Everyone faces self-doubt in varying degrees. Most people have been accumulating LAYERS of self-doubt for decades. Imagine going to the North Pole. You are outside in extremely cold temperatures, and you have dressed to stay warm which means you have layer upon layer of clothing from head to toe. Now imagine that you wear these same clothes when you sit on a St. Lucia beach. People with layers of self-doubt tend to never shed a layer no matter what circumstance they are in. Their voice-over is "I am not good enough", "I cannot do this", "I am not smart enough", "I have never done it this way", "I am not pretty enough" and so on. These voices speak throughout the day to them as they face a variety of what appear to be daunting circumstances and prevent people from "doing the work". Negative thought patterns can be difficult to purge.
When you are on that St. Lucia beach with those North Pole layers, no one can see the real you - you are hiding in what you perceive to be a safe place. The truth is that 'safe place' is downright miserable. You are uncomfortable and afraid inside. That 'safe place' is a place where your potential stays buried, your true emotions remain hidden, your friends and family remain distant, and your actions are determined by your fears. You act out of fear.
Self-doubt is the fuel of fear - a fear of self! And self-doubt resides in your mind - in your thoughts. When you doubt self, you allow fear to dominate you. You dramatize situations over and over again and constantly try to encourage others to validate your fears so you can feel comfortable in the fear-dominated decisions you are making in your life. You know that you are paralyzed and are infinitely far from realizing your purpose and fulfilling your potential because the obstacles in front of you seem like they might as well be permanent. You believe this because it is safe and comfortable; change is too hard! You are always uncertain and hesitant inside. Over time, you begin to surround yourself with people like you. You doubt yourself to the point that you make decisions based on what others want for you and not what you want for yourself. By doing this habitually, you often second-guess yourself and the "self-pity" mindset becomes debilitating.
“By fully experiencing and going beyond an emotional block - through the layers of doubt and fear - you experience the emotion of who you truly are.”- Stephen Richards
Let me offer a new approach. In this approach, you are in control and you are responsible for yourself.
1) Begin a gratitude journal. For 30 days, decide to be consciously grateful and document this throughout your day (words, photos, receipts, etc) as you feel positive emotions. Stop drowning in self pity by focusing on what you lack - CHOOSE to focus on what you do have and what you are accomplishing and foster the feeling of gratitude. Describe why you are grateful for people and things. Write slowly and feel and savor each word. As you build this habit, expand your awareness and really experience the world you are living in. Most importantly, keep it positive. You can print shorter statements of gratitude to carry with you to reference in moments where the layers of self doubt are prominent. Continue your gratitude journal as you progress through the next steps.
2) Document the areas of self doubt and associated emotions. After you have developed the habit of identifying areas of gratitude, you're ready to start some of the hard work. Take one week to write down areas of your life where you notice that qualities like hatred, bitterness, envy, jealousy, resentment, self-pity, and suspicion (lack of trust) are present. These are the layers of self doubt. As you document the areas, be sure to write down how this affects you and how it makes you feel. This is your reaction to the layers of self doubt.
3) Set goals. Now that you have identified the areas of self doubt and the associated emotions, take another week to write down action statements to turn those areas into venues of joy, forgiveness, humor, courage, hope, and self-confidence. This is the first step to removing the layers of self doubt. Outline goals to match your action statements. This is you identifying your range of work.
4) Determine which goals you will pursue. You know what work needs be done, but are you ready for change? Take a day to go somewhere quiet and peaceful. You may have a lot of goals and pursuing them all at once can be daunting. Use this day to determine which goals to pursue. This is you identifying what work you are willing to do.
5) DO THE WORK! P.C. Cast said “I seek strength, not to be greater than other, but to fight my greatest enemy, the doubts within myself”. Doing your work is you removing the layers of self doubt. There are no excuses. If you get off track, you can always jump back on track! Remember to continue the gratitude journal. This is you filling in your new layers of self - confidence. You are on the beach in St. Lucia in a swimsuit...everyone can see you -the real you- and you're thrilled and comfortable with that.
