#BeBoldForChange is the 2017 International Women’s Day (and beyond) theme, but how do you step up and take bold action for change, if you don’t feel bold inside? That internal fear and self-doubt keep many women locked into dead-end jobs, toxic or limp relationships and negativity.
A definition of courage is to feel the fear and take action despite the fear. But what if you haven’t even reached that place, and you are feeling fear without the self-belief to even imagine taking action? Remember you, as a mere mortal, can be fully courageous in one area of your life, and totally uncourageous in another. That’s perfectly OK as you are on a journey, learning along the way, like everyone else.
Here’s an activity that will help you gain perspective:
Whether you are focussing on one area of your life you feel less than confident in, or the whole, start by doing a brain dump onto paper about all the words that describe you – your personality, appearance, character, roles, talents, weaknesses, habits, emotions, morals. Fill the page, no need to be shy.
Highlight all the positives and neutrals. Are there adjectives you can add to the neutrals to make them more positive? Allow yourself to feel good about owning them all.
Consider each negative word. Where did that label originally come from? From whose mouth? Was it actually true at the time, or simply someone’s opinion, possibly when tired and grumpy, and they happened to be powerful in your life then? Is it actually true now? No? Then cross it out.
If it is partially true, modify it with a softer adjective or different word. Sometimes a negative can also be a positive. For example, “fussy” can be “careful” or “attention to detail”. “Lazy” in someone’s opinion could mean you are “relaxed”, “calm”, “self-determined”. “Difficult” could be “confident, determined, focussed”. Choose to wear a different label.
Now write down all the thoughts that come to mind regarding that specific life area. Consider what you are afraid in terms of making a change in that life area. Are those fears still relevant now you’ve removed some negative labels? Cross them out. What could you do to alleviate the remainder? Allow yourself to learn a new skill? Hire someone to help? Ask an expert? Hire a mindset coach? Perhaps you just need clarity on your desired outcome, and to devote some time to planning your steps?
Awareness of your self-talk is crucial to successful change as you can talk yourself into or out of anything. So mind your language!
Write down your action steps. Think about how important it is to you to make changes. How much better will you feel, will your life be? Paint yourself a glorious mental image in full sensory detail. Commit to taking action, daily, until you’ve achieved your aim and beyond. Check in with your progress weekly, or get a coach or accountability buddy to encourage, support and keep you accountable.
Once you’ve changed yourself for the better, then you can take on the world, or at least your family, or neighbourhood, so much more easily. #BeBoldForChange Remember, you don’t necessarily have to light up the whole world, what if your purpose is to simply light up your immediate surroundings, by being the best YOU possible?