Stop trying to be perfect: You already are. Yes, each one of us is a work in progress, but that work is perfect in its state of evolution. When you are driven by perfection, you are unable to appreciate who you already are. Try instead to look at what is right about you.
Stop Trying to Impress Others: The people who want to be impressed (in the way I am talking about here) are not worth your time. The people who will judge you without knowing you or based on some criteria that are not even important to you are just not your people. The people who matter will think you are amazing. Pay more attention to them.
Stop Trying to Be Someone Else: If you are comparing yourself to someone who has different talents than you do or if you think that you should be doing things a different way than is natural for you, instead start to appreciate how you do things and what your talents are.
Find What You Love: When you let yourself be yourself, you will naturally be drawn to what you love. But, what you love also shows you something about who you are. If you don’t know what you love, experiment. If you like it, try doing it again and see if it grows into something.
Give Yourself Permission to Do What You Love: Once you find the things you love, do them a lot. The more that you do what you love, the happier and the more satisfied you will be with your life. If you know what you love but you are not doing it, get the support you need to give yourself permission to be happy.
Don’t Waste Time Doing Other Things: Why bother doing things that you do not enjoy? Yes, I understand life has some practicalities that need to be addressed, but once they have been attended to—are you still wasting time not doing what you love? If so, start a plan to cut out the things that are not in line with who you want to be or what you love, and then take action.
Slow Down: We can all get a bit ahead of ourselves. It is not about doing more or doing it faster, it is about really enjoying our life. We can’t do that if we are moving so fast that we don’t even know what is happening. Start by building some real breaks into your schedule.
Pay Attention to What Is Working (Most of the Time): Most of us would benefit from being a bit more positive. There is a place for looking at what is not working, but when we pay attention to what works, we often learn more about it and therefore can have more of it. We also feel better about what we are experiencing. If you see yourself getting negative, find one thing that is working.
Express Gratitude: Being grateful is one of the most effective ways to be happier. When in doubt, find something to appreciate. And don’t forget to apply it to yourself!
Learn to Fully Receive: The emphasis on doing that most of us have been enculturated into leaves us less skilled when it comes to receiving. But how can we have a full and rich life if we can’t receive it? The next time someone compliments you, take it in.
Ready for an even more fulfilling life? See my article here to learn about living in your truth >>> “7 Signs You Are Living Your Truth.”
One of the main issues that people face in their personal and spiritual development is in the cultivation of presence. Many people get so preoccupied with fixing what is wrong with themselves or healing the past that they forget the reason for doing all of this work: to learn how to be in love with their life each day.
Sometimes, we do not need to fix the past so much as we need to learn new ways of being with the present so that we can have more of what we want. In short, the solution isn’t in changing the past but in being more adept at each and every moment. We do this by learning to be more present.
Here are three steps to cultivating presence.
Slow Down: As soon as we slow ourselves down, we witness the chaos that drove us in each moment. This can be our chattering mind or our compulsive drive to keep busy. At first we are uncomfortable, but once we break through, we have access to a type of experience we did not have before. Slowing down creates an environment for cultivating presence.
Pay Attention: As we begin to pay attention to what is happening in the present moment—our distraction, how we are feeling, or something someone said—we begin to see what is really going on with us. Paying attention brings things into conscious awareness, which allows us to work with them.
Acknowledge Where You Are Giving Your Energy: We slow down so that we can create the space to pay attention. We pay attention so that we can see what we are giving our energy to that is detracting from what is now present. Then when we get caught up in something that we do not want to give our energy to, we can reapply our attention by acknowledging that we are doing so.
These three steps make us more aware. It is from this place of awareness that we can be more fully in the present moment and can choose how we want to proceed from this point—direct our energy or be more receptive. We learn what keeps us away from being with the present moment and we can make new choices about how we want to connect, create more joy, or take our next steps.
Cultivating presence can lead to more fulfillment – read more about this important topic here: >>> “10 Ways to Live More Fully.”
As we move through the bumps, jolts, and obstacles of life, we can use them to justify our own “rightness” or choose to see through the eyes of compassion. When seen most clearly, any person who hurts us is merely a person who is suffering himself or herself.
When we choose to see others in this way, it opens up a door to a more expanded way of being. This does not mean that we should put ourselves in harm’s way or simply accept harmful behavior. That would be a cop-out—a way to bypass our own responsibility. It is a way that we can get trapped in a kind of pseudo-compassion. This false compassion is a trick of our ego and a way to feel important through our own victimhood.
Instead, we can make choices that both offer others compassion and takes care of ourselves. Compassion requires that we be able to stand in another’s place and understand where they are coming from. It asks that we feel another’s motives and empathize with their plight. Respect and love for ourselves and others helps us put boundaries in place, say no, or simply remove ourselves from harmful situations.
