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.

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Oh, the irony of it all.

I haven’t blogged in awhile.   And I’ve got a good reason—I’ve been really busy. I mean, I was preparing for my first Sacred Success Retreat.  I had house guests visiting. I flew to California for my grandson’s 6th birthday.  Yada, yada, yada…..

But you wanna know the real truth? I went oblivious to what I’d been blogging about—DISCIPLINE. I wasn’t making myself do what I needed to do, when I needed to do it….because I bought into my excuses. I actually believed them!!

Excuses are to discipline what cheating is to diets…a sure fire way to undermine your success by letting yourself off the hook.

And we all do it. We make a commitment. Stuff comes up. We get side tracked. It comes with the territory. Discipline isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being persistent.

As of today, I’m making it official. I’m getting back on the Discipline Train. And I’m inviting any of you who’ve fallen off (you know who you are!) to join me.

What that means to me is that I’m back to writing regular blogs. I’d love to hear what it means for you.

While we’re discussing my beliefs (see True Confessions), I’ll add another  to the pot.  This belief is a biggie for me, and growing stronger by the second…due to  recent events.

I believe our financial foundation is only as strong as our individual integrity.

I am convinced the economic meltdown was a direct result of a lack of integrity,  among consumers and institutions alike.  The same applies to all the problems we’re witnessing today. Think: Tiger, Toyota, BP…to name a few. They all are, in large part, crisis that occurred when people acted out of  integrity.

I believe that every crisis comes with critical lessons. So instead of reacting solely with fury, frustration or a deep sense of futility—which I tend to do—I remind myself to treat each crisis as a teacher.

Take the oil spill, for example. Maybe I can’t do anything personally to protect the pelicans, but I can learn (and share) the lesson this crisis is offering me. For me, it’s all about integrity.

The word integrity comes from the latin root, meaning wholeness or entirety. Integrity demands  that our words and deeds  consistently reflect our deepest truths, highest aspirations,  and most cherished values.

Now, more than ever,  I believe we all need to ask ourselves 2 questions, on a daily basis:

  • Where am I out of integrity?
  • How can I correct that?

None of us are too big to fail. Nor are we too small to soar.  The difference, I believe, rests largely on our level of integrity…and our courage to act on it.

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.

Taking ChargeI just had a long conversation with Robin Tennant, who teaches negotiation skills to women. My question to her: What’s the biggest mistake women make in asking for more money?

Her response: Women give away their power before they even open their mouth.

How do we take back our power? I wondered. Here were her tips.

  1. Take credit for your ideas. You must toot your own horn, brag about your successes. Let the powers-that-be know precisely what your contribution was to a project or the team. “Men are taught to showboat. Women are taught to be submissive. We need to learn to say, ‘damn I’m good.’”
  2. Take responsibility for your mistakes. Your boss never wants to hear “yes…but” or any explanation. Instead, say ‘I made a mistake and I will fix it.” Robin tells me about a terrible mistake she once made, that lost business for the company, but she took responsibility, dealt with it professionally, and won her superiors’ respect. “It came a badge of honor by the way I handled it.”
  3. Be prepared. Bring a list—that you’ve worked on for a least 3 weeks to a month—of what you want and what you’re willing to give up. For example, Robin says, “I may not need my name on the stationary, but flexibility to go to my kids activities is really important.”
  4. Don’t look or act scared…even if you’re a quivering wreck. See yourself as an equal, adding value, deserving respect.
  5. Ask for what you want firmly, confidently, and allow for silence. Women often talk too much when they get nervous. Listen to what they say, even if its criticism, without interrupting or justifying your actions.

I liked her advice. Especially the part about taking credit for your successes and responsibility for your mistakes. What do you think?

If you want to get a hold of Robin: robintennant@mac.com