Feature Article: Be Generous to Yourself
by Barbara Nelson
Last January, Kevin Houchin posted a great column here. He recommended adding two words to your planning goals, to make them more powerful: "at least." Kevin's example was "monthly revenue has increased at least 10% in 2011." What I love about that is that if you short your goals, perhaps unconsciously, because you're afraid of failing to meet them—you still have a built-in incentive to reach for more. Nice. Do that again this year.
As if that werenít enough great advice for a January column, I'll build on Kevinís "at least" by giving you "until now" to work with in 2012. Easier to show than tell you how it works, so try these on:
"I canít meet a deadline if it's just one that I've set for myself" becomes "until now, I couldn't meet a deadline that I set for myself."
"I feel like a sleazy salescritter when I ask people if they might know someone to refer to me" becomes "until now, I couldnít ask people for referrals without feeling sleazy."
Weíre talking about negative self-talk. It's called negative because it isn't good for you, doesn't serve you well. Nearly 100% of those black and white statements aren't true, either. Your lizard brain is hijacking your rational brain. When you catch yourself making statements that don't serve you well, try adding "until now" to the phrase. First, you'll shift the energy immediately. You will feel more positive. Second, you'll be better positioned to make it true, ready to address the issue and take action. Had a problem with deadlines? What do you need to change? Shy about asking for referrals? What could you say that does feel comfortable? Who can you say it to?
Be generous to yourself.
Everyone should keep a mental wastepaper basket and the older he grows the more things he will consign to it—torn up to irrecoverable tatters. ~Samuel Butler
Leave anything you'd like in the past by adding "until now" and taking steps to make it true. If you read much from me, you'll know that I'm a huge fan of new starts. I declare them every possible occasion. January is the mother of all new starts; make the most of it. Give yourself a happy new year. Try "until now" and choose to consign negative self-talk to your mental wastepaper basket, starting today.
Best wishes and high expectations for all of our best years ever.
Barbara Nelson is a business coach who helps lawyers take action to get what they want at the same time they learn to enjoy the journey. She blogs at http://www.SuccessfullySolo.com/blog. You can reach her at email@example.com.
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