Five strategies to grow yourself big and bold

If you read last Thursday’s post, you noticed it was just a bit on the gloom-and-doom side.  That’s because I pointed out some ways that even talented entrepreneurs can sabotage their own success.

I realize that, if you’re like many other business owners, you’re probably already pretty good at getting in your own way and don’t need any hints from me on how to do it.  But what we all need from time to time is a reminder that we may have developed some counterproductive behaviors—because you can’t change anything unless you’re first aware of the problem it presents.

Courage gets results.That’s where today’s post comes in.  If any of those safe-and-small strategies rang a bell with you, here are some powerful counter-strategies to help you step into a bigger, bolder approach to life and work.

You very likely have received a ton of lessons over the years urging you to put others first, to not be selfish, to do for others before yourself.  Even though your various teachers had good intentions, they weren’t doing you any favors.

You have the right—and the responsibility—to treat yourself as the most important person in your life. Does that mean riding roughshod over everyone else to always get your way? Absolutely not! It does mean viewing yourself as being just as important as all the other people in your life and acting accordingly.At any moment, you can choose how you feel and how you honor yourself. Remember that the same holds true for those around you, and don’t take it on yourself to “make” anybody feel good at the expense of your own well-being.

I’m betting you can quickly identify three or more areas where you operate at the kick-butt-and-take-names level of skill.  Woohoo! Celebrate your effectiveness in those areas and continue to apply it intentionally whenever possible.

I’m also betting there are some areas that you know you struggle with; common challenges include over-commitment, procrastination, and poor follow-through . These habitual behaviors get to go, before they totally strangle your success. The key to successfully changing them is intentionality (not sure if that’s a real word, but it is now) and consistency. You get to intentionally choose to make changes that will improve your productivity and effectiveness, then apply those changes any time the opportunity presents itself. DON’T set yourself up for failure by trying to change several challenging areas at the same time; choose one area and focus on that until you’ve developed a new behavioral habit that serves you better.

There’s no question that there are people and resources out there that can fill in gaps in your own knowledge base, and you’re smart to take advantage of them.  However, the only person who has the right to ultimately decide what you do and how you do it is yourself.  Don’t abdicate that power to someone else just because they’re more experienced or a “guru” in their field.  Take the gems they have to offer and decide for yourself how to make the best use of them.  This will be made easier when you implement Strategy #4.

Even though I’m a confirmed left-brain-dependent person, I’ve started to realize that my intuition really does do its best to get my attention and lead me toward what is in my best interests and away from what’s not.

I found that you can practice gut-listening in a variety of low-risk situations: I’m sort of lost; shall I turn left or right? Shall I pick up a new card or the one on the discard pile when playing gin rummy? Which of these two books will be most useful to me? You can do exactly this sort of thing to get on better speaking terms with your gut. If you prefer a more structured approach, you might want to check out a book called Practical Intuition by Angela Martin.

It’s crucial to remember that accepting responsibility is NOT the same thing as blaming yourself.  The former puts you in a position of personal power, while the latter makes you a victim of your own thoughts.

So how do you go about accepting responsibility?  One of the most powerful ways I’ve found starts by simply monitoring your thoughts and speech for any sort of blaming or complaining.  If you find either, acknowledge that there are always a variety of factors influencing your results and that your response to those factors also impacted the outcome.  By doing this, you acknowledge and begin to both accept and rely on your own power to create the results you want.


Which of these five grow-big-and-bold strategies are you already using?  What has that enabled you to accomplish?  Please share with the rest of us; success stories and strategies are always welcome!


By the way, thanks to steveczajka for posting his calligraphy in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.

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