Tag Archives: Self-esteem

What type of Echo are you? Positive or Negative?

??????????Just another Monday. As for the past few months, I was at London’s Heathrow airport, bright and early at the yucky time of 5:30 am, to catch my weekly commuter flight to Copenhagen, Denmark. Those of you who know me, will know, I am not (and I repeat), most definitely NOT, a morning person. Having armed myself with enough tea to wake up an elephant, I settled down at the gate to await my flight’s boarding call.

Suddenly, I noticed the rather penetrating echo of a newscaster’s voice. Every few yards, along the gate side of Terminal 5, there is a large, free-standing Samsung TV set. The sets were a few seconds out of sync, from one side of the building to the other. At first, I was a little irritated, however, then I started to notice the quality of this echo. The ‘outofsyncness’ now became a work of art, and turned out to be in sync in a miraculously Mexican wave like echo – quite astonishing, even at 5:30 am in the morning.

That got me thinking.

We are Echoes

We do this all the time, just like these misaligned TV consoles, we also broadcast our thoughts, our feelings, our body language, our words, our actions into the world, to others and, critically, into ourselves. Our bodies receive and resonate with these constantly echoing messages. Most of our messages are repeating day in, day out, and often are unconscious. According to research, we think over 50,000 thoughts day and most of these are not even positive.

Positive Echoes

“It only takes a split second to smile and forget, yet to someone that needed it, it can last a lifetime. We should all smile more often. – Steve Maraboli”

During the boarding process, one of the flight attendants gave me such a lovely and genuine smile and chirpily wished me a great day. I smiled in return and was still smiling as I entered the plane, highly unusual for me at 6 am in the morning. The smile and her tone of voice vibrated right through my body. I had a deeply felt sense of that smile. Interestingly, me smiling at one of the other passengers caused this man to also smile – a regular on this flight, who I suspect hates early mornings as much as I do. Previously, I had never seen him smile before now. The felt sense of the smile stayed with me for most of the day, making my day more enjoyable.

Anything we do, say or feel causes some sort of resonance in others whether we intend it or not. And it causes resonance within our bodies and energy fields. As my whole mood shifted because of that gift of a smile, me echoing the smile, my fellow passenger’s mood also shifted, and he started being a positive echo.

Negative Echoes

We can also be negative echoes. Most of us, at some point during our day, experience some negative thoughts about ourselves, consciously and often unconsciously. We put ourselves down, feel guilty, blame ourselves, and compare ourselves to other or to impossible personal standards, to name but a few examples. Each negative thought and word, reverberates through our bodies as feelings, sensations and emotions, echoing in every cell of our bodies and our energy field. Our body language, demeanour and even our tone of voice demonstrates this to the outside world.

Some ‘negative’ echoes move through the body quickly before they dissolve into thin air. These are the ones we learn from and then move on. Others get stuck and keep echoing on and on and on, in our body, mind and energy field – stuck echoes can lead to health issues. In coaching we often call them limiting beliefs, false identities, stress or low self-esteem. These are echoes that have become chronic.

Changing our echo

If we wish to be positive echoes, the first step is to notice what we are echoing at any given time:

1.       What are we actually broadcasting?

  • Do we know and/or notice it?
  • What emotions, feelings and sensations is my body giving me?
  • It is positive or negative?
  • Does it stay with us or move right through us?

The second step is to observe what impact our current echo has on our bodies and our environment.

2.       What is the impact this echo has on our body, others, the world around us?

The third step is to make an active change. When we notice what we are echoing ,and it might only be a feeling or an emotion rather something we can put direct words to, we can change it to something we want to echo.

3.       Every time you notice that you are echoing something you don’t want to give out, connect to the emotions, feelings and sensations you want to give out.

Some options for doing this are:

  • Connect to a memory of an experience that contained the emotions, feelings and sensations you wish to echo
  • Laugh or smile at and into your current state – that helps to turn it
  • Consider possibilities of action – often when we echo negatively we feel stuck or without options. Opening up to other ways of being or acting, helps to unstick the state.

