Turn off the PowerPoint and Find Power in Your Story. 

I remember when I walked out of the conference room over a decade ago, I took a deep breath and thought, “okay, we got this!”. I had just led a meeting for a global initiative with a group of 11 men and women and thought for sure we were all on the same page. They seemed motivated. I mean they nodded their heads yes to the PowerPoint, so that must have meant they were ready to GO! But then there were crickets. I spent the next couple of weeks scrambling to get the results we desired. I was exhausted. Everyone was exhausted.

My leadership shortcoming at this stage of my career (one of them) was my reliance on logic to motivate others. I had all the facts, information, analysis, and reason summarized in beautiful presentations. People were informed, but they were not driven.

And then I tapped in. Way back when, I studied communication as an undergraduate, focusing on interpersonal and public communication. I lived for rhetoric and social constructionism! Yes, yes I did. I was fascinated. And when I realized I was not as effective as I hoped to be in gaining “buy-in” during my meeting, I remembered from my research another way of consciously communicating. This was a process that would require me to be more vulnerable and less scripted. I would need to dive in deep, become more self-aware, and let go of the doubt. But I was ready to show up differently. I desired to be a more versatile (and effective – let’s be honest!) leader, so I dove into the art of storytelling.

While we can use logic to motivate for the short-term (sometimes the very short-term), we can use stories to drive our people and our message for the long haul.

And here’s why.

Stories connect. 

Facts are a piece of the truth, but they do not tell the whole picture. When you present the facts and no back-story or potential obstacles, your audience knows there is more than meets the eye. They disconnect. Your story brings emotion, energy, and more reality to the conversation. It allows people to anchor into your truth and connect to why your message is important.

Stories bring humor to the situation.

People want to laugh. They want to feel light-hearted. Your stories alleviate anxiety for tense situations and also from the busy and overwhelming lives of your audience. They can be humorous and strategic.

Stories inspire.

Your audience desires to be part of something bigger. They will see themselves in you when you speak your truth and bring your energy to the table. When you tell stories about what have overcome, and are honest about where you are coming from and where you desire to go, they will feel more inspired to take action and be part of the journey.

Stories keep you aligned.

As a woman leader rising in influence, you can become quite familiar with the overwhelmed state of mind. Overwhelm happens when there is misalignment. Use your story as a way to communicate to ground you in your truth, keep others connected to your why, and to bring you and your values into the conversation. Your story allows you to stay aligned with your vision, rather than spiraling into the overwhelm.

Facts are valuable. However, they have limitations when not shared with a story that connects to the emotions of your audience. People want to connect to you as a leader. They want to connect with others. And they want to emotionally connect to the outcome.

Connect with story.

Do you wish you were more respected at work?

High achievers get the job done. They often work hard, make smart connections, and do what it takes to excel.

Yet, when my high-achieving clients come to me they are overwhelmed, scattered, and feel unfit for leadership. They don’t believe they have the right leadership skills and attributes to create impact within and outside their organization.

And, as a result, they don’t feel respected by others.

But they had a solution in mind. They hoped that with some more experience, expertise, and tenure they would then get respect. So they kept working hard, they did what they thought it would take to excel, and they waited, and waited, and waited. 

Because after all they believed that with more respect comes more influence and impact in our day and career. And I agree.

Respect is critical to positive long-lasting influence. And there are many steps we take with our clients to develop their character, competencies, presence, and leadership style.  However, healthy respect doesn’t come from proving ourselves to others and waiting our turn.  It comes from respecting ourselves and trusting our decisions. It starts with us. 

Do you respect yourself as a leader? Do you acknowledge your accomplishments, experiences, skills, and what you have overcome? This isn’t about boasting. It’s not about showboating. It’s about showing respect and not downplaying the person you have become over your career. 

If you don’t respect yourself as a person and as a leader, then others likely won’t either.

With humility and kindness simply begin to see your wins and acknowledge your abilities.  From having that difficult conversation, to receiving your masters or passing that exam, to intentionally saying yes (and no) to opportunities, to stepping outside your comfort zone. Or making the decision to spend more time with your children, to set your boundaries, stand in your truth, and trust your judgment.

Build respect for the decisions you have made in your career, and the decisions you make on a daily basis. This acknowledgment and celebration will take you out of the story that you are not respected so you can create the space to believe in yourself as a leader.

