When did basking in our achievements get such a bad wrap that we fear taking a few minutes out to celebrate? I just listened to one of those “blah blah” sort of voicemails that gets cascaded in a corporation from the head honchos to the worker bees. It is moments like these that I am reminded WHY I continue to build my business so that I can be independent of what my friend calls “Corporate Head Syndrome” (CHS). CHS is when you start speaking gibberish and no longer relate to people as human beings because you’re so focused on some perceived future “everything will be perfect when…” goal. In this long winded voice message from on high, the person took about one sentence to praise people for their efforts in reaching a goal that is unprecedented in the industry and immediately launched into the “and we have so much more work to go, we can’t rest on our laurels” caveat that it made my head spin. Are people THAT fearful that somehow if they were to encourage people to celebrate what they’ve accomplished that everyone would instantly turn into a slug and never do another ounce of work?
While you can’t control what other people think or say, the problem lies with the fact that this same damaging mindset is often part of the tape we play inside our own heads. When we achieve a goal, rather than drink in the feeling of accomplishment and acknowledge ourselves in a way that builds self-esteem, confidence, and the probability of future success, we rush headlong into the next thing and/or belittle our accomplishments when talking to others.
For example, rather than tell someone, “I successfully completed a 100K bike ride and I’m proud of my accomplishment”, we start throwing in qualifiers and comparisons that dimish our brilliance. Instead, we’ll say, “I just completed a 100K bike ride, but I didn’t go very fast, and it doesn’t count because the terrain was flat, and so-and-so did 200K in the same amount of time and they only have one leg”. While I get a little humorous with this example to illustrate a point, I know for a fact (from listening to myself, my clients, and my friends) that as women we often tend to minimize our accomplishments because we fear appearing boastful.
The only way to build self-confidence and a healthy self-esteem is from the inside out. First we have to acknowledge ourselves as being worthy and perfect just as we are. We need to stop and honor ourselves for our efforts and accomplishments regardless of anyone else’s opinion. If you want to lead and succeed in this world (and everyone is a leader in some way), some people are going to like you and some aren’t. It’s a fact. Given that fact, there’s no day like today to stop seeking approval from others and the world at large and start giving yourself the kudos you deserve.
Play the Self-Acknowledgment Game
One of my favorite exercises is the self-acknowledgment game. To play the game, each day you make a list of at least 10 things you acknowledge yourself for. It doesn’t matter if you perceive them as something big (landing a primo client) or small (getting out of bed and taking a shower). After all, someone else’s seemingly “small” accomplishment can be monumentally “big” to someone else. It just matters that you consistently make a list of at least 10 things each day.
Do this for at least 30 days. Notice if it gets easier to make the list as the month progresses. Also notice how you feel about yourself each day and the level of your self-esteem and confidence.
For any client I start working with who is stuck moving forward or questioning their ability to achieve something in their life, I always assign this exercise. What clients find is that the more they acknowledge themselves, the more confident and courageous they become when pursuing their goals; not to mention the fact that they just feel all around better about themselves and this reflects in their relationships with the people around them.
I know for me, when I first started my own personal growth journey I found this exercise VERY hard. Over time it paid huge dividends in my life and whenever I am down in the dumps or feel like I am not accomplishing “enough” with my life, I assign myself this exercise again. It always does the trick to get me back on track and willing to stand in my own personal power.
So, get started celebrating who you are and what you’ve achieved!