Enjoy being a positive echo.

Already slipping on your New Year’s resolutions? Use ‘Being’ instead of Willpower!

Most people set New Year’s resolutions with the real intention to achieve them, and then life gets in the way. Sadly, research has shown 70% of us never achieve our resolutions.

Other things take priority, at work, at home, or we experience blocks, don’t how to start or to maintain your motivation, or we just do not feel in the right frame of energy to get going. Whatever it is, we are left feeling disappointed in ourselves, less than and our self-esteem suffers.

And, it does not have to be like that.

There are some very easy ways to help you keep up motivation, focus on your resolutions every day without effort and find creative ways to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some easy and fun to use techniques that will help you make achieving your intentions part of your day every day. And don’t worry, you do not need to find that extra 1 + hour a day for these.

So here it comes:

Hot Tip: Pick a daily State of Being

July 2012 002Although it does not sound like much, it is surprisingly effective. Every evening before you go to bed, or when you get up in the morning do the following:

Think of the resolution that most important to you, and ask yourself:

  • what quality or state of being does that resolution embody for me?
  • what qualities will I gain or enhance when I have achieved this resolution?

Examples might be: flow, confidence, fun, energy, being a magnet, clarity, openness, glamour, elegance ….

Choose whatever quality, state or symbol comes to mind for you. It can even be a colour, a texture or an image that means something to you.

Take 1-2 minutes to really deepen into the quality, breathe in the quality,  really get to know this quality….you have chosen for the day. Allow that quality to infuse you, to resonate with you, to embace you ….

  • what is it like to be that quality?
  • how are you when you are that quality?
  • what happens in your body when you inhale, invoke and resonate that quality?

Write (or draw) your chosen quality of being down on a piece of paper, and carry it around with you all day. And throughout the day, whatever you do, be that quality. You will find, before long, you are actually doing activities that progress your resolutions without you having schedule time or push yourself to take the next steps.

Make it fun!

I recognise that sometimes going it alone can be difficult. Therefore I have decided to give you a special coaching offer for January and February. To check this out click here.  

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Procrastination is just signal that something is not right!

Who has not been there? You have a deadline or a target, and should really be doing something about it, yet, you procrastinate. You do everything else, even the admin or the dreaded ironing rather than tackle that particular task or goal. And not even iron will power or super discipline help. You still procrastinate. Often, procrastination is an unconscious process that we only become aware of when we are running out of time to complete our task or goal by the deadline or target time/date.

Why do we procrastinate? And how can we make procrastination our friend and not our enemy?

Both those questions are linked. In order to make procrastination our friend, we first need to become aware why we are procrastinating.

1. Why do we procrastinate?

It is very simple, we procrastinate because there is something not quite right with what we decided to do or how/when/where or with whom we decided to do it. This something wrong is a gap or discrepancy of some sort.

In my experience, these gaps or discrepancies that cause us to procrastinate tend to fall under the following categories:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Beliefs we hold about ourselves
  • A values violation
  • Overwhelm
  • Lack of knowledge or skills

And how can we make procrastination our friend and not our enemy?

Once we know what motivates us to procrastinate, we can address these reasons. Being aware is half the battle.

Every behaviour has a positive intention

So does procrastination. We do what we do because it gives us something positive or satisfies some need we have, we just might not realise it. So when you examine the reasons for any procrastinating behaviour, observe the behaviour from a neutral point of view and refrain from judging yourself. Look for the positive intention:

  • What is procrastination protecting you from?
  • What is it helping you avoid?

Consider the list of reasons for procrastination above, if nothing comes to mind. And remember, procrastination does not necessarily have to be a bad thing!

