How do you impact those around you? How does that actually work? And how does it feel for those who love you? Today I’m having a conversation with my husband Jay about impact, confidence and more!
Episode 258, which came out a few weeks ago, has ended up being SO popular – so many of you are sharing it and talking about it and messaging me about it, it’s making me sooo happy. And it tells me that this way of reframing the sacrifices you make for your dreams as a positive, because it is showing other people what’s possible, it’s inspiring them to dream bigger – we all need to hear that.
I was talking to this about Jay, and through the years he’s told me that by following my dreams, well, it’s changed him. So I asked him if he’d come and talk to y’all about it, give you a different perspective, and to give you another boost of permission that YES, you are having an impact (even if it takes 15 years to see the results).
Do you find yourself distracted with how you could have done something better? Or sidetracked thinking about the mistakes you made? Are you just too hard on yourself? Guess what? Me too!
Today I’m going to share how I’ve been working on: NOT being so hard on myself so I can move forward!
Now, most of us want to be better, right? We want to streamline, optimize, and improve all the time. That’s great and useful…but not when it comes with a dose of beating yourself over everything that needs to be improved and optimized. Not if you’re getting so bogged down in what’s “wrong” that you can’t shift into action.
This is on my mind because a few days ago I posted on Instagram Stories, that I noticed that I am really hard on myself when it comes to basically every parenting interaction. I'm always thinking: Oh, I could have done that better…I should have reacted differently…Ugh, I wish I had stayed calmer.
(What sparked this conversation was how I feel about parenting decisions, but we’re going to talk about all aspects of life, and especially your business, so you don’t need to be a parent to learn something! I’m brand new at being a parent, and I think a lot of what I’m experiencing is how it feels to be brand-new and learning at ANYTHING. It certainly reflects the lessons I was learning as a brand-new businesswoman!)
When I posted on Instagram Stories I got a lot of replies to my question about being hard on myself and I want to talk about them with the whole community, because they represent two different ways to look at the issue.
First, let’s talk about what I mean about “being hard on myself”. What I’m talking about is when something happens or you make a choice and you think: I should have handled that better. I shouldn’t have done X. I should have done Y.
Now, that thought alone isn’t necessarily the problem. The problems come in when there is judgement (I’m bad because I did X), when there is intensity (OMG THAT WAS HORRIBLE) and when these thoughts are frequent (if you can’t move forward because you can’t let go of the “mistakes” you made).
For example, one of the parenting things I thought was a mistake, I could NOT let it go. For the whole day I go over and over the morning in my head: What happened? Why didn't I …? Why didn't I..? I should have…
(By the way, I want to mention that if you have intrusive or looping thoughts, talk to a therapist, you can get help.)
So that’s being hard on yourself, and for me it comes in the framework of my Generalized Anxiety Disorder, where my anxiety-brain runs away with itself.
When I posted about it I got two different kinds of replies:
Half the replies said: This is what motherhood is! Get used to always feeling not good enough!
And the other half of the replies said: here are some resources for negative self-talk. Whether it's challenging negative thoughts or learning to talk kinder to yourself.
And both of these are interesting because they show different perspectives. One says “this is how it always is” and the other says “you can change this”.
I know that part of what “get used to it” means is, I'm not alone. That this is a part of doing anything new, and it's a part of almost every aspect of a woman's life – this constant sense that you SHOULD be better, that you COULD do better and that it's your job to be the absolute best.
Our world is filled with messages telling us: eat better, manage your time better, improve your hair, eyes, waist, kids behavior. Earn more money. Buy better stuff. Tidy up the stuff you do buy.
I don't think any of us should just accept that we never feel good enough. I think we can accept that there are a lot of messages in the media and on Instagram, Pinterest, and even among friends that tell us NOT to feel good enough. Our world is filled with this message and then we reiterate these messages to ourselves…but I don't want to believe that it has to be like this forever, that I just need to resign myself to this mindset.
Although I know “you’re not alone, this is what it feels like” messages are meant to be encouraging, I just don't want to live like this. It's not sustainable (in this intensity.) Just because the world tells you that you need to be better doesn’t mean you need to tell YOURSELF that you need to be better.
So, I'm moving forward with the belief that it doesn't have to be like this.
Now the second set of responses were: challenge those negative thoughts!
And this was interesting because I was not even recognizing what I'm doing as negative thoughts. It feels more like…hmm, just a running commentary of what could be better. Almost positive like: you could improve it this way! This could be smoother next time! Optimize! Streamline! IMPROVE!
