Category: <span>Confidence</span>

End Self Criticism and Learn To Like Yourself

You are amazing. You are more than enough. You are creative, talented, effective, and beautiful. Yet, so self critical.

The truth is, many of us often engage in a very critical inner dialogue flooded with “I can’t,” “should’s,” “what if’s,” or “I am not enough.” Words that play into catastrophic (imaginary) outcomes as it plays out in our minds (often in elaborate detail) and throws a wrench in our progress.

Have you ever wondered why you can be so self-critical and how to tackle the thought I am not enough?

Here’s to some deep soul searching today.

In rare cases, self-criticism can be helpful- it may give some valuable insight, but it’s rare. The problem with self-critical thoughts or that unchecked inner mean girl is it takes a direct hit at your confidence and sense of self. Unchecked, it increases your risk for stress or experiences like depression anxiety.

Don’t think your way out of how capable you are. Instead, remember that thoughts are not facts, and if you shift your thoughts, you can shift your experience.

Ten affirmations to replace critical conversations: 

I am capable of doing hard things.

I am focused and persistent.

I am safe.

I am in charge of my own happiness.

I am doing the best that I can.

I am capable of creating positive change.

I am the expert in the room.

I am dismantling systems that create inequity piece by piece.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I am proud of myself and all that I have accomplished.

Which of these speaks to you? 

To embrace those I am’s and respond to them in meaningful ways instead of our fears, it becomes essential to explore the source of our negative thoughts. With awareness, you can gain the insights and skills to reframe self-critical thoughts, so they don’t continue as barriers as you execute your goals.

Let’s tackle I Am Not Enough

It’s one of the most common self-critical thoughts. It is often connected to early family stories, invalidating environments, traumas, or shame-based experiences that can emotionally paralyze us in real-time. For example, Mark (definitely not his name), grew up with a very old school strict father who wanted him to “man up,” a consistent message in his young life. When his eight-year-old self (the client) brought home 90’s, it would be met with, well why isn’t it a 100?

While it was never clearly stated, what is the underlying thought or belief you hear with this example?

It’s not enough.

As a developing being, if you repeatedly hear negative messages, it can quickly become internalized into this belief that no matter how hard I work, it is not enough. I have to work extra hard to be “enough” or be seen, acknowledged, or accepted. The most challenging part is that the achievement will never resolve “I am not enough.” It becomes complicated to feel or be satisfied. This dynamic around this idea of “enough,” or any self-critical thought, can consequently create space for things like anxiety, perfectionism, worry, overworking, and stress.

How do I change the I am not enough thoughts?

A significant step to change is awareness. It’s helpful to think about where the thoughts or ideas come from.

Ask yourself when does this happen to me, and begin to get curious about the experience.

Ask, why do I feel like I’m never enough? It is important here to also take a moment to acknowledge the feelings that accompany that experience. Often those same emotions you notice were never given space and were instead met with the message don’t cry, what’s wrong with you, or feelings are a sign of weakness.

Once you realize that thoughts based on your past may still be showing up to control your present, it gets easier to address them in real-time, like using the above affirmations. The key is finding the unhelpful thoughts or beliefs based on old ideas that no longer support your life and learning to reframe them. It becomes easier to like who you have become, accept you are enough, and embrace your success with new perspectives.

Reflection Point: Changing The I Am Not Enough Thoughts 

  1. Figure out the source. Spend some time unpacking your thoughts and feelings.
  2. To help your awareness – Try journaling, meditation, or other contemplative activities to find and release the things holding you back. You can give our self-love journal a try. The prompts help you to approach self-criticism from a place of self-compassion.
  3. Every time you have a negative or critical thought, replace it with a new thought that uplifts you and makes you feel good enough. Or repeat to yourself, I am good enough or another affirmation as mentioned above. The research suggests that affirmations can help you to perform better. Spending just a few minutes thinking about your best qualities can decrease stress, increase your confidence, and improve your chances of success.

 

 

A Licensed therapist and coach for high achieving women. It’s important to note when resolving complex thoughts is challenging, it is also helpful to enlist the support of a therapist or a coach.

 

Do You Have an Unhealthy Relationship With Your Business?

The Relationship Between Your Business and Your Mindset Can Be Toxic

Entrepreneurs are one of my favorite people because they’ve consciously decided to carve their own paths and take full responsibility for their success. Yet, as creative, driven, and ambitious these phenomenal humans are, they still encounter challenges in their growth that, just like you, they may not realize is an unconscious habit holding them back.

When you eat, sleep, and breathe your business, it’s sometimes hard to see the emotional patterns at play that often contribute to those moments you feel anxious, frustrated, stagnant, or stuck.

Allow me to help you out.

Here are three bad habits that may be compromising your entrepreneurial success:

  1. IGNORING THE INNER BULLY 

Everyone struggles with fear and self-doubt from time to time, and entrepreneurs and young leaders experience these emotions more frequently than others. When our performance and decisions do not meet expectations, our instinct isn’t always compassion and praise but self-criticism. When you say “I can’t” do this or embrace other negative internal dialogue, it flames the fire of imaginary catastrophic situations and leaves you susceptible to limiting beliefs. Negative and self-deprecating thoughts tend to keep getting bigger and ultimately put a wrench in progress if you aren’t intentional with addressing it.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

  1. NOT USING THE RIGHT PEOPLE 

You can’t start [or grow] your business with friends alone. A challenge for most entrepreneurs is recognizing their current circle may not have the knowledge, expertise, or even care to support their growth. No hard feelings towards them, but they can’t help you go to higher levels if they have never experienced that themselves. You may need friends in leadership, marketing friends, investor friends, social media friends… it’s time to diversify your friendships.

The reality is that there’s an entire community of other entrepreneurs behind almost every successful entrepreneur who understands the grind and can expedite your learning curve. The best of us recognize that we genuinely can’t do it by ourselves or with our walking friends.

  1. BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL AND DOING IT ALL

Let’s face it, work is never-ending, especially when success is dependent on you, and more often, that pressure can trigger our over-achieving perfectionism and push us onto the path of exhaustion. Burnout is real in this arena, and so is frustration with the hustle, stress, and losing the connection to why you started in the first place. That’s usually when coaching clients come to me when they don’t even know why they are working so hard anymore, and the stress and anxiety are overwhelming. What’s usually very evident is poor boundaries.

A good strategy I recommend is to commit to taking a few minutes each day to reboot your brain and reenergize your body. Most people ignore the importance of taking time away from their desks or implementing a hard stop time when doing work (or working from home).

When was the last time you took a weekend off?

The barriers between work and personal life can blur for many ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs, but the word is balance. I am the most creative and inspired when I take intentional breaks and travel, read, ambush my kids with nerf guns, engage in focused breathing exercises, or just nap.

A quick workaround here is to schedule time for fun just as you would professional tasks –whether it’s a call with friends, hanging at a new café, or that mindful moment, put it on your calendar. I think it’s also essential to build it into the workday- incorporate music into meetings, or end with a quick mindful minute. The pauses should be built into the work experience. Socializing, laughing, and relaxing is an excellent prescription for the entrepreneur’s soul.

Final pop quiz:

  1. What sabotaging patterns do you recognize in yourself?
  2. Are you in an unhealthy relationship with your business? What is something different you can do today to better navigate habits that self-sabotage your success? Take a moment to create a reminder for that one thing and schedule it on your phone. You may not be able to make a huge shift right away, but a shift is a start. And it’s a start in the right direction.
  3. How can you recognize these patterns in the future?

I hope that you enjoyed this week’s blog post on the importance of emotional awareness in business. I’ve written in the past about how important it is for entrepreneurs to remember that it’s okay to be vulnerable, to trust your gut, to take risks, and to go outside of your comfort zone. Hopefully this post has helped you rethink your inner-entrepreneur so that you can start focusing on the things that need to be done rather than the things that are holding you back.

If you’re looking for more information about business psychology or need support, you can connect with me here.

Let me know if these tips and the review questions were helpful in the comments below!

Cheers to your success, Amanda Fludd

Why Does Success Elude You?

I’m guessing that you’re holding yourself back because of one of the following reasons

Examine Your Role In Success

It’s human nature to want to be successful at everything we do in business and life. Yet, most of us aren’t experiencing the level of success we desire, and to be honest, it’s a pretty unsettling feeling.