We have heard the quote love thyself. Most of us probably know someone who is really into themselves. I have noticed that these people are generally not well liked by people around them. They may be viewed as arrogant or stuck up. Upon closer examination, this viewpoint tends to originate from someone who lacks self love. People who lack self love often envy those who love themselves and find it difficult to love others. Years ago, a boyfriend thought I was becoming too attached to him for the wrong reason and he offered some helpful advice which I have never forgotten. He said "imagine that you are going to an important event. You are dressed in an exquisite dress and you are beautiful. You love the dress you have on. That is you single. Now imagine that I am an accessory such as a bracelet, pair of earrings, ring, hairpiece, etc. You are prepared to go to the party with no accessories and you love the way you look in the exquisite dress. Now choose me, your accessory. We look great together, but we also look great alone." He was emphasizing that I was not whole without him. I can now admit that I was using him to become whole, and thus, our relationship was doomed to fail. His point was, be whole without others. Then others can accompany you in life to accentuate the person you already are. If you hate the dress you are wearing to the party, there is no accessory that can make you love the dress. I have never forgotten this lesson! Since then, I have worked diligently to love myself. Believe it or not, you have to learn to love yourself first.
There were some important lessons I had to learn that I love to share:
● Make peace with your past and any painful memories.
● Recognize that can continually enjoy the present and make healthy decisions today.
● Be yourself! There is not another you and you are not someone else. BE YOU.
● Know that mistakes are good. Each setback is an opportunity to improve. Mistakes are the lessons that prepare us to optimize our potential.
Love presents itself on this journey called life. When you have reached a point in life where you can love self, you have awoken. How good is that? AWAKEN and be present- love self! Recognize and accept your uniqueness. Believe in the masterpiece you are. Stop the self criticism and negative thought patterns. Know that it is good to feel confidence and to feel the ability to be able to positively contribute to your environment. The world will tell you differently! The below photo is an ad run by Selective Search where executive search meets personal matchmaking. The idea is Selective Search can find the perfect match for highly discriminating men and women. Think...you are one of billions of people surrounded by people trying to weed you out and find reasons why you are not the perfect match. Loving self is paramount.
But you're probably thinking that there was more to the love thyself quote. Love thyself AND thy neighbor. I believe that those who are still working on loving themselves often struggle to love others. The negative thought patterns can infiltrate and take over. This inhibits our ability to stand on the solid ground/foundation that self love presents. Recognizing and accepting ourselves as we are is taking notice that we are not carbon copies of anything. We are each beautifully unique in our own regard. Love who you are and love who others are. JUST BE! Accept others and allow them to just BE.
Part of mental fitness is the process of putting positive balanced thoughts into your mind. Sometimes we find this difficult to do if our subconscious has been conditioned to thinking according to negative thought patterns. The recognition that we might have faulty thinking and belief patterns programmed into our subconscious can be a difficult realization. Think of the subconscious mind as the habit mind where all positive and negative habits are stored. These habits were programmed beginning with the day we were born. You may have 18 years of negative programming from your childhood or several years of negative programming from the use of an addictive substance or a bad relationship. If you do not take control of your habit mind, then you are choosing to let others control you.
Make a conscious choice to transmit and receive positive energy.
For a period of 30 days, take steps to push the negative thoughts out of your mind by giving attention and focus to positive thoughts or positive affirmations. Continually disregard thought patterns described in How to Identify Negative Thought Patterns. Starve negative thoughts of attention and focus. Refuse your normal/old self. If necessary, focus on one thought pattern at a time and ensure you are not replacing the removal of that pattern with the introduction of another negative thought pattern. Consistency is one of the key factors for reprogramming/retraining the subconscious mind. Some of the most common ways of achieving increase positive thinking are:
Frank Outlaw said, "Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny." Everything begins with your thought and the thoughts of others. Turn the tide inside your head today!
Being aware of the energy you bring into the world can be achieved through thought observation. Thoughts drive actions in most cases. If you watch your thoughts which shape your mental state, you will realize that your thoughts form patterns that run through your mind throughout the day while applied to a variety of scenarios and situations.
When we find ourselves in a negatively charged situation, the natural and most common thing to do is to assign blame. By embracing "live in self", we can begin to look within and observe self. We own the energy we bring into the world and take responsibility for it.
Own your energy.
Negative thought patterns can be the foundation of unhappiness for ourselves and the people who surround us. Consider whether your attitude towards life is stopping you and others from bringing positive energy to any situation. To change the negative thought patterns most of us apply to life, we must first be aware of what they are:
Now that you have identified what some of your negative thought patterns are, consider how continuing this type of thinking can negatively impact the people you interact with and how your actions might cause them to spiral into their own negative thought patterns or might bring them down.
Do you know someone who defines themselves by what they do? Does their career or personal accomplishments or failures make them happy or sad? Do you know someone who wallows in sorrow at the first sign of difficulty, challenge, or hurdle? If they cannot succeed at work, do they take it out on their spouses or friends or children when they come home? Are you that person? Am I that person?
