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How To Move From Self-Rejection To Self-Love In a Day (And How a Photo Shoot Can Help)

SelfLove

In my work as a career success coach, I work with women of all ages, sizes, and styles, and one theme has become very apparent – women are incredibly tough on themselves, full of self-rejection, shame, humiliation and doubt, particularly about their looks, their weight, intelligence and their worthiness.

I can count on one hand the number of women I’ve spoken with who feel “just great” about themselves.  The vast majority of women I interact with are indeed brilliant, accomplished, talented and creative – in short, amazing — but feel somehow that they are not good or worthy enough.  I call these women “perfectionistic overfunctioners” – doing everything for everyone around them, and striving so hard to get an “A” in every single endeavor and aspect of their lives.  I should know – I’m a recovering one.

Since “getting an A” is not possible in every activity or area, women then fall short of their unrealistic expectations, and feel even worse, seeing their “failure” as validation that they have to work harder and be better.

Know that I’m not judging here.  I feel deep love and compassion in my heart for all these women, because I can empathize fully.  I’ve done a lot of internal work around this, and I’m proud to say that I now know how liberating it is to free oneself from needing to get an A, and how fabulous it feels to jump off of the never-ending hamster wheel of doing more than is healthy, more than is appropriate, more than is necessary.

I’ve seen first-hand that once you power up, build appropriate boundaries, and start speaking up and honoring what you want and who you are, you begin to operate very differently in the world, and grow happier and more accepting of yourself and everyone around you. You begin to embrace your “imperfect, just-right” functioning rather than striving for an impossible goal of perfection.  But I’m not always there – I fall down and forget to love and accept myself.

I experienced a wake-up call on this several weeks ago, when I spent a day at a photo shoot in Connecticut, for my new website.  The day’s experiences took me from self-rejecting, shameful and worried (once again) about my looks, my weight, etc., to loving it all – embracing myself, my foibles and flaws, my talents, and who I am at my core.  I saw how the right kind of experience (with the right kind of people who align closely with your values, your heart, and your worldview), can help you move from self-rejection to self-acceptance in a few short hours (or in an instant).

I realized there are 5 key stages of transformation from self-rejection to self-love, and if we gain awareness of these stages, and have the courage to move through them, we can accelerate our own growth.

The 5 stages of transformation from self-hate to self-acceptance are:

Stage 1: “I don’t rate – I’m just not good enough.”

I started the day of my photo shoot afraid – afraid to share my wardrobe choices, reluctant to express