Running out the door at 8:10, I was desperately trying to motivate three rambunctious little boys on their way to school; packing up a brand new puppy in a crate, hauling two backpacks, three lunch boxes and a spelling list flapping between my teeth. I had to run back in to set the alarm and get my breakfast which, thankfully, I had made to go.
Considering that some days my husband can barely remember his own wallet and iPhone before heading off to work, I’m convinced no man could multi-task so seamlessly!
Picture, if you will, the mom with the baby slung on her hip carrying in fifteen bags of groceries from the garage to the kitchen. In one trip. We’ve all done it! As women, we’re wired to do a hundred things at a time. Now, that doesn’t mean we should…but we certainly can. And sometimes, we must.
Now these tasks may seem insignificant in the big picture but they’re merely the tip of the iceberg of what we can do when we put our mind to it. If you ask me, in order to become YOUR BEST YOU, the first step is getting a grip on your mind. Sometimes we simply need to work on changing our mind and what we choose to focus on, so we can dig in and find the incredible power we already have.
Our mind is the gatekeeper to doing anything well and will take us out in a flat second if we let it. In order to become our best selves, we need to stop selling ourselves short and start harnessing the power of who we are, and what we can achieve. But first, we’ve got to start thinking straight.
Here are 5 simple strategies to find your power:
1. Own your success
Have you ever given someone a compliment only to have them brush it aside as if you were just being nice? I don’t know about you, but I’m not nice. In fact I wrote a whole post about how we should stop being nice. If I say it, I mean it. Maybe you’re that person who can’t take a compliment. Though it may seem humble to dodge the recognition, it suggests that perhaps you don’t really believe you deserve the success. Recognize that when you succeed it is because you worked hard for it! No success comes without hard work, diligence, sacrifice and a great amount of time, talent and commitment. Don’t dismiss your achievements, simply smile and say thank you. Own the success you have so rightly earned and deserve. It’s powerful when you do.
2. Believe in yourself
If you don’t first believe in yourself, how can you expect others to believe in you? There is something transformative about believing we can accomplish the goals we set out for ourselves, no matter if anyone else ever does. You don’t have to look far to see people fighting to believe in their gift. Actors, actresses, writers, singers, songwriters, artists and many more struggle for years to find their place. Most of them never make it to the top. Every time I see a struggling artist signing for change on the street I’m inspired. I’m inspired because they believe in themselves enough to show up. To keep going. To stand in front of a crowd for literally nothing and sing their song because they believe in it. No amount of success could ever measure up to to the simple power of you believing in you.
3. Set reasonable expectations
Though many of us have low or little expectations of others, we set incredibly high, unattainable ones for ourselves. No one else is watching the details of your life as carefully as you are, and if they are you should run away from them as fast as you can! We all have a million things on our to-do lists every day and what doesn’t get done will still be there tomorrow. If someone is constantly reminding you of where you’re failing or falling short it’s time to politely show them the door. My word of the year is trust. For me, trust means that I believe if something is truly meant for me, I couldn’t screw it up no matter how hard I tried. And if it isn’t meant for me I couldn’t make it happen no matter how fast I hustle for it. You can only do so much in a day and still devote time to your most important work: being a wife, mom, daughter, sister, steward and friend. Set reasonable expectations for yourself so you can complete what you set out to do.
4. Stop beating yourself up for failures or mistakes
In the case you set an unrealistic expectation, don’t beat yourself up for not reaching it. One of my favorite researchers and writers Brene Brown said, “Shame is the birthplace of perfectionism.” Ouch. Perfectionism leads us to believe we need to do more, be more, produce more, and become more than anyone else in order to be accepted. We fool ourselves into thinking if we can attain perfection, we will escape pain. It just isn’t true. In fact, the opposite is true. The vulnerability that is birthed from our failures, stumbles and mistakes allows us to experience joy, love, belonging, creativity and faith. It’s counter-intuitive but it’s true. When we embrace our failures, instead of beating ourselves up for them, we have the opportunity to create meaningful connection with others who have experienced the same thing. Failure is universal. Accepting it, and allowing it to teach and inform us in our future, is where we take our power back.
5. Take nothing personally
If you live for someone’s approval you will die by their criticism. Sometimes their silence is even harder to bear than their painful truth. Believe me, I know this. I’m a recovering perfectionist-people-pleaser. Though making others happy is a worthy aim, many of us take it to the extreme at the expense of ourselves. Not everyone is going to like you. I know that’s a news flash — it certainly was for me — but I’ve finally got it. Halleluia, I’ve accepted that me being me is going to tick some people off! Especially the people I was working so hard for their approval! But when you stop taking others compliments to heart, then you gradually stop taking their criticism to heart too. Everyone is on their own journey and we’re all in different places at different times. The way people respond to you – good or bad – is largely a reflection of where they are. Not who you are. Take other people’s opinions lightly and you will realize that only you hold the power to your own happiness.
Every single one of us is doing the best we can. Becoming our best self begins with knowing ourself. With taking control of our mind that so often seeks to derail us at criticism, disapproval or setback and owning the incredible power that we already have to do great things. We’ve all got a race to run but it won’t always match up with approval or accolades from the people around us. That’s okay. When we believe in ourselves first, when we can embrace our successes and our failures and take nothing personally, we begin to become who we truly are in spite of our circumstances. In defiance of our critics.
When we begin to understand who we are, and take control of the critic in our own head, can we begin to live true to ourself and harness our power to do great things, no matter what.