When you are pushing against your own comfort zone, want to expand, and see new opportunities (or just gain a little confidence), it’s a good idea to do a bit of reflecting to see when and where you have surprised yourself in the past. Trust me, we all have!
Especially in times of growth and expansion into unknown territory, it’s easy to get caught up in self-limiting and doubtful inner dialogue. (“People will judge me.” “I might fail.” “Compared to others, I know nothing,” “You cannot do this!” “Love is out of your reach.” “You are not good enough.” ---> Sound familiar?)
What matters is that we can put this limiting inner dialogue to the side and re-discover the positive inspiration and fierce motivation that will put us back in charge of our decisions so that we can passionately create the life we desire.
Nothing creates authentic confidence as much as the realization that we are, in fact, trustworthy, capable of surprising ourselves, and able to make things work even though we used to believe that they were outside of our reach.
"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy." - Norman Vincent Peale
The truth is that we often don’t notice our own growth and our own achievements until much later.
Knowing this, I recently did an inventory on what I never thought I could do that I actually have done at this point. My intention with this post -and by sharing my 10 points with you- is to inspire YOU to look outside of the box and also take a proper inventory of your own life as well.
1) Speak publicly without freaking out, having shaking knees, and spontaneously reverting back to my native language, German (...only half kidding:)) Speaking in front of people used to scare the living crap out of me because I was constantly in anticipation of other people’s judgment, so my voice would give in super easily. I still get nervous, but now I know I can handle it. This year I spoke at companies like Yelp, Twitter, AMEX, and Charity Water as well as to graduating students at NYU. I even hosted my own live event in NYC called Summer Awakening (see picture:)). It was a blast and taught me that most of my anticipated judgement was my own.
2) Walk my own talk and not please everyone else first. I used to think that people won’t like me anymore if I say “no” and put me off as selfish if I took really good care of myself. In reality, they started to value me and my time more because I was valuing me and my time more too. It doesn’t mean I love my friends and family less. I do. It just means that I recognize that I need to fuel myself in order to serve anyone else. Implementing boundaries isn’t always easy, but oh-so necessary in order to create the space we need to practice self-care.
3) Trust my body and actually like how I look. In my early 20s I was constantly trying to lose weight, which led me to eat a bunch of fake crap (sugar-free cookies that mess with your stomach anyone?) which racked havoc in my body, my hormones and my emotions. I relentlessly nagged my body for not being thinner, which felt awful and certainly didn’t do any good for my romantic relationships. Over the years, I have learned to take a more intuitive and playful approach to truly nourishing my body -inside and out. Do I still have days when I feel judgy about myself. Yes. But I don’t hate on my whole self for it.
4) Allow myself to embrace my imperfections. Sometimes I over-eat. Sometimes I am grouchy. Sometimes I forget things and sometimes I mess up. I make mistakes and change my mind. I focus on course-correcting instead of on perfection. It is so liberating to be ok with the mistakes and mis-steps in life (we all make them!) and release the self-judgment, so you can move on with your life.
5) Believe in love 100%. This was a really hard one for me. I used to think that romance in my family was doomed to fail because everyone is divorced. I was scared to believe in real love because I had seen people painfully heart-broken. It took me a while to even realize that I had to forgive and release resentment in order to open up and receive the love I deep down always wanted.
6) Run my own business from home or anywhere in the world. The idea of being my own boss was always something that appealed to me, but I wasn’t sure I could actually do. The truth is that I am terrified of messing up my finances and the thought of creating a “legal entity” made me want to hide under my bed with a box of chocolates. I had to learn to move through those fears, calmly educate myself about business and finances, and really take charge. To quote Marie Forleo: “Everything is figureoutable.”
7) Accept that fear and worry are natural parts of life. What you most resist persists! Once I stopped resisting fear and worry and just accepted them as normal -even important- feedback about my life decisions, fear and worry stopped being paralyzing hurdles. By stopping to engage with the voices of fear and worry, I gave them less power and was able to move through them and continue on to what really matters: what I actually do with my one precious life life.
8) Fall asleep easily and stay asleep all night. It used to take me about 2 hours to fall asleep at night where I would try to “read myself tired in dim light” and then I would often wake in the middle of the night with a head full or worrying thoughts. I have since adopted some breathing techniques that help me fall and stay asleep.
9) Run, sprint, bike, play tennis… for years after my surgery my back pain continued and I couldn’t even dream of using my mid-20s body in the way everyone else did. About a year ago -once I really stepped into my purpose and learned how to manage stress- my pain finally started to subside. Now I sometimes even forget that anything was ever wrong with my back. Of course, I don’t know if the pain will come back, but for now I am beyond grateful to feel as strong and alive in my body as I do.
10) Follow my intuition and launch The Busy Girl’s 6-Week Plan To Balance And Fulfillment, my own group coaching program, which is currently in its 2nd week. I have been longing to create a place of sisterhood and community for women for the last 1.5 years, but shied away from it because I doubted myself. Finally setting this part of myself free and watching it come to fruition, feels amazing and humbling as I get to accompany twelve wonderful woman who are fiercely working on themselves and their lives.
And - to keep things real;)- here are some things that are still a work in progress:
I know multi-tasking is not good for you + I am a terrible at it. Yet I continue to try (& overboil my eggs in the process) but never seem to learn that lesson.
I wish I didn’t care what others think of me ever, but now and then self-doubt still creeps up and I have to actively work on releasing it again.
I barely ever beat my fiance in tennis anymore. His mental game is much tougher than mine.
I am a total time-optimist… I think something will take me 5 minutes when in reality it takes 15, which leads me to speedwalk more often than I want (check out my recent post on The Rushing Woman Syndrom to learn more)
I am scared of flying to the point where a little bumps will make my palms sweaty. I have been working on this fear for a while, but it’s definitely not easy for me.
I am also scared over deep water (thanks to my brothers who loved the Shark Attack movies when we were little). I am really aware of being inferior in these situations.
These are only a few points of course, but that’s what life is really about: mastering one step at a time while celebrating the small achievements.
But now over to you: What have you done in your life that you never thought you could?
If you are thinking to yourself “I haven’t really done that much” I want you to snap out of right now and think back about yourself when you were in middle school or high school or college and really think about what you have learned, done, and experienced since then that you could have never dreamt of doing.