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Transitioning back to work after lockdown

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Staying mentally healthy as the country begins going back into workplaces.

Life as we knew it has changed and our reality is very different today than it was 100+ days ago. Many of us were in various stages of lockdown for extended periods of time. and even as many of the initial restrictions were lifted , many have still remained and will remain for the foreseeable future.

As we begin to emerge from what felt like hibernation for many, we are all to aware that life is very different and things will never go back to the way they were.

As we start to return to work, and our children return to school there is a lot to think about. Lockdown has affected us all in different ways, and it is normal to feel uncertain about what the future holds.

Many people feel confused, worried and apprehensive about going back to the workplace and even more feel anxious about sending children back to school. Amid this worry there is also the harsh realisation that indefinite lockdown is not sustainable and life still needs to carry on.

Organisations are considering a range of adjustments to the way work is done, to comply with government recommendations. These adjustments will depend on your job, and your individual circumstances.

Everyone’s situation is unique. However, as you  return to work, there are some general principles that will give you the best chance of getting back to work and staying mentally healthy over the coming months.

 

Talk and connect

It is important to keep in touch with colleagues and your line manager. You don’t need to talk about work, but a quick check-in will help you feel connected. We have all been impacted by the coronavirus in different ways. You may have been bereaved, felt overwhelmed or isolated, or been unwell. If you share this with others they will be better able to help you in the months ahead.

Plan and prepare

Think about your job and your situation. Does anything need to change to help you do your job well? If you haven’t been told what to expect, ask what provisions have been made to create a safe work environment. It can be helpful to think through what will happen on the first day back:

  • How will you get to work?
  • Will anything be different as you enter the building?
  • Who will be there?
  • Will you need to do things differently to get your job done?
  • Are you on a rotation schedule?

Have a return-to-work conversation with your line manager

If you have not received a return-to-work briefing from your line manager ask for one.

This is a chance to identify your work priorities and raise any concerns or questions that you have. If you have something important you want to talk about, make a note of it for when you have a briefing or perhaps drop your manager and email with your concerns. This is an unprecedented time for all of us and we are all trying to figure things out as we go along. NO one person has all the answers so raise your concerns and ask your questions – chances are you are not the only one who has the same concern.

Try not to panic and slip into a paranoid space

Take things one step at a time

The way we all work is likely to keep changing in the coming weeks and months so we will need to keep adjusting. Don’t expect everything to quickly return to normal. The life you knew and were familiar with prior to lockdown is gone and will very likely never return. We have a long journey ahead. We may never be able to go back to our old ways of working so this could give us an opportunity to do things very differently, and even better. Look out for yourself, look out for others and take one day at a time.

Monitor and review how you are getting on

It is important to have regular check-ins with yourself (How am I coping? Could I do more to help stay mentally healthy?) and check-ins with your team members and manager (How are we working? Is there anything we could do differently to work better together?). This way you can address issues as they come up and start to plan and prepare for the journey through COVID-19 together.

Be mindful of those who may have been directedly affected or infected by this virus. Be supportive and check-in if a team member has had to deal with the illness or loss of a family member due to COVID-19. many of those in  essential services have has to deal with unimaginable conditions from and emotional and psychological perspective. Many of them have brought these  traumas home and family have had to deal as best they could. so be gentle and be kind with those who are struggling you may not know what they have has to deal with on the home front.

Finally

Everyone is finding their own path and things might not always go to plan. It is important to be kind to yourself and to be kind to others as we all find our way. Returning to work is not always easy, but having support can make a huge difference. If you are finding it difficult, ask a trusted colleague or friend to help you work through the questions and identify some concrete actions that you, or they, can take to help you.

Self Image

All you need to know about Self Image

Self Image

It is not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it is what you whisper to yourself that has the most power! – Robert Kiyosaki

 

What is a Self-Image?

A self-image in its most basic form is an internalized mental picture an idea you have of yourself. It is how you think and feel about yourself based on your appearance, performance, and relationships that consistently impact your outlook on life as well as your level of happiness and fulfilment.

Whenever you ask:

How do I look?

How am I doing?

How important am I?

These are all examples of the internalized mental picture/idea you create of yourself that builds the foundations of your self-image. However, this does not provide us with nearly enough information about what this “self-image” thing is all about. So let us break this down even further.

Your self-image is the impression you have of yourself that forms a collective representation of your assets and liabilities. In other words, your self-image is how you see yourself based on your strengths and weaknesses.

These assets and liabilities often are evident through the labels you give yourself that describe your qualities and characteristics.

For instance, you might say:

I am intelligent… therefore I can…

I am loser… therefore I believe I can’t…

I am outgoing… therefore I am able to…

I am shy… therefore I am unable to…

I am a late bloomer… therefore I take longer…

These are just some examples of the many labels you potentially give yourself and the inevitable conclusions you may reach as a result. It is these conclusions you make about yourself that either form the foundations of a healthy self-image or an unhealthy self-image. Moreover, these labels form the foundations of your belief systems.

Your self-image is not something that is based on reality. In actuality, your self-image is built upon your perception of reality and that is influenced by how you believe you are being viewed by society and other people.

Your self-image is something that gradually develops over a lifetime of experience through learning and societal influence. It is, however, something that is constantly changing over time as you gain more life experience, as you think and reflect, as you learn, and as you interact with other people.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Self-Image

So what does a healthy self-image look like? What does an unhealthy self-image? What  is the difference? And what impact do both have on your life?

Let us answer these questions by breaking down what it means to live with a healthy and an unhealthy self-image. As you read through these two examples, take inventory of yourself and identify whether your self-image borders more to the healthy or toward the unhealthy side of the scale.

