“Mommy! Watch what I can do!” my 6-year-old daughter recently screamed as I walked through the door from work. I set my things down in time to see her climbing the door frame (quite impressive, I might add), beaming with pride as she touched the ceiling.
After being surrounded by a room of discouraged women in a rough meeting earlier that day, I was immediately struck by the disconnect between my own internal dialogue and self-defeating thoughts and the pride I encourage my daughter to feel and embrace.
As women — in our quest for perfection and the personal responsibility we so easily take on for the success of our endeavors – we easily become paralyzed by our own expectations of ourselves. We have a selection bias by which we focus extensively on our mistakes and systematically ignore our accomplishments. We often straddle the line between our careers and home lives and are never quite sure which set of social norms apply at the moment. Between a nonexistent work-life balance, strained relationships, faltering mental health, insurmountable problems to solve and very, very little encouragement, it seems like our own internal negativity and self-defeating beliefs are the least of our worries.
2. Get to the heart of it. Do you put yourself down when you don’t anticipate a future outcome? When you forget a deadline? When you react harshly to your team? The triggers to your insecurities are important clues to locating the source of the issue. Determining the core problem allows you to effectively deal with the root cause and stop it from manifesting repeatedly. If you constantly berate yourself when you miss a deadline, maybe the core issue is a lack of discipline in planning. Maybe you fall off course when you rescue those around you from disorganization. The point is that when you isolate the root cause, you can control the outcome and work on that habit. By changing your perception of the problem from an inherent character flaw (“I ALWAYS miss my deadlines. I hate when I let others down”) to a changeable habit (“I can pay closer attention to saying no to others and learn to meet deadlines better”), you enable yourself to grow.
3. Be yourself. That’s right — flaws and all. So much of the time, we attempt to be the standardized version of a role: CEO, mother, friend, wife. We set impossible standards for ourselves that we would never expect of others. Take the same compassion you show others and turn it on yourself. If we wouldn’t say something to our daughters, our sisters or our loved ones, we must not say it ourselves. Stop confusing self-awareness with self-bullying. Put the emotional baseball bat up and affirm yourself every chance you can. When you do, you will suddenly find yourself able to reach new heights.
Jenny Kincaid is the Founder/CEO of Mind Above Matter, LLC.
Published on www.Forbes.com: October 27, 2015