HOWEVER improving and optimizing CAN be helpful…but when the underlying message is “Not good enough! Not good enough!” …that's not helpful or beneficial.
I kept telling myself that these weren't negative thoughts, they were just kind of insistent. Like the messaging of my whole life combined with anxiety leads to insistent, pervasive sense of doom. And then I realized: Wait, if this is anxiety, I know what can help with anxiety: challenging those thoughts and rewriting them. This is known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and studies show that it’s one of the most effective therapies at dealing anxiety and depression.
CBT has this concept of “cognitive distortions,” ways that you’re seeing the situation through a distortion. You recognize the distortion, then rewrite the thought without the distortion.
So I checked to see if this “you should be better at X” fits in with any of the cognitive traps. I used my Moodnotes app because it makes it super simple.
Here are the cognitive distortions that applied:
Negative filtering: Only seeing the bad
Downplaying positive: dismissing positive qualities by telling yourself they are unimportant or do not count
All or nothing thinking: it either went wonderfully or was a failure. You either have a relaxed and happy kid or you're failing at it all.
Blaming: Blaming myself for anything that happens, even stuff I can't control.
Do you see how these distortions can apply to your own “hard on yourself” thoughts?
Now, I shared all this in an Instagram Live (follow me so you don’t miss any! I’m @TaraSwiger) and my friend Joeli pointed out something big I had been missing. The thought that needs rewriting isn’t just “you should be better/you’re not enough” but the belief that I even made a mistake to begin with.
I’m assuming (wrongly) that any unwanted outcome (with my child or my business) is because of some mistake I made. The other way to look at this is that it's not a mistake. You can't control all outcomes through your actions alone. For example, maybe if you would have done more IG post about your new product, you would have sold 1 more. But maybe you wouldn't have. You can't assume you know the outcome and then beat yourself up over what you don't know.
The thought the rewrite with CBT: It was a mistake that I X.
The cognitive distortions: Fortune-telling, where you believe you know what would have happened.
A rewritten thought: I don't know that it was a mistake that I X. I can try something different next time.
Another thing that came up while talking about this with friends is…depression. Depression lies. It tells you: You suck. This will never be better. It is your fault it's not going better and there's nothing to be done/you can't fix it. Because you suck.
This is a cognitive distortion. And if you have clinical depression, just rewriting your thoughts might not be enough. You may need an intervention from a specialist. I'm telling you this not because you suck, but so you know: YOU CAN GET HELP FOR THIS. Start by going to your primary care physician, your family doctor, and explain what's going on. They can recommend a therapist or an intervention. If you have a therapist, tell them about this.
More than anything, I want you to know that you are not alone and it won't always be like this. If it's hard and you think it's because you suck, you don't have to just accept that truth. If you feel inundated with messages that tell you you're not enough, you're not alone. You can unsubscribe from or turn off some of those messages. You can start to notice when those messages come at you and challenge them right then. (Studies have found that one of the best ways to shift the negative effect of advertising on girls it to talk about what the advertisement is selling right when you see it. I bet this works on yourself as well. “Oh this ad is telling me that the whites of my eyes need to be whiter? It's coming up with another thing I need to fix about myself. Hmm, maybe the whites of my eyes are not as important as the love I show in my life?”).
If you are hard on yourself, you're not alone. Take a breath. Rewrite the thought.
I think you are doing an AMAZING job in your life. You are enough. I hope you continue your day knowing that you are enough and you get to be enthusiastic about your life and your business.
I did not want to talk about this. I have been avoiding this topic for years, even though it's something my listeners and clients ask all the time: WHY do I keep sabotaging myself?
If you feel like you sabotage your own success, today’s episode is for you.
So last week I put up 5 different podcast ideas for the Starship to vote on what they most wanted me to talk about…and you know what got the most votes? Self Sabotage!
Even though I've been asked this a lot, I've avoided talking about it because…I think it's possible you are NOT sabotaging yourself. Sometimes the things that look like self-sabotage are actually just you taking care of yourself!
For example, if you wake up with a headache, like I did last Friday, and you decide NOT to work on your To Do list, even though it's very big and you have a deadline…is that self-sabotage? Or self-care?
Now, since we're talking about ME, I bet you'd say: Tara! You have a headache, take the day off, your business will be OK!
But if we are talking about YOU, you'd say: Oh, I really should have worked, I have things I know I am supposed to do! I totally sabotaged my list by not working!
And girl, that's just wrong.
So before we talk about REAL self-sabotage, we gotta get clear that every time you don't work, every time you take a break, every time you decide NOT to show up for something, it's not necessarily ruining everything – sometimes it is you taking care of yourself, or giving yourself what you need.