An Unhealthy Self-Image

A person with an unhealthy self-image tends to consistently focus on their flaws and limitations. They persistently criticize themselves and tend to judge most of their decisions and actions:

What was I thinking?

That was such a stupid decision.

I can’t believe I just did that.

I am so useless.

I can’t do anything right.

This constant critical judgment tends to distort their imperfections  making these seem larger than life. In fact, everything on the negative side tends to be exaggerated and blown out of proportion. This often happens because they are heavily influenced by other people’s opinions of them; to their own detriment.

In fact, these peoples’ lives are very much defined by societal views, opinions, standards, norms, and expectations. As a result, they are consistently comparing themselves to others and trying to live up to other people’s expectations. When they notice that they just don’t measure up, this sends their emotions into a tailspin which triggers doubt, pessimism, insecurity and eventually leads to discouragement and potentially depression.

Whenever a person builds their self-image upon external factors, there will always be drawbacks. People’s opinions change and societal expectations constantly shift. When these opinions and expectations are weighed in our favour this leads to a positive outlook and greater fulfilment. However, when they flip and become unfavourable or unhelpful in respect of the outcomes we would like to achieve, this causes upheaval by sending our emotions into a tailspin. Why? because suddenly the perfect mental picture/idea we had of ourselves has been thrown out the door. It is certainly not a healthy way to live. Inevitably these people find themselves on a constant see-saw of feeling good about themselves and feeling terrible about themselves.

A Healthy Self-Image

A healthy self-image is primarily based on an individual’s personal feelings and perspectives. Here individuals are no longer influenced by other people’s opinions of them or by societal expectations. They instead make up their own minds about the internalized mental picture/idea they have of themselves. As a result, these people often have a more optimistic outlook on life and thereby more confidence in themselves and in their own ability. Why? Because they feel a greater sense of control over themselves and over their life.

A person with a healthy self-image doesn’t deny that they have flaws. In fact, they are realistic and clearly understand and accept the fact that they have their personal shortcomings. However, there is no critical judgment here. They acknowledge who they are and how they are in this very moment and they do the best they can with what they have.

A healthy self-image is of course built upon a high level of self-worth. These work together to help shape a healthy personality, which effectively builds the foundation of an empowered life. An empowered life in turn allows us to incrementally improve those areas of our life we believe requires improvement.

How to Build a Healthy Self-Image

Here is a four-step process that will help you build a healthy self-image. This process is closely tied to the process we used for building more self-worth. Because these two are related, there will be some crossover. Having said that, there are some variations here that will help you dig a little deeper in this area.

Step 1: Explore Yourself

Your first step is to explore who you are and what that means to you. This is an important first step because unless you clearly define who you are, you will never really develop a clear and accurate picture/idea of “you”.

Ask yourself:

Who am I?

How am I?

What defines who I am?

How do I see myself?

How accurate is this view?

Is this who I really am? Is it really?

Is this my true self? Or is there something more below the surface?

It is important that you keep digging deeper and deeper using these questions. It is very much like peeling back the layers of an onion. The surface layers will reveal a fuzzy picture of who you are. However, as you dig deeper and deeper by peeling off more layers you begin to get a clearer picture/idea of yourself. This is why it is important to periodically question the accuracy of your view. Your goal is to get to the core of who you really are without the need for all those external layers.

Step 2: Take a Personal Inventory

It is time to take a personal inventory by listing your positive qualities, goals, passions, and purpose.

Ask yourself:

What are my positive qualities? I am… therefore I can…

What do other people say are my positive qualities?

What personal strengths do I have? I am… therefore I am able to…

What goals would I like to achieve?

How could I live with more meaning and purpose?

What does all this mean to me?

Why is all this important?

The purpose of this step is to unlock all the good things you feel about yourself; to unlock all the things you have going for yourself that will now add layers back onto that onion to help form a strong personal impression of who you are today from a bigger picture perspective.

In the previous step, you were removing unnecessary layers to get to the core of yourself. Within this step, you are adding layers to that core to form a definitive and comprehensive picture/idea of yourself at this very moment. And it is, of course, that very picture that forms the foundations of your self-image.

Step 3: Analyze Your Struggles

A little earlier I mentioned how a healthy self-image is primarily based on our own personal feelings and perspectives. In other words, how we think about ourselves as well as the opinions and labels we create are all critical components that go into building a healthy self-image.

A person with a healthy self-image does not rely on outside opinions or circumstances to define who they are. They must instead rely on internal resources for this purpose. It is therefore absolutely critical that we take personal control of our internal world because it is the only thing that really matters when it comes to building a healthy self-image.

To get an understanding of this internal world we need to take a look at four key areas. These areas include your critical voice, your unhelpful thoughtsbeliefs in the form of labels, as well as incorrect assumptions you might be making about yourself.

Here are some questions to help stimulate your thoughts in these areas:

How do I tend to talk to myself throughout the day?

When things go wrong, what is my internal dialogue like?

Am I mostly critical or encouraging?

Given the outcomes I would like to achieve are my thoughts mostly helpful or unhelpful?

How do my thoughts tend to distort my reality?

How do I tend to label myself?

Are my labels helpful or unhelpful?

Are these labels rational? Does it even make sense for me to label myself in this way?

What assumptions do I tend to make about myself?

How are these assumptions potentially hurting me?

Working through these questions will effectively help you get a better understanding of how your critical voice, unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions are shaping the picture/idea you have of yourself that builds your self-image.

If you discover that you tend to be overly critical of yourself; that your thoughts tend to be unhelpful; that your labels are negative; and that you tend to make assumptions that lead you astray, then it is important to work through these areas one by one in order to solidify your self-image.

If you are constantly being critical of yourself, then this is an indication that your self-image is not as healthy as it could be. It is therefore important to silence that critical voice and begin using more encouraging words.