 It’s easy to see successful people thriving in their lanes and get caught in the trap of holding yourself to their standards, not understanding their story. From your vantage point, it would appear that everyone (but you) is “crushing it,” and as a reflex, you wonder what the hell is wrong with you?

 There’s no magic formula for success; even those business people or influencers, who seem to be overnight sensations, worked hard for many years out of the limelight before attaining their level of success. How you select your goals and your process to navigate the stress that comes with a high level of achievement is a big part of the formula. 

Even though you may have some setbacks along the way, if you prepare yourself for the road ahead and visualize what you want to accomplish, then the only person standing in your way of success is you.

Skillfully move through the process, and you WILL find success in both business and in life.

  1. You keep asking, “why not me?”. It’s a waste of energy and time to keep asking why other people are hitting these incredible milestones, and you are not. Worse yet, it’s contributing to your anxiety around success, making it less likely that you’ll take action towards your goals.  

 

  1. You are not clear on your goals. Not having clear goals or feeling like your goals are out of reach can be frustrating —try asking yourself, “What do you want out of life/business?” Having clarity on what you want – no matter how big or small they may be –sets you in the right direction and positively impacts your emotional wellbeing. According to an
    Get Clear On Your Goals

    18 year-long study published by the American Psychological Association (APA) in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, people who were good at keeping up with goals or got better at sticking with their goals over time had better mental health than those who didn’t. 

It helps to break your goals down into smaller milestones that feel attainable to you. If you’re starting out in business or early in your career, you probably won’t make multimillions your first year. Instead, break that multimillion-dollar goal into something smaller that is more realistic. The goal should be meaningful to you, and the milestones shouldn’t dampen your spirits but serve as your next action steps.

 

  1. You don’t have habits that support consistently reaching those goals. Your results in life are a reflection of your habits. You’re moving either closer or further from success each day. The processes you create to reach your goals are much more important than the actual goal itself. Consider following a checklist for your daily tasks with a time limit for each task, tackling more difficult tasks first. For instance, allow yourself 10 minutes to check and respond to emails, then sign out of email for a few hours. Time blocking also works to focus on one task or one client for a certain amount of time.

If you feel like your processes have stalled, focus on improving the processes instead of changing the goals. Maybe you need to add or subtract a step or add more time to specific tasks. Or perhaps you need to take time to explore the root causes of inaction that are negatively impacting your progress. Self-awareness and effective habits ensure that you make consistent progress.

 

  1. You are afraid of failure or uncomfortable with change. Failing can be hard on the ego, and that fear can be so intense that avoiding failure obscures the motivation to succeed. Insecurity about doing things incorrectly, or maintaining extremely high standards, often causes many people to sabotage their chances for success unconsciously. 

 

Every time you try something new, there will be a level of discomfort. You have to learn to deal with uncomfortable feelings all along the way. Also, keep in mind that the most successful people have failed the most and the truth is, most people won’t even notice the failures on your way to success.

 

  1. Your mental attitude is blocking success. A pessimistic attitude brings negative results. When you expect a poor outcome, you won’t do the work necessary for success. This is tied closely to brain function with negativity slowing activity in the cerebellum- the part of your brain that works to develop creative solutions for the issues you face. Keep your mind filled with positive thoughts.

 

Success is a twisting road with many obstacles. It’s easy to become discouraged and feel left out of the club, but know that most successful people know what they want and have a high level of persistence. Avoid the common reasons that impede success, and you’ll begin to see opportunities arise that will bring you toward your ultimate goals.

 

ARE YOU READY TO BE BOLD & PLAY BIGGER?

Our zone of genius is helping ambitious entrepreneurs and business leaders learn to navigate the anxiety of high standards in pursuit of their biggest goals and unapologetically live their lives. Our academy is for you if you are ready to get out of your own way and finally feel the confidence, capability, and control you crave. The Performance Academy will help reinforce the skills that typically impede success and build your motivation to wake up each day feeling calm, clear, and confident in your abilities.  

Not sure what you need? Feel free to schedule a consultation to see how this or another one of our programs would fit you. Your most successful future starts here. 

 

Lean into Discomfort to Achieve Your Goals

Photo by Barbara Olsen from Pexels

I’m not sure who in their right mind chooses to be uncomfortable, apart from exceptional people who understand that whatever we don’t face becomes our limits.

