The first principle of personal transformation is to appreciate your success. By recognizing your accomplishments, you build real confidence that gives you the strength to make new things happen. Sticking to this principle puts you in touch with your personal power and leads to becoming a master of producing results.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? We’ve all heard about why it matters to appreciate ourselves and take a moment (or more) to acknowledge what we accomplish. It’s basic stuff. Deep appreciation of yourself is the bedrock of being who you are in the world.
Maya Angelou says, ‘Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.’
It’s not wrong to praise yourself – learn to take this vital first step toward personal transformation. But it’s sure not easy!
What’s The Problem?
We tend to be quick to criticize, slow to praise – especially of ourselves. The world is consumed with bad news — newspapers and television influence the tone of the conversation for all of us. This is the deepest recession for 80 years.
- How can we be dumb enough to be positive about life?
- What is there to celebrate?
- Have we seen the worst of it?
- What I do doesn’t matter, does it?
When there is a problem, we search for the source of it. We find it so easy to focus on what’s wrong – particularly with ourselves. And when we do achieve something, we tend to discount it because
“After all I did it – how great can it be?”
A couple of weeks ago I make a photo album for our kids’ 5th anniversary. I love doing this kind of thing and take time to find the photos, scan the old ones, figure out what design to use, write the text (hoping to get the balance between inspiration and schlock), correcting the errors and finally get it uploaded! It is gorgeous – and it’s going to arrive on time. Whew!
But THEN I have another look and find a typo and one rogue photo of our dog, printed sideways and having nothing to do with the rest of the page. Blah and yuck! I slide from joy and accomplishment to depression. I hate it and am so disappointed about ruining the book and not having it perfect for them. 93 beautiful pages but ALL I can think about are these two stupid little imperfections!
Just can’t let this stuff go, can we? Do you make lists? What happens when you have 10 things and get only 7 of them done that day? Feel great? Sense of accomplishment? If you’re like most of us you beat yourself up for the ones you didn’t do. I’m supposed to be better than this by now, but if I don’t wake up fast enough, my first reaction is usually disappointment. Heaven forbid I should celebrate!
What’s the Source of the Problem?
Why is it so hard for us to be positive about what we achieve and ourselves? What stops us from patting ourselves on the back? When did we first learn that liking ourselves was so wrong?
I learned in high school that the biggest No-No was acting confident or happy about myself. The worst thing you could say about anyone was ‘Boy – she really thinks she’s hot stuff!’ Big message – play it down, keep good news in the bag – and don’t brag! As the years went on, I heard even more about the twin sins of arrogance and hubris.
What stops us from a genuine appreciation of our success and ourselves runs deep.
So, Why Do It?
Because it works!
Although most of us won’t let ourselves walk around shouting ‘I am the greatest!’ – it worked for Mohammed Ali didn’t it? He was the master of creating his success and not ashamed to let the world know it. His focus was on being the best he could be, both during his boxing career and throughout his life beyond the ring.
Look at the folks who are nominated and win Oscars, Tony’s, Grammy’s. They are excited, feel appreciated and let themselves celebrate.
What do sports people do when they win the game, the championship? Are they happy? Do they share their joy? Yes! It works and plays a big part in the way others think about them as well as their chances for future success.
Even though my husband and I have been making our annual Best Year Yet plans for 30 years and been running a global business focused on helping others do the same, it’s the same old challenge for us. It’s still hard not to get snared by disappointment, fear, worry or a sense of failure, given some of what happens day to day.
What keeps us sane and true to the principle of appreciating our success is a ritual that we’ve done nearly every Friday night since our earliest days together. Over dinner we toast the accomplishments, triumphs and miracles of the past week. We take turns remembering and describing a particular success and then drink to it. Even in the worst weeks there are real accomplishments to celebrate and most often we run out of time, long before we run out of things to celebrate. Works every time – warms our hearts and lifts our spirits.
Life Beyond Trying to Be Good Enough. . .
Few people feel really recognized or appreciated. To make a difference, start by appreciating your successes and then generously acknowledging the successes of others.
Appreciating your success enables you to take responsibility for your greatness so that your life isn’t just about becoming good enough – it’s about finding ways to use your special gifts to make a difference. Appreciating yourself is the first step toward giving yourself permission to be who you are and make the contribution you’re here to make.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson