“Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time and energy needed to develop yourself”
Have you bought into the lie that success constantly requires more, more, and more? To achieve success, you must do more, work more hours, take on more projects, and accept more responsibilities? If so, you're probably experiencing a roller coaster ride of mixed results-being on top of the world one moment and crashing to earth at lightning speed the next.
The Success Lie was written for you. You recognize the gap between where you are now and your highest potential, but don't want to sacrifice your sanity to get there. Janelle Bruland has built a formidable bridge over that gap, proving that you can be successful in the business world and maintain balance in your personal life without constantly feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Read an excerpt / adaption from her new book below and click here to be directed to the full book on Amazon.
A few years ago, I had the honor of being invited to an exclusive leadership institute with 16 men and women leaders from around the nation. Before the class began, we were asked to submit a bio about ourselves to the rest of the group. Reading the various bios was a great way to get to know each other a bit before our first meeting. One of the women stood out as she was highly-educated with a doctorate in her profession, had authored several publications, and had founded and grown a thriving practice. As I read her bio, I was impressed and a bit intimidated by her education and achievements, which I perceived as being much larger than mine. When I met her, she was everything in her bio and more. She was warm, delightful, and absolutely brilliant. When she spoke to the group, she was captivating and articulate, and had our rapt attention.
Yet, as I got to know her better, she confided in me that she struggled with a negative image of herself, and believed she was undeserving of her accomplishments. In an industry dominated by men, she felt inadequate. We had interesting conversations about this, as I looked at her and thought, wow, what an amazing individual. But she struggled to feel this way about herself, with what she admitted was a crippling inner battle. It was undoubtedly holding her back.
Who Do You See in the Mirror?
My brilliant colleague is not alone. How we see ourselves is directly related to how we portray ourselves to the outside world. We will either limit ourselves in what we are able to accomplish or may desire to prove what we can accomplish, but those successes do not bring peace and fulfillment. I like the picture of a small kitten who looks at its reflection in the mirror and sees a mighty lion. If we feel small with not much to offer, we won’t invest in ourselves and will limit what we can accomplish. On the other hand, if we see ourselves as strong and capable, the possibilities are unlimited.
Why do so many people fail to grow and reach their potential, or accomplish many things and be unable to experience joy and satisfaction from it? I’ve concluded that one of the main reasons is a low self-image. When we have a low self-image, we feel poorly about ourselves, and tend to make the situation worse through negative thoughts and critical self-talk. If we don’t feel worth the effort, the image we have of ourselves will remain low without the chance to improve.
For some people it is easier to let go of this lens we view ourselves through, for others it feels like a constant battle with our inner critic. It takes time and work to change this perception that has been reinforced for years. The good news is by choosing to have positive thoughts about yourself, you can begin the process to change and improve your self-image. Here are a couple of ways I have found to be helpful in silencing our inner critics.
Guard Your Self-Talk
One way to build your self-image is by guarding your self-talk. If you think about it, you will realize you talk to yourself many times a day. Is that self-talk positive or negative? Are you being kind to yourself or critical? When faced with a problem do you tell yourself, “I’ve got this – I will figure it out” or instead say, “I’ve messed up again – I never get it right.” It can be helpful to log your thoughts to determine how you are doing.
Put down the negative thoughts and chatter going on in your mind, and be kind to yourself. Put down the self-criticism and judgement that you are allowing in your life. You have the power to let go of these things a little more each day. Here is how:
Throughout the day, recognize when negative thoughts begin to surface. If you pay attention you will notice yourself sorting through unpleasant thoughts right before the unhealthy chatter begins. Recognizing when this happens is the first step to correcting this unconscious behavior. When it becomes conscious, you have the power to do something about it.
When you find yourself with a negative thought, change it to a positive one. Remember to stop and allow the body and mind to find a place of ease. Build a firm foundation of health and happiness in your mind. You have the choice and the power to say “no” to negative self-talk; believe in yourself and the value you bring.
Focus on Your Strengths
Change your focus to all the things you excel at. What are your strengths and how can you choose to use them to make life better for yourself and others? Turn around the negatives and focus on your positive attributes. Anytime you struggle with feelings of inadequacy, take the time to stop, take a breath, and reassess why you are having these feelings. Often, we overlook our greatest assets, so by intentionally examining ourselves in the mirror to find our inner lions we can choose who we see.
One helpful way to identify and confirm your strengths is to use those who know you well as a resource. Ask a few of your closest friends or colleagues, whoever you trust to be honest, to write a list of positive character qualities that come to mind when they think of you. Once you have this list of qualities and abilities from those who know you the best, it can be a great stabilizer when you find yourself stuck in self-doubt and negativity.
Each one of us has unique gifts and talents to give the world. When you realize your own special value, you will see yourself as strong and capable. You will believe you are worth investing in. The result will be growth and development and living up to your full potential.