Addressing the reasons for procrastination

Fear of failure

This is a biggie for most people. What if I fail? Most of us fear that we will then no longer be appreciated by others or fall in their estimation. It is so drummed into us from early age that failure is something terrible, but is it? Or is it simply a form of feedback that the way we did something did not have the desired result?

So ask yourself:

  • Is this really true that we will lose others respect, esteem and/or appreciation if we ‘fail’?
  • What is the worst that could happen?
  • What is failure anyway? Edison had a 1000 odd so-called failures before he invented the lightbulb. He chose to call them steps or feedback. If you ‘failed’, how will you take that feedback, learn from it and change your strategy to achieve the task or goal?

Fear of success

This may sound weird, however it affects a lot of people. What happens once the goal is achieved? If there is nothing beyond that goal, a lot of people procrastinate about achieving the first goal. So if that is your reason for procrastination, look beyond your immediate goal.

  • What does this goal help you to achieve?
  • What doors open up for you once you achieved this goal?
  • And what is your goal beyond the goal?

Beliefs we hold about ourselves

Negative or unhelpful beliefs we have about ourselves hold us back from achieving what we want. Common examples of such beliefs are ‘I am not worthy’, ‘I don’t deserve’, ‘I am stupid’, ‘I am clumsy’ etc.. We tend to acquire these kinds of beliefs during childhood through repetitive experiences or decisions we made about ourselves. The way belief work is like unconscious programmes that run in the background and cause us to make choices that support those beliefs.

  • The first step is awareness and identifying the belief you hold about yourself. Listen to your excuses and self-talk about your task or goal, and pick our any ‘I am’, ‘I am not’ or ‘I am too’ statements.
  • The next step is to ask yourself: Is this belief about myself totally and utterly true everywhere and in any situation? What other evidence is there for the opposite belief?
    Give yourself permission to entertain the thought that your belief about yourself could be false.

Dealing with unwanted beliefs can be a challenge on your own, so consider asking for help from a qualified coach, NLP practitioner or therapist.

A values violation

Values are what is important to us. When something we want or have been asked to do goes against what is important to us, we have a natural tendency to dig in our heals and procrastinate.  The task or goal may be important to someone else, however, if it does not satisfy our core values, we are not likely to give it priority. So, check if what you are procrastinating about falls into this category:

  • What is important to you in this context?
  • Why is that important to you?
  • What other options are there to change, remove or delegate this value violating task? Be open-minded when considering this question.

Overwhelm

You have bitten off more than you can chew in the time you have available. Often procrastination is a stress avoidance mechanism. So if you have too many things to do in a short space of time and you do not know where to start, consider the following:

  • Prioritise! Prioritise! Prioritise! Which tasks are super urgent and which ones will keep? Are all of them equally important?
  • Who can you delegate to? Who can help you?
  • If the task is too big, and seems to loom over you, break it down into small pieces, and start with one piece at a time.

Lack of knowledge or skills

If that is you, and you know you have a knowledge gap or skills gap, consider the following:

  • Is it absolutely necessary that you do the task personally? Or can you outsource the task to someone else who has the knowledge and the skills?
  • If you need to do the task yourself, then think about creatively how can you acquire the knowledge you need and learn the necessary skills?
  • We often don’t know the how of a goal or a task. And in many cases we only find out the how by starting the task. So what you can do today to start this task? And even if the next step is to discover where to acquire the knowledge or where to find someone who knows how to do it!
  • Some people use procrastination as a creative space – they do something else so their mind can sort out a solution or way forward in the background. If that’s you and you usually achieve what you set out to do, then don’t worry about procrastination.

This list of suggestions for dealing with procrastination is by no means complete, however it will give you a great starting point. Once you tackled procrastinating about one thing, you will find it so much easier the next time. Be patient with yourself and make sure you acknowledge the positive intention of the procrastinating behaviour.

If you have any specific questions or challenges, feel free to share these via the comments box, and I am more than happy to answer your questions.

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Detox your conversation!

