Our mind is the gatekeeper to doing anything well, but it will take us out in a flat second if we let it. In order to become our best selves, we need to stop selling ourselves short and start harnessing the power of who we are, and what we can achieve.
But first, we’ve got to start thinking straight.
Here are 5 simple strategies to find your power:
1. Own your success: Have you ever given someone a compliment only to have them brush it aside as if you were just being nice? I don’t know about you, but I’m not nice. If I say it, I mean it. Maybe you’re that person who can’t take a compliment. Though it may seem humble to dodge the recognition, it suggests that perhaps you don’t really believe you deserve it. Recognize that when you succeed it is because you worked hard for it! No success comes without hard work, diligence, sacrifice and a great amount of time, talent and commitment. Don’t dismiss your achievements. Instead, smile and say thank you. Own the success you have rightly earned and deserve. It’s powerful when you do.
2. Believe in yourself: If you don’t first believe in yourself, how can you expect others to believe in you? There is something transformative about believing we can accomplish the goals we set out for ourselves, no matter if anyone else ever does. You don’t have to look far to see people fighting to believe in their gift. Actors, actresses, writers, singers, songwriters, artists and many more struggle for years to find their place. Most of them never make it to the top. Every time I see a struggling artist signing for change on the street I’m inspired. I’m inspired because they believe in themselves enough to show up. To keep going. To stand in front of a crowd for literally nothing and sing their song because they believe in it. No amount of success could ever measure up to to the simple power of you believing in you.
3. Set reasonable expectations: Though many of us have low or little expectations of others, we set incredibly high, unattainable ones for ourselves. No one is watching the details of your life as carefully as you are, and if they are you should run away from them as fast as you can! We all have a million things on our to-do lists every day and what doesn’t get done will still be there tomorrow. If someone is constantly reminding you of where you’re failing or falling short it’s time to politely show them the door. Set reasonable expectations for yourself so you can complete what you set out to do.
4. Stop beating yourself up for failures or mistakes: In the case you set an unrealistic expectation, don’t beat yourself up for not reaching it. One of my favorite researchers and writers Brene Brown said, “Shame is the birthplace of perfectionism.” Ouch. Perfectionism leads us to believe we need to do more, be more, produce more, and become more than anyone else in order to be accepted. We fool ourselves into thinking if we can attain perfection, we will escape pain. It just isn’t true. In fact, the opposite is true. The vulnerability that is birthed from our failures, stumbles and mistakes allows us to experience joy, love, belonging, creativity and faith. When we embrace our failures, we have the opportunity to create meaningful connection with others who have experienced the same thing. Failure is universal. Accepting it, and allowing it to teach and inform us in our future, is where we take our power back.
5. Take nothing personal: If you live for someone’s approval you will die by their criticism. Sometimes silence is even harder to bear than a painful truth. Though making others happy is a worthy aim, many of us take it to the extreme at the expense of ourselves. Not everyone is going to like you. When you stop taking others compliments to heart, then you gradually stop taking their criticism to heart too. The way people respond to you – good or bad – is largely a reflection of where they are. Not who you are. Take other people’s opinions lightly and you will realize that only you hold the power to your own happiness.
Every single one of us is doing the best we can. Becoming our best self begins with knowing ourself. We’ve all got a race to run but it won’t always match up with approval or accolades from the people around us. That’s okay. When we believe in ourselves first, when we can embrace our successes and our failures and take nothing personally, we begin to become who we truly are in spite of our circumstances. In defiance of our critics.
When we begin to understand who we are, and take control of the critic in our own head, we begin to live true to ourself and harness our power to do great things, no matter what.