Respect starts here, with you.

And others will catch on fast. 

Redefine Success in Four Questions

Today I am sharing four powerful questions with you. These questions helped me get clear on my vision after making the decision to drop the façade and embrace my presence and desires. For a long time, I tried to be extroverted, say yes to everything, say the right thing, and be the leader I thought I should be.  But after spending years of trying to be more, I finally surrendered to my presence.

I am introverted in nature.
I am calm.
I am assertive when it matters most.
I am a collaborator.
I am a listener.
I am empathetic.
Sometimes I’m quiet.
Sometimes I’m not.

I found my power in surrendering to the resistance and embracing what makes me unique as a leader. And when I embraced my presence and style, everything fell into place: the confidence, alignment, and success.

These four questions below guided me to think bigger, to honor my true desires, to listen to my intuition and to embrace what I stand for as a woman and as a leader. When I let myself be free and open to these questions I started living the life I was meant to live on a daily basis. The façade began to crumble. It’s freeing, energizing, and real if you let it be.

So before you scroll down, take out a piece of paper and pen.  Then write down your answers to the four questions below. Write your answers down before scrolling down. Even if it’s just one sentence, write them down.

Remember, don’t scroll down until you answer these four questions first!

1. Who do you desire to be in one year?
2. What do you desire to have in your life in one year?
3. What do you want to do with your time in one year?
4. How do you define success?

***Only scroll down after you write down your answers to the questions above.

Now, let’s ask those four questions again from a new perspective. Write down your answers to the following four questions.

1. With money, time, and others’ opinions no longer factors for you, who do you desire to be in five years?
2. With money, time, and others’ opinions no longer factors for you, what do you desire to have in five years?
3. With money, time, and others’ opinions no longer factors for you, what do you want to do with your time in five years?
4. With money, time, and others’ opinions no longer factors for you, how do you define success?

Let go of any resistance and write down anything that comes to mind. We often don’t let ourselves go here to this place of “ideal” because we feel like it’s not realistic. But you could be surprised at just how much can happen when you let yourself acknowledge your desires and expand. Let go of the “how” and the impossible, and just be open to listening to the woman you want to be, with no limits.

Influencing: It’s More than Your Words

We are constantly influencing others in our everyday life, both at work and home. From deciding where to eat with your partner, getting your children off to school, managing contractors on a home renovation, negotiating for a new salary, or leading a new initiative at work, we have a message and a standard that we are trying to communicate.

And often we feel as though we have to say the right thing to get our message across and to get the results we desire. This is true, but not the Truth.

The Truth is that our influence depends not just our words, but on our energy. 

Think about a time you were in a conversation with someone who was saying all the right things, but you could feel they weren’t interested. Maybe they were looking past you, or looking down at their phone, or it seemed like they had another agenda. Even on the phone, you can tell when someone’s attention is not on you; you hear faint typing, shuffling of papers, the pause between speaking is just too long, and you feel like they checked out. Whether their actions were screaming “I don’t care” or giving a subtle hint that they are distracted, it doesn’t matter. With any misalignment between actions and words we begin to lose trust. We sense the catabolic energy they are holding, and we begin to close and/or blame.

Now think about the last conversation you had when someone seemed very interested in what you were saying. Their subtle laughs, confirmations, stillness, and eye contact are all a result of the anabolic energy they are holding with you. They found common ground with you, trust is formed, you feel acknowledged, validated, and energized by their presence. You feed off their energy, and you open.

And openness leads to win-win opportunities.

It’s normal to feel up and down in our energy throughout the day and even within each situation. However, when we become aware we can actually learn how to shift our energy in the moment to be more open, welcoming, and committed to the interaction at hand. This is important, because every conversation counts.

So let’s begin to think about our energy and how we show up. And let’s start with these six questions.

1.) When have you felt distracted in a conversation?

2.) What were your signs of distraction? Did you tune out, avoid, look around, speed up the conversation, interrupt, etc.?

3.) How did you feel in this conversation? Were you feeling rushed, bored, insecure, anxious, driven, excited?

And,

4.) When have your felt committed to a conversation?

5.) What were your signs of commitment? Where you giving, acknowledging, listening, finding common ground, being fully present, using your intuition?

6.) How did you feel in this conversation? Where you feeling confident, clear, energized, calm, driven, compassionate, authentic, etc.?

