In my previous post, I played true confessions.  I fessed up that, years ago, I constantly put myself down…without really knowing it!

I have a hunch many of you do the same.  And believe me, self depreciation is a subtle but serious form of self sabotage.

I’d like to share what I did to stop. It wasn’t easy. I’m far from perfect. But success is so much easier since I curtailed my self-criticism and began acknowledging my value.

Here’s my 3-point plan to Stop Self Criticism—Observe; Brag; Find Spotters.

  1. I started by observing my conversations. Every time I heard me belittling myself, I stopped. Literally stopped, mid-sentence, and force myself to say something positive…even if it was just ‘thank you.’
  2. I started bragging (thanks to Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts). I mean, I actually prefaced sentences with “I brag…” and then tooted my own horn.
  3. I shared my goal with a few close friends, asking  them to spot me by pointing out my more subtle put-downs. They had no trouble catching me in the act.  Their feedback was quite effective.

Admittedly, these steps, at first, felt ridiculously uncomfortable, completely awkward. But gradually, I began to notice something.  My self-derision all but disappeared. And I felt much better about myself.

I’m here to say, I swear it’s true–what you share, you definitely strengthen. Please leave a comment below on how these steps support you in achieving greatness.

Advertisements

Listen up, ladies. We need to talk.  We’re still on the ‘D’ word. But now we’re getting to the nitty gritty.  This form of Discipline is what separates the women from the girls. This is where the rubber meets the road.  This is, in short, the BIG SECRET to SACRED SUCCESS™.

And I got it straight from the mouths of women who make millions.  If you wanna play  a bigger game, you gotta  toughen up! That means disconnecting from your Inner Pleaser and growing thicker skin.

By  nature, we women want everyone to be happy with us. Successful women are no different. Almost all I interviewed confessed to a “little girl inside me who wants to be liked.”

However, success requires us to make difficult, even painful, decisions that often have negative consequences for other people.

“You have to do the hard stuff,” said one mega high earner. That ‘hard stuff’ included firing employees, ending partnerships, holding tight during demanding negotiations, enforcing an unpopular policy, firing high paying clients, even enduring multiple rejections and disappointments.

In fact, virtually all the women I interviewed told me that their biggest regret was not making tough decisions sooner.

‘Toughening up’ didn’t mean these women had to harden their hearts, numb their senses, or go all macho.  It did mean a dramatic shift in their mindset.

The shift sounds like this:   ‘I’d rather be respected than liked.’

As one woman told me: “I tried to be nice rather than stand by my convictions. But I learned,  you can’t always be liked, but you can definitely be respected.”

The recognition that earning respect is more important than gaining approval was what one woman described as a “watershed moment.” It definitely was life-changing for me…and liberating.

This one shift in thinking– ‘I’d rather be respected than liked’ –means developing a “rhinoceroses hide” while keeping an open heart. This is precisely how we’ll become strong, effective leaders without compromising our feminine nature. This is what will allow us to be powerful without being punitive, forthright without being unfeeling, responsible without being ruthless.

Where do you need to toughen up?  If you’re like me, I bet it’s not just at work, but on the home front too.  Leave a comment below about what “toughening up” looks like in your life.

“Forgetting what you are not enables you to remember what you are”

-A Course in Miracle

I sometimes wonder if we’re hardwired to hate discipline. I think exercising discipline is to adults what eating veggies are to kids… we do it because it’s good for us. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it!! And we’ll try anything to get out of it!

It wasn’t until my interviews with women who make millions that I had a stunning realization. The key to disciplined action is disciplined thinking.

When I shifted my focus from making myself do something to monitoring my thoughts, my behavior changed (almost) automatically.

I started using a technique I call Constructive Denial. That meant I began consciously and deliberately denying any limiting beliefs, irrational fears or feelings of inferiority about how small, inadequate or inconsequential I was.  As a Course in Miracles explains: “Denial is as capable of being used positively as well as negatively.”

For instance, when that voice in my head says (as it often does) “you don’t have what it takes to do that!” instead of caving in, I come back with, “Thanks for sharing, but I absolutely DO have what it takes.” That one retort dramatically reduces my resistance to taking action.

That’s what these successful women told me they did. They carefully observed their conversations (internal and external), making sure they didn’t lapse into—or catching themselves when they did—automatic self depreciatory or negative patterns.

As a long time mega earner explained to me, “You have to remind yourself: I’m OK. I have strengths. It’s hard. But you have to!”

They made themselves focus on their strengths and successes, talk about their achievements, and reaffirm their value to themselves.  They were constantly giving themselves pep talks, and repeating positive affirmations.

I found a terrific affirmation in a fabulous book called The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel: “I am that which I will to be.”  When I feel stuck, scared or small, I repeat that phrase, followed by “I have everything it takes to be a stellar success,” or “I am bursting with creative ideas for my next blog”.  Then I act as if it’s true.  It may seem contrived. But it actually works.

I suspect a lot of you do the same thing. Share your affirmations by adding a comment below.

I’ve talked a lot about surrender in this blog.  I actually thought I was done with this first step of Sacred Success™ last April. But surrender unfolds at it’s own pace. It can’t be rushed. Though, Lord knows, I’ve tried.

Just this past week, waiting for my daughter to give birth, I’ve experienced a whole new level of–and whole new lesson in–surrender.

I flew to California just before her due date, July 8th, putting my life on hold to be present for the delivery.  She’d be having her baby at home and I wasn’t about to miss it. Nor were her sisters who came from their respective towns, or her father who traveled from a foreign country.

The first few days were exciting…a family splintered by geography gathered to welcome a new member to the tribe.  But after a week, the waiting began to wear thin as we dangled in a limbo of uncertainty. No one felt it more than the mother-to-be. She became  a bundle  of  frayed nerves,  seriously doubting if  there’d ever really be a baby,  sure she’d let everyone down by being late, feeling helpless and out of control.