Both compassionate understanding and self-care are essential.
Goddesses, such as Quan Yin, Yemanja, and Mary, show us the way to unconditional compassion for others. They overflow with deep acceptance of the natural evolution of the soul—marked at times by oversights, limitations, and ignorance. They know that no one escapes these challenges and that each one is doing the best they can at any given moment. In their strength and with compassionate grace, they show us how to emanate light in the face of all of life’s challenges. They do not exalt or negate suffering—they simply offer it compassion.
Compassion toward another is, in the end, a gift to us. It releases us from the shackles of judgment. It creates the space for us to learn and grow. It sets us free to live and love more deeply.
We may look around our lives or the world and see many things that are wrong—politicians who are power-hungry, friends who are self-absorbed, or family members who are stuck in limiting belief systems. These clear problems may invoke in us frustration, judgment, or even deep sadness. To protect ourselves, we may feel the need to make these people bad in some way.
We might believe that they are harmful, lost, or just wrong. We might feel that, if they continue to act in this way, it will be infringing upon our ability to be ourselves or have the kind of life that we desire. But what if, instead of blocking our path, they are signs pointing the way? Do not go that way—that is not your way. What if, instead of negating our way of being, they are helping us see how to be with all aspects of ourselves and of life? What if they are deepening our ability to trust in the divine unfolding of things and more completely challenging our ego’s limited grasp of how things should be? Our compassion can be our teacher, showing us the way to deeper truth and happiness.
As with many things, the first person who needs compassion from us is usually ourselves. Many of us, especially those on a spiritual path, can forget to develop ourselves in our striving, forget that we are in a perfectly timed process of unfolding and that our mistakes and limitations are part of the process not keeping us from it. Cultivating compassion as a ground for our spiritual development ensures that we are approaching it from the healthiest and most beneficial direction—with honor and integrity rather than an egoic need to be something other than who we are at any given moment.
My prayer is that compassion lives in your heart, that you remember to be compassionate when you have forgotten, and that you have the strength to feel compassion when it is most challenging. I ask that you feel compassion’s gifts and be open to its teachings. I ask that your life be inspired by divine compassionate grace.
Are you on a journey of compassion? Read more on this topic here >>> “Be More Compassionate: Love Yourself and Change the World.”
Wondering if you are living in your truth? Use these signs to help you see the way.
You are Happy. Not just happy because things are going your way, but really, deeply happy regardless of how things are going. When we are aligned with our inner truth, we feel happy.
You Feel Congruent. When you are living your truth, your insides and your outsides match. You feel you are with the right people doing the right things most of the time.
You Have Lots of Energy. An abundance of energy is the result of being in our truth. Even if facing a serious illness, people aligned with their truth have more energy and are more vivacious than those who might be facing something similar without such alignment.
You Feel Inspired. Being connected with your inner truth leaves you feeling inspired. When you are connected with your inner truth you feel creative and naturally want to contribute to the world around you.
You Feel Confident. There is nothing as good for your confidence as being connected to your truth. When you are connected to your truth, you trust in what is right for you, you know what you know and what you don’t, and you feel comfortable right where you are.
Life is Informative. When you are connected to your truth, life is not a series of challenges to get past but rather a series of events to help you unfold even more. Being in your truth helps you see the informative nature of all things.
You Can Be Generous. When you are in your truth, you naturally have overflow. Being in your truth means not being in all the things that block your truth. As a result, you have an abundance of resources that you can be generous with.
Ready to sink more into living your truth? See my blog post >>> “Uncovering Your Souls True Voice.”
Trusting yourself is synonymous with confidence. There is confidence in what we do, for example, a skill that we can apply like cooking or speaking French. And, there is confidence in who we are. The latter relies on a deep knowledge of self that allows us to feel secure.
Trusting yourself is founded on being in integrity. The more we act in ways that feel right to us, the more that we act in accordance with our values, the more that we come to trust ourselves.
Think about it this way. If you were your own friend and you constantly lied to you, acted disrespectful, or were unreliable, would you want to keep you as a friend?
Well, it is pretty similar.
Every time that you act in a way that does not have integrity, you respond to that by checking out just a little bit more –from yourself. Pretty soon, what used to feel so good starts to be something you start to avoid. Instead of being the free-spirited person, who does what he or she thinks is right and is full of energy, you become a low energy person who tries to make others happy or other forms of just getting along.
Being in integrity gives us energy and helps us learn to trust ourselves.
Trusting yourself is cultivated through understanding. It is hard to trust what is totally foreign and unknown. It is just not built into our survival programming. We might be OK with it but we do not have a deep sense of trust in what is unknown.
Similarly, when we don’t know ourselves, we don’t trust ourselves and the more familiar we are the more certain we feel about when and how we can step up and when and how we might need to get a bit of support.