Personally, I recently had a call with a vendor where I was the distracted one. As soon as we connected on the phone I realized the document I printed for the meeting was nowhere to be found. So for the first three minutes of the call I searched around while trying to engage in conversation, and there is no doubt that others on the line could feel the pull. As a result, there was less flow and more force in our interaction. I could feel impatience and awkwardness. I quickly realized how my energy was derailing the call, so I addressed what was happening, and together we shifted the tone of the conversation, and found common ground.

However, I was reminded that our energy is everything, and we have the ability to shift into our higher consciousness and choose how to show up in a situation. The first step is to become aware of the energy you are carrying. Below is a list of six energy levels to look out for during your conversations. These energy levels are based on iPEC’s Energy Leadership Index.

As you read through the levels below, think about which ones resonate with you the most. What do you usually do in conversations?

Level 1: Avoid confrontation by giving into others

Level 2: Manipulate others to get your way

Level 3: Focus on achieving your goals

Level 4: Prioritize others and show them that you care

Level 5: Find common ground to take inspired action

Level 6: Tap into your intuition and be fully present in the moment

In my vendor meeting example, I was feeling Level 1 and 2 energy at first. I was impatient with myself for not being prepared and at the same time trying to avoid conflict. Then I shifted to Level 3 energy where I thought, “well, if I can’t find the document now, we can reschedule, and I’ll have more time in my day to get things done!” Yes, I became completely focused on my own goals. But, by moving into level 3 energy I consciously shifted into Level 5 energy where I briefly acknowledged what was happening on my end, took ownership, and together created a win-win outcome. With this clarity and focus, I then shifted into Level 6 energy where I was able to let go of the internal and external distractions to be present and offer solutions. By consciously shifting my energy I was able to connect, build trust, and get the results we all needed.

When we are aware, we let go and create space for opportunity. So take time to think about the energy levels you choose throughout the day. There are no right or wrong observations here. It’s simply about becoming aware and shifting your energy so that you can connect with others in a more meaningful way.

When you choose to consciously open and stand in a higher energy, then the right words will follow.

 

Not getting results? Start with a message.

If you are leading a team, a project, or a business, and you are not seeing results, ask yourself one question:

What is your message?

Your message is one compelling statement that lifts your clients, team members, employees and even yourself out of tunnel vision and into clarity.  And with a consistent message, you will keep your team members on the same page, course-correct, and eliminate the drama – those assumptions, interpretations, and limiting beliefs that can sneak up and derail our success.

Here are four ways to get clear on your message:

  1. Listen: What stories are your people telling each other?  What language are they using?  Listen directly to your team and determine what is misaligned, what is holding them back individually and as a team, and what beliefs are not aligned with your vision? When you hear directly from your team members, you can let go of assumptions, understand the Truth, and create a message that makes sense to your team.
  2. Connect to Your Long-Term Vision: What is the purpose of what you’re doing? What will the outcome be? What will “success” look like? What are the results you desire? Get clear on your destination so you can paint a picture for your team, through your message. And if you are already clear, stay the course. Check in daily to ensure that the decisions you are making, the actions you are taking and the message you are sending are all aligned with your vision.
  3. Reconnect with Your Goals:  Our goals can change; maybe because of something we have no control over, or maybe because of something we do have control over, but regardless of the reason, often times, we do not pause to fully understand, clarify, and communicate the new goals in detail, which leads to misalignment. Assess your goals. Are they still aligned? What needs to change?  What are the steps your team members need to take to reach your vision? How will you communicate these changes to them?
  4. Be What You Expect:  If you want your team to do certain things and show up in a certain way, then show them how. What are your expectations for your team?  How do you want them to communicate with you and others? What energy do you want them to bring to the table?  What mindset would lead to success?  On a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the highest extent, to what extent are you meeting your expectations for your team?  Here is a great opportunity to model what you desire, activate those mirror neurons, and literally attract the strategy, mindset, and energy you desire from your team.

When you consider your audience, connect with your vision and goals, and walk your talk, you set the foundation for an authentic message that makes sense to your team. The moment you start to feel misalignment, check-in, course correct and be consistent with the message you send.

 

Decrease stress by having better conversations.

Stress is caused when your standards are compromised. You feel misalignment and tension from something that feels demanding. And when you encounter something that’s demanding you have some options to deal with it, such as,

1.) putting your head down and working through it,
2.) going into doubt mode and procrastinating,
3.) blaming others, or
4.) having the right conversations to conquer the “something” that is causing the stress.

