I’m always a bit intrigued when I meet people who think that, because of the work I do in personal and professional development, my life must be totally sorted.
As much as I’d like to say it is, of course it is not.
I become stuck, feel envious, get bogged down in noise, get angry ‘unnecessarily’, let things overwhelm me, and just about everything else.
I argue with my husband, worry about money from time to time, have little patience with the stepkids sometimes (who are now in their 20s), want to hibernate away from everyone and just cannot be bothered with doing “today’s” work.
And it is a big “however” …
I possess a deep sense of confidence and calm, knowing where these things are coming from and exactly how to get back on track. I do not berate myself (as much) anymore nor do I judge myself as a failure in some way.
Every day, I know some squirrel is probably going to tempt me or throw a curve ball in my direction. And that’s okay. In fact, it is part of the fun.
Action – What magic pill did I swallow? None (though a glass of wine or G&T can certainly be helpful).
It is a matter of the choices I make on a frequent basis. These are the same choices you can make too:
• Practice some degree of mindfulness throughout the day
• Pause in gratitude frequently
• Praise myself for the things that I do that are a stretch
• Notice and acknowledge others for who they are
• Purposefully shut off (or at least tone down) the inner critic
• Stop listening to all the “secrets” – I know me best
• Believe in something bigger than me
• Raise my self-awareness constantly
• Be a lifelong learner.
In other words, many little decisions made throughout the day, every day. No magic pill. No “30 days to a million dollars”. Just daily consistent, persistent attitude and actions.
We all have ’em.
No, not butts, though we all have those too.
You know … that little word that stops you from taking the next step. From choosing A or B (or C or Q). From feeling more positive about yourself. From living the life you say you want.
You know … these buts:
• But what if I look foolish?
• But I have too much to do!
• But no one will understand.
• But it won’t work for me.
• But I’d rather be doing something else.
And, of course, the big but (sorry, couldn’t resist) …
But what if I fail?!
There are only three things that squash buts.
- Taking action on even the smallest thing that’s creating the but
- A nice mix of accountability and encouragement
- Higher self-awareness so you know where that version of but is coming from
Action – List one ‘but’ you know you have that is getting in your way. Just write it down. Let it sit for a couple of days. Then list all the different actions you could take, the type of accountability and encouragement you’d like and your intuitive sense of what is underlying the fear (which, of course, ‘but’ reflects).
Then see what you want to do next.
Can you hear yourself think?
Most people are stuck somewhere between the external gurus (that tell you they know more than you do so therefore you should buy their secrets) and the internal critic (that tells you that you are undeserving, unworthy, not good enough or some other BS you’ve learned along the way).
With all that noise going on, it is no wonder you can’t hear yourself think !!
There are only three weapons that will slay those villains.
- Self-awareness – of what you think, how you feel, why you believe certain things, what motivates you, what makes you sad, what scares you, who makes you feel all mushy, why you like certain things more than others and so on.
- Accountability – we are more likely to keep a promise to someone else than to ourselves so having a degree of accountability to a person you respect, who will kick your ass if need be, can accelerate you along your path.
- Encouragement – we all need a sincere “well done” from time to time, especially when we are still bogged down in our own negativity that we cannot see how amazing we are (which is generally every day).
Put these three things together, and the internal and external noise that is getting in your way doesn’t stand a chance!
Action – On a scale of 1-10, honestly rate whether you have true self-awareness, have someone (or several) who respectfully hold you accountable and have someone (or several) who genuinely boost you up.
Self-awareness is the ability to remain in touch with yourself. It is an understanding of how you think and feel about yourself in different situations. This acquired knowledge about self shapes your decisions and determines your actions and behaviors. Most workers want to understand their motives, conflicts, behaviors, issues, and relationships while at work. Church (1997) maintains that high-performing workers are also highly self-aware and are able to accurately assess and determine their workplace behaviors.
So, take time to do a little introspection and reflect on the following:
- True understanding of yourself requires effortful introspection (Showry & Manasa, 2014). This process of self-assessment can be cognitively complex, and typically occurs at the unconscious and subconscious levels. Yet, it takes the simple conscious decision to do it to get the ball rolling.
- Self-aware workers can express both their strengths and their weaknesses. In so doing, self-aware workers know that they can convert weaknesses into strengths by working on self (Showry & Manasa, 2014).
- Self-aware workers are open to objective feedback (Duval and Lalwani , 1999). When you reject the validity of negative feedback or overlook your faults and failures or take more credit for your group’s work than you give to other members, you are protecting your ego from injury. In turn, this negatively impacts the organization. And while your ego may have been saved from harm, your self-esteem drops.
- The more you understand yourself, your communication at work (and at home) improves. Improved communication at the workplace will ultimately increase your work performance (Wegner and Giuliano 1982).
- Finally, the depth of your self-awareness equals your breath of success (Morris, 2016)
Self-aware workers understand who they are and what they want to achieve. Instead of becoming defensive when confronted with hard times, they accept the situation, transform themselves and thrive.
Church, A. (1997). Managerial Self-Awareness in High-Performing Individuals in Organizations, Journal of Applied Psychology, 82(2), 281-292.
Duval, T. & Lalwani, N. (1999). Objective Self-Awareness and Causal Attributions for Self-Standard Discrepancies: Changing Self or Changing Standards of Correctness, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, (25), 1220-1229.
Ickes, W. J., & Knowles, E. S. (1982). Personality, roles, and social behavior. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Morris, N. (2016, February). Metacognitive Skills Training as a Positive Psychology Intervention for Within-Person Fluctuations of Wellbeing at Work presented to University of East London, London, England.
Showry, K., Mendemu, V. & Manasa, L. (2014). Self-Awareness-Key to Effective Leadership. IUP Journal of Soft Skills, 8 (1), 15+.
Wegner, D. & Giuliano, T. (1982). The Forms of Social Awareness. In Personality, roles, and social behavior. New York: Springer-Verlag.