Words have power, whether they are in written, spoken or thought form. So, if you’re not having the success or the type of life that you want, you might be asking for the wrong things in what you communicate to the world outside you (conversations, e-mails, tweets, Facebook entries etc.) or  and to yourself (self-talk).

If what you are putting out there or saying/thinking to  yourself is negative and not supporting your goals, your focus is on what you don’t want and not what you want. Where our focus is, that is where we spend our energy and time. Think about it, if a lot of your energy is wasted on what you don’t want, then how on earth can you have enough energy left to go for what you want?

Let’s look at your conversation and how you can make a start at detoxing it:

Negative talk and self-talk

Without realised we often phrase our goals in the negative, i.e. we talk about what we don’t want or what we want to avoid. Unfortunately our subconscious mind does not understand negatives, so in fact we focus on the things we didn’t want to happen. If I asked to not to think of a baby pink giraffe with a green hat, guess what you just have been thinking about. And that is exactly how it works with all other thoughts/words.  

I invite you to pick a day of the next week to observe your thoughts and words over the course of that day. When you notice any negative statements on things you want to avoid or prevent, rephrase them and make them positive (things you want to have or have happen instead), even if it is in your head. Even if you only do this for one hour (or even 10 minutes) every day, you will notice a big difference, quickly.

Make this a fun exercise and if you children, get them to take part. They will get the hang of it quickly and benefit from the results.

Also check out my earlier blog article “Do you talk yourself out of success?” for ideas what to listen out for.

Repetitive complaints are toxic talk

Complaints are another area of conversation that drags us down. Of course, we not talking about those one-off feedback “complaints” about e.g. bad customer service that directed towards the person who can rectify the bad experience. I am talking about those repetitive (and toxic) complaints that we usually share with friends, colleagues and family who are unable to do anything about it. Examples of those complaints are the weather, what someone at the office did again, traffic issues, and other things that you deem annoying. Complaining unless it is to the person or persons that can rectify the complain puts us in a victim mentality, i.e. it signals that we are not responsible for our life and at the whim of everything. Is that what you want? Or would you rather be in control of your life and be responsible for it?

If you want to be in control, pick another day during the next week and observe yourself for any repetitive complaints that you voice. Notice what you complain about and redirect your thoughts. What good is there in that situation? What could you do differently next time? What does this teach you?
And, if there is any repetitive complaining you do, just because that is what you do at work, just don’t say them. Think of something positive to share with your colleagues instead.

Making excuses is the antidote to success

How often are you procrastinating and coming up with lots of reasons why you cannot or could not do something? And these are not just excuses you make to others but more importantly the excuses you make to yourself. Things like, why you could not get to the gym this week or take that next step towards your goals. Again excuses put us into a position of no control. So if we want to take control and achieve our gaols, excuses can no longer be part of our vocabulary.

Pick another day next week and notice what excuses you use. Don’t judge them or yourself. Just take them as they are and rephrase them into what you want to happen instead. Ideally write that down, and also write down how you will feel when ‘what you want to have happen instead’ happens. You will find after just a short time things will start moving and you will achieve more.

Also check excuses that make, if you really want what you are making excuses about. Excuses often are a sign that we living other people’s dreams and not our own and that is why we are resisting and avoiding those particular activities.

Writing down your rephrased thoughts or conversation statements of what you want instead or what you want to have happen instead is very useful as it re-inforces the positive message and it acts as a reminder to yourself. So, if you are able to keep a journal with you during the day, I’d very much recommend you try this and see how it works for you.

Enjoy.

Recommended reading

Have you checked your self-esteem level, recently?

When we procrastinate or put off pursuing our goals for some reasons, our level of self-esteem could be cause. So, what is self-esteem? Self-esteem is what we believe of ourselves.