Option 1 is appealing because most of the time we just want to Get. It. Done.One problem with this “head down” mentality is that this perspective is usually yours and yours only. We can often find ourselves in tunnel vision where we lose track of the desires of others, which can lead to short-term gain (accomplishment of the task at hand), but long-term misalignment between you and the key players.  When operating in this mode we typically avoid anything that will distract us, missing out on quantum leap conversations and opportunities, and potentially setting ourselves up for more stress in the long run.

Options 2, doubting yourself, and 3, blaming others, are default tendencies that can show up as distractions and resistance to taking action. You may feel this way in addition to one another or alone, but as you may know from experience, they are stress-inducing for the short- and long-term.  In this mode, we tend to tell ourselves stories that hold us back and we have ineffective conversations with others.

Option 4, taking the time to have the right conversations with the right people, can feel overwhelming and ineffective when you are in tunnel vision. Putting your head down and accomplishing can feel easier and faster than engaging in potentially challenging conversations.

But, I’m an advocate for taking the time for conversations and here’s why:

Effective conversations lead to Truth.  When we operate in our own tunnel vision, we start to create assumptions and interpretations about the actions or potential actions of others, which can lead to inner and outer conflict, which can then be stress-inducing. We operate based on our own perceptions and become blind to the perceptions of others. However, when we take the time to engage in conversation and ask the right questions, we get closer to the Truth.  There may be short-term stress learning how to address conflict and overcome and accept disagreement, but when Truth is the driving factor there is an underlying theme of respect, alignment, and power that moves you and others forward

Susan Scott, the author of Fierce Conversations, says, “Our work, our relationships, and our lives, succeed or fail one conversation at a time.”  I could not agree more. And often times the failure and stress we feel are due to conversations that were not had at all.

So how do you hold better conversations that will elevate your energy and help you succeed, rather than deplete your energy and lead to potential failure?

Start with these four steps:

  1. WIIFT? Start by understanding What’s In It For Them – for everyone else around you –  your clients, your boss, your colleagues, investors. When you feel stress and misalignment, what conversations need to be had based on the interests of you and those around you?  What is their Truth? Even the most empathetic, sincerest, and harmonized can forget to think of others when under stress. However, this action is the most important solution for holding better conversations. When we understand what’s in it for everyone else involved and not just ourselves we listen, we strategize, we think outside our box, we create win-win situations and we find compassion for the people and the circumstance. This right here allows us to detach from the event and the stress. Detachment is key to less stress and more inspired action.

 

  1. Connect to your vision. If you don’t know where you want to go, someone else will take the lead. And who knows where you will end up. When you are not connected to your vision you can more easily find yourself saying yes to everything that doesn’t matter and no to everything that does, which leads to misalignment and stress. But, when you are connected to your vision you become assertive and confident in your conversations, you stay out of tunnel vision, and you become more flexible and open.

 

  1. Intentionally shift your energy (to lift yourself out of blame and doubt). Based on Stephen Covey’s 90/10 Principle, “90% of your life is decided by how you act.” I believe energy attracts like energy, and the more blame and doubt you harness, the more blame and doubt you will attract into your life. Based on iPECs, Energy Leadership Index, when you elevate your consciousness and your energy you can lift out of the lower catabolic energy and instead move into a place of logic, service, win-wins, and co-creation. Shifting your energy moves you from a competitive plane to a creative one.

 

  1. Co-Create the Outcome: Even if you are the boss, you are not in control of how someone else responds and the actions they take. When you realize that together you are creating the reality of the situation, you 1.) begin to take radical responsibility for your part, and 2.) take time to listen and understand the intentions of others. After all, you are in it together.

The next time you feel stressed out, just know that you have a choice in how you react to it. You have the option to engage in conversations that help you and others build and move forward while detaching and deactivating the stress. All it takes is your commitment to taking the time to have better conversations.

To your Success,

 


 

 

Are You Speaking Your Truth?

“Speaking Your Truth is the Most Powerful Tool We all Have”

These were Oprah Winfrey’s words during her speech last week while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes.  I could not agree with her words more.

Your Truth is your freedom. Without it, you do not live the life you are intended to live. When you keep quiet, ignore your desires, and do what you should do without question, you are prone to a misaligned life.

