What Makes You So Darn Special?

Hi, I’m Lisa, I’m a learning junkie.

I look at learning as a continual investment in myself. I am in a perpetual state of evolution. Constant learning by reading, taking classes, experimenting and being blessed with influencers.

I have an amazing tribe of mentors and coaches – shout out to Lorraine, Jennifer, Amy, Deb and Michelle. These personal influencers enrich my life. They elevate me as a person and as a contributor of value to others. They keep me grounded, encourage me, gently point out stupid things I do and get my sarcasm.

There is one constant that every single one of them has told me, on more than one occasion: I am harder on myself than anyone else. Duh.

The aforementioned stupid things I do, if they point it out, they do so in a supportive, kind way. When I think about it, I tell myself something like “well, you’re a blooming idiot.” Here is a great example of this:

During a discussion, I made the comment that I should have known how to do something, which I had never done before. To which she replied, “Why?” I thought because it was similar to something else. She said it was unfair to myself to expect to know something I have never done.

In replaying that conversation, my comment to myself was, “What makes you so darn special? Like you should know all the answers without ever doing it before?”

We all need to stop thinking we are so darn special that our expectations for ourselves exceed anything we would expect of others. Especially when it is setting us up for failure.

My son was having a struggle with something the other day. This would be something his dad could relate to better than I, but his dad passed last year. I tried the supportive, kind way – he wasn’t getting it.

Then I asked him if his dad was in the same situation, what would he tell his dad? His response was a healthier option and completely different than what he was doing. My next comment was, “If you would give that advice to your dad, why wouldn’t you take it yourself?” Light bulb.

Chief and I had a conversation about working out. He had completed a goal and was disappointed that he had not subsequently gone far enough beyond it. He had extremely high goals set for each next step. When I asked him what goals he would recommend for me if I did the same thing, there was a huge discrepancy. The goal was significantly lower and prefaced with “any improvement is great”.

My question to him was, “why is a small improvement great for me, but a failure for you?” Light bulb.

I am all about setting high goals, I’ve got three on my plate right now. What I am not all about is beating yourself up when you feel like you are failing, when in reality you are not.

Here’s how to do a healthy pivot if you’re getting burned out or feeling a bit of failure creeping in on a big goal:

1. Know your why. Reconnect with the reason you have this goal in the first place. Your why is the primary driver of any goal.

2. Give someone else advice. If you can, ask yourself what would you advise someone else to do if they had the same goal. If you cannot divorce yourself from this situation, ask a friend to role play this with you.

3. Break it down. Big goals are not achieved in one fell swoop. Take a look at it and break it down to its most simple components. Can you break down actions into monthly steps? Great, now break them down into weekly actions, then daily. One step at a time. No step is too small as long as it is a step forward.

4. Learn from going backwards. Yes, I just said any step forward is progress, but the reality is that you might go backwards a time or two. Fantastic. Hidden within that is an amazing opportunity to learn something. It might be about the goal, the process, the action or yourself. Write that stuff down!

5. Write it out. This is the best motivator I know. Track your goals, actions and – this is big – your accomplishments. This will help you keep track of how far you have come and that you are, indeed, moving forward.

6. Celebrate it all. Don’t wait until the realization of the big goal to celebrate. Recognize and praise yourself for the ‘little’ victories as well. If you don’t feel like you moved any closer to your goal this week, take a look. You completed every one of the daily activities you set out to do – hooray! Ice-cream with sprinkles for you!

7. Relax. Make sure you bring balance to your life. Goals are awesome, but they are not the end point. Often, they are not the most rewarding, it is the journey that gives us the most delight and satisfaction. Take a break. Recharge your batteries by engaging with people, nature, art, food, exercise, or meditation. Keep yourself at peak performance by taking care of you as a whole.

You know what, you are special. We all are. But you are not so darn special that you should hold yourself to insane standards that you would not encourage for anyone else. Remember that Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. To keep our own expectations from get out of hand let’s add: Do not do unto yourself as you would not do unto others.

Start today. What is one thing that you can celebrate today? I didn’t ask what big thing can you celebrate, I asked what is one thing you can celebrate. I haven’t tackled any of my big goals today. But off the top of my head I can think of three things so far today that I can celebrate. I did my three miles on the treadmill this morning. Dinner is already prepared so it will be a hassle-free night tonight. I had an amazing coaching session and one action suggestion I offered was of great value to my client.

Now it’s your turn.

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance. I get people unstuck in their careers.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about we can work together to get you unstuck

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