No matter what you want to achieve in your life or business, it all starts with your self-image. A strong self-image provides the foundation for the success-triad: confidence, action, and persistence.
If you don’t think highly of yourself, those qualities will be in short supply.
If you want to scale any result in your life you MUST find a way to develop a strong self-image.
How you see yourself is crucial for what you’ll attempt and avoid.
The reality is, it’s not always easy to examine, challenge, and change one’s beliefs about yourself, but it must be done to reach the highest levels of success in any area of your life.
Also, not only will you experience more success, but you’ll also feel better about yourself which breeds more confidence.
Ultimately, all aspects of your life will be affected for the better.
So, let’s talk about ways you can enhance your self-image and with that the results you’d get to enjoy in your life.
Here is a simple process for enhancing the way you view yourself to enjoy greater success:
Figure out what’s standing in the way.
Think for a moment, “What beliefs and recurring thoughts do you have that are limiting or tarnishing your self-image?“
Then take a piece of paper and make a list of all your limiting and negative beliefs, and then prioritise the list.
After that commit yourself to work with the 10 most damaging:
A few examples include:
- I’ll never be good with money.
- I’m not good at making friends.
- People don’t like me.
- I just can’t lose weight.
- I don’t have any self-control.
- I’m horrible at math and science.
- I’m stuck in this career for the rest of my life.
- It’s too late to change my life.
Attack each belief individually.
Use everything at your disposal to attack these distorted beliefs. In CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) we call them “Cognitive Distortions.”
They are unhelpful and unconscious beliefs we picked up somewhere on our journey that is not founded in truth but things like generalisations, inaccuracies, or misperceptions etc.
They tend to reinforce our negative emotions and behaviour.
Here is an online definition:
Cognitive distortions are simply ways that our mind convinces us of something that isn’t really true. These inaccurate thoughts are usually used to reinforce negative thinking or emotions — telling ourselves things that sound rational and accurate, but really only serve to keep us feeling bad about ourselves.
So, let’s imagine you have the negative belief, “I’ll never be good with money.”
The first step is to realise that this statement is ridiculous.
Because anyone can be good with money if they know the “rules” of personal finance.
Chances are you’ve also mastered plenty of other things you weren’t naturally good at, like riding a bike, speaking English, walking, making coffee, and playing tennis.
Most of those things are far more challenging than handling money well.
You could also remember that you were a diligent saver as a child.
Maybe you also took a personal finance class in high school.
Perhaps you were the treasurer of your junior class.
Whatever you need to remember or make up in your mind – gather “evidence” against this cognitive distortion and attack it relentlessly.
Learn what you need to know and create a plan.
Maybe you realise that your friend-making skills are a little rusty
Or perhaps you recently moved to a new country (city) and you need to update your rapport-building skills.
So, instead of buying into a false belief (like, “I’m not good at making friends”), instead you buy a book on enhancing your social life, join a wine-tasting club, and put your newfound skills to work.
It won’t take long to see real improvement in your results, and we know that nothing motivates and creates confidence like results.
Once your confidence sours your self-image will follow.
List your accomplishments.
A powerful and effective way to challenge false beliefs is with proof.
The truth is you’ve already accomplished a lot, even if you don’t always think that.
For example, you’ve most likely learned how to speak (just ask someone who had a stroke and has to learn how to speak again, what a huge accomplishment this is), graduated from school, got your first apartment, secured your first job, started dating someone, got married, learned to drive.
List them all.
Then, if you must, keep the list handy and review it daily.
As people, we often like beating ourselves up or getting down on ourselves.
But, if we’re honest, we can ALWAYS find something to feel proud of or list as an achievement (no matter the size).
Say positive things to yourself.
Everything you say to yourself is nonsense, but you eventually believe it.
In fact, when we say things often enough, they do take on the truth after a while.
But, it doesn’t make them any true.
So, why not say things that are helpful instead?
Repeating positive things over and over will also become “true” after a while.
Catch yourself when the negative talk starts flying and change your thoughts.
- “I can’t do this” becomes “I know I’ll find a way.”
- “I’m too short” becomes “I’ve been tall enough so far for everything that matters. My height is irrelevant.”
Spend time with people that make you feel good about yourself.
And avoid those that make you feel bad about yourself.
There are people in your life that make you feel like an attractive, fascinating genius, and there are those that manage to do the exact opposite.
It’s obvious which group will enhance your self-image.
My rule of thumb is, maximise your exposure to the first group and minimise your time with the latter.
We don’t need to spend time with people that make us feel bad ourselves; so don’t!
Create a list of people to spend more time with and a list of people to avoid.
Changing your view of yourself isn’t easy, but necessary for greater success in any area of your life or business.
Nothing is exempt.
This process requires courage, experimentation, and patience, so the sooner you start the quicker you’ll see results.
It’s important that you develop a realistic opinion of yourself, which requires being fair with yourself.
It’s human nature to emphasise the negative and downplay the positive, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay attention to it or worse, allow it to run your life.
Start enhancing your self-image today and take your success to the next level.