The only problem is, when it comes down to your ultimate Truth, which I’m referring to in this space as your absolute passion and awareness, it’s not just that you may lack the confidence to speak it, but you may have no clue what your Truth is.  Or you think you are living it, but aren’t. The latter was my personal journey. I spent years achieving the success that I thought I wanted, but it wasn’t mine. It was what I was told should be my Truth. And I listened to others, until one day I woke up and caught a glimpse of the woman I actually wanted to be, and for the first time truly listened to my inner voice.

And then the next step came down to confidence. True awareness is determined by your ability to trust yourself. And trust is broken when you judge and victimize yourself. Did I trust that I could make myself happy? Would I fail? If I followed my Truth, could I be as financially successful? When you are aligned, connected and committed, you will do what it takes to honor your Truth.

So my question for you is, are you living and speaking your Truth?  And do you trust that you can make yourself happy?

Don Miguel Ruiz says “The real mission you have in life is to make yourself happy, and in order to be happy, you have to look at what you believe, the way you judge yourself, the way you victimize yourself.”

You will find and speak your Truth when you allow yourself to be.  Simply BE. Not right or wrong, with or without, ready or not ready, bad or good, but to simply be you, without judgment.

Stop judging yourself so you can hear your Truth, share it, and speak it to the people who will be attracted to your energy and your message and not to your judgment.

To your success,

Christy

Choose Words that Fuel Your Confidence

Everything emits energy, even your words.

The language you use affects how you are perceived, how you feel, and how others feel. This is important because simply using more constructive language can have a profound effect on your surroundings and your own life. Energy attracts like energy, so when you operate in higher consciousness you attract opportunity and connection.  When you operate under stress and anxiety you attract…stress and anxiety.

So think about the words you are using.

Do you use words that put your character down, undermine your abilities, and keep you safe and hidden? Do you use language out of fear of not wanting to be judged?

OR do you use words that propel you forward and make you shine?

By becoming aware of the words you use, and whether you are using them by choice or default,  you will more easily step out of tunnel vision and create space for more clarity and confidence.

Here are three questions to ask yourself as you become aware of the language you use:

  1. What self-deprecating language do you use? When you become aware of your words you may just be surprised by the picture you’re painting.   Think about when you are at work or in social situations, how are you undermining your abilities, strengths, and passions in conversations?  It may be subtle words or direct statements that are telling people how to perceive you. When you use self-depreciating language you may end up creating the judgment you fear.
  2. When do you speak out of love and out of fear? What is your intention when conversing with others? Does your language reflect competition or connection? When you become aware of the energy that surrounds your words, you can more easily shift from an “I win, you lose” mentality to one of “we both win” or even “there is no winning, we are one.” This shift to a higher consciousness within higher levels of energy takes you out of fear and into a place of love. And we all know love conquers all. (Energy levels described here are part of the Energy Leadership Index, iPEC).
  3. Do you use words that keep you small? Some words you use may not necessarily be self-depreciating, but they also do not propel you forward.  Instead, these words are your default and keep you stuck and in a place of impossibility.

Here are six examples of shifting your language from disempowered, catabolic energy to more powerful, anabolic energy.

From…

To…

Try I will, I won’t, I aim to
Need Have
Can’t Not willing to
Sometimes Always, Never
Must Choose
Have to Desire to

A few intentional changes to the words you use may be the boost of optimism and confidence you need to increase your energy, see a new perspective, and attract the opportunities that will change your career and life.

Start with simply becoming aware of the words you use and make a few tweaks to align with your vision and fuel your confidence.

Are You Listening?

I am frequently asked the question “how is business? Busy?”  And in the past, I typically responded with a “Yes”, and sometimes I even gave an eyebrow raise and a head nod to say, “Phew, lots going on!”. You see, for the past 15+ years, I have answered this question this way. I am busy. Aren’t we all? But recently I made a decision; I no longer desire to be busy. And I no longer desire to say “yes” to this question. And here’s why:

  1. Busy is boring.
  2. Busy is a choice.
  3. Busy does not make you more productive.
  4. Busy does not make you successful.
  5. Busy does not make you feel confident.
  6. Busy is an excuse.
  7. Busy disconnects you from your purpose, your vision, your passion, and your inner leader.
    DING DING DING LIGHTBULB MOMENT.

