Category: <span>Personal Development</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.

 

Why We Should All Set Goals So Big They Scare Us

The better version of yourself starts with challenging your limits. The magic in extraordinary goals is that it requires you to take massive action, forces personal growth, and the payoff — even if it’s an epic fail — is worth the risk.

Three reasons to set big goals:

1. Big goals require you to think on a higher level. It forces you to stretch what you believe is possible. To challenge your thinking, this level of goal attainment requires that you start with planning your approach and invoking a level of innovation and creative thinking that may not be necessary with small goals.

2. It requires you to take inventory of your skills and assess what you really need. Many of us are forever students, consuming information, hoarding our skills, rehearsing scenarios in our heads. Yet, we still feel we are too inadequate to act and execute our knowledge. This resistance to risk and embracing opportunities only feeds fear. However, have you challenged that lately? Fear doesn’t always give us an accurate assessment of danger, or in this case, how well prepared you really are. To determine that, you have to take your assets and use them.

Have you registered for this training yet?
Click: https://www.amandafludd.com/girl-get-your-goals

Here’s how- Take a look at what you want to achieve, list 3 skills and strengths that you already possess that can get you there, and use that data to support following through on your SMART goals. Athletes are a great example of this. Each time they compete, they execute their plan that incorporates their training. Once the event is over, they reassess where they are based on their performance. Audacious goals require you to have a plan to take your training and compete at your highest caliber, then fine-tune your skill sets and get back out again.

3. It fosters a sense of mastery. The more you practice executing all that knowledge and skill you’ve spent all this time building up, the better you’ll get in your field of expertise. Even if you’ve recently experienced failure or rejection, shift your focus to the lessons you can learn that will support mastery of your craft.Repeated failure for example can indicate a lack of preparation – that some skill or combination of skills is missing. For example, I haven’t been as active I would like to be in the past year (pandemic and all) and if I get out and try to run 3.1 miles in 30 minutes, it’s just not happening (even though your girl is a Marathoner). However, it’s not that I’ve failed at running, I have to start over and focus on mastering an aspect or one piece of the puzzle that supports reaching my goal. In my case, it may be learning to manage my breathing again so I don’t pass out at .2 miles or setting a mini goal to build my physical endurance by adding CrossFit to strengthen my dormant muscles, which can then support that endurance towards the goal. Master the parts, get closer to the whole.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s scary as hell to set goals beyond your realm of comfort and in those moments our minds have a funny way of finding all the challenges to help you change your mind. This is where procrastination begins to set in: as we try to avoid what we perceive might be overwhelming or hard work, we find ways to get sidetracked and trick ourselves into thinking that we’re busy. So rather than working towards our big goals, we hesitate to commit, we ignore, we lose motivation, we settle, we quit.

If the goal doesn’t scare you a little bit though, it probably isn’t big enough. Big goals require a big commitment and will inspire you to become a completely different person than the one you are right now. In order for those big shifts to happen, that discomfort has to be significant enough to get under your skin so you consider something else besides that status quo.

Just know that when you do take that one small action towards what is required to achieve that next level of success, you short circuit that internal system built around fear, and if you do that enough that feeling of fear becomes a positive experience, making it easier to continue the small steps needed towards your goal.

We all have plenty of fears and excuses, but all it takes is to do that ONE thing. Embrace the big-ass goals and keep at it day after day, you’ll be surprised where it takes you personally and professionally.

How about you, what is your big audacious goal? What’s one step you can take towards it today or in the next week? Share it with us in the comments. 

 

 

Amanda Fludd is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Coach, and Mental Health Consultant addressing the emotional needs of individuals and the work cultures that support them.

 

 

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

4 Useful Ways to Ease the Stress of Change for Women Who Lead

The mass exodus back to normal has heightened stress levels, and it’s important to acknowledge that change can be stressful. If you are someone who gets upset and loses focus when things don’t go as expected or strongly dislikes change, automatically expects the worst, and struggles to adapt, this piece is for you.

 

Do you think we are ready to return to ‘normal’? 

Well, whether we’re fully ready, we have to be prepared and adapt. In the ever-changing landscape of life and work, adaptability is a crucial skill for managers, leaders, and anyone looking to navigate change successfully. Adaptable people tend to be happier and more content as they’re not struggling against the resistance of change, and can skillfully ride the wave.

 

The Brain Behind Change

Our brain hates the unknown that comes with change, and that can show up as anxiety, which is your brain’s way of protecting you from the unfamiliar. However, that can mean saving you from a necessary or required action. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress.” The threat is that feeling of not knowing and the associated fear of what could happen in the future. Sometimes that fear is rational, and sometimes not. Sometimes it’s about something that will happen in three minutes (getting on a call to close a deal, for example) or in 30 years (having enough money to retire).

Depending on how you respond to your brain’s conceptualization of the fear can make change or transitions so difficult. It’s easy to feel powerless in these moments, but your power is in the ways you decide to navigate change.

You can decide how you want to think about the situation and what you want to do about it.

We can’t resist returning to work, going back to college, or whatever transition is on the horizon, but you always have a choice within the change. I’m not dismissing that it won’t be hard at times, but this is about being skillful so you can continue to live, lead, and enjoy life.

Let’s jump to 4 quick tips to navigate change and ease the fear of transition:

  1. Notice when an interaction or the thought of a situation upsets you and examine why. Acknowledge out loud any unhelpful thoughts going through your mind, then take those thoughts and challenge their accuracy to determine whether they represent reality. Perhaps you can then find another way to think about them that allows you to move forward.
    How you think or what you are ruminating over is often connected to the experience of procrastination, perfectionism, overwhelm, or feeling unmotivated. Learn to challenge and change the thoughts behind those responses.
  1. Successful leaders often react to anxiety by working harder, holding themselves and others to impossibly high standards, only to cause further stress or burnout in themselves and others. Examine your use of time and what you are asking of others. Putting in place a support infrastructure that includes breaks for you and your team and time to discuss expectations openly.

 

  1. Find a practice that eases your stress. Sometimes our minds operate like a runaway train. If you can quiet your mind for just a moment, you may notice there is always a fork in the road. One road allows your anxious thoughts to derail you, and the other will enable you to inject more positive thoughts and intentional actions.This can look like daily mindfulness practices, laughing, or sometimes more high-intensity activities like running or a good cardio workout. These practices short circuits the stress response by getting you out of your head, incorporating your body, and allowing the experience of stress, anxiety, and worry to subside.
  2. Don’t stay on your island; build connections. You are an expert at what you do, and getting things done is your superpower. However, we all will face the challenge of transitions and change that can make you feel alone or cause you to isolate and withdraw. Do the opposite. Instead, try coming out of your office and chatting with a colleague, or reach out via text, call a friend or  maybe even perform a quick act of kindness. Be open to also ask for help or outsource tasks to create more time and space for wellbeing.

 

In this time of crisis and change, where many are experiencing anxiety for the first time, it is an opportunity to develop our ability to adapt and contribute to a culture the prioritizes the importance of emotional wellbeing.

 

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a passionate advocate for positive workplace culture, supporting the ambitious mindsets of women, 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 July 2021. UPDATE: The series was such a success it WILL CONTINUE through the end of 2021. Every first Monday of the month.  #minoritymentalhealthmonth #strongcommunities

 

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