Changing your language patterns in this way will help settle your thoughts and help you think more clearly and effectively. This subsequently means that you will be less likely to make negative assumptions or label yourself in unhelpful ways.

Step 4: Create an Accurate View of Yourself

The final step is to create a more accurate view of yourself that you can use as the foundation for building a healthy self-image. This view of yourself must be built upon all the positive qualities and strengths you outlined in Step 2 of this process.

Take those positive qualities and strengths and ask yourself one simple question:

How would I ideally like to be?

Take time to really have a good-long-hard think about this question and answer honestly how you would like to “be” starting today. There is, no one right answer, but rather a variety of answers that go into building your self-image. You will still have flaws and things that you might be struggling with. Accept these things. They are a part of you in the moment. You can work on improving these areas as you go along.

What is important here is that you are honest, genuine, authentic and real. This is who you are and this is how you see yourself with warts and all. In the end, building a healthy self-image is all about you. It is all about HOW you alone without external influences see yourself. It is this picture/idea of “you” that is what matters above all else. You are in the driver’s seat here; you alone define how you see yourself, and that is what counts in the end.

How to Strengthen Your Self-Image

Within this final section let us discuss some ideas to help you strengthen your self-image. Some of these suggestions are quite self-explanatory. In fact, many of them are simply decisions you make or  slight shifts in the way you think about yourself, think about your life, or how you approach circumstances. Other suggestions will require a little conscious effort and self-discipline. So all-in-all there is nothing complex here. Strengthening your self-image is simply about doing  small things consistently over time that will make a big difference in the long-run.

Do not Allow Society to Define You

Many people walk through life as a passive bystander. They accept how things are and allow society to influence/manipulate them into thinking and doing things in a specific way. They may have an opinion, but they rarely stand up for what they believe in, and instead allow society to shape their attitudes and opinions. As a result these people are at the mercy of the society.

They experience a roller-coaster ride of emotions because their internalized mental picture/idea of themselves shifts and changes depending on what is happening around them. They are therefore rarely satisfied and never completely fulfilled because they are always comparing themselves to others and trying to live up to societal expectations, opinions or views.

We often get stuck in this scenario because we regrettably take responsibility for other people’s problems. This is harmful because, for the most part, we are unable to control or influence these problems, and yet we lay the burden on our own shoulders. At times this is not even of our own doing. Other people place the burden of their problems on our shoulders and we suffer as a result.

It really should not be this way. Everyone should take responsibility for their own problems. In fact, you must be the one to take responsibility for your own choices, health, happiness, finances, relationships and life. Do not burden others with these things. You and you alone shape your life with purpose, and only in this way will you gain the personal power you need to develop a healthy and empowered self-image.

It is important to begin primarily living through our own internalized representation of ourselves and not relying on society to define us. This of course, starts with fully understanding and accepting who you are and then taking charge of the mental processes that are running your life.

 

Don’t Indulge in Self-Judgement or Self-Criticism

When you judge and overly criticize yourself, that is a clear indication that your internal voice is taking over your life. What I am talking about is that type of judgment and criticism that leaves you feeling helpless and deflated. That is the self-talk that it hurting your self-image and depleting your reservoirs of self-confidence.

While constructive criticism can be helpful, constructive criticism does not leave you with a foul taste in your mouth. It is rather something that leaves you feeling hopeful, optimistic and motivated that you can do better next time.

Instead of judging and/or criticizing yourself, choose to give yourself feedback. Feedback will provide you with an avenue for improvement and will help you to progressively develop the self-confidence you need to build a healthy self-image that allows you to be the best you can possibly be in every situation. After all you are not perfect, and you will make mistakes and fail miserably at times. That’s just part of life.

Actually, it’s just part of being human. You are not perfect and you will never be. Accept yourself with warts and all because a healthy self-image always comes through self-acceptance, which of course stems from self-understanding.

Don’t Expect Others to Complete You

When you rely on other people to complete you, you are at that very moment giving away your personal power. You are building your self-image on external factors (people). This might initially make you feel great about yourself and will undoubtedly help you boost your levels of confidence, however, the problem with this is your self-image is now at the mercy of other people.

If one day they tell you they do not love you anymore, then suddenly you feel unlovable. Or if suddenly they vanish from your life, then all of a sudden there is this empty hole inside that makes you feel incomplete.

You are not this other person, and they are not you. You are your own individual self and you certainly do not need other people to complete you. All you need is to gain a deep sense of understanding of who you are. Get to know your strengths and weaknesses. Then take full responsibility and control of your internal habitual patterns, and finally, fully accept that you are complete in your own right.

Other people can add value to your life, but in-and-of-itself you are complete in every way. This does not mean you are a finished product. You are not. There is much room to grow, develop and evolve in the coming years. However, this growth comes from within and then expresses itself outward in everything you do. That is the key to developing an empowering mental picture/idea of “you”. It starts from within. It starts with how you see yourself. It starts with building a healthy self-image.

Always Follow-through with Your Word

Your word must become your law. In other words, the promises you make to yourself you must keep. Promises kept help you create consistency, and you need consistency to build a healthy self-image.

Consistency is important when it comes to building a healthy self-image because a healthy self-image is not something that suddenly fluctuates with changing opinions. It is something that is steady and steadfast. I am not suggesting that your self-image does not change over time. Of course, it does. You certainly do not see yourself the same way today as you saw yourself a few years ago.

In fact, you might see yourself very differently in a variety of roles and/or situations. Your self-image is fluid, however, it requires consistency and consistency come from your ability to keep your word to follow through and do things a certain way.