All of the above have been lightbulb moments for me at one time or another. However, #7 was more recently a breakthrough moment, because for the majority of my career (and my life) I have been disconnected from my fire. I let the noise, the shoulds, and the to-dos drive my actions rather than my own vision and purpose.

I have been spent much of my career researching and learning about human interaction and studied leadership dynamics while earning my MBA, and I believe there is a critical piece of leadership that is not addressed and honored by the majority in the workplace and higher education – and that is the power of our inner voice.  It’s as if this voice within you that has the answers, knows you all too well, and wants YOU to be happy more than anything, does not exist.

We become so busy with our daily routines and doing the “right” things that it feels almost impossible to step back and question whether any of it actually makes sense.  And why are we so stressed? Why do we doubt our decisions? Why are we bored? Why are we wasting our time thinking about what we should have said instead? Or what he or she should have said instead?  We have this incredible power within that is screaming at us, telling us to wake up and be ourselves, because only then will we be fully happy. But instead, we find comfort in the busyness of what we think we know, spinning our wheels, and judging others and ourselves.

So often I hear acquaintances and clients say they aren’t sure who they are and what they stand for anymore. And I know they aren’t alone. I was there too. Realizing your lifelong beliefs are no longer true for you can be difficult to manage, and remaining busy on the surface can be a whole lot easier than even thinking about digging deeper. But our true self is actually much closer to the surface than we think. Finding our Truth doesn’t always require immediate heavy digging or a drawn-out process either. Freedom is closer than you think. Freedom is in listening to your intuition, trusting your decisions and simply acknowledging your desires. Just think about your daily desires. What do you want in your life? I’m not asking what you think you should want, but truly what do YOU desire in your life? We know what we want, but we feel wrong for it, so we ignore the voice and adapt.

For example:

  • You desire a fancy new car, which based on your programmed beliefs is superficial so you push that desire away while feeling shallow for thinking it.
  • You desire a two weeks’ luxurious vacation with your family, but that is ludicrous when you need to save for retirement and college, and plus it feels financially impossible, so the guilt sets in and you settle for less.
  • You desire to spend more time with friends, but your kids need you and it’s not fair to your partner, so your social life will happen later when everyone is grown. And the resentment sets in.

We deny the gems in our lives that fuel us, that make us better people, and that makes us happy, simply because we are taught they are not right.  To one woman a fancy new car may not be valued, to another, it may be just the motivation she needs to make one life-changing shift that will catapult her forward. For someone else that drive may be a vacation, an amazing house, significance, friendships, etc. There is no right or wrong to what makes you tick – it’s just a matter of LISTENING to your inner voice instead of pretending that it doesn’t exist (and by “it” I mean you).

So how do you overcome the busyness and distractions to start listening to your inner voice? You are busy until you decide you are not. It all starts with becoming unavailable for busyness and instead becoming fully available for self-care and self-love. Happiness happens when you are present with yourself, presence happens when your mind, heart, and gut are in alignment in the moment, and alignment happens when taking time for you – meditate, journal, read, and simply create space for you in your life so you can listen to and attract in what you need.

I have a suggestion for you. Start small. Take 5 minutes out of your night for self-gratitude. Find a page of your journal and number 1 to 21 down the page. On the first night, next to #1, list three things about you that you love from your day. Maybe it is a decision that you made, a desire that you honored, or a doubt that you embraced. And then repeat the exercise the next night and then for three weeks straight (21 days). It takes 3 weeks to build a habit. Simply start with taking these 5 minutes each night to let go of the busyness and listen to your light.

Your inner voice is in there waiting to be heard. Are you available to listen?

To your success,

Christy

5 Steps to Letting Go of Negative Self-Talk

Are you struggling to believe that you can be successful? That you can step up as a confident leader? That you are adding value, right now, as you are?

If you answered yes, say hello to your inner critic.

We can be our own worst critics. We tell ourselves that we need to be more, do more, and give more to be accepted. We set the bar high and assume that others expect us to be there too, and we put our head down and work hard so we can prove our worth. This. is. exhausting. And, as I’m sure you know, it gets old really fast, especially when we are on a mission to create more success, be of more influence, and live the life we desire!  

