Let’s get straight to it. Do you judge yourself, criticise yourself, berate yourself for not getting more done? Are you just plain hard on yourself? In my experience of coaching and training people for nearly 12 years now, I find this to be the case, almost every time. And I used to be really good at it too.
However, I’ve got news for you: beating yourself up is no longer cool. It’s also the worst way to get better at something (ie. learn). And it feels really bad. And life is too short for feeling bad, don’t you think?
Am I making a good case so far for being nice to yourself?
Judging yourself for what you haven't yet accomplished, is like finding fault with a lion because it can't fly,
a bird because it can't swim, or tree because it can't leave... well, you know what I mean.”
Notes from The Universe
How do you know if you’re being nice or mean to yourself, though?
When I want to check if how I’m talking to myself is ok or not, I notice whether it is adding energy to me, or taking it away. I teach this to clients and they get it too. You can tell pretty immediately which way it goes.
Example: You realise you’ve left your laptop on the kitchen bench. You are now at work. Damn.
What happens next? Do you expletive yourself with ‘You bloody fool, that was a stupid thing to do!”, or do you realise what an inconvenience it is to you, find some compassion, give yourself a break and turn the car around with an “OK, let’s go. It’s going to be ok”?
Which one will add energy, which one will drain it away?
Which one will get the situation sorted out the quickest?
Which one will mean you have a safe and calm journey home and then back to the office?
Stop beating yourself up, stop judging yourself, stop being mean.
You’ll find you not only feel better, you’ll also be nicer to everyone else.
That seems like a pretty good reason to be good to yourself.
Get your inner-coach groove on
You’ve probably heard me talk about developing your inner coach quite frequently, and by all accounts, we still have a little work to do… !
If you want to change the conversations you have with yourself, consider this idea of creating an inner coach or guide who can help you be easy on yourself, help you learn and get even better, and to feel good. You may find that it’s not very easy to start with. After all, if you have a raging self critic, it is usually quite loud.
However, I’m sure you know how sound when you're providing support or encouragement to a friend or family member, which means you do know how to be nice, supportive and encouraging. You just need to start applying this to yourself.
As you begin exploring what you want your inner coach to sound like, you may find it’s just like the way you talk to others. Or perhaps it will have similar qualities to that of an inspiring friend or mentor you respect.
In a coaching session recently one of my clients realised that, although he’s not a professional coach, he coaches people often in his work and in the community. It occurred to him that he could simply map across those skills to apply to himself. He was very excited to make this seemingly obvious but profound discovery. So:
1. Choose your voice. It's best if the voice of your coach is your own.
2. Notice what kind of tone your voice will have. Encouraging? Quietly confident? Enthusiastic? Assured?
3. Decide on a good volume (notice that you can play around with the sound quality in your head, in the same way you can tune a radio or television!).
4. Practice listening to this new voice and enjoy the new sounds and feel it has. (This may sound a little whacky, but you talk to yourself all the time – this is simply doing it with more purpose!).
Give this ‘nice to yourself’ business a go for a week and see what it does for your energy levels.
Let me know how it goes!
It always seems impossible until it’s done
My favourite mantra at the moment is that if something seems impossible then you just don’t have enough information yet. Then I came across this wonderful quote from Nelson Mandela today which (I think) backs me up completely! It always seems impossible until it’s done
So, my message is simple: go for what you want.
What seems impossible to you right now, that if you could achieve it, get it, live it, you’d be your most happy and satisfied self? A job you really love? A home by the beach? Or simply a feeling of calm as you go through your day?
Check yourself out this week - what kind of conversations do you have with yourself about the things you really want? How do you think about those things? Do you spend time imagining them, visualising them? Are you doing something each day or each week towards them?
Remember just how important your thinking is to moving towards the things you really want. You’re in charge. You’re driving the bus. So get it in gear and let yourself go where you want to go.
It might be closer than you think.
Fresh Ways Forward – Transformational Coaching
helping you get the life you want
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