A person who does not keep their word (the promises they make to themselves) is often the person who is heavily influenced/swayed by other people and their opinions. When you keep your word you are sending a strong message that you are running your life based on your own feelings and perspectives. You are not swayed by outside circumstances. This, does not mean you can’t change your mind. But that “change of mind” must come from a decision you make from within that is not primarily based on external factors.

When you reach this point you know that you are the one in the driver’s seat of your life. This is when you know you are the captain of your own ship.

Build Your Self-Image Upon Strong Foundations of Self-Worth

Finally, a healthy self-image is built upon the strong foundations of a high level of self-worth. Self-worth is of course all about how much you value and regard yourself despite what others might say and/or despite unfavourable circumstances. When you have a high level of self-worth nothing shakes or phases you. Likewise, when you have a healthy self-image you don’t look to outside sources to define who you are.

You alone create your own definition of who you are. You create the impression you have of yourself in each and every situation. You alone mould and shape the person you are today, and the person you become tomorrow.

Was this article helpful? Please leave a comment and let me know how you have built on your self image, I would love to hear from you.

Bad Career Story

HOW TO BUILD SELF-WORTH

Bad Career Story
I am useless

What is Self-Esteem?

Any discussion about how to build our self-worth must start with a definition of self-esteem. The two are, of course, related. Your self-esteem is undoubtedly influenced by your self-worth. However, they are not the same.

Self-esteem is primarily built upon sources outside of yourself that you don’t actually control.

Self-esteem encapsulates the thoughts and feelings you experience at each moment. These thoughts and feelings have a direct impact on your results, your behaviour, and your performance.

Self-esteem is primarily built upon the value derived from doing the things that get your desired outcomes. But it’s more than just about “doing” something. It is a direct outcropping of how you feel about yourself at any given moment. This is based purely on your actions.

How you feel about yourself is heavily influenced by how you think you are fairing compared to others. In other words, your self-esteem is derived from what you think others “think” of you, based on your results and actions.

Given all this, it is quite clear that self-esteem is not something that comes from within ourselves, but rather something that comes from outside of ourselves and subsequently influences how we feel at any given moment.

How we feel at any given time has nothing to do with reality, but instead, it is purely based on our perspective and interpretation of that reality. Given all this, it’s quite clear to see that self-esteem is very fickle and can shift with changing opinions and circumstances. However, this isn’t true for people who have a high level of self-worth.

A high degree of self-worth naturally enhances our self-esteem, thereby providing us with the self-confidence needed to follow through with our chosen decisions and actions.

What is Self-Worth?

Self-worth is an internal state of being that comes from self-understanding, self-love, and self-acceptance.

It is a state that is somewhat timeless and unchanging because it is a direct measure of how you value and regard yourself in spite of what others may say or do. It is therefore, something that does not quickly or easily change when external factors or circumstances change. Self-worth is steady and unflinching, and therefore, holds power to radically transform your life for the better.

This is, all well and good, but what does it actually mean to have a high level of self-worth?

A high level of self-worth means having a favourable opinion or estimate of yourself. It means having unshakable faith in yourself and in your ability to follow through and get things done.

Having a high degree of self-worth means feeling worthy of good things. It means feeling deserving of happiness, health, wealthsuccess, and love — irrespective of the difficulties you face, the disappointments you experience, or of people’s opinions. It is unflinching.

To have a high level of self-worth means accepting yourself wholeheartedly at all times despite your flaws, weaknesses, and limitations. It is about recognizing the real value of who you are at this present moment.

To have a high level of self-worth means never allowing yourself to be defined by outside forces, including people’s opinions. It means never allowing outcomes to shake your confidence, faith or resolve.

All this essentially means that no matter what happens you are steadfast. Nothing outside of your “being” influences how you feel about yourself. Your influence alone is the only thing that matters.

You alone are the most significant factor in how you feel about yourself, about your life, and about your circumstances. And that is essentially where your personal power comes from.

How to Build Your Self-Worth

Having a high level of self-worth is no doubt of tremendous value. So, the question still remains, how do we go about building our self-worth? How do we create enough self-worth to empower our daily decisions and actions in a way that will help us achieve our desired outcomes?

What I would like to share with you is a five-step process for doing exactly that step-by-step.

This is not something that you can do just once and then forget about. It is something that you must consistently work on. That is the only way you will build anything of real value. Placing one single stone down on the ground doesn’t build a fortress. However, over time, as you lay down more stones on top of each other an impenetrable fortress begins to take shape. This takes time. Building a high level of self-worth will take time.

This is a long-term process that you need to work on consistently over time. The same as you would work out at a gym to get that ripped and toned body. Slow consistent daily work will get the fortress built and will grow more impenetrable and substantial until it becomes almost unbreakable. No matter what life throws at you, because you put in place a solid foundation that you consistently built over time, you will be able to withstand some of the toughest storms life has. That is the strength of the fortress. And that’s precisely where the power of your self-worth comes from as well.

With that in mind, let us jump into the five-step process to build your self-worth.

 

Step 1: The Self-Understanding Stage

Your first step involves getting to know yourself at a deeper and more profound level.

Imagine for a moment that you woke you one morning to find that absolutely everything you had was suddenly taken away. I mean literally everything including your possessions, careermoneyrelationshipsfriendships, accomplishments, and anything else that is physical and tangible. Ask yourself:

What if absolutely everything I have was suddenly taken away from me?

What if all I had left was just myself?

How would that make me feel?

What would I actually have that would be of value?

 

This is an interesting scenario. It is a scenario that many people probably never really take the time to imagine. It is interesting because how you feel about yourself after everything has been taken away is the measure of your self-worth.

If you have a high level of self-worth, then having everything taken away from you won’t change who you are as a person. Furthermore, it won’t shake your self-confidence because you do not measure your value by external circumstances. Instead, your value comes from within.