At a marriage conference called Life to Remember, the audience was encouraged to do something very important - Value Who You Are, Not What You Do.
Luckily I was a part of this audience and I heard the message loud and clear. Hear the message loud and clear. We cannot anticipate the certainty of difficulties and problems nor can we always respond properly to them or guarantee control of results from our actions.
I have a small Post-It Note at work filled with short three word reminders to keep me grounded. One reminder says - Let go of results.
This means that to begin each day with who I am. Socrates said, "Man, know thyself." I assess myself. I perform work throughout the day based on who I am - I do the best that I can. I work from my soul - the center of my being - the inner me. After that, regardless of what happens, I let go of the results. I treat each day as a learning laboratory. The results do not dictate happiness or sadness - the person I am dictates that. Has anyone ever told you after a negative event - "Don't beat yourself up? They are saying let go of results - you are not your results. I encourage you to begin to live in self. This means using our responses to results to draw us closer to our true self. Show who you are. Be defined by who you are. Be remembered for the type of person you were - not the job you did. At any funeral I have ever attended, the message is usually either about "who someone was" or "what someone did". If the message was primarily about "what someone did", it is because no one remembered or knew "who they were".
Maintain emotional consistency by developing a sound inner foundation. View challenges, successes and failures as opportunities to build on, refine, or develop your inner self. Start to value who you are.
Ask yourself the following important questions:
Who am I? What is important to me? How do I respond to failure? How do I respond to success? Does my job define me? How do people describe me? By my results only? How would I describe myself? Do failures and successes define me? Do I live in self?
What life experiences challenge you or prevent you from knowing who you are? How do you overcome them?
Recently, I visited two dear friends of mine – a married couple of 10 years. I am always interested in the interactions of married couples because I want to learn and apply lessons learned to my own relationships. The gentleman kept asking his wife to refrain from using the word “little” when she spoke. She would say “I have a little job” or “We have done a little bit to fix up this house” or “We’re going to live on a little boat”. The word "little" means small in size, amount, or degree. The gentleman emphasized that throughout her whole life, his wife had minimized everything – her accomplishments, her worth, etc.
When you listen to yourself talk, try to notice if you use these words. Also try to notice if you use these words when you talk to other people to describe their efforts or contributions. Notice if you use this word to describe your belongings. Notice similarly if you use the word “big” or any of its synonyms to describe what you perceive to be letdowns, mistakes or failures.
Words do matter. Our words are often a reflection of our thoughts. My advice is to look at your accomplishments with pride. If you cannot recognize each accomplishment as a significant step, then you may not keep going to the top. Look at the things you have with pride and recognize that they are enough for you; your belongings do not need to be compared to other’s belongings or minimized. Look at the seemingly negative moments (I call them life’s lessons) and learn from them rather than dramatizing them.
Think of when you take medicine or when you bake something. The amount of medicine you take or the amount of the ingredients you use is not “little” or “big”. It is just right for the recipe. The present need not be minimized or inflated. It is what it is and it should work for you.
Choose your words carefully. This big (I almost said little) change will improve your self esteem and make you much happier. Believe in self!
I often hear people say "I want to be accepted for who I am". These people use this as a reason to make it acceptable to change me in order to facilitate their needs and wants. How does this work? Someone might be exceptionally nice to me by caring, sharing, and giving more than I give to them. Their self imposed expectation of what my reaction to their niceness should be causes them stress. They begin to get frustrated that I am not doing what they want - they believe that if I do what they want, they will be happier. What should I do? Should I become aware of this expectation and accommodate it? Does it matter who the expectation is generated by?
I believe that I do not have the responsibility to make anyone personally happy. This is a SELF responsibility - it belongs to you and only you. Here's what I mean in simpler terms: I have the right to be myself. If you don't like it, move on. You have the right to be you. If I don't like it, I will move on. You are responsible for your happiness. I am responsible for my happiness. Certainly we may contribute to one another's happiness but the responsibility lies with the self.
Something that can bind and restrict people is a feeling of obligation to maintain friendships and relationships particularly within their family. As children become adults, they feel pressure to continue pleasing their parents in a child-like manner and to continue propping up relationships with siblings and other extended family. Victims of abuse feel pressure to continue defending their abusers and continue prolonging a destructive relationship through this defense. They do this despite the resulting degradation of self and degradation of relationships with children, spouses, and friends.