Self-esteem, to me, consists of our self-worth and our self-confidence. Our self-worth, i.e. how much we value our own achievements and ourselves as individuals. It is also how we perceive ourselves in comparison to others, i.e. where we see our own achievements or qualities in comparison to others’. Self-confidence is about how much do we believe in our own abilities to achieve whatever we want and that we will get there. There are of course lots of other definitions and you might wish to come up with your own definition of what self-esteem means to you.

Low and negative self-esteem can be debilitating; it holds us back from achieving our desired goals and from being happy in relationships with ourselves and others. Low self-esteem can seem like a downward spiral. Every experience is taken as evidence of the limiting belief and further undermines self-esteem. On the other hand, when you have high self-esteem you feel good about yourself, you feel you can achieve anything you desire and you have fulfilling relationships with others.

A lot of people think that self-esteem is something that is given and cannot be influenced. That is wrong. We are all in control of our self-esteem levels. And another myth about self-esteem is that it does not require maintenance. Well, guess what. It does!

What is your self-esteem level right now?
In order to take control our self-esteem levels we first need to understand what they are. Studies have shown that self-esteem levels are not necessarily the same across all areas of our lives, therefore my suggestion is to use the ‘wheel of life’ technique to assess your self-esteem level for each major area of your life.

Feel free to change the headings to headings that are meaningful to you. You may also wish to add more categories, if that works better for you. Take each area of your life in turn and assess your self-esteem level from 1 -10 (1 being very low, 10 being very high). You might also like to split self-esteem into self-worth (looking how you feel about your achievements so far looking back and right now) and self-confidence (right now and ability to achieve your desired goals). Once you have done, notice where the differences are. In which areas of your life do have high self-esteem and in which areas is it lower. Ask yourself what are doing differently in the areas where you have high self-esteem compared to area where you have low self-esteem?

Now you know what your current levels of self-esteem are, consider, what do you want your level of self-esteem to be?
You can use the same wheel of life that you have drawn and in different colour mark each area of your life, where you want your level of self-esteem to be. Then, pick one area where you feel that raising your self-esteem would make a big difference to you and decide where you want your self-esteem to be. When you have got that number, ask yourself

1. What do you need to do to get to your desired level of self-esteem?
And if the jump is to big, just consider what could you do to raise your self-esteem by even one point, and if that is too much start with half-point.

In case you are stuck at this point, there are two other questions you can ask yourself:

2. How do you measure your worth in this area of your life?
Or in other words what evidence would you need to satisfy yourself that you are worth more in this area than your current self-esteem score? What are you currently using as evidence? Is that still valid or useful? Review your measures for self-worth or the value you put on yourself, and for each measure that you feel is valid come up with at least one thing you can do over the next seven days to raise your self-esteem.

3. What are you saying to yourself about yourself, your worth, and value in this area?
Most people who suffer from low self-esteem in an area of their lives, have negative self-talk. Are your thoughts positive and encouraging or are you replaying all those ‘failures’ and little ‘embarrassments’ in your mind? If your thoughts are negative, I challenge to you find positive things about you in that area.

What is your self-esteem maintenance regime?
Now you have some actions to raise your self-esteem, it is important that you actually maintain and improve your self-esteem levels on a regular basis.

I assume you have skin care regime? Most women do. Think about it, would you go out without having gone through your skin care regime. Most women I know, only ever skip their skin care regime in a dire emergency. Most women also slightly change their skin care regime with the seasons, i.e. add an SPF face crème in the summer or a more moisturising face crème in the winter.

Your self-esteem regime should be like your skin care regime: regular, daily and readjusted on a regular basis.

As your skin care regime is often quite individual to you and your particular skin care needs, your self-esteem regime will also be individual to you. You know best what you need to maintain and raise your self-esteem. So for each area (and if that is too much at this point, then choose one area) let your creativity flow and create a self-esteem regime that works for you.

If you need something to start you off, here are two self-esteem regime elements that others found useful:

Make a gratitude and appreciation list before going to bed:
There just two questions to answer:
1. What am I am grateful for today?
2. What do I appreciate about myself today?
It does not take long, maybe 5 minutes and you will notice the changes in you and how you feel about yourself within days. Make sure to think of at least 5 things for each question and include at least 2 items for each question that pertain to your current area of focus for your self-esteem.

Draw up your self-esteem inventory:
This activity requires at least 1 hour of uninterrupted time and a few pages of paper. For each area of your life, write down your achievements ( remember to also add those that others appreciated, not just the ones you that you value), your strength, any compliments or positive feedback you received and your development (your improvements and your successes in overcoming any challenges). Make sure to list everything even the smallest thing. Review this inventory regularly. If you want to be really creative, make a mood board with lots of images and symbols or just use different colours for each category or area.

The importance of maintaining your self-esteem cannot be underestimated. Therefore, I urge you to take regular time for yourself to review your self-esteem levels and adjust your self-esteem to do whatever is necessary to raise or keep your self-esteem at your desired levels.

Do let me know, how you get on…… Enjoy.

Celebrating your successes improves confidence and self-esteem!

Let me ask you a question:

How often do you celebrate your achievements, milestones on the way to your goal or your successes?

And I do not mean, just your big achievements like a promotion or getting a new job. I mean the little milestones without which you would not be able to achieve the big goals. Things like finishing a piece of work quicker than you thought, making that next sale, doing something different during your work day, spending time on your self-care or completing one action of your action list!

You might question why one would celebrate these ‘small’ things? My answer to you is, most women take ourselves and our achievements for much too granted. What most women tend to do, and in fact most workplaces also have this culture, is to highlight when things go wrong and are not quite up to standard but to take things going well for granted. This creates an imbalance and overemphasises the negatives whilst devaluing what we do well.

Celebrating success redresses this balance. At the same time it is a great way to raise and/or maintain your confidence and self-esteem level.

If you had to pick one thing this week to celebrate, what would that be?

This is important. I invite you to review your week and identify at least one activity or small goal that you can celebrate this week. Once you have this one (or more) celebration worthy goal, create a celebration for it. This might be going for lunch with a friend instead of eating it at your desk, it might be treating yourself to a spa session, taking a walk in the park or listening to your favourite piece of music. Other women like to imagine a stepping out of a car onto a red carpet and all the people around her clapping and hugging her. Pick a celebration that works for you! Make it fun!

Once you have done one celebration, make it a regular activity in your life. You will soon experience a different in your levels of self-esteem and of self-appreciation.

What do you  appreciate about yourself? 

A lot of women tend to downplay our achievements and  strengths. This does not necessarily mean that they are not confident in their abilities. It is often a sign that we take ourselves for granted. If you take  yourself for granted, guess how other people will perceive you? They will also  take you and your abilities for granted.

Take some time, and make a list of appreciation. Really go  into yourself and write down all the things you appreciate about yourself. Once  you have run out of ideas, write down what your friends, colleagues, partner  etc. appreciate about yourself. Regularly review this list and add to it. One of my clients has created a picture with all the things she appreciates about  herself and has hung this in her office (she works from home) so she can see it  every day and whenever she thinks of another thing she appreciates about herself  she adds it.

Other clients find it useful to keep a daily or weekly  appreciation or gratitude list where they record the 5 or 10 things that they  appreciate about themselves today and the 5 to 10 things they are grateful for today. It helps us to remember the great things of our day or week instead of  mulling over that one embarrassing or annoying mistake we made! It is good idea  to do this before you go to bed so you go to bed with positive thoughts rather  than negative ones. It might even improve your sleep.

I invite you to make celebrating and appreciating yourself part of your daily experience! Try different things and find out what works  best for you.

And notice how your world begins to change.

Feel free to share your experiences in this blog.

Enjoy.

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The famous Glass Ceiling! (Part 2) – Crack it, smash it, dissolve it!