This is why it is absolutely critical to take the time to think long and hard about that question and answer it with genuine honesty.

 

What would I actually have left that would be of value?

The deeper you dig into this question, the more you will discover within yourself what you do actually value.

You must seriously take the time to ponder this question. The more time you take to consider the answer to this question, the more you will find,  that this is where self-worth is comes from. It comes from understanding that…

No matter what happens externally and no matter what is taken away from me, I am not affected internally.

And that is what matters most when you begin to build your self-worth.

So let us look deeper into your true value by posing another set of questions that will help unlock how you see yourself with no masks or inhibitions.

 

Ask yourself:

Who am I? I am… I am not…

How am I?

How am I in the world?

How do others see me?

How do others speak about me?

What key life moments define who I am today?

What brings me the most passion, fulfilment, and joy?

 

Who you are and how you see yourself are keys to understanding your true value. How others see you and how they speak about you, is also, important. This is not so much about them but rather about how you feel about yourself as a result of how others see or speak about you. That is another measure of your self-worth.

Then there are those key life moments that bring you the most joy, passion, and fulfilment. These are the things that help you unlock the value you bring to the world.

However, this is not about pretty little rose petals and rainbows. This process involves being genuinely real with yourself.

Given this, let’s be real for a moment and take a look at your weaknesses and struggles.

 

Ask yourself:

Where do I struggle most?

Where do I need to improve?

What fears often hold me back?

What habitual emotions hurt me?

What mistakes do I tend to make?

Where do I tend to consistently let myself down?

 

Let us get real and accept the fact that we are only human. And as a human being, we all have our weaknesses and face our own personal struggles. We must be real and honest with our assessment of ourselves.

Only then will you be able to build a high degree of self-worth over time. And only then will you get the depth of understanding you need about yourself to move forward through this process.

And since we are being honest, let’s take a look at your strengths.

 

Ask yourself:

What abilities do I have?

What am I really good at?

Your strengths are the things that help build your self-confidence. They are the things that allow you to move forward with greater self-assurance. However, true strengths are only strengths by your own measure.

If you are relying on other people to tell you whether or not you are good at something, then that is not a true strength that comes from a sense of personal power.

People could very well change their minds then abruptly your strength turns into an afterthought. However, this does not need to be the case if you truly believe in your own personal value. That is what counts, and that is what truly matters when it comes to building your self-worth.

 

Step 2: The Self-Acceptance Stage

At this stage you presumably understand how you see yourself within the world around you. You probably also have a pretty clear picture of your current level of self-worth.

There will naturally be good things, neutral things, and things that you might not be too proud to admit. However, to build genuine self-worth, we must be real and authentic with ourselves at all times. This requires wholeheartedly acknowledging your true nature including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We are all human and therefore none of us are perfect. Yes, you have flaws, you’ve made mistakes and failed miserably time and again. However, this is you. This is the true you. It is who you are. Perfectly imperfect.

Forgive yourself for everything you have done or not done in the past and accept yourself unconditionally without judgment or excuses.

This is you. This is who you are. Accept that by acknowledging that…

I accept the good, the bad and the ugly.

I fully accept every part of myself including my flaws, fears, behaviours, and qualities I might not be too proud of.

This is how I am, and I am at peace with that.

Fully accepting yourself in spite of all your flaws, weaknesses, and limitations is absolutely critical for developing a high level of self-worth.

This is you. You are being vulnerable, authentic, and real. Embrace who you are fully and completely. Embrace the fact that you will no longer allow outside forces to define you. Only in this way will you finally let go of everything that has been holding you back all these years.

 

Step 3: The Self-Love Stage

Having fully accepted yourself, it is now time to acknowledge your true value. To do this, it is important to begin practicing a little self-love. Which basically means treating yourself with kindness, tolerance, generosity, and compassion.

Yes, you have flaws. Yes, you have so many limitations and weaknesses, but so does the rest of humanity. That is part of being human. It is time to let all that go and begin to practice being compassionate with yourself.

Compassion, of course, comes through self-love, which comes from self-acceptance, which stems from self-understanding. Ironically these are the steps we went through as we moved through this process.

One simple method to begin practicing self-love is to get into the habit of speaking to yourself and about yourself in a positive and supportive way.

I feel valued and special…

I love myself completely…

I am a worthy and capable person…

 

Talking to yourself in this way brings your focus and attention to the beauty hidden within you.

You are no longer looking at outside circumstances or people for approval or acknowledgment. You are instead searching for that approval within yourself. And that is one of the biggest steps you can take toward building your self-worth.

 

Step 4: The Recognition Stage

When you have an understanding  of yourself. When you have fully accepted yourself and when you reach a stage where you practice self-love and self-compassion, that is when people, events, and circumstances no longer define you. You instead begin to define yourself.

Given this, it is helpful to acknowledge and recognize that you no longer need to please other people. Other people have their own opinions, and they have their own life. You also have your own opinions and your own life. No matter what people do or say and irrespective of what happens outside of you, you alone control your own perspective and attitude.

You, hold the power to respond to events and circumstances of your life based on your internal sources, resources, and on your resourcefulness, which are all a reflection of your true value.

It is important to recognize your true value regardless of your earnings, career, possessions, social rank, relationship status, etc. Your true value is no longer measured by these things. It comes from an internal measure that you have set for yourself. That is where true personal power comes from.

 

Step 5: The Responsibility Stage

The final step in this process involves taking full responsibility for your life, for your circumstances, and for your problems. Now it is worth mentioning that I am not saying that you should be a martyr. What I am saying is to taking full responsibility for everything that happens to you  is about owning your contribution to where you are without giving away your personal power.

To take responsibility means to acknowledge that YOU have the personal power to change and influence the events and circumstances of YOUR life.