The truth is that you cannot make everyone happy, and you cannot make everyone accept you. You also cannot expect others to bend over backwards for you and to meet your expectations. We probably all fall into both categories to an extent. To that end, we can voice two statements: 1) "I am done jumping through hoops so you will like me" and 2) "I am done asking you to jump through hoops so I will like you".
Does this mean we are all done changing and we are all going to remain stagnant? Absolutely not. Self exploration, examination, and improvement is a lifelong task. Keep moving forward but do stop trying to make others happy and burdening others by USING them as your primary source of happiness. Happiness resides within you! Happiness lives in self.
For years I have been trying to find words to describe a guy I dated named Travis. Travis was a soul sinker. While on the outside he seemed to be trying to help me become a better person, he actually brought me down, way down.
Travis went to great lengths to find out every detail of my past whether it was childhood memories, previous relationships, financial status, etc. Though this should have been a warning sign, I continued in this relationship. Travis went from examining my past in excruciating detail to pile my mistakes and failures on me and continually humiliated me about my past. My past became a present nightmare where bits and pieces were thrown in my face. Travis just could not leave my past in the past.
Rather than focusing on the I AM, he focused on the I AM NOT. Think about that. Do you want people around you who constantly remind you of who you are not? I hope the answer is a confident and resounding NO! We should all strive to know who we are. Life is a lesson and Live in Self is a forum through which to share those lessons. Here is an exercise to try:
1) List ten I AM statements. Do this alone. No one else can say I AM for you. Think of your real genuine nature. What do you really believe about yourself?
● I am beautiful.
● I am confident.
● I am patient.
● I am peaceful.
● I am a great mother.
● I am a wonderful partner.
● I am well spoken.
● I am love.
● I am thoughtful.
● I am caring.
2) Create a personal statement that incorporates your I AM statements. The words you attach to I AM will find their way into your life.
I AM a beautiful, confident, caring woman who is happy to be a wonderful partner and great mother. I am a patient, caring, peaceful, thoughtful, and well spoken person. I AM LOVE.
3) Write your personal statement down on an index card. Speak or read your personal statement daily.
Sometimes it is fruitful to have healthy amnesia and forget about painful parts of our past and move on. MOVE!!!!
The name Travis is a fictional name used in substitute of the real name.
In 2015, Kendall Schler, who was originally declared the winner of the 2015 St. Louis Marathon on April 12, had her title taken away and was officially disqualified after marathon officials discovered that she cheated to win the race. Schler came onto the course at the last checkpoint to cross the finish line before the other 582 female runners. During the race, she was never seen among competitors or among the leaders. She certainly isn't the only runner to take a shortcut during a marathon!
There is no quick road to success and there are no huge shortcuts. When you are on a long journey, a shortcut can be very tempting. The motivation that over 500,000 runners complete marathons each year through honest hard work is not enough for some who want to receive recognition that they did not earn.
Prepare yourself along your journey for success. Create your own definition of success by defining milestones that result from your hard work. Mingle with competitors and even with leaders when the opportunities present themselves. View their company as a learning opportunity, a motivational moment, or an encouraging encounter. Keep trying...and when you finally cross the finish line, you'll be recognized as a deserving recipient.
Peace is not something you wish for. It’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away. -Robert Fulghum
You can pick your friends, but you can't always pick your colleagues. You spend more waking hours at work than anywhere else, and you often rely on your colleagues to help you do your job well. At work, people of different characters and behavior meet causing a multitude of emotions within us. Then we bring our own baggage into work too.
Do you lose hours of productivity each week? Do you operate in states of chaos at work? Are you distracted by the phone calls, social media, and emails at work? Do your own thoughts distract you? There is a reason people look forward to their vacations – a place/time where/when they feel they can get away. We shouldn’t have to wait for that annual vacation to achieve peace!
You can learn to gain inner peace and enjoy every moment, right where you are. You can stop fretting and getting tense. You can experience peace of mind and happiness wherever you are.
Let us become intentional about creating order and peace at work. Cultivating a peaceful environment requires a lot of work but once you gain inner peace, you will notice your environment starting to change too. Here are 12 suggestions to help you experience and achieve inner peace at work:
1. Look inside. Quit looking around! Stop analyzing and thinking about people's motives and behavior; focus on improving your actions. Your mother taught you the golden rule, didn’t she? It starts with “do onto”…you take the first step!
2. Create a daily morning routine. Get up early enough that you have time to take care of yourself (quiet time, breakfast, exercise) and leave your living area in a way that you won’t dread coming home to. Each day as you walk from your car to your desk, repeat a positive affirmation. When you arrive at work, acknowledge your co-workers with a cheerful hello and smile and grab a glass of water (or something healthy) before starting your work. Let them know that you notice them and appreciate them.
