by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA
Here are several topics you can read about on a quick scroll through popular business blogs: the morning habits of highly successful people, what bosses should never make employees do, spelling errors that make you look unprofessional, 5 smart ways to increase your IQ
The underlying message is: You Need Fixing
Then, take a look at the queue of helpful business and self help titles in your Kindle and audio books queue, the regular emails with advice and tips flooding your in box and the stack of publications you “should read.” I think most humans could quickly conclude that they are broken, out of touch or badly in need of improvement.
Head over to your monthly Builder or attend your RACE meeting and you may receive another big douse of “help.”
How do you use “help?” This may sound like a funny question, but singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco may be on to something when she sings, "Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right".
Is all of the help you are consuming actually hurting you instead of helping? Have you unintentionally turned it into a weapon? If you buy the assumption that you are badly in need of improvement and you combine that with a regular diet of looking up reports showing your current rank in your Northwestern Mutual office you have a recipe for a shame storm. This shame may undermine your confidence and leave you questioning your worth. You have given away your power by seeking out answers outside of yourself. The insights, ideas and solutions are likely already inside you.
The remedy to recover from and prevent a shame storm of doubt and questioning is self-compassion. In fact, I believe that the road to success is paved with…compassion! This compassion extends beyond you to others, as well. Consider for a moment how you give feedback to children and your best friends. Do you sternly tell them that they are bad at things, have disappointed you and aren’t doing well when you compare them with others? I doubt it! But think for a moment how many times you have thought these very things about yourself.
Imagine for a moment that you have a steady stream of helpful thoughts in your head such as “you tried really hard, you’re doing great, that was brave, you’re good at this, etc?” This is how you will begin to access the internal wisdom was there all along. Or, it may help point you to resources that nourish and genuinely DO help you.
Between the potential external messages telling you “you’re not enough” along with your inner critic telling you that you’re not good enough, it’s time to clean up your internal and external words and make them safe for your psyche.
Here are some tips:
- Be choosy about the media you consume. If it leaves you doubting yourself and feeling bad, find sources instead that are validating and inspiring.
- Select books that help you find and build on strengths already inside you versus pointing out your supposed “deficiencies and weaknesses.”
- Surround yourself with people who have a positive effect on you.
- Assume that you are already whole, not broken and in need of fixing
- Consider what feels exciting and energizing and then challenge yourself to grow in a way that feels genuine to you.
- Limit the number of times you run reports to compare your practice with the practices of other Financial Representatives (FRs). Ask yourself why you are looking at these reports? Is it helping or hurting?
Look at each instrument you’re using right now in your practice and ask yourself: am I using this as tool or weapon? If you’re using something as a weapon to “improve yourself” ask yourself if that really works. Have you criticized, blamed and kicked yourself to success in the past? I doubt it. There is a misleading cultural belief that humans need to be mentally strong, emotionally tough and just take the pain. I have never met a man, woman or child where this proves to be true. I have, on the other hand, met so many who thrive with encouragement, support, authenticity and healthy feedback.Drop your weapon.
Coaching Tip Many of my clients are fearful about dropping their steady diet of critical articles, books that imply that they are deficient and the sense that they need to find answers outside of themselves. The good news is that you are the best authority on yourself! The answers are inside you. Use resources to help you find and make the most of them—not to break you down and shame you.