Don’t Believe Everything You Tell Yourself by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

don't believe

Most of us have no bigger critic than ourselves. We can have nine successes and a single failure, and the failure will be what we remember every time. These negative messages we send ourselves can be extremely detrimental and can hold us back from achieving our goals and being our best selves. That’s why it’s so important not to believe everything you tell yourself. don't believe

When you’re dealing with information about others, you generally look for the facts before making a judgment. Yet, we are quick to accept incorrect negative self-talk. The next time you start critiquing yourself, apply the facts to your critique. Here are some questions to ask.

  1.  Is it true? Are you really failing, or lazy, or less competent than others? I bet not. In fact, I bet if you met yourself disguised as someone else, you’d think you were pretty cool. Look at the facts of all you’ve accomplished before you accept your own negative messages.
  2.  Are you comparing yourself to others unfairly? Another trap we often fall into is comparison. Someone else has probably accomplished more than you, or accomplished what you desire in a shorter time frame. These may be facts, but these don’t really apply to you and what you wish to accomplish because it isn’t a contest. As long as you are moving forward toward your goals, there’s no reason to compare your timing to that of anyone else. In addition, it’s not uncommon to judge yourself more harshly for a mistake than you would judge anyone else.
  3.  Write down positive statements. Take the time to write down your accomplishments and your positive characteristics. When you feel like you aren’t good enough, or accomplishing enough, pull out those statements and remind yourself of how great you really are. Many therapists recommend speaking your accomplishments and positive qualities out loud to yourself in the mirror, as well.

Negative patterns of self-talk get in the way of your happiness, your self-esteem and your ability to accomplish your goals. Remember to ensure what you say about yourself is true, and that you don’t judge yourself more harshly than you would others in the same situation. Being fair to yourself is just as important as being fair to others.

Leadership Development

leadership development - change, communications, personal growth, inspiration

For the month of September I thought I would make it “Ten Tips Month.”   I will share with our readers ten tips to enhance team building ideas, customer service skills, leadership development and sales coaching skills.  Some of these tips may be new ideas to you and others may be reminders of the importance of the things you are already doing.  As I say in my workshops “We all know things, what is most important is what we do with what we know.”

Leadership Development

leadership development - change, communications, personal growth, inspirationThere many books, articles and programs on being an effective leader.  I think that this is an area where most of us have growth opportunities.  We are all leaders in our own lives and the following tips on effective leadership can apply in both personal and business situations.

1)      Be the Change  – it is very important to walk your talk and model the attitudes and behaviors you want to inspire and have demonstrated in others.  Be true to your vision/mission.

2)      Listen more – the greatest gift you can give to anyone is the gift of listening.  Giving someone the experience of being heard is a very powerful way to build rapport and respect.

3)      Clear Communication– the ability to clearly communicate your message is paramount to being a successful leader.  One needs to ensure their message is understood.  I often think about the number of mistakes that could be prevented if all of us were more careful with our communication and taking responsibility that the listener has understood us.

4)      Can-Do Attitude – having a positive attitude is much more than thinking positive thoughts.  (although that is extremely important) It also important to consistently communicate what you want versus what you don’t want.  Often people focus on what is missing or what they can’t do.  Focusing more on what you can do is very important and can yield surprising results.

5)      Know yourself – we all have our areas of strengths and areas for improvement.  Take the time to understand yourself and learn the most effective ways of doing things and look at effective ways to manage those areas that you are less proficient in.

6)      Inspire others – we all have leaders that inspire us.  Ask yourself.  “What is it about that person that touches me?”  Then look at ways to develop those attributes in yourself so you can also inspire others.  Most people are inspired by leaders that are authentic.

7)      Open to new ideas – sometimes we can get stuck in a rut in our thinking or our actions.  Often we can stretch ourselves more when we are open to new ideas that may take us out of our comfort zones.

8)      Give regular feedback – letting people know how they are doing is very critical to encouraging employees to continue more with what is working and change what is not.  I frequently hear that the supervisor/manager doesn’t provide any feedback to an employee.  This can be one of the causes of an employee becoming disengaged.

9)      Have  fun – personally I think work should be fun.  As a leader if employees see you smiling, laughing and enjoying your job it can send a strong message that although everyone works hard, it is OK to have fun at work.