Welcome to the second part on the famous ‘glass ceiling’. This article focuses on key actions that you can take to crack, dissolve or smash your glass ceiling.

Breaking through or smashing a glass ceiling whether based on one’s own limiting beliefs or other people’s and/or society’s collective beliefs or a combination of both, isn’t always a walk in the park. However, it can be done and numerous women have proved this. A great way, to break or at least put cracks into a glass ceiling is to identify someone who’s already done it.

There are lot of examples of women who have reached senior management positions and are CEOs of companies. So, whether a universal glass ceiling exists or not, women can reach and be successful at senior positions. And this goes for other areas of life where women feel they have ‘glass ceilings’, be it in sports, health, finances, and hobbies or as parents.

So, look for role models – where in the world, your industry, your company etc. is a woman who has broken through a glass ceiling similar to yours?

Once you have identified women role models in your environment, make contact with them and ask them about their journey. You will find most women are happy to share their experiences.

I just love this story about Roger Bannister. He was the first one to run the ‘four minute mile’. Before he did it, it was a ‘known fact’ supported by medical studies that a mile could not be physically run under 4 minutes. In fact it was believed that it was medically unsafe to do so. After Roger Bannister ran the ‘4 minute mile’ lots of other runners also did it.

If you are unable to find any role models within your environment, check out the web. There are some great websites (see below) where you can find women who have reached senior management positions share their stories and tips. And there are websites that share women’s stories how broke through their glass ceilings for other areas of life. Just have a look and you will find the information. Do share any good websites you find, so other women can benefit!

Take a very hard look at your career plan

One of the findings of the ILM survey was that women tend to have less well defined and clear career plans than their male counterparts. Knowing that, how well defined is your career plan? How clear are you on your career goals for the next year, two years, five years?

Some women enjoy creating a vision board or treasure map for the career plan (or life plan). If you like being creative, there are lots of ways to make this exercise fun. When you consider your career plan, go with your ideal first and focus on what you want to happen not what you think is possible or available. Once you have developed your ideal career vision, then go back and review what is realistic and possible now, and what elements might need additional skills, resources, actions.

Make self-care a priority

Another finding of the ILM survey was that women have lower career confidence than men and therefore tend to climb the career ladder more slowly. Women also tend to experience more self-doubt.

No matter where these confidence issues originate from, we can raise our confidence or self-esteem levels. It just takes awareness and regular, dedicated time. As anything in life, if we do not use it we lose it. Consider your self-esteem and confidence like a muscle. If you do not use your muscles they go flabby and weak, and the same applies to your self-esteem. It needs regular maintenance.

The first step is awareness. What is your level of self-esteem and confidence in yourself? Some people like to draw this, others like to put a number between 1-10 on it (1 being very low and 10 being highest). It is useful to do this for each area of your career and life so you are able to identify the area you wish to work on. If your current level of self-esteem and confidence is lower than 5 and you feel you are stuck, do not be afraid to seek help from a qualified coach or therapist.

The second step is focus. Whatever you level of confidence and self-esteem is, pick the area you wish to work on. Initially, pick one where your confidence is not lower than 5 (if you used numbers) and identify what it would take for you to increase your self-esteem and confidence by just 1, i.e. if your level was 6, then what can you do to get yourself to a 7. Be as creative as you can be. Also consider role models and ask yourself, what would they do if they wanted to get from a 6 to a 7? If you find yourself running out of idea, there are some great books on the topic of self-care (see below).

The third step is taking action. Now that you have identified lots of possible actions, pick the one action that appeals to you most and schedule a time to do it. And ask yourself, what other things do you need to put in place for yourself, so
that you will definitely take that one action as part of your self-care?

The ideal is to set dedicated time aside for your self-care every day. Initially this may not seem possible for you if you are a busy mum or in a stressful job. So start small and set aside at least one hour a week to focus on your own self-care.

Let me know how you get on.

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