11 Ways to Achieve More and Feel
Better about Yourself
In 1975, 26-year-old Linda Creed was in the fight of her life.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer.
A successful songwriter, Creed had written the lyrics to popular songs such as “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” “You Are Everything,” “Betcha by Golly, Wow,” and “The Rubberband Man.”
She decided to write a song about the challenge of battling cancer. Her lyrics contain a message for children about the importance of finding the strength to deal with whatever obstacles life puts in front of you.
The song, co-written with Michael Masser, appeared in the 1976 Muhammad Ali biographical film The Greatest. It was performed by George Benson.
Sadly, on April 10, 1986, at the age of 36, Creed succumbed to breast cancer – exactly 27 days after Whitney Houston recorded a version of her song.
“The Greatest Love of All” went on to become Houston's third biggest-selling single. In May 1986, it spent three weeks at number one.
With the lines …
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all
… Creed drives home the importance of loving who you are.
How you feel about yourself is really the starting point for everything you achieve in life.
Low self-esteem and low self-love equal low achievement. A healthy self-esteem and love for yourself results in positive outcomes in your career and life.
As American author, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862) once said:
"What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates his fate."
Career-wise, it's especially important for freelance writers to love who they are because your business is entirely dependent on you and your actions.
So I've put together 11 tips to help you appreciate who you are and why you are so great.
- Eliminate self-criticism – "I will never be a writer." "I'm not smart enough." "I just don't have what it takes to be wildly successful." "I'm too fat." "I'm too thin." "I'm too old." The first thing you need to do is eliminate all negative thinking. It accomplishes nothing. If it's something you can change, put together a plan to make things better. If it's not something you can change, accept it and move forward.
Use positive affirmations – In his Getting the Edge program, Anthony Robbins acknowledges that not everyone is open to using positive affirmations. Some people consider them to be of no value and even a little silly. Robbins challenges the naysayers to at least try it out for seven days.
For two minutes every morning, look in the mirror and explain why you love yourself. Examples Robbins uses are "I love your commitment to people," "I love your caring heart," and "I love your playfulness." Why not give it a try? I can think of a lot worse ways to spend 14 minutes of your week.
Don't jump to conclusions – In Getting the Edge, Robbins also talks about how you should not let other people's actions negatively impact your demeanor. Let's say a friend says they will call you Tuesday. Tuesday comes and goes, and you don't hear from them. Often, when something like this happens, people will jump to all kinds of conclusions, like their friend doesn't care enough to call when they say they're going to. This can lead you to feelings of inferiority about yourself.
Instead, Robbins says to ask yourself the question: "What else could this mean?" Perhaps they had an unexpected commitment or they thought it was next Tuesday or whatever. The idea is to never automatically think the worst. Consider positive possibilities of events and actions of others.
Don't worry – In Southern and Central Ontario, we have a 900-kilometer (560-mile) hiking trail called the Bruce Trail. As much as I can, I hop in my minivan for the five-minute drive and then walk it for about two miles. One day, as I was about a third of the way through my walk, it occurred to me that I hadn't locked my minivan.
Remembering how I'd left my wallet there, I began thinking about how awful it would be to have somebody take it. I continued to dwell on it, spoiling what should have been a relaxing and invigorating walk. Then I stopped myself and thought, "What am I doing? The chances of someone actually stealing my wallet are so slim, and if it does happen, I'll deal with it then."
Have you ever done that? Spent time worrying about something – big or small – and found that your worries were unfounded?
French writer Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 1592) once said, "My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened."
Click here to check out an article I wrote called Are You a Worrier? that details Brian Tracy's four steps on how to stop worrying.
- Don't carry a grudge – Grudges are terrible things. When you have a grudge against somebody, it can often expand and result in various negative effects. For instance, relationships can be destroyed. The late comedian Buddy Hackett summed it up best when he said, "While you're carrying a grudge, they're out dancing." So let go of your grudge. Take the first step, and reach out to someone whom you no longer talk to. You'll feel better about yourself, and you'll have another friend (or two) in your Rolodex.
- Don't compare yourself to others – "Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you." – Author unknown. A great way to feel inferior is to compare yourself to others. In a planet of 7 billion people, a large percentage of whom are connected by the Internet, it doesn't take long to find someone who's had more success as a writer than you. Instead, use the achievements of others as confirmation and inspiration that you can be just as successful as them if you put your mind to it.
- Imagine what life would be like if you loved yourself unconditionally and had unlimited confidence – When you hesitate to do something you know you should be doing, ask yourself the following question: "What would a confident, self-assured person do?" For example, if you're reluctant to call a prospective customer, ask yourself what someone with unlimited confidence and self-esteem would do in your situation – and then do it. Not sure whether you should introduce yourself to someone at a conference? What would a successful person do? Use your answer as your guide, and then take action.
Make a list of the reasons why you love yourself – Have you ever been taken by surprise when someone you know compliments you unexpectedly? Perhaps they were introducing you to someone and said something like, "Sandra is an excellent writer, and she's someone who will always be there for you in a pinch." It feels good, doesn't it?
But here's the thing … you don't have to wait to hear it from someone else. Why not tell yourself how great you are? Start a journal and pack it full of reasons why you love yourself. Every time you think of a new thing to add, make sure you read what you've already written to remind yourself how special you are.
Let go of your mistakes – Quite a few years ago, I was at a Toronto nightclub with a few friends. We'd gone there to see a female rhythm and blues singing group. There was one member of the group I felt was especially attractive. During a break, they sat down at a table near the dance floor while the club played recorded dance music. I still remember how the girl I kind of fancied motioned over to me, asking me if I wanted to dance. I didn't hesitate. I made a beeline to her, took her hand, and led her on the dance floor.
After the dance was over, I went back to my seat where my friends informed me that she wasn't motioning to me at all, she was merely gesturing to a friend who happened to be behind me. It was pretty embarrassing. But we've all had those moments and, although the dance floor incident was relatively tame, it makes little sense to relive that embarrassing moment. The best thing you can do when it comes to your mistakes is either forget them or look at them in a way that empowers you to greater heights.
- Look after your body – The happier you are about how you look and how you feel, the better image you will have of yourself. Eat well and exercise, and you'll feel a lot better about yourself.
Smile, please – Early on in the Olympics coverage, I found myself watching a table tennis match between Cornelia Molnar of Croatia and Lily Zhang of the United States. Molnar was very serious throughout the match and managed to beat Zhang in four straight games. After the final point, Molnar headed over to her coach with a huge smile on her face. It instantly brought a smile to my face and reminded me once again of the power of smile.
Watching the Olympic athletes' smiles after their event, win or lose, for me was one of the best things about the Olympics. Not to sound too corny, but a smile connects us all. It's the one action that everyone understands. If you'd like to read more about the power of your smile, check out an article I wrote called “Try This for 30 Days and You’ll be More Welcome Everywhere You Go.”
Lucille Ball once said …
"Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world."
Lucy should know. She was the most successful female comedic actor of her time. Your ability to create the life you want for yourself rests on how much you love yourself. Keep these 11 tips in mind, and you'll be more successful at everything you do.
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