3. Get focused from the beginning. When you arrive at your office, don’t turn on your computer and open your email right away. Instead, sit down with a list of what you need to accomplish. Mark and schedule your top priorities for that day. Don’t let other people’s emergencies throughout the day distract you unless it is legitimate. Learn to recognize what can wait. In the military, I remember a common saying - Piss poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. Respect your time and the time of others!
4. Be polite and respectful. Spread your good attitude. People unconsciously emulate the behavior around them, and emotions are certainly contagious. Pretend a 4 year old is watching you. You must maintain good manners. Always work at least as hard as anyone working with or for you. Make it clear that you would never ask anyone to do a level of work you wouldn't be willing to take on yourself. When I attended the Air Force Academy, we made a habit of never asking a basic cadet to do any physical activity that we could not do ourselves. When we asked them to do something, we got in the trenches and did it with them at least once. They respected us a lot more as a result. Another element of respect is timeliness. Always be on time to show you respect other people's time.
5. Control yourself. Whenever you feel tension or anger building in you, take some deep slow breaths before any talking or action. Pay attention to your mind and spirit. When you find yourself getting “passionate”, lower your voice, Focus on using positive words in writing and speech.
6. Take breaks. Walk away from your desk and get a breath of fresh air or a cup of water periodically. Don’t neglect your body’s need to exercise and eat healthy. I had a colleague who would ask me if I needed to take a walk to the building coffee shop when he noticed that I seemed to be getting stressed out at my desk. After the walk was over, I always felt a sense of relief. Now I do the same for my colleagues.
7. Talk to and with (not about) people. People love to be asked their opinion, so go out of your way to ask what they think. I always remember Oprah saying that all people want to be heard…we all just want to be heard. Be heard in a positive way. Express your good ideas in a way that makes it clear that they are not the only good ideas; recognize and make it apparent that you believe others may have equally good insights to add. And when they're talking, listen intently. Retain the trust and respect of your colleagues by not being known as the office enquirer or gossiper.
8. Create comfort. Declutter your physical space. Make your work environment an efficient one. Get rid of old books & materials that can easily be found online and items you no longer need. Make room for items you use regularly. Keep a personal photo or two at your desk to remind you of home and loved ones.
9. Recognize people. Don't withhold credit from deserving colleagues. Be the first to acknowledge excellent performance. When you are incorrectly recognized, direct the attention to the colleagues who do deserve the credit. Recognize the small and big achievements. They are all important on some level.
10. Be human.Talk with your co-workers about your life outside the office when it's appropriate as a reminder of the humanity factor. At the end of the day, we are all human with basic wants and needs that are sometimes facilitated by the money we earn at work. Showing a genuine interest in people will make them feel comfortable around you. And, it’s the right thing to do. Trust me when I say that your colleagues know who genuinely cares about them.
11. Be positive. Assume the positive about what you don't know – for example, at my job we always seem to be talking about how our bosses don’t know what’s going on or that another site doesn’t seem to be working hard. While the results sometimes seem to indicate these things, they still may be untrue and no one benefits from the negative thinking or portrayal. Also don’t be the “party of no” at work. Stop finding ways not to do work and ways that success cannot be achieved; be creative and bring fresh ideas to the table instead of the stale cynicism that plagues many organizations.
12. Disconnect from the results. This is probably the most controversial of my suggestions. I believe if you can disconnect from the outcome of your work, you can be happier just knowing that you did your best. If you did your best, then you can learn to do better next time if the outcome was undesired. You cannot give more than 100%. Sometimes even when you give all you have, it is still not enough for some people, but it has to be enough for you. Even if the outcome is not as expected, you have to disconnect from wanting the outcome to be different. It is what it is and there’s no need to beat yourself up over it. Free up your mind to tap into creative spaces the next time around!
Are good leaders and good managers compassionate? Is good leadership and management ultimately an ‘act of compassion’ or ‘love in action’? Is the responsible use of power compassionate? Is compassion the glue of humanity?
The Dalai Lama says that “Every human being has the same potential for compassion; the only question is whether we really take any care of that potential, and develop and implement it in our daily life.” He defines compassion as “a mental attitude based on the wish for others to be free of their suffering, associated with a sense of commitment, responsibility and respect towards the other…”. He goes further to state that “True compassion toward others does not change even if they behave negatively. (It) is based not on our own projections and expectations, but on the needs of the other, irrespective of whether another person is a close friend or an enemy.”
