Sometimes I'm communicating a message so often to clients, it feels like the universe is begging me to shout it from the rooftops. And yes, I did just use the "u" word.
You're OK. Actually, you're more than OK. You're great.
Your skills are valuable.
Your strengths are marketable.
Your jokes are funny (most of the time).
YOU ARE ENOUGH.
This may sound like a bizarre approach from a Career Coach. I'm supposed to be the one facilitating transformation in each session, right? As one of my clients said, "I feel like I'm supposed to have an Eat, Pray, Love moment with you or something, where I discover my passion out of nowhere."
To clarify, "nowhere" for many clients is a place of self-judgment, guilt and focus on skills they don't have. Not exactly a breeding ground for new ideas or Eat, Pray, Love moments, friends! Our consumer culture of "never having enough" and social media obsession with "never being enough" has led us to this place, but as always—we have the choice to stay or create something new and different for ourselves.
What if you give up your commitment to your self-proclaimed lameness and start from where you are? How do you do this? I'm four steps ahead of you. Here's how I work with clients to disrupt the cycle of self-loathing and create new possibilities with self-acceptance.
1. Focus on things that bring you joy
Don't EVER underestimate the medicinal qualities of joy. When you feel stuck or down on yourself, giving yourself permission to feel and experience joy reinforces that you matter.
2. Spend more time using your strengths each day
Identify your strengths, ASAP. If this is tough for you, reach out to friends, family and colleagues to ask them what they see as your strengths. Once you've done this, look at your days and see if there are ways you can tweak them so you increase the time spent on activities where you naturally excel. Leveraging your strengths will boost your confidence and allow ideas to begin to flow about other ways you can use these superpowers.
3. Disrupt your mindset with awareness and mantra
Become aware of your self-judgment throughout the day. Notice how often it comes up and when it does, close your eyes, breath in and breath out as you say, "I'm enough." It's in these micro-actions that you begin to find relief, safety, peace and an openness that sets the stage for creativity and growth.
4. Invite clues without demanding them
When you're walking through your life, notice when you feel excited, happy, curious, engaged or hungry to know more. Write down those moments in a note on your phone or in a notebook. Express gratitude for the clue in that moment, but don't set high expectations for what each clue will mean for you. You may scare them away! If you don't feel any clues, turn up the volume on the first three steps, mentioned above.
I never thought I would say that it takes courage to practice self-acceptance and self-love, but I'm going there. We are a culture that gravitates towards pain, complaints and discontent. Rebellious optimism is required for cutting through the noise of what our world tells us we should and shouldn't be. Now doesn't that sound like fun?