10)   Celebrate – publically celebrate and acknowledge the day to day victories of your employees.  I was recently in the lobby of a large organization waiting for an appointment and noticed a large TV screen on the wall.  A video was playing and it was acknowledging employees various contributions during the last month.  Big happy smiling faces on the screen communicated to me that this company looked like an engaging place to work.

By Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Sometimes it is the little things that make the biggest difference

little things, big difference - planning, structure & commitment

Sometimes it is the little things that make the biggest difference

by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

little things, big difference - planning, structure & commitmentI have just returned from delivering one of my sales training programs across Canada.  This was an exciting and rewarding experience for me.  Truly one of my dreams come true.  The participants were engaged and wanted to learn some techniques to keep them on track.  Some of the feedback supported my belief that sometimes it is the little things that we do every day consistently than can make all the difference.  I have listed five of these observations below:

1)    Having structure in your life.  Planning your work and working your plan.  Having a one year (or at least 6 months) written plan of your annual targets and outlining specific steps how you will get there.  Including milestones and rewards along the way will help keep you on track and motivate to keep going.


2)    Personal integrity.  Be someone that you can count on to say as you will do and do as you say.  So often we make promises and commitments to ourselves and when it comes to actually executing on what we say, we drop the ball.  By following through on our commitments to ourselves we build a new level of confidence in ourselves.

3)    Watch your thoughts.  Many times we have habitual negative thoughts that can hinder our success.  By changing our thoughts we can change our actions and in the end achieve more of what matters to us.  It is also a lot more fun having positive thoughts!

4)    Become highly scheduled.  If we leave things to chance, the chances are some important things won’t get done.  It has been my experience the more I schedule action items into my calendar (versus on a “To-Do” list) the more I get done.  It is amazing how much more we can get done, when we schedule our days.

5)    Create support structures.  For those people who work from home or remote offices it can sometimes be difficult to stay motivated.  Having a buddy, a coach or a mentor to connect with on a regular basis will help us get through the more challenging days.

Against the Tide

againgst the tide, breaking habitual patterns

Against the Tide

By Robin Lee Kennedy

againgst the tide, breaking habitual patternsHave you ever been caught in a strong current?  You’re happily going along and suddenly are pulled off course – in a direction you don’t want to go.  Initially you’re unconcerned – after all you’re a strong swimmer.  You swim faster – kick harder.  As you see yourself drifting further from shore, panic sets in.  You start to focus on your fatigue.  You notice the heaviness in your arms.  Your kicking becomes frantic as you realize that you might not make it.  Fear overwhelms you.  Swimming furiously against the current is exhausting – images of sinking down beneath the surface encompass you.  You begin to think about your family, and how unhappy they’ll be without you.  Saddened by the image, fatigue overwhelms you.  It would be so much easier just to let go – to accept the terrible reality of your circumstances.


The Power of Your Thoughts!

Just when you feel like giving up, a spark ignites inside you.  You choose more positive, empowering thoughts.  You muster the courage; see yourself on the beach – now miles away.  Determination and belief drive you and – before you know it – you’re standing on that beach.  You can hardly believe that you made it.  It seems surreal.  Wow!  The power of your thoughts!

You’re probably aware of, and at some point have even experienced, the power your thoughts have to change your life.  How being clearly aware of your choices, staying true to who you are, and being accountable to yourself can empower you to reach your goals.  In my case, growing up with an abusive stepfather and a mother who often ‘took to her bed’ to escape him, I was determined to show the world who I was and what I had to offer.

Although we seemed to have plenty of money, my stepfather, Ivan, wouldn’t buy me school clothes.  Each fall when all of my friends had new stuff, I trooped in wearing hand-me-downs.  Ivan said that if I wanted something more, it was up to me to earn the money, but…good luck.  That was all I needed to hear to go against the tide – a suggestion that I couldn’t do it!  I just needed to figure out how.

We had property with a big river steps from the house.  Of course!  I would learn how to fish and sell my catch to the local market.  Fortunately, I did have a fishing pole, a Christmas gift from my Grandmother.  I had the tools and was in the perfect location.  But, I had to convince myself, and everyone else, that I could do this.  I marched into the fish market to share my intentions and negotiate a deal.  The local fishermen who were dropping off their catch chuckled at my announcement.  All but one.  Charlie, the father of a schoolmate, did not.  He had heard about the way Ivan treated me.  Instead of snickering along with his peers, Charlie was interested in my plan.  Proudly, I told him how I was going to make it happen.  First, I was going to focus on flounder because they were running and plentiful.  Instead of undercutting the price, I was going to offer some “free” services to get on the good side of the fish market owner.  Next, I would buy a boat with the money I earned so I’d be able to place and monitor more profitable crab traps.