The metaphor was inescapable. This is what I’d been feeling this past year.  Which is precisely what the first step to Sacred Success™ is all about: waiting to give birth. Since last December, when I started my sabbatical,  I’ve been dangling in a limbo of uncertainty,  consciously relinquishing control, impatiently questioning if  I’d ever be productive again, wondering what other people were thinking of me.

Fast forward to this July. At the very moment the uncertainty became almost unbearable, (as it always will)  I got a message from the Universe…literally. I subscribe to a daily email called TUT… A Note from the Universe tut.com. Out of the blue, came these cosmic instructions for surviving and thriving during a period of surrender:

“So what if you don’t have it yet, barbara?

It’s coming. You’re gonna get it. You’re gonna love it. And then you’re gonna forget there was ever a time when you didn’t have it.

Learning to be happy while you wait, barbara, is worth learning. And to help learn this, just keep yourself busy.”

And now, days after the birth of my granddaughter, it’s hard to believe there was ever a time we didn’t have her. I wonder if I’ll feel the same about the next phase of my career, whatever it may be?? I’ll tell you one thing, I’m determined to enjoy the wait, keeping myself busy changing diapers!!!

I’m back to blogging about  Sacred Success . Though I never actually deviated from it. All my recent posts have  directly stemmed from my new discoveries regarding this topic.

Now, however,  I’m ready to dive right in  and  share with you specific steps for achieving Sacred Success.

First, a review for those who never read my post Let me introduce you to Sacred Success™

  • Sacred Success is the next step after overcoming underearning.
  • Sacred Success is the game being played by women who are making millions (a very different game from the one most successful men are playing).
  • Sacred Success merges higher incomes with a higher calling.
  • Sacred Success means following your soul’s path, for your own bliss and the benefit of others, while being richly rewarded .
  • Sacred Success begins with a strong profit motive, and then requires that you give up profit as your primary goal.
  • The Primary Goal for Sacred Success is Achieving Greatness.

Sacred Success follows a 4- step process.  I can only describe this process as a combination of getting your head clear and your hands dirty, or as an Irish saying puts it:  “pray for potatoes with a hoe in your hand.”  That pretty much describes the 4 step process, a process that is both sacred and mundane, that is divinely guided while grounded in action.

Here are the 4 steps:

Step 1.  Receive consciously, surrendering to what is

Step 2.  Pursue your highest purpose according to your deepest truths

Step 3.  Exercise Mental Discipline

Step 4.  Leave a legacy by modeling Greatness

Stay tuned.  I’ll describe each of these steps in upcoming blogs. (I’ve actually discussed Step #1 at length in  The Beginners Guide to Surrender-in 6 Simple Steps )

I’m here to tell you,  it’s going to be very tempting to jump into idle distractions–like going on a shopping spree or planning an ambitious project—anything to avoid those difficult feelings. What I did, when I found myself looking for excuses to escape (ok, I admit I fell off the wagon a few times), was to throw myself into Step #3.

Step #3—Reassess, reevaluate

The first question most people ask themselves, when facing uncertainty, is: what should I do? I’m here to tell you, that’s the LAST question to pose.  The first questions should always be: What do I need to  let go of? Where am I giving my power away? A big piece of surrender is letting go of what’s holding us back, reclaiming our power. How do you know what needs to go? Whatever you’re most afraid to release.

For me, I was willing to let go of writing, speaking, my business in general, my identity in particular….I was willing to make space for whatever was to come next.

I used the time to ask myself questions: What am I here to do? How do I want to live? Who do I desire to help? Where do I want to make a difference?

I journaled, meditated, read A Course in Miracles, joined a master mind group, processed my insights daily with friends.

Self reflection became my major focus.

Coming up – the result of my self reflection.

Want to kick things up a notch (or 2 or 3) in your life? Ask yourself this: “What do I need to let go of?”  Seriously.   “Letting go” is a profound strategy few people fully understand.

When you pinpoint what’s holding you back, and are willing to let it go, miracles occur.  There is one catch, however.  Usually, the very thing you most need to let go of, is that which is most scary to give up.

Let me give you an example.  This just occurred in my latest Overcoming Underearning® teleclass (see www.barbarastanny.com/coaching-tele-seminars).  One woman, let’s call her Dee, was desperate to get out of debt.  Her main problem – her house was more than she could afford, but she couldn’t bear to let it go.  Her home was her sanctuary,  a retreat from the world,  tucked away in a little village that was nearby, but felt worlds away from the big city. Her closest friends were her neighbors.  She never had to lock her doors.  How could she  ever leave this?

Yet as our class continued, it became clear.  Dee needed to sell the house.  It broke her heart, but it was the right thing to do.   From that point on, things happened quickly.

She’d sat down to write a newspaper ad  when there was a knock on the door.  A man introduced himself as the father of her next-door neighbor.  He wondered  if, by any chance, she’d sell her house.  Dee’s jaw dropped, but she kept her cool.  They closed the deal, that very day, for $15,000 above what would’ve been her asking price.  And the man paid cash (yes, a big wad of cash now sits in the bank).

Dee’s bound to miss her house. But she won’t miss the debt.  And the relief  in her voice was palpable.  In fact, she was down right giddy.  Besides, she’s surprisingly excited about looking for houses in her price range.

The moral of this story?  The next time you feel stuck or weighted down, instead of asking; “What do I need to do?” Ask yourself; What do I need to let go of?” Then take the leap and watch for the miracle… and please share your story with me!

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money
barbara@barbarastanny.com
www.barbarastanny.com

Sign up for Barbara’s free newsletter at

http://barbarastanny.com/inner-circle-join.html