“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
~Maya Angelou

The more clients I work with and the more people I know, the more I believe we are suffering from an epidemic of not liking ourselves.

I have clients who are uncomfortable with sitting still. I have clients who are more likely to “punish” themselves than admit they’ve done a great – or even good – job. I have clients who judge themselves more harshly than they would ever judge anyone else. I have clients who lambaste themselves for simple mistakes (that aren’t really mistakes) and clients who are challenged when I ask them to list ten great things about themselves and the work they do (and how they do it).

I have friends and family like this too. I know these feelings and self-limiting behaviors myself.

I also believe Maya Angelou once again has it right.

Many of us claim to be working towards success, however we define it. Our work lives, our home lives, our Facebook posts – all are geared towards being (or at least looking) successful. But I’ve come to realize that the truest success is peace and ease – the peace and ease that comes from liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.

This can be an elusive success. I think there’s something in the air we breathe – in our overall society – that pushes us towards more and harder. But I’ve watched my clients push back against this push with a few simple (albeit challenging) steps:

  • Sit still – even if they can’t (or won’t) call it meditation, or they sit still for only a few moments, I’ve watched my clients find more peace and self-acceptance when they work a bit of stillness and mindfulness into their lives. And I’ve heard them tell me how that extra space has helped them respond versus react and lead (and live) more Thoughtfully.
  • Make lists – as hard as it can be to do, when my clients have listed their strengths and the value they bring to their organization and team, they seem to find a groundedness that, again, helps them be less reactive and more intentional.
  • Let it go – endlessly harping on what went wrong or how we dropped the ball keeps us from moving forward. While there is great value in a “process check” – determining what worked and what didn’t – self-flagellation over a mistake seems to prime us for more mistakes…because we’re not focusing on what we can do now to make things better. I once heard someone say, “We make every mistake once.” I still think that’s a brilliant approach. When my clients have learned to spend less energy beating themselves up for what they’ve done wrong, they’ve had more energy to do more right.

I offer my clients (and friends and family if they’ll let me) every tool, approach, concept, mantra, and practice that I’ve discovered, been taught, and made up along the way – so that we all may learn to like ourselves, what we do, and how we do it a little bit more and more each day.

How do you define your success?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

If you want the truest success (according to Maya Angelou), contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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