Then I began my advertising campaign.  I told anyone who would listen what I was up to.  Everyone laughed at me, no one harder then Ivan.  Everyone, except Charlie.  People said things like “I hope you won’t be disappointed;” or “It’s too big a plan for a little girl.”  But I didn’t listen. Charlie got a bunch of “the boys” together to show me the ropes.  I went out on their boats and was allowed to keep my own catch.  They guided me and believed in me, because I believed in myself.

In just two seasons I was able to buy my own rowboat, which cost $99 – a lot in 1962.  I also learned the crab trapping business and had my own traps set in the best spots.  I had a growing bank account, purchased a 5HP motor for my boat, bought my own school clothes and gave the hand-me-downs to the Salvation Army.  I was even able to buy the special red shoes that I’d had my eye on.  I was ten years old.


The Currents of Human Influence

Whatever your circumstances, you may find yourself from time to time pulled in a direction that you don’t want to go or letting dreams live short lives because of a belief you accepted.

Do outside influences direct your course or is it your own inner critic telling you that you can’t do something you’d really like to?  If you’re like most people, the path of least resistance is the one you most often take.  Particularly, if your belief or desire is unpopular or unproven.


Direct the Course of Your Life With Conscious Choice and Effort

It is possible to focus your energy on creating the things that you want.  If you’re willing to go against the tide, you can direct the course of your life.

It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone to take control of your future and perseverance to stay on course and resist habitual patterns.  Forming new habits will take you where you want to be.  Recognize the power of your thoughts and words to make focused decisions about which ones to empower.  You can breathe life into what you truly want with conscious choice and effort.

Doubts That Multiply!

Notice what happens when another person or your inner critic says that you can’t do something or that an idea you have just won’t work.  Suddenly your doubts multiply.  Your enthusiasm and belief in yourself wanes – you might even retract your idea.  In some cases, you feel embarrassed that you actually believed it had merit.  The current was just too strong for you to go in a different direction.  Silently, grudgingly you dive back into stagnant waters.


Choose a Positive Focus

Now, consider what happens when you speak positively about something you want or believe in.  Your energy is contagious and people buy into your idea.  You react with more positive thoughts and energy.  Before you know it, there is a collective belief that begins to grow.  The air feels electric.  You’re going where you want and pulling others along with you – caught up in your enthusiastic wake.

What would happen if you always chose positive thoughts and words?  Notice that I pointed to a choice.  Everyone has negative – even self-deprecating – thoughts from time to time.  However, we all have the ability to decide whether to pursue a particular thought or not.  We can choose to go with a positive current.


The Process: Awareness, Truth and Accountability

First you need to become aware – to be awake to the moment and keenly observant of what is – to be conscious of all possible and probable outcomes of any choice or action.  To live in awareness is to not pretend that you don’t know.  It is to not do things subconsciously, but instead make conscious choices and decisions and understand their impact.  Clarifying your values helps you to make choices that serve you.  In my case, being a young girl keenly aware of the impact my home life was having on my image of the world, and focusing on a path that I understood completely would not be supported by that home, my actions were chosen carefully, in neat succession, to meet my goal.  What is important to you?  What are your “must haves” in order to be happy?

Next you need to tell the truth – to yourself.  Are you living by your values?  If not, what gets in the way?  Your values can motivate you to stretch beyond the comfortable status quo.  They give you the why for doing something new.  Are you willing to navigate uncharted waters by altering your ready acceptance of negative thoughts or discouraging input?  Can you identify the Ivan’s and Charlie’s in your own life?  In yourself?  Had I given into the views of the Ivan in my life, I would have achieved nothing.

Last comes being accountable – again, to yourself.  I took control of my circumstances by making choices and taking actions that were not influenced by the will or view of others.  My success or failure would not be the result of anything outside of my own actions, without excuses and regardless of how toxic the world around me could be.  Will you take responsibility for getting yourself to shore?


By being aware, honest and accountable you’ll find that you can create your own flow and current.  You’ll find the best places to cast your line and life’s ebbs and flows will be much easier to navigate.