Tibetan scholar Thupten Jinpa defines compassion as “a mental state endowed with a sense of concern for the suffering of others and aspiration to see that suffering relieved”. He details three components: 1) the cognitive component of “I understand you”, 2) the affective component of “I feel for you”, and 3) the motivational component of “I want to help you”.
I recently wrote about my belief that the universal religion is compassion, but I had not actively thought about how compassion might make one an effective leader. In leadership roles, leaders are charged with shifting from an “I” mentality to a “We” perspective. Chade-Meng Tan says that great companies have compassionate leaders. There is a general sense amongst followers that humble leaders focus on the greater good for everyone instead of individual needs and wants. By understanding and feeling for others, a leader can then develop the want within to help others. A great leader must first empathize (feel for another) before connecting with and feel compassion for the people he is fortunate to lead. Putting others needs before our own without expecting something in return (giving selflessly) is benevolent.
Christina Boedker, a lecturer in accounting at the Australian School of Business, says that it is critical “to understand people's motivators, hopes and difficulties and to create the right support mechanism to allow people to be as good as they can be". Geoff Aigner, director of Social Leadership Australia, believes that to activate compassionate leadership, managers need to first understand themselves and the power they exercise. Then, in an act of compassion, managers and leaders take responsibility for the growth and development of others. Compassion does not always equate to kindness though, and compassion means getting people where they want to go; this can sometimes mean that a difficult conversation or decision must be conducted. Camille Funk, an educator and author, states that “a wise leader uses compassion to perceive the needs of those he leads, and astutely determine the course of action that would be of greatest benefit to the individual as well as the team”.
I believe that compassion is the global leadership and followership staple for all people in all endeavors. Everyone can embody living in self by practicing compassion – it is through this practice that one will reach a high level of existence where we truly understand the people we are charged to lead and become a part of unlocking their potential. Daren Blonski, a leadership consultant, says that “the highest and most noble form of leadership is only realized when compassion is the major operating paradigm”. Throughout history, some of the world’s greatest leaders were compassionate; great leaders envision the world in a different way and communicate their vision in a way that resonates with the people and speaks to their needs/desires in a way that the people then mobilize towards a common goal for the greater good.
Being a compassionate person and leader can turn your routine day-to-day interactions with people into high-performance, high-engagement associations. Our relationships are our biggest assets. Here are five ways to be a compassionate leader:
Trying to get some work done? Trying to relax? Distracted by all the noises around you or by your wandering mind?
I am constantly having difficulty focusing at work with all the side discussions and other distractions. Listening to music helps me escape to a more positive present moment. Melodious sounds encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain. Dopamine is a chemical released by part of the brain called the ventral striatum that causes a feel good response in the bloodstream.
I have found that listening to music can improve my attention and memory, improve my mood, and alleviate anxiety. Instrumental music can increase concentration and productivity. Music helps me relax my mind, block outside distractions, and get organized mentally. When I listen to music, I can focus on working, and I can be positively responsive to stress. Whether you want to get through a boring or tedious task or focus creatively, try listening to some music while you work or relax.
One easy way to find something to listen to is to search You Tube for "relaxing music" or "study music" etc. Then branch out based on "like" results. While the results you see may vary from mine, try to experiment with different types of music throughout the day.
Discover your optimal LIFE soundtrack. Become your best you!!
I think that short letter appropriately describes most of my colleagues' facial expressions before 11 am on Monday Morning. Do you always get the “Monday Morning Blues”? After a nice relaxing weekend, it can be hard to wake up on Monday morning. Monday morning always seems to arrive too soon. You’re thinking to yourself, “ugh…the weekend is over…”. You lack passion and motivation, and you feel sluggish, anxious, sad, stressed out. Well you’re not alone. Did you know that most workers don’t smile until about 11:16 am on Mondays? Research also reveals that suicides are more likely to occur on Mondays and the majority of sick leave is taken on Monday. Life is too short to spend any day feeling negative! Here are the top 5 ways to help you turn Monday into the best day of the week.
1. Get focused. What you do each day matters. Try three techniques to get you through the Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday stretch. First, do not “check out” at noon on Friday. When you do this, you leave Friday’s work for yourself on Monday. Second, plan out Monday’s work on Friday. When you get into work on Monday, you will feel less overwhelmed and more organized. Finally, what you do on the weekend matters. Deliberately pick a day to stay at home on the weekend. Too much time out results in less sleep.
