I was dropping my daughter off for the day when another mom approached me and said, "Hey, I'm going to this big conference for women that Hillary Clinton is speaking at, and I saw you're speaking, too! That's so great!!"
And I found myself replying, "Well, I'm not really speaking, I'm moderating a panel."
"That's amazing!" she said. "I'm sure you'll get a lot of exposure for your business!"
"They're planning to send some of my information to their email list, so who knows," I said, "maybe I'll get something from that."
She again replied with total enthusiasm while I continued to rebut everything nice or positive that came out of her mouth.
Afterwards, as I was driving home, I realized I had just done what my friend Kristen Wheeler describes as "not owning your awesomeness." I'd just been asked how my awesomeness was going, and I basically told her "Oh, I'm really not that awesome."
I felt inspired to share this with you so that the next time someone approaches you in a positive, enthusiastic way and asks how things are going, you can follow these five steps to start owning your awesomeness!
1. Notice that you are denying your awesomeness when you:
- Push away the compliments
- Focus on the ways you fall short
- Act as though your accomplishments are not that big a deal
- Generally deny your awesomeness
2. Recognize that you are not alone in this.
It's human nature. Research shows women particularly have a hard time touting our strengths because we can be viewed as either competent or likeable, but not both. So it's normal that many of us feel uncomfortable owning our accomplishments.
3. Start to see the good in yourself.
Practicing self-compassion is a great way to start opening yourself up to more awesomeness. A 2010 study by Leah Shapira and Myriam Mongrain showed that people who wrote a self-compassionate letter to themselves once a day for seven days were less depressed, less anxious, and experienced greater happiness up to six months later!
4. List your Awesomeness.
My business partner Lisa Abramson and I have started this practice as part of our weekly planning and it's been incredible. Each week, we look back at the prior week and spend three to five minutes writing down everything we're proud of having accomplished that week. I recommend listing at least 10 things.
Another thing that's helped me is to keep a folder on my computer called "Appreciations" or "Awesome". Each time I get a touching email or message from a client or someone else giving me positive feedback, I cut and paste it into this document. On days when I'm feeling down or frustrated, I pull up this document and it never fails to bring a smile to my face.
5. See if you can own just a little more of your awesomeness.
You start by receiving compliments or enthusiastic inquiries in a more positive way. Simply say, "Yes, I am really excited about this new opportunity! And I'm proud of what I've done. Thanks for asking me about it."
If this feels uncomfortable, you can add, "It feels a bit awkward for me to acknowledge what I've done well. I want to change that and I appreciate your help."
By following these five steps, you'll see how much easier it becomes to receive a compliment and own your awesomeness with ease! And if you'd like a practice to tap into your best self, join our Free 30-Day Meditation Challenge, which starts April 6th.
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