If I knew then, what I know now…
Yes, what if you did? Here are a few of the things I’ve heard in my coaching practice, and in conversation with friends and family.
If I knew then, what I know now I would have: thought more about what I wanted to do for work because I spend so much time there; rented in the area before I bought; never gone into debt; not married so young; become a different person; pushed myself harder and taken more chances; taken time to know myself better.
That last one, taking time to know yourself better, is what this post is about. Appreciating the value of self awareness is the difference between making your life happen and letting it happen.
This is dedicated to 20 and 30-somethings everywhere, with love:
1 Just because you “think it” doesn’t mean it’s true.
In fact, for most of us, if we believed the things we told ourselves we’d never get out of bed in the morning. The truth is that you get to decide what to believe, and the sooner you start choosing thoughts that align with your life goals the more likely you will be to reach them.
Example: You want a healthy relationship with your body, defined as not obsessing about your weight and feeling comfortable in your own skin. Then, as you’re getting dressed, you look in the mirror and you think: I need to lose 5 pounds; I could look so much better; you’re never going to be hot. You may not even be aware of the thoughts, and if you are, you’re likely telling yourself: but it’s true, I’m just being honest.
And that’s my point: just because you think it, doesn’t make it true, you get to decide what to believe, why not look in the mirror and think: Nice!
2 Confidence is not the result of success
It’s quite the opposite, confidence comes from pushing and stretching yourself, because when you do you’re sure to face some fears, and facing down that fear is what builds confidence. No matter the result, when you realize you didn’t explode, you feel more capable of taking chances.
Example: You want to push yourself to a new level at your job, all kinds of noise (fear) comes into your mind: It might not work; Maybe next year; Why would they promote me?; I kinda like what I do now. But you don’t listen to the noise/fears — because you remember from above: just because you think it doesn’t make it true — and you figure out what you need to do. Whether or not you get the promotion you faced down your fear, you learned something about yourself, you grew. That’s how you build confidence.
3 Keeping your word with yourself is even more important than keeping it with others.
It’s true for most of us that if we tell someone we’re going to do something, we do it. But how many times have you told yourself you’ll go to the gym, read that book, take that class, reach out to someone for work or friendship, do the dishes, but you don’t?
When you don’t follow through on what you tell yourself, you’re letting yourself down and that breaks down trust in yourself. Being able to trust yourself is directly related to building confidence — you need to know you can rely on yourself.
Bottom-line: It may sound trite or inconsequential but who would you call: the friend you can rely on, or the one that might flake out? Be that friend to yourself, the one you can count on, it will serve you down the road.
4 “I don’t know*” is a bullshit, no-action, answer
I don’t know is another way of saying, I want to, but not badly enough to figure it out; or, my mind isn’t capable of answering (really?). “I don’t know” is a way of not taking responsibility for yourself, it’s a way of letting your fear and doubt keep you small.
Example: Someone asks What do you want to do with your life? You say That’s the problem, I don’t know. Where does that leave you, because you’re the only person who can know that? Don’t let yourself off the hook so easily, you could think I’m figuring that out. Just that little shift in thinking (there it is again! just because you think it doesn’t make it true!!) is enough to make you an active participant in your life.
*I can’t do this; this is too hard; why should I have to; fall in this same category.
5 Overeating, over-drinking, overworking, and over-exercising are all ways of checking out from your emotions.
You may wonder why I didn’t mention drugs here, that’s because most people make the association between drug use and wanting to numb or flatten feelings. But over-eating, over-drinking, over-working and over-exercising are less commonly understood as ways to hide from our feelings. Often before we even realize we’re uncomfortable we turn to our distraction of choice, (hence the term mindless eating).
Bottom line: Learn to manage your emotions and be willing to be uncomfortable. Keeping emotions at bay is like holding a beach ball under water, it takes a lot more energy than letting it sit on the surface. When you stop fighting with your feelings you free up that energy to create other things in your life.
In my coaching practice I work with women in their 20’s and 30’s and I love seeing them blow their own minds when they push past their doubt. Let’s blow your mind!