2) Rise and shine. Stop being lazy and get out of bed! While it is easy to just sleep in, try to retain the same sleep schedule throughout the week for a consistent refreshed and energized feeling. Avoid going into the weekend with a sleep deficit. If you need to, choose one weekend day to sleep in. Choosing both Saturday and Sunday can make it difficult to get back to a regular sleep schedule during the week.
3) Use Sunday night wisely. Plan to get seven to nine hours of sleep. This way when your alarm clock rings, you’re not likely to hit the snooze button. Set out your Monday morning outfit (make Monday your “look amazing” day - when you look great, you feel great!) and get your lunch ready in the refrigerator. When you wake up, plan to get out of the door with little stress.
4) Eat, drink, and exercise right. Start the day off right! Exercising after you wake up will get your energy flowing for a productive fun weekend. I like Fitness Blender workouts. If you can, exercise outdoors to reduce your melatonin levels. After you exercise, give yourself a metabolism boost by eating a healthy breakfast. As always, maximize your water intake. Don’t drink alcohol excessively on the weekend. It is commonly known that alcohol is a depressant and your mood and sleep will improve if you can reduce consumption. Likewise, avoid energy drinks and caffeine after the morning hours so that you can get quality sleep. Another tip is to detach from the desk. Take 5 minutes each hour to get up and walk around. Avoid eating lunch at your desk.
5) Look forward to EVERY day. Most people always go through the work week looking forward to Friday. Live for each day. Plan fun events and spend quality time with friends and family during the week too. Be deliberate and schedule it if you have to. Still need a little extra to get through Monday? Make Monday rewarding by waking up early on Monday and heading out to your favorite spot for a quick breakfast with a friend. Or, plan something after work on Monday so you have something to look forward to.
It's time to change how you think. See Monday as a new beginning, not an end. Think of Monday as the beginning of a great week ahead instead of the end to an awesome weekend. Set your intention. Tell yourself on Sunday night that you are going to have a great day tomorrow. Wake yourself up with positive affirmations. Be grateful for being alive and healthy on Monday and be grateful that you get to go to work.
Growing up, I was expected to rise very early, sometimes as early as 4:30 a.m. We would do yoga and chant kirtans to Hindu gods. I never thought about what it would be like to sleep in because I didn't know that "sleeping in" was a thing! My parents always woke up very early and still do.
At the age of 18, I joined the military and as you can imagine, waking up early was not an option. Habitually, I have always been one to wake up early and get the day started whether I am feeling tired or rested. The problem is that I am both an early riser and a night owl. I average 6-7 hours of sleep per night and would like to improve that. I have to improve it by getting to sleep earlier because, to me, if I am sleeping in, the day is wasting away and I am not accomplishing anything! Thomas Jefferson once said, "The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years."
Rising early can lead to increased productivity. In the morning, your mind is often fresh and the world is quiet. You have an opportunity (without rushing) to plan out your day. You also have an opportunity to just think quietly which can reduce your stress as the day unfolds; if you can wake up early you can become proactive to the days events rather than reactive. You can also use the time to exercise - imagine going through your day knowing that you started the day doing something for yourself!
Do you habitually hit the snooze button or ignore your alarm altogether (that's my partner!)? Do you wish you had more time for yourself in the morning and evenings (we ALL do)? Do you wake up at the first alarm but feel tired and exhausted (that's me!)? Here are some simple tips to help you turn around your sleep patterns:
Have you ever felt like it only took a second for life to get turned upside down? Sometimes it feels like life is slipping away very quickly when we trip on what we perceive to be a failure. That is exactly how I felt when I was denied an early promotion I was eligible for. The person solely responsible for whether I got the promotion decided to decline to respond with inappropriate reasoning. This individual had the power to refuse to sign - to refuse to lead in my opinion. In the moment of this decision, I was very emotional and even irate. After a few days had past, I was able to put the situation into perspective. A great friend of mine had always advised me to not get too upset over these things - to be patient and wait for the good. I proceeded with seeking a new job and was accepted into a new position where my new supervisor ensured I would receive the early promotion within 90 days of hire. This would still be 6 months earlier than the normal promotion timeline and for this I was grateful.
If you are going through a struggle or tough time...
Don't despair. Instead, fight the battles in front of you. Look them in the eye. Don't freeze, step in front of them, or try to frantically avoid them. Proceed in a timely manner through them with internal positivity and optimism. Rosa Luxemburg said "Those who do not move do not notice their chains". When you engage the struggle, you can accomplish the change!
Sometimes the change is not the result you wanted but always remember, the best is yet to come. Dreams often materialize in a way we had not pictured - the key is to recognize this.
