“My inner voice is always telling me: you don’t’ belong here, you don’t deserve to be here, you’re an imposter.”
“I prefer to avoid conflict, I’m afraid if I stand up for myself, people won’t like me.”
“If I can’t fix something, I believe it’s because I’m not good enough.”
“I can’t seem to forgive myself for not being further along in my career, right now I feel like I’m such a loser.”
These were just a few of the answers to the questions a client shared with me as we were reviewing the results of an assessment I give at the start of any new coaching engagement. At one point, after hearing her innermost thoughts repeated out loud she burst out laughing. “Wow, that’s harsh.”
Yes, it’s true. We often subconsciously say the cruelest things to ourselves. I know from first-hand experience, I've must have had those EXACT thoughts looping through my head my entire adult life. I discovered that it’s not until we shine a light on them and bring them to our awareness, that we can realize how disempowering and down right mean they are.
If we are not careful, over time we begin to believe them. Then those beliefs turn into action – or in most cases inaction. Rather than motivating us, these inner voices turn us into victims. Next thing we know we start telling tell ourselves: “Why bother. It really doesn’t matter what I do because it will never make a difference.” We get complacent. We get frustrated. We might try and take actions, but with limited effect because those voices keep pulling us down. So, of course nothing changes. We feel stuck.
It is often said we teach what we need to learn, which is likely how I found my way into positive psychology and professional coaching when I felt myself hit a really low point in midlife. I had spent years trying to relaunch my professional career after an extended hiatus and, as the victim storyline in my head went: "I was a failure. I wasn't good enough. It was never going to happen." (If you haven't heard my story, here's a direct link: http://bit.ly/2pRbGu3)
I was completely stuck until I discovered teachers and role models like Brené Brown who taught me about vulnerability. I then found Kristen Neff an expert on self-compassion. To rewire that negativity loop in my head, I started practicing loving-kindness meditation, my favorite one entitled "Self Love" was on Barbara Fredrickson 's. And it was Tara Brach who taught me about “Radical Acceptance”.
While I made considerable progress, it wasn't until I started working with a coach that the real changes started happening. Someone who listened without judgment, acknowledged and validated my feelings, and lovingly held me accountable to the commitments I was making to myself (but had not yet followed through on).
Change can be hard.
It takes time.
Sometimes we need a guide who is a few steps ahead of us on the journey.
Someone to help get us moving again.
Someone to shine a light on those subconscious limiting beliefs that are holding us back from achieving our goals.
For links to these tools and much more visit my Pinterest Page:
If you are ready to take the next step beyond self-help books, articles, and letctures, and are interested in learning more about the assessment that can quickly pinpoint exactly what's holding you back from your fulfilling your dreams, contact me for a free consult.
As a Jewish girl growing up in New Jersey, I was raised to never buy retail. I spent my formative years bargain hunting at Loehmans, Mickey Finns, and Syms. The only time I purchased clothes at high-end stores were for special occasion outfits or during “big” sales. To this day if you were to compliment an outfit to anyone in my family the automatic reaction is: “Oh, you like it, can you believe I got it at ________________ for only ________________.”
While many enjoy the “hunt and conquest” involved in this retail sport, I actually walked away with several limiting beliefs: “I can’t afford to pay full price for anything” or “Luxuries are for other people”. “I’m not worth it”.
As I rose the corporate ladder as a marketing executive at Pepsi, earning a comparable six-figure salary to my husband, those voices were temporarily silenced. I figured I worked hard, I make my own money - I can buy retail.
However, when I left the workforce to raise our kids full time, a new limiting belief emerged: “all the money I spend is my husband’s money”. This lead to guilt every time I pulled out the credit card to buy something for myself.
Interestingly I never thought twice about making purchases for my kids – designer clothes for my budding fashionista daughter, the latest baseball equipment for my naturally athletic son. Yet that was just the material “stuff”.
Year after year we invested in our kid's futures by hiring experts to support their passions and interests: private violin teachers, private batting lessons, and private academic tutors. While those investments added up over the years – writing those checks was done without hesitation. The experts took our children’s nascent strengths, skills, and talents and coached them to their highest potential. Their expertise, support, guidance, and accountability developed much more than the kids' competence, it gave my children confidence. My kids came to see, through their dedicated effort, they could achieve whatever they put their mind to. To me that is PRICELESS.
Meanwhile, here I was, a “formerly” successful, highly skilled, very competent woman, struggling with my disempowering narrative (LINK to my story http://bit.ly/2pRbGu3). I felt completely stuck because I had "unsuccessfully" tried to relaunch a professional career several times, in several locations. Which, of course, made me a "failure".
I was stuck in my narrative. I was stuck in my head.
I was stuck and fresh out of ideas, which got me thinking. Why can't I get some professional support? Aren't I worth investing in my future? What message was I sending to my kids if I gave up on my own dreams? If I weren't willing to invest in myself and do the hard work?
So six years ago I took the step of hiring my first certified professional coach. And well, I've never looked back.
Was it terrifying? Absolutely.
Was it hard work? Yes.
Was it a big investment? For Sure.
I could have never done it on my own.
The transformation in my life, well it's PRICELESS.
Not to mention the added bonus that I've finally come to see: I am totally worth it!
There was a period in my life when I felt stuck. It seemed I was at the effect of decisions that were “out of my control”. I considered myself a victim to my circumstances. Relocating over, and over, and over again once more was no picnic. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t miserable. Things were certainly “good enough”. But at a certain point, I felt like I was going through the motions of my life.
To power through I put my head down and became wrapped up “doing” mode. I found solace in the day-to-day business of life "on the move".
There was a part of me that knew this was a short-term solution. I had an inner knowing that I wanted to make changes – a tiny voice that kept getting louder and louder: “This is not the life I ordered”. “Hello, anyone home?” “Pay attention, you’re not listening.”
However, the challenge was that I had no idea how to start. I couldn’t see any way out. It all felt overwhelming.
In retrospect (which of course is 20/20) I can see the main limitation had been the fact I had been operating under a very constricted level of awareness.
My default ways of thinking caused me to only see narrow possibilities and few solutions. Of course, since I kept repeating the same thinking patterns, and actions, my outcomes never changed. It is no wonder I felt frustrated, hopeless, and stuck.
So here’s the crazy thing - once I started elevating my self-awareness by shining a light on my belief systems, values, thoughts, feelings, and emotional responses that had been previously operating on an unconscious level – it was like turning on a light. We can only change the things we are aware of.
Through my IPEC coaching program, I've been trained in administering and debriefing the ELI - a proprietary tool that does just that. It is uncannily accurate and it can show you what thought patterns might be keeping you stuck and what triggers might be holding you back from achieving the goals you want to see in your life. Had I known about his tool, it would have saved me years of soul-searching because, as we know, awareness is the first and most important step to creating change.
Interested in finding out more about this empirically tested assessment that will jumpstart your awareness and get you moving forward again? Contact me and let’s schedule a complimentary, no-obligation session to explore. Let's get you moving again!
Based on her unique life experiences, and certifications in the science of positive psychology and the art of life coaching, Alison offers practical wisdom that helps women navigate midlife transitions with clarity and confidence. www.alisondeutsch.com