When people start engaging in personal development work they sometimes start to see parts of themselves that they did not see before. This often means that they start to trust themselves a little less for a time. However, as time goes by, this grows into a much deeper sense of trust as more things become understandable and sometimes even predictable.
Trusting yourself is supported by self-assessment and acceptance. How trust-worthy are you as a person. When you make a promise to yourself, do you keep it? Do you tell yourself the truth even when it is hard? You will learn to trust yourself more, even if the answer is no, if you ask the questions and are honest about where you stand.
You can always work to be more reliable and trustworthy person. In order to really be able to make an assessment of yourself, you need to have enough self-acceptance to weather the initial inquiry. That means you are willing to “stay on your own side” regardless of what you see in yourself. Otherwise, you simply will not see what you are not wanting to see.
A candid look at yourself can be the beginning of much deeper trust of oneself.
Trusting yourself is a gift. Just as trusting another person is a gift to them. It means that they are worthy of trust. It means that you are worthy of trust. And, what is better than that.
Once you gain your own trust, difficult circumstances become easier to manage, you feel more confident in your choices in relationship, you feel more confident in your career. You know you always have someone to rely on.
Someone who will not let you down.
Do you charge ahead, willing to give anything a try and persisting in the face of setbacks, criticism and failure? Or do you hesitate, waiting until you feel you can put the pieces together so everything will be “just right,” ensuring that everything goes as planned and everyone is happy?
My grandfather’s motto for life is: “Just get in there and have a go.”
As I look back on decades of risky career moves and wonderful adventures around the globe, I thank him every day for giving me the confidence to show up for the things that have mattered most in my life.
In fact, I didn’t realize just how good his advice was until I recently recorded this podcast with Katty Kay, co-author of the best-selling book The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know. Thoughts into actions
“Confidence is what turns our thoughts into actions,” explained Katty. “With it you can take on the world; without it you remain stuck on the starting block of your own potential.”
It turns out confidence isn’t simply feeling good about yourself, saying you’re great—perfect just as you are—and believing you can do whatever you want. Nor does it require you to be a jerk who always has to speak first, ignores other people’s ideas, or demands to be given what you deserve. Rather, confidence is what allows you to stop mumbling, apologizing and hesitating, and instead start acting, risking and failing.
“Confidence matters more to our success than competence does,” said Katty. “If you choose not to act, you simply have less chance of success.”
Unfortunately, Katty’s research found that confidence appears to be a particular challenge for women across professions, income levels, and generations. And while our genetics, our schooling, our upbringing, our society and even the way we look are all factors that affect our confidence, it’s also a result of our own choices. Choose to become more confident
As a result, Katty believes we can improve our levels of confidence through three simple steps:
1. Take action—Nothing builds confidence like taking action, especially when the action involves risk and failure. So step outside your comfort zone, and if the very idea feels overwhelming, focus on how your actions can benefit others to kick-start your confidence. Start with small challenges that allow you to grow, improve and gain confidence. If you fail, think about how you can do it differently next time, and try again. If you succeed, set yourself the next challenge and keep stretching yourself forward again and again.
2. Think Less—Note the stories you’re playing over and over, and ask: Is this the only explanation for what’s unfolding? Try to note as many plausible alternatives as possible, and invest your attention on the explanations that build rather than destroy your confidence. And if all else fails, try a little self-compassion and talk back to yourself, as you would to a friend who was full of self-doubt.
3. Be Authentic—Be confident in a way that feels genuine to you. You don’t always have to speak first; you can listen and incorporate what others say. You can speak calmly but carry a smart message—one that will be heard. Play to your distinctive strengths and values. Express your vulnerability. We’re at our most powerful when confidence emanates from our core.
What would you be doing right now if you had a little more confidence?
This morning, I was on the phone with one of the most dynamic women I’ve ever met. We were talking about a joint venture based on her initial success with clients of a particular product she launched. She then uttered the words that I’ve heard time and time again from women, including myself:
“I’m just not sure that I’m credible enough yet to lead this. Have I done enough in the industry to show that I’m the right person to do it?”
And that, my friends, is the key to what holds us back. While it’s a generalization, of course, it’s one that I’ve seen throughout my career. Women remain steadily focused on competence, while men are focused on confidence. When offered an opportunity, we women wonder: ,”Am I good enough? Do I deserve this? Do I have enough expertise in this area?” While men, when offered that same opportunity, tend to jump up and volunteer — even when they don’t know what they’re talking about. They say yes first, and figure it out later.
Competence is an amazing and necessary thing. But, as you grow in your career, ask yourself if you’ve worked as hard on your confidence as you have on your competence. Granted, there’s no MBA in “confidence,” but it is a skill that most certainly can be taught.