Imagine that you are a caterpillar. The situation you are in right now is your cocoon. You are surrounded by butterflies. You wish someone would just let you out of your situation. Well if they do, you'll never become that beautiful butterfly. You need the experience of breaking the cocoon apart and beating your wings against the cocoon walls until your wings are strong enough. The truth is that you have to struggle. You are supposed to. Do you think you can reach the top if you cease climbing?
The grounds of struggle are the grounds of growth. Through struggling, you develop the abilities that you need to achieve your dreams. It is through struggling that you move in the direction that helps you overcome the things that have been holding you back from realizing your true potential. When you reach your dreams, don't be afraid to go beyond them!
Who are you? This is one of the most profound questions you can ask yourself. The term "self" describes your true identity. How would you like to permanently experience your true self? Your answer probably depends on your definition of self. What is your true identity? Discovering the answer to this question can require some honest thinking about who you are in the open and behind closed doors. Be prepared to be honest with yourself.
Defining Your Self
Do you lead a double life or does the REAL YOU permeate in all aspects of your life? Are you a different person at work, at home, and with your friends? A lack of internal self-definition manifests in a desire look outside of ourselves for definition. Paul Sposite says "we are the only ones who will be judged by our actions, not the others whom we based our self on."
People often define themselves externally by their looks, associations, material possessions and professions. Who we know and associate with can also be a quick way of defining ourselves. By defining ourselves in this manner, we restrict our own ability to feel self-worth. We rely on looking right, performing right, having the right car, someone's approval of us, or knowing the right people for our self-worth. We may begin to believe that something is wrong, defective, flawed, unimportant, unworthy, or inadequate with ourselves. Things don’t define you. People don’t define you. Jobs don’t define you. The truth is, nothing outside of you can define you. You define you. All the power to define you is in self. Live in Self! When we perform honest self-examination and learn about who we really are, we move beyond external definitions into internal definitions.
Think for a moment about what you really value in others. You might find that you value honesty, kindness, generosity, compassion, understanding, empathy, acceptance, etc. Now accept responsibility for defining yourself. Take a moment to write down and start to define yourself in positive ways.
Taking Action for a Permanent Experience of Self
Action follows definition - your definition affects the decisions you make and actions you take. By acting on your self-definition, you create lasting positive habits that will form the authentic you. Consistent actions across all areas of your life determine who you are. Your actions are a reflection of your thoughts - a reflection of your inner self. Every action is a result of a thought.
How do you want people to define you? If your actions are consistent in all areas of your life, people will respect you - the true and authentic you. They will understand that the outside of you matches the inside of you. Be brave! Create your new ideal - be yourself and solidify your authentic self with congruent actions in all areas of your life. Steve Maraboli says "the most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself. It is in this relationship that you set the standard for all others."
Realizing That Definition of Self Never Stops
Defining ourselves is a lifelong dynamic process. The more we know, the better we do. As we progress through life through various levels of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development, our sense of self will continue to be refined and matured. Let's walk through these levels of development/existence. On the physical level, a person derives their sense of fulfillment and competency from positive physical achievements (i.e. sports, violence) but quickly realizes that someone who is stronger or an injury can take away this sense of fulfillment leaving one feeling weak. On the spiritual level, a person derives their sense of fulfillment and competency from successful use of their brain power but realizes over time that mental capacity can fade and smarter people can take away this sense of fulfillment leaving one feeling inadequate. On the emotional level, a person derives their sense of fulfillment and competency from the love and emotional support of others, but this too can be taken away at a moment's notice. Finally on the spiritual level, a person recognizes that personal fulfillment is realized through freedom from the world. This is sometimes referred to as enlightenment. We realize the true self does not require rationalization or justification. When you reach this stage, the natural attributes of your authentic and true self manifest in your daily experience.
When you are pessimistic or assume the worst case scenario, you construct a vision and world based on your expectations of the outcomes. When we expect bad things to happen, we experience immediate discomfort or stress. Robin Hobb said in Renegade's Magic that "anticipating pain was like enduring it twice". Anticipation results in the experience of expected future emotions. Therefore, if you must anticipate, anticipate positive endings, good health, success, positive beginnings, accomplishments, blessings so that you can be present in a reality full of these things. Come to desire and expect the best outcome for yourself and others.
Ms. Bhakti Mary
I am an optimistic, positive, generous and driven author who is passionate about self-improvement.
The essence of who you are does not lie in the past. What matters is what you are willing to do NOW. You are the presence.