Is it time for a mental makeover?

Last Monday I shared a powerful and poignant explanation, in the form of a Nike ad (!), of the way many a talented woman develops an unjustifiably low sense of self-esteem.  The part that always gets me is where it talks about letting that rusty old image you carry slip away and out of view.

Doesn’t that sound fabulous?

before attic by homeandhearthmagazineThe challenge is figuring out how to root out those old images, tapes, and stories trying to tell you you’re so much less than you are.  (And don’t you believe for a minute that even the most successful women you can think of don’t have moments where they’re not crazy about themselves.)

Doing this is not only crucial for your mental and emotional health; it impacts the financial health of your business, as well.  If you continually tell yourself you’re no good at something, you’re likely to create a perfectly self-fulfilling prophecy.  If, on the other hand, you learn how to stay focused on what’s working for you, take action to make appropriate behavioral changes when needed, and learn to emulate the habits of successful people, you’ll change negative self-talk to much more positive and empowering self talk.

Here are some nuts and bolts that will get you started on your mental makeover.

  1. Accept compliments.  Just because you may be turning a blind eye to your accomplishments doesn’t mean other people are.  Use their observations to start acknowledging and honoring your achievements.

  2. Start filtering in your successes.  I recommend keeping a small notebook on your desk so you can track all the purposeful and effective action steps you take every day.  You can go back and read this over whenever you’re hit with the feeling that you’re a slug.  This will be made easier if you…

  3. Eliminate “yabbuts”.  You know what I’m talking about.  When someone gives you a compliment, or you start to pat yourself on the back, you downplay the positive by saying, “Yes, but…”.  Just stop it!

  4. Bask in positive feelings.  Think of how it feels when you close an ideal prospect, or give a talk that an audience member calls “life changing,” or finally complete that important task you were procrastinating on.  Spend some time enjoying your triumphs, instead of taking them for granted and immediately looking for the next.  This increases your personal power and self esteem.

  5. Say “no” appropriately.  “No” is, in fact, a complete sentence.  You owe it to yourself and your business to say “no” to what fails to serve you.  You may even occasionally have to say “no” to some very good things in order to say “yes” to even better ones.

  6. Stop should-ing on yourself.  Should-ing is one of my personal hate-favorite habits.  “I should have done this, I should have done that…”  You tear yourself down and rob yourself of power every time you say this.  Shift to the more positive, forward-thinking version, “I could have done that…and I will the next time.”

  7. Ditch the perfectionism.  Ain’t none of us perfect, and we’re not likely to ever be.  How about you settle for your very best?

  8. Center yourself with meditation.  Yes, yes, I know–often easier said than done.  However, even I’ve had success with a simple breathing meditation: Inhale normally and on the exhale count “one”.  Do it again, and on the exhale count “two.”  Concentrate on your counting and do this once a day for 15 minutes or up to a count of 100, whichever feels more accessible for you.

  9. Feel the fear and do it anyway.  I love author Susan Jeffers’ contention that “the only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.”  Practice in little ways and build up to the bigger, more important situations.

  10. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.  If you’re a fan in the Law of Attraction, this will sound familiar: You get more of what you focus on and less of what you don’t focus on.  So forget about thinking in terms of getting out of debt (because you don’t want more debt, right?), and instead think in terms of making more money by serving more of your ideal clients.

  11. Develop inverse paranoia.  This is the opposite of Murphy’s Law, and it states that “Anything that can go right, will go right.”  A great way to develop this is to practice  looking for positive ways to respond to the speculation, “What if…?”

So…Which of these resonate with you?  Can you see yourself using some of these tools to start your own makeover?  What success have you already had in this regard?

after attic by homeandhearthmagazine

By the way, thanks to hearthandhomemagazine for posting the before-and-after images in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.

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13 Responses to Is it time for a mental makeover?

  1. Erica says:

    This is a great list to begin to change your mindset. Based on your list, I’m really learning to say no. Every opportunity that comes your way may not be really good for you. Also, I’m really learning to focus on what I do want instead of what I don’t want. I’ve noticed that once I change my focus, my life changes as well.

    Great blog post!

  2. I love: No is, in fact, a complete sentence.

    All of these are great. And timely. I was on the edge and teetering into an “I’m not really any good at…” episode when I read this, and bam! Saved by the blog post! Thank you!

    • Kathleen Mavity Kathleen says:

      “Saved by the blog post” – happiness!! Thanks for sharing that, Nancy; it makes the effort to write these posts so worthwhile to hear comments like that! 🙂

  3. Excellent!!! What a great list! Thanks!!

  4. Tricia says:

    Kathleen, I can relate to so many of these points. I spent years never knowing how to talk a compliment. Geez! I am getting so much better at deleting the yabutts and saying “thank you.” Meditation is so great -definitely a must for me. I love #11 – what a great concept! Just this month I have started saying “Everything always works out for me.” Cool this is – is that it does 🙂 Awesome list! I am going to print it out and post it on my wall! Thank you!

    • Kathleen Mavity Kathleen says:

      Tricia, I can’t tell you how happy your “print it out and post it on my wall” comment makes me! Thank you for sharing that; it made me do a happiness bounce in my chair. 🙂

  5. Just a few weeks ago I was at an event where a colleague of mine was getting compliment after compliment on a dress she was wearing (and she was one hot ticket!) However, whenever someone complimented her, she would tell them that the dress was from the discount rack and was super cheap. It occurred to me later that she was offering the low price of the dress as a way to diminish herself to the women complimenting her – to be non-threatening. I wanted to hug her and whisper the Maryanne Williamson quote in her ear until she felt fantastic and proud about her hot-looking dress.

    • Kathleen Mavity Kathleen says:

      Aren’t we creative when it comes to ways to step back from our brilliance? It’s always exciting to be able to help a friend, client – anyone, really – step into her gifts, rather than away.

  6. I love all your suggestions particularly filtering your successes, centering through meditation and transforming the what if’s in a positive and empowered way! Thank you for your post!

  7. Pingback: Burned Out? - What To Do About It (Besides Quit) | KBST

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