 

Concluding Thoughts

When you have a high level of self-worth, you are no longer relying on other people to make decisions for you. You alone hold yourself accountable, and you alone hold the power to make positive changes in your life.

There is no more complaining, blaming, judgment, or excuses.

You now hold the power…

Today is not a good day

  • Because you fully trust yourself and trust your ability to make decisions that put you in the driver’s seat of your life.
  • Furthermore, you are no longer are you swayed by the changing winds.
  • You are steady and self-assured.
  • You understand who you are, you accept yourself fully, love yourself unconditionally, and recognize that you are the captain of your ship.
  • Regardless of the circumstances happening around you and in spite of the rumours of mutiny, you are focused and able to stay the course.
  • You make adjustments on the fly, and you take charge of your ship.
  • You are not rattled or phased by external circumstances.
  • Yes, the outside world is a crazy mess, however, your inner world is as steady as can be; and that is what makes all the difference.

These are the things that keep you safe and it is all because you took the time to build your self-worth.

 

Did you gain value from this article? Is it important that you know and understand this topic? Leave a comment below I would love to hear from you.🙂

job search

5 important ways to get through job loss quickly

job search
Job search

I have Coached Over 200 Career Transitions — Here is A Routine That Helps People Bounce Back Faster

Losing your job takes a serious toll on your confidence and stirs up all kinds of unpleasant emotions.

Realistically though, it is likely that we’re going to face some kind of job loss or significant job change at one point or another in our careers.  Sometimes this change reaches far beyond the scope of our individual control and comes as a surprise to us. The best we can do is be prepared to manage this adversity and take some time to focus on ourselves. I’ve worked through over 200 career transitions over the years – including a couple of my own (most have been my clients’).  Self-care is critical to successfully getting through this time.  Here are five ways I practiced self-care after I was laid off — and I think you should try this routine, too

  1. I paused.

Losing your job can often be a big shock to your system.  Sometimes we know our organization is going through significant changes, but sometimes the change comes as a complete surprise.  Whatever the case, when the change impacts you personally, it can really hurt and take a toll on your confidence.

Depending on who we are and how we react to things, we might become emotional as we react to the news. The best advice I can give here is to take a breath.  If your employer is presenting you with a severance package, make sure you DO NOT sign anything in the heat of the moment. Take some time to  review the severance package offer after you get over the initial shock factor that will inevitably happen.

Reach out to a friend or colleague that you trust and get their input. Lean on your support system and let your feelings out in this safe environment. You don’t want to be embarrassed by emotional, irrational behavior in front of your former employer. Save the insanity for close family and friends (lucky them).

For me, the pause was critical because getting laid off was a very emotional experience. Taking time to breathe allowed me to have a rational and professional discussion with my employer about severance.

 

  1. I resolved the outstanding issues with my employer, A.S.A.P.

After the ‘pause’, it might still take you a few days to get your emotions back in check. Once you can get through thinking and discussing your new situation  without bursting into tears or fuming in anger, set your sites on closing the loop on outstanding items with your employer.

 

For your own mental health, you’ve got to get the details resolved as quickly as possible. Having the details of a severance looming over you for days, weeks or months is simply exhausting. You owe it to yourself to get closure so you can move on.

In most cases, your employer should appreciate that this is an emotional situation and provide an appropriate deadline (a week or so) for you to get back to them on their offer of severance. If they don’t give you some time to get your act together, count your blessings that you no longer work for them.

So, you have done your due diligence in terms of reviewing the details and terms of the severance offer, now you need to respond to them. I always suggest having this conversation via email so everything is documented. Avoid the phone if you can it can muddy the waters. You also don’t know what might set off potential emotional outbursts. Make sure you get all of the details from your employer such as how and when the severance will be paid, what happens to your benefits, what happens to any sort of other company programs and any additional amounts owing. Get all the information that you can to minimize any need for follow up contact. You likely won’t want to talk to them again.

 

  1. I didn’t try to find out why I was laid off.

I have heard people say time and time again that they need to understand why they have lost their job in order to move on. They want to know what they have done wrong, or how the employer decided that they should be the employee to exit.

The fact is, a lot of time, the reason that an employer provides a severance package for you is so that they don’t have to share this information with you. Quite frankly, it might even be none of your business, and part of some broader organizational plan.

For me, adopting an ‘I don’t need to know’ attitude was the key to self-care when I was laid off.  What value is there in knowing the organization’s point of view, anyways?  Would it really change the current situation? Probably not. If anything it would only serve to inflate your anger and frustration levels. So take time to  make peace with the reality that you are out the door and see it as an opportunity rather than a set back.

 

  1. I got into a routine.

I allowed myself some time to mourn the loss of my job. This is an important step many people seem to forget to do or chose not to do. Loosing a job is much like loosing a loved and the  lose needs to be mourned. For me, this was the end of the longest-term relationship I had ever had. Grieving was important, but I set myself a deadline to be sad. I cried and moped, but only for a week. At the end of the week, I started into a routine.

It was summer and I wanted to take advantage of the time away from work and focus on the positives of being away from work. I got up every single morning and planned an outing with my little guy. Every day we were up and dressed. You’d be surprised how therapeutic getting up and going outside can be.

Getting into a new routine is critical to your career transition success. Part of establishing this routine was knowing what I would say when people asked ‘How’s work?’ I actually practiced my response so I could answer confidently without stumbling or feeling insecure.

 

  1. I set an unemployment deadline.

While I only allowed myself a week to be sad about losing my job we all know the grieving process has no hard and fast deadline. The reality is that, sometimes, we have to work through the emotions of things , and that can take a while.  While I wasn’t sitting at home and moping, I was still going through all the feelings of job loss.  I wanted some time and space between that job and my next one.  Since I was laid off in the summer, I set myself a deadline of autumn (fall) to get on a structured job hunt. Setting parameters and clear goals for myself were really key parts of my self-care and managing my overall mental health.

Job loss is hard. Period. There is no magic formula to work through the grieving process and there are no standard timelines. When it comes to self-care and job loss, you’ve got to take a moment to reflect what will work for you.  Focus on those things that give you comfort, structure and a sense of purpose. It’s inside those things that you will find a transition process that is uniquely yours. On the other side of that transition is your future career success.

7 key benefits of Career Transition Coaching

Career Coach

Career transition at senior level is difficult as there are only a few available opportunities and plenty of very tough competition. More and more senior managers and executives are using career coaches to gain competitive advantage. Many of the best business leaders engage executive coaches. Career coaching can help executives navigate career transition quickly and effectively. Engaging a career coach will substantially improve competitiveness, marketability and ultimately the success of your job search and long-term career.

If your strategy is to send out hundreds of  copies of your Curriculum Vitae and hope for the best, you will quickly discover that this doesn’t work and is a futile use of your time.  Even if you have the best LinkedIn profile, it is not a guarantee of success.

A good career coach will help you articulate your best attributes and highest skills for a prospective employer to notice. A career coach will help you  develop an effective job search strategy to identify the best target companies and secure your ideal position.

It can significantly reduce the time it takes to find your ideal position by helping you develop a comprehensive job search strategy. Many people including senior manager and executives  find it difficult to articulate the value they can bring to an organisation and as a result how to pitch themselves effectively feels awkward. Many are also unsure what exactly they are looking for in terms of both position and type of company and this can be a significant disadvantage. If your vision is not clear, then you cannot develop an effective strategy to achieve it.

Get help to create a Vision. Vision guides you! In simple terms, if you are going on a business trip or holiday, you would not arrive at the airport without knowing what your destination is. Your destination guides your choice of airline and ultimately which terminal to arrive at. Your career transition journey is no different. If you don’t know where you are going to how will you know when you get there?

A career coach can help you create an impactful Curriculum Vitae (CV) / Resume and LinkedIn profile. Many people forget that the purpose of a CV / Resume is to get the interview and not the job, and as such this document must be carefully constructed to articulate just enough information to create interest and impact and encourage an employer or recruiter to reach out. BUT…. not too much information! At Renata Career Coach we sometimes see CV’s / Resumes that lack impact, are poorly written and in many cases are simply a cut and paste of a job description with little attention given to achievements. Remember that the attention given to each CV / Resume by a recruiter or potential employer is very short so making an impact quickly is essential!

Develop your networking skills. Some experts say that 70% of people ended up in their current position thanks to networking. Others say it’s more like 80-85%. Which ever statistic you believe what is clear this is substantial and as such incorporating a comprehensive networking strategy into your job search strategy is one of the most important actions you can. Effective networking provides a focused way to talk to people about your job search and can help you obtain leads, referrals, advice, information, support and most importantly uncover hidden promotion job opportunities. A good career coach will help you review various opportunities, networking events, existing contacts, developing new contacts and how to prioritise those that could generate the best results.

Preparation for interview and the overall assessment and selection process. Most organisations now have comprehensive recruitment and selection processes consisting not only of competency-based interviews, but also psychometric assessments as well as situation-based presentations. Having someone help you prepare for this puts you at a distinct advantage versus your competition. In our career coaching practice, we help you identify and segment your achievements across your entire career and then help you articulate them in a structured and impactful format. This process alone greatly assists Executives in interview preparation therefore it can also help you. Remember …. 90% preparation = 10% perspiration. 10% preparation = 90% perspiration!

A good career coach will hold you accountable for the goals you have set, offer valuable advice and expertise, and help you acquire different perspectives. Inevitability, there will be setbacks throughout your job search journey and your coach will be there to pick you up and encourage you to keep focussed and face your next challenge with renewed confidence and enthusiasm.

On-boarding into your new position. Depending on the terms and duration of engagement, some career coaches provide on-boarding coaching. The first six months of any position can be critical for both the organisation and the new appointee. On the one hand the hiring organisation will need to see evidence of added value from you. On the other hand you  will need to feel that you have made the right career decision.

Various sources of research have shown that the average executive failure rate within the first 18 months is approximately 40%! A career coach can help with embedding and securing the success of the new relationship and provide a confidential environment to discuss goals, objectives and any potential issues that may arise.

In conclusion, you must remember that the role of a coach is to facilitate you to acquire different perspectives to get more out of work and life. The true value of the coaching process is gained from the work you put in between sessions.

At Renata Career Coaching we provide 1-2-1 coaching for people who are in career transition or planning to change jobs. We tailor a structured programme appropriate for the needs of each individual which results in a professional and effective job search campaign and improved confidence.

Our career coaching service can include:

  • Skills and competency assessment
  • Curriculum Vitae / Resume preparation
  • Development of a Comprehensive Achievements Profile Document
  • Development of a Job Search Marketing Plan
  • Effective networking
  • Engaging effectively with Executive Search Consultants
  • Interview training

For those people looking for an improved alternative to the traditional outplacement program, our Career Coaching programme provides unique and highly customised support on how to conduct a professional job search campaign. Ideal Careers Happen by Design let us at Renata Career Coaching help you find the ideal career that suits you

For a free no-obligation consultation please contact our office via email at renatafester@career-coach.co.za

Career Coach

Pearls of Wisdom

Hello there hope you are having a fabulous week.

So I have been reading this book about mindset and this thought crossed my mind. I wonder how many other people may need to read some of these pearls of wisdom I have been reading. I then realised that you may not have the time or the interest in reading a book on mindset and how our thoughts influence our daily lives. More importantly how our thoughts can change our reality.

I know I was a bit skeptical at first too but I kept reading anyway. I came to realise this is not magic, its not some new age pop-psychology or even something reserved for those “enlightened gurus” or “flower-power” types. It is all quite real and surprisingly well researched. In fact it is used very successfully by many people who many of us know [maybe not personally but we know who they are].

You know who Arnold  Schwarzenegger is right – like him or loath him go read his story. There are many like him who have used these little pearls and have made remarkable changes in their lives.

Truthfully what do you have to loose – that was my view anyway so I decided to give it a bash. I have only just started so will let you know how it goes. Why not give it a try and let me know how your reality changes. Or maybe just try it for sniffs-and-giggles and see what happens. Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

So here goes the first little pearl of wisdom I came across.

Visualization is using your imagination to see yourself in a situation that hasn’t yet happened, picturing yourself having or doing the thing you want, and successfully achieving the results you desire.

  1. Decide what you want to do or have.
  2. Relax. Spend several minutes unwinding so that you are comfortable in body and mind.
  3. Spend five to ten minutes visualizing the reality you want.

The mental pictures we indulge in, become a blueprint for our goals, a mold into which we pour our energy.

The more the thought is repeated the more energy and power it generates, and the more readily it is able to manifest itself.

Strong and concentrated thoughts are strong and concentrated forces.

Re-Invent your Career

Career Re-Invention – A lesson from an old Friend

and I’m a bit nostalgic and inspired today after reading an article about a woman whose life started out as an actor in some of those pop-cult type movies and after many were ready to write her off she proclaimed she would never give up and reinvented herself as a teen inspirational author and self help guru of sorts.

It made me think about how her advice and encore career as an undeniable inspiration to teens, could translate to job seekers. Here are my thoughts:

Be Persistent

Many of us don’t get the job we want. Some of us do not always love the job we have. The important thing however is to never give up on ourselves in the process. If you are unhappy, unfulfilled, and full of dread when you head to work in the morning, regardless of your age, it’s time to reassess. Sometimes we need to take a minute to refocus our energy into something different and see other possibilities.

Be Open To The Possibilities – Everywhere

Consider the areas that people seem to consistently see you as the go-to person for advice about their lives. You may realise that this is an area you know something about. What is that “thing” you get asked about in your circle of friends? Are you an expert handyman? Do you feel comfortable discussing sex with your children, while your friends are blushing at the thought? Are you handy with a paintbrush? Consider it might be right under your nose; if you only are open to them.

Don’t Listen To The Naysayers

Oh, sure, the media will give you all the bad news and support for your miserable case if you look for it. Instead, have some discipline and push those news feeds away like it’s something you are allergic to! We have all been told that we a really bad at something or the other in our life – the important thing is to not allow that to stop you

As  you find the new directions that fulfill you and you start to get better at these new ventures you will be the one enjoying the last laugh – guaranteed.

Job seekers, can learn a lot from reinvention.Many people have reinvented themselves and successfully so, you’re not down for the count until YOU say it’s over.

I recently had coffee with an old school mate who I hadn’t seen in many years.

As we caught up on each others’ personal and professional lives, we also updated each other on news about fellow friends we both knew. She filled me in on one friend who I hadn’t seen or heard from in a very long time and started by saying, “I have to tell you about ___. This is the greatest career story.”

My friend proceeded to tell me the juiciest story about all the drama that unfolded at this woman’s current employer. It was rich with details, full of highs and lows, and ended with our mutual friend landing a promotion. When it was over, she said, “Isn’t that an incredible story?” I thought, “Good? It could be a movie!” She knows me well. I’m always looking to celebrate success stories over at Your Future in Your hands.

Why Some Career Stories Are More Memorable Than Others

As I analyzed what made that story so gripping, I realized it had all the elements of the most captivating books I had read or movies I had ever watched. There was a:

  1. villain
  2. victim-turned-hero
  3. terrible obstacle to overcome
  4. evil sidekicks
  5. mild-mannered (yet powerful!) allies
  6. lots of unexpected turns of events(and most importantly)
  7. happy ending

 

We ALL Have Career Stories

Each of us has a career story. It’s the way we summarize and share what has happened in our professional lives. They explain where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are trying to go. These stories are very important to our success. Why? When we share them, they create our personal brand. The better the story, the more likely people will connect with our message. These stories are especially important when we are trying to affect change in our career (i.e. get a promotion, a new job, switch careers, start a business ,etc.) These stories become our “marketing message” – and if they aren’t good, our ability to succeed suffers. For more evidence on the power of stories in your career, read fellow LinkedIn writer, Peter Guber’s article here on our “hunger” for a good story.

Bad Career Story? It’s Time to Change the Plot

When a client comes to me and is miserable in their career, the story I hear usually sounds a lot like a fairy-tale that stops short of its happy ending. There’s plenty of drama, but the story lacks key elements – just like a bad movie with a weak plot or badly written book. I often tell them, “If you cannot get your happy ending with your career story told this way in your head, it’s time to change the plot.” We then work through their mindset towards their situation, slowly changing their assumptions and perceptions, until finally, it can be told in a different way. When that happens, a happy ending usually comes into view.

FYI – In my next post, I will share an example of how this works. I’ll introduce you to Mike, who I helped go from “poor me” to “woo hoo” with his career story. (CLICK HERE >> to read it now.)

What do you think makes a juicy career story? How can people be more memorable (in a good way!) when they share their career stories?

If you want to read more of what I’ve written, https://www.career-coach.co.za/blog/

P.S. – First time reading my posts? Thanks for taking the time to stop by! Not only do I write for LinkedIn, but I’m also founder of a popular career advice site, Develop Your DREAM CAREER. I hope you’ll check it out!