So how do we find the confidence to thrive when we speak so negatively to ourselves on a daily basis? Well, let’s first acknowledge that negative self-talk happens to the best of us. Let’s also acknowledge that the best of us have the ability to imagine a life where we are no longer available to listen to our inner critic (can I get a woot woot!). Instead, we confidently trust that we are competent, we make good decisions, and we are available only for standing in our power.

This second point is key. We CAN move from a place of resisting to a place of trusting that we have what it takes. It’s possible and it’s happening.  And with this understanding of possiblity we can more easily move from the the confinement of the inner critic and into the brilliance of the inner leader.  Here’s how:

1. Get clear on what your inner critic looks like.

When you are aware that it’s your inner critic doing the talking, and not you, you can more confidently step into your power when making decisions.

Begin to notice how your inner critic takes form. Maybe, it shows up when you:

  • Are unable to let a thought move on, even when you know it’s not your truth.
  • Compare yourself to others.
  • Whisper words to yourself that are harsher than the words you use with others.
  • Mimic the negative thoughts and opinions others have had about you in the past.
  • Repeat the thought over and over again in your mind.
  • Feel small. Your inner critic likes to know what is best for you and keeps you within boundaries.
  • Feel like the thought is blocking you from embracing more intentional positive thoughts.

When you become aware of how your inner critic is showing up, you will be able to spot it before it leads you further into the fear and doubt. Next,

2. Be consciously awake to what your negative self-talk sounds like.

The thoughts that once protected you from failure, embarrassment, and imperfection, are clearly no longer serving you. Become radically aware of the thoughts that are keeping you small and simply acknowledge them. Here are some examples of your inner critic’s negative talk.

  • I’m going to embarrass myself
  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m not welcome here
  • I’m not smart enough
  • I don’t have what it takes
  • I might bother them

By becoming awake to your inner critic’s ususal one liners you will have the choice to detach, rephrase the thought, and confidently move forward.

3. Separate your thoughts from your actions.

Your thought is just a thought, nothing more than that. As you start to become more familiar with what your inner critic is telling you, begin to pay attention to how you react to it. You can’t always control your thoughts, but you can determine how much attention you pay to them.  If you sense a negative thought simply say, “Hey, thanks for sharing” or write it down on a piece of paper so you can let it go. If you find you’re unable to drop the thought, pause and think of three positive thoughts in that moment. Let numbers work for you here and get into the practice of putting your energy toward more positive thoughts than negative ones.

Acknowledge the thought, let it pass, adopt forward moving thoughts, and then take action.

4. Connect with your vision and your values.

When you realize what is important to you and you have a plan to manifest, you eliminate space for negative thoughts to carry over into your behaviors and actions.

Having a true vision becomes your foundation for making aligned decisions. You have the reason, energy, and an inner knowing to be unavailable for your inner critic and instead, generate solutions for inspired action.

When you are connected to true desires and a bigger picture, you are able to accept the thoughts for what they are and shift your action to fuel your vision. For example, thinking, “I’m not smart enough” without a connected vision leaves you trying to believe that you are smart enough. But with your vision, first, the thought is less likely to occur, and, second, when it does you will have the connection and commitment to let this thought pass and/or take action to expand and evolve. Your vision becomes your focus, not your fear.

Additionally, when you align with your vision and what is most important to you, you will better identify when a core standard of yours is being compromised.  By connecting with your values you will understand what steps you need to take to move into confidence and align your actions with your standards, in the moment.  Think about your top five values and start to make decisions each day to live in accordance with them. Lastly,

5. Construct thoughts that light you up.

When you hear your inner critic speaking up, start using inspiring positive affirmations to contradict what it’s telling you. Create beliefs that align with how you want to approach life and leadership, and that simply make you feel wonderful. If you hear, “you do not have the expertise to successfully take on this project” rewrite this thought in a way that supports, champions, and encourages you to step up as the leader you are. For example “I can achieve anything I put my mind to” or “I am an expert, right now in my career.”  Write these affirmations for each thought. Put them on a sticky note and keep them in front of you, every day. Read them once in the morning and once at night, at the very least.

Just imagine, what if all those negative thoughts you have about yourself are not true? What if they are imagined? This thought is as true as your negative thoughts. Because thoughts are simply thoughts, nothing more, and they take shape when we take action.

YOU do have the power to let the negative self-talk pass, and instead listen to the inner leader that will inspire you. Stay awake to your self-talk, stay connected to your vision, and stay the course for inspired action.

To Your Success,

Christy