, overflowing with energy and inspiration? So, I suggested that she NOT check in with her head on the matter of whether she was going to go to the gym and just make a conscious choice to check in with her source of inspiration, her heart. Her first response when I suggested that was, “oh, that will never work for me,” a comment coming from the head, by the way. So, I pressed on and asked, are you willing to consider the possibility that it might work? She agreed and sure enough, she found herself getting exercise regularly, enjoying it and miraculously, other things got done too.
The show stoppers tend to be things coming from your head. When you go back to your heart, you get moving.
As Peter Drucker said, “The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create it.” And, the best way to create it is to imagine and be open to all of the possibilities, rather than drawing on all of the history, memories, fears.
How many times have you heard this in answer to your question, “How do I…” It doesn’t matter what you are trying to do… look younger—it’s easy. All you have to do is use this cream every day for the next 3 months; make a million dollars—it’s easy. All you have to do is have an idea, create some content about it–write a book or ebook, develop a webinar, speak about it, offer seminars on the subject, sell the products on the web and count your money when you wake up in the morning. Or maybe you want to be happier – easy. All you have to do is notice the positive things in your life and express gratitude for them and bingo… life is good.
Well, if it were REALLY that easy, if you could have health, wealth, happiness and fulfillment by just doing a few things differently, why isn’t the planet overrun with wealthy, joyful, richly related, fit, satisfied people?
Because while the mechanics of life are simple, and any of us can learn them, our inner world isn’t so clear cut. Feelings and emotions are messy. The scripts we’ve developed, the beliefs we hold dear, the assumptions we make, the fears we harbor come into play and get in the way of our ‘just doing…” They make what others say is easy, really, really hard. In fact, it is our internal processes that create our most challenging roadblocks.
In order to be successful, we need to understand our values, our feelings and our fears and make some shifts from the inside out.
When you find yourself stuck, unable to ‘just do…” ask yourself, “What is in the way of my doing this?” Listen carefully to the voice in your head or the movie that is playing there. Do you hear someone saying, “who do you think you are thinking you can do this?” Or do you see a loved one criticizing or disapproving?” Do you jump to an internal dialog that sounds something like, “What if this doesn’t work out?”
Pay attention to how your body feels. When you first think about moving toward your idea or dream do you feel excited, only to have that followed by a different sensation, perhaps one of fear or overwhelm? Can you feel heaviness in your body or a lump in your throat?
Your thoughts and feelings have real power over you. In order to keep moving forward toward your goals, you have to pay attention to your whole body in order to know how to re-empower your deflated sense of excitement.
You have to reprogram yourself to catch yourself when your inner voice and inner movie projector throw up road blocks.
The first step is awareness. Get to know your body’s signals. What messages are you sending yourself? What do they mean? What is going on in your mind and your body that is causing you to be stopped? Where do these messages come from? How can you counter them?
Disempower your negative thoughts. If you notice that you are having negative thoughts like, “I can’t”, “it won’t work out”, “I shouldn’t…”, ask yourself, “Is this true?” By true I don’t mean is it possible that it might happen. I mean, is this absolutely, irrefutably true? If it is not true, ask yourself, “What is the truth in this situation?” If it is true, ask yourself, “So what? What is the worst thing that could happen if that outcome occurred?” Let’s say you can hear your best friend’s voice saying, “Remember the last time you did…? It was a complete disaster. What makes you think this will be any different?” You automatically start thinking, “She’s right. I could never do this.” Is it true that you failed before? Maybe it is. Is it absolutely true that you will fail again? No. And even if you do fail again, what’s the worst thing that can happen? You are guaranteed not to succeed if you don’t try. Would you rather go down swinging or on a called strike? And, finally, consider what you can do to minimize your risk.
Acknowledge, understand and work through your feelings. For many people, feelings get in the way of showcasing their true greatness. The feelings may show up as embarrassment, overwhelm, feeling stupid. Underneath those feelings is fear. Fear of losing face, fear of failure, fear of asking for help and looking stupid, fear of upsetting others or the status quo. When we dig deep to discover the basis of our feelings, we can pinpoint what we need to do to move through them. Feelings should not be ignored. They convey important information and it is important to understand them, heed their messages and learn from them. One of my clients was really excited about a possible new job opportunity. She loved everything about it except that it would require that she be out at events several evenings a month. This didn’t bother her but she was afraid it would upset her husband and put her marriage at risk. That thought was so scary to her, she decided not to pursue the opportunity. When I asked her if she had asked her husband about it, she said, “no”. She just assumed it would be a problem, feared the impact and acted on that fear. Identifying the fear and understanding it’s source, gave her the direction she needed to take some effective action. She spoke to her husband about it and learned that while it wouldn’t be his first choice to have her out a lot, he was excited about this opportunity for her and would be willing to make it work.
It may not be as easy as 1-2-3, but you can overcome your fears and allow your true greatness to shine!