Here are a few ways to build up your confidence:
1. Set a MVC metric.
Knowledge is key, but we often hide behind needing to “know more” before we act. What is the minimal amount of competence that you need on a subject before you can push forward? Figure out the Minimum Viable Competence (MVC) needed — then go get that. You can (and should) continue to learn, of course, but once you have MVC, it’s time to go for it.
2. Ask for feedback.
Look for people who are invested in you and ask them what it is about you that makes you great. It’s not fishing for compliments; it’s building your tolerance for hearing great things about yourself without cringing. Even better? Also ask for areas of improvement. Work on those, but don’t stop pushing forward as you’re doing that hard work. Learning how to take constructive feedback (both positive and negative) is vital.
3. Dream big.
Imagine what your life and career would be like if nothing was holding you back. No barriers, no politics, nothing. Write it down. Then ask yourself: Why on earth you are letting anything stand between you and what you really want? Aren’t you worth that dream? Aren’t you competent enough to execute against that dream? If not, why not? Find out if it’s an actual physical challenge — or if it’s just negative self-talk and lack of confidence that’s holding you back.
By the time I had finished my call with that brilliant young woman I spoke with this morning, we had hatched an idea for a business that will hopefully be a great success for her. It may, of course, fall flat on its face. But one thing is for sure: There’s nothing in the world holding her, or anyone else, back from just going for it.
Most people agree that self-confidence is one of the most important factors in how well we do in life.
We are born with perfect self-confidence, but that is eroded by many factors as we grow up.
Instead of focusing on the things that drag down our confidence, it is important to remember the things that boost it. Whether we are going to a job interview, a first date, giving a speech, or just getting through the day, there are some basic ways that we can give ourselves that extra boost of confidence that will win the day:
1. Focus On Wins
Have reminders of your achievements in full view so you can see them every night before going to bed and every morning when you wake up. They can be trophies, awards achieved, or anything that you are proud of. If you have no visible record, write down at least five things you are proud having achieved and post them by the mirror in your bathroom and on the wall in your workplace.
2. Remember What You Are Proud Of
List all the things you are proud of. What can you put on your résumé? What did you do that took courage? Perhaps you moved away from your family, struck out on your own, or left an abusive relationship. Things that others would be afraid of doing, but you did them. How about the people you helped? Or maybe things you didn’t do, like say negative things about someone when everyone else was. Have you gone out of your way to help someone, when others might not have?
List these things and read them whenever you face a situation where you will need all your confidence.
3. Always Give Your Best
Give your best in all situations. The outcome may not be what you wanted, but you will come away feeling good about yourself–every time you do you will come away a stronger person. Stand up for what you believe in and what is right. Defend someone who is weaker, someone who is being bullied, or someone being treated unfairly. Resist the urge to go along just to get along. Be true to yourself and you will respect yourself and earn respect from those that matter.
4. Just Do It
We all are afraid of doing unfamiliar things for the first time, but those who succeed do things they have a fear of doing. Get into the habit of pushing your comfort zone and doing things you are a little bit frightened to do. Make a list of something every week and every month. They don’t have to be huge but require some courage for you to do.
Try taking a dancing class, going to a movie alone, or starting a conversation with a stranger. See how it makes you feel after. Keep track of these things on a calendar. Review them every so often, or before that big date, interview, or event that is going to demand all the confidence you can muster.
5. Keep Building Your Wins
Don’t get into comparing your win with that of others. Your achievement is as important as anyone else’s.
Only share what you are doing with those that totally support you. Confidence builds upon itself, and the more you think you can do, the more you will attempt and be successful at. Keep adding to your win list and watch yourself soar.
reblogged from fastcompany.com
There is a reason you are the person you are. Really! Everything that exists has a place — and that includes you.
It is easy to feel like you don’t have a place. I felt like that for most of my life. When we feel like this, we can start to believe that we need to change ourselves in order to make things work. This is likely to be the first in a long line of mistakes! The only way we can make it work is by being ourselves and doing things the way we know they need to be done.
Of course, I am not saying that each of us does not have a lot to learn — we have a ton to learn from others and the world around us. Sometimes, learning requires us to temporarily set aside our own way of doing things — but only temporarily. We need to integrate what we learn into who we really are.
Both fulfillment and success result from being ourselves and living the expression of who we are. What I find is that people are not taught how to connect deeply to their own inner truth and wisdom. Most people go through life not even knowing what that means. We are taught myriad things in school and at home — such as how to set a table and do math — but most schools and homes are filled with adults who have no better sense of how to connect to themselves than the children do.
One way to connect with our essence is to write out our values. By creating a list of our values and why they are significant to us, we are able to gain access to what we find most important. This is who we really are. This is what we are meant to bring forward into the world.