If you want things to really be different and grow personally and professionally, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

The feeling we associate with discomfort is fear or anxiety. As creatures of habit, we prefer safe and calm, but as you go after your dreams, it requires risk and uncertainty, which can be scary. People don’t always realize that any perceived fear can trigger your internal fear response, prompting avoidance or withdrawal. That fear response can look like: Overthinking, procrastination, headaches, unnecessary mistakes and trouble focusing, to name a few.

The more we back off in the face of discomfort, the more we reinforce our fears and limits. The antidote to that is actually to partner with our fear.

Making Friends with Fear

Declare a truce between you and that feeling you’ve been fighting for so long. I use a great book in therapy and often discuss with coaching clients, Visiting Feelings by Lauren Rubenstein. Essentially, it invites you to think of the feeling like a friend who is visiting- would you answer the door and ask what the hell are you doing here? Or maybe you are the type not even to answer at all? Maybe close the windows, slide down the couch and hold your breath as if the friend wasn’t even there? Hopefully, if an unexpected visitor showed up, you would open the door and get curious about why they came to see you or even get excited to engage in a conversation. With that same spirit of exploration, you can learn to befriend even the most difficult emotions with acceptance and equanimity, giving space for a more considered response to the feelings.

But won’t that make things worse?

Your anxiety won’t escalate if you acknowledge it as you take risks, embrace failure, mess up big time, and manage distress. It’s when we fight against it or run from it that we reinforce adverse outcomes.

Each time you face the fear, it reduces the emotional reigns it has on your life.

Let’s take a look at three approaches to intentionally confront the fear standing in between you and [enter goal, task, or project here].

  1. Just Breathe. Our conditioned response to fear is to speed things up. Your breath is the most powerful tool you own that can slow down your internal reaction. Use your breath to settle the excitement of seeing your friend (aka fear). Visualize each deep inhale, connecting you back to the moment, and each complete exhale providing relief.
  2. We tend to overthink and not act. Sometimes the more you accomplish, the more you feel like a fraud and doubt your abilities, but feelings aren’t facts. Rely on the facts, not your emotions or catastrophic thoughts. Instead, think about another time you were successful, what worked for you then, and how you could that possibly apply now to support continued action.
  3. Plan for the obstacles. You eventually will confront the beliefs and reactions that typically show up to hold you back. So plan ahead.  Try listing your fears or concerns and for each note your typical reactions that make it difficult for you to proceed. Now for each, write a plan of action to respond. A part of that plan should include acknowledging the fear and defusing it with a curious, good to see you attitude, as well as using your breath (you always have that with you).

It takes consistent work and awareness to notice and better respond to the experience of discomfort. Still, it is in partnership with that experience that you can take charge of your life and lose the fear of stepping outside of your comfort zone.

What’s your favorite way to handle discomfort? Let us know in the comments below.

Cheers to your success, Amanda Fludd.

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a passionate advocate for positive workplace culture, supporting the ambitious mindsets of women through coaching, and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply get you out of your head, so you can stress less, and focus on your success.

Make sure to register for “Catch your Breath” a free live mindful practice series for Minority Women Who Lead running through the end of  2021. #minoritymentalhealthmonth #strongcommunities

Why Letting Go of these 3 Kinds of Worry Will Help You Have an Awesome New Year

2020 has been an unexpected year and the uncertainty of it has thrown everyone into a whirlwind of anxiety, sadness, doubt, or a different kind of tired- Covid tired. A new year is approaching and it’s important to let go of any baggage that’s weighing you down and make space for what’s to come. As long as you have breath in your body you can create, dream, make room for joy, and live with intention despite uncertainty.

COVID-19 is like that unwanted house guest that you want to leave, but you can’t seem to get rid off.

For a lot of people – children and adults alike, this pandemic is kicking up worries, and making it difficult to get things done. What most people don’t realize is that the time you spend OVERTHINKING about a situatin instead of doing something actually feeds your stress and drains your motivation. The key to navigating stress, anxiety, worry, and overwhelm is getting a handle on WHAT you are thinking and that is what we’re going to get into- the importance of letting go of worries and it’s on your life.

Let’s do a quick exercise that will help you reduce that baggage of stress and worries you’re carrying right away. Ready? Grab a pen and paper and write down all your worries for a minute. Write down whatever you think about during the day, the thoughts on your mind now, what you feel, thoughts related to your business, your family, relationships, whatever is on your mind. Transfer all that pain, worry and negative energy to that piece of paper.

Now, take a look at what you wrote on the paper, and crumple that paper up and throw it away OR rip up the paper as dramatic as you can, shred it to bits!

How do you feel? I hope you feel a little better. Although this will not get rid of your problems completely, this simple exercise is a proven method to calm a person who is constantly in their head and at the mercy of their worries. It’s an exercise that teaches you the value of letting go. Whenever you feel worried again, write it all down, take a deep breath, tear it up, throw it away and let go.

Drop the worries that no longer serve you 

  1. Fear of the future

A lot of us get excited about the whole new year, new me and are motivated about new goals, but let’s get real, new goals (or the ones that didn’t happen this year) and dreams can be scary. A lot of my work is coaching women to from fear to success in their business and fear is the number one thing that paralyzes progress.  Fear is what is behind anxiety, but often our fears are a bit exaggerated. A quick tip: Ask yourself how bad is this really? Start to tackle what overwhelms you by breaking it into smaller steps or chunks of time. With a little bit of practice you can let go of fear and the unhelpful thoughts that drives it.

  1. The Need to be busy

Covid-19 shut us down- actually for safety, and mentally because it put a pause on our need to do as much as we can in a 24 hour period. Busyness has become the new normal.  If having back to back appointments and being in demand equates to doing a good job, it’s easy to mistake busyness for purpose and validation. This pause has given us time to tune in and realign our lives through things that matter to us, like classes to develop our skillsets, fixing up the house, to getting some needed rest. Rest and relaxation is probably the antidote to worry, as well as prioritizing your time. It is the key to reducing stress, improving your emotional health AND resting is productive. Yet, it is hard for some of us who are used to filling every moment of time to simply take a break.  A break gives you a moment to take in things like the satisfactin of your accomplishments, quality relationships, and the other details of life that can refuel your energy, support internal validation, and propel you forward.

To tackle your new need for intentional time, block it out!  Fill your schedule with tasks and activities you want to do, it’s harder for others to steal your time if you’ve already blocked off key tasks for yourself, and it makes it easier to say “nope, not today”.  Schedule key tasks of the day in chunks of time, as well as breaks and time off (vacation time isn’t optional). The key here is to be realistic about what needs to be accomplished for the day, with flexibility to be responsive to changes instead of reactive. Let go of the need to be busy.

  1. The need to be in control

Anxiety and stress happen when you feel like you’re not in control and spend too much time trying to force things to work out the way you see it in you head. The hard truth is that you’re not in control of most things in your life. You can rarely predict how the next chapter of your life will play out or the weather for that matter. Avoid wasting your energy trying to control everything. I know, easier said then done. It might help to take a step back and think about how control plays out in your life, the purpose it serves, and where this need for control comes form. [Take a breath] Accept that you cannot control the circumstances of your life, but you CAN control your reactions and what you do with what’s handed to you.  That means you have a lot of power yourself- don’t believe me? Make a list of all the things that belong to you- your health, your decisions, your emotional wellbeing, etcetera, etcetera. Refocus your energies there and take notes on how it creates change for you and in your environment.

Choose an Affirmation that Fits You

A few mantra’s to reinforce shifting control back to you- see which one best suits you and make sure to write it down on a sticky, put it up on your bathroom mirror or computer or even try scheduling it on your phone as a reminder. The goal is to recite it at least once a day until it becomes a new way of doing.

I release all fears of not being perfect. I am good enough

I live my life without restraints

I let go of the need to control others

I’m 100% in control of my life

I let go of my need to be in control

Worrying and stress will impede your productivity and create chasms between you and your goals for the new year, holding your happiness hostage. As counterintuitive as it seems, letting go of your fear of the future, the idea that you constantly need to be busy and the urge to be in control of everything will actually open up great opportunities for you. Not only will it improve your productivity and performance, but it creates a healthy mindset that will serve you right if you treat it well.

 

I’d love to hear what your goals are for next year and what you plan to let go of before January 1 rolls around. Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

 

~Amanda Fludd, Psychotherapist & Mindset Coach for Women in Business and Entrepreneurs

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