When I asked you (on instagram) for your examples of self-sabotage you told me:
When I get an opportunity, but believe I can’t do it, so I don’t follow through.
Setting a big goal and then getting sidetracked or not planning, and deciding: “well, all hope is lost!”
When I’m scared. I plan a big thing, and then don’t follow through (like a big launch, where then I only send a couple emails instead of doing everything I had planned).
You don't think you deserve it. (Imposter Syndrome)
You actually don't want what you're working towards.
You'll notice that each of these reasons is actually…self-care! You're protecting yourself from what you think you can't handle or don't want.
What you can do about it:
1. Get really specific about what the self-sabotaging activity is and why you did it.
Ask yourself: What am I trying to protect?
What am I afraid of?
This is important because a lot of women TELL me they are sabotaging themselves and when I ask for specifics, they hem and haw, “Well, all the time. I'm just never following through, I never do.”
Girl, that is a belief you have about yourself. It's a belief, not because it's true, but because you keep saying it to yourself. As long as you keep repeating this and believing it, you're never going to be able to move forward.
Until you can believe the opposite (“I show up for what matters. I can do what it takes”), replace it with the truth, “I'm not sure what's up, but I'm doing my best. I'm protecting myself.” Move towards trusting yourself to show up by getting clear on exactly what you do and when you do it. Get clear on why you're doing it (what you're protecting yourself from).
2. Let go of the fear.
The next step, after you know what you're afraid of, is to look at that fear head on. I like to do fear-setting (from Tim Ferris):
What's the worst that can happen?
Do you think you can handle that?
If not, how likely is that to happen? (Usually, not very likely, or at least not for very long.)
What is the much more likely (smaller) thing that may happen?
Can you handle THAT?
This is the time to use all the tools you have to release fears – therapy, journaling, essential oils, tapping – whatever works for you!
3. Notice all the ways you DO show up for yourself.
Do you buy groceries and cook meals?
Do you read sometimes?
Do you spend some time crafting?
Or doing anything you love?
THAT is showing up for yourself. YOU ARE DOING IT.
And it's transferrable! If you show up in this way you can show up in others.
4. Show up for yourself, even more. And make note of it when you do.
Self-sabotage isn’t something to beat yourself up about. It’s something to take care of yourself in the face of.
In celebration of my 200th episode, Joeli Kelly is interviewing me! We talk about the mindset shifts I had to make to build this business, the lessons I'm learning and what I'm most enthusiastic about right now.
Because of Instagram and Pinterest, I feel like I have to have it all together – I need to take prettier pictures, I need to have the perfect house, I need to only be eating organic greens and homemade cupcakes with handmade banners on them!
Do you know that feeling? Are you feeling pressured by Instagram to pretend like your life is perfect? Let’s talk about your own role in this pressure.
Think about all the decisions that are impacted by your emotions:
Doing a scary thing, you feel fear – is this a sign you shouldn't do it? Getting a grumpy email from a customer – do you react with anger? Or with shame? How does that impact the email you send in response?
Emotions are part of a healthy life, and I'm a big believer in FEELING your feelings, not just shoving them down or ignoring them. They can shine a light on what's going on and what you need to do or stop doing.
Because when they're ignored, or when you act on them unthinkingly, you can really mess up your business! You can lash out or hide or give up entirely, depending on what your emotions tell you.
Are you unsure of your next step, because you’re afraid of the reaction you’re going to get? Are you avoiding rejection, because you want to have the approval and acceptance of your customers and audience?
Yeah, me too.
In today's episode I talked with Kara Gott-Warner of The Power Purls Podcast, we talked about mindfulness, and some of our favorite mindfulness tools including apps and of course essential oils.
Kara is a knitter, podcaster, business coach, and also a certified nutritional consultant. She focuses on working with individuals who wish to create a holistically – balanced life and business that converges creativity with mindful living, – “knitting together” creativity, body, mind and spirit.
If you read any business book, it all comes down to the same things: your business is built from your beliefs, which affect your actions, and the most important of those actions need to become habits. Habits are what you consistently do day after day, and, as we talked about in last week’s episode, those habits build up to create success (or failure).
I'm not the kind of person who…. makes a lot of money has a super successful business would ever be good at sales could ever be self-promotional
How many times have you caught yourself saying a version of this: “I'm not the kind of person who….” I know I do it all the time, and my recent experience is the inspiration behind this episode. We'll talk about why it's true that you really aren't that kind of person and how to become the kind of person who reaches your goals and lives your dream. It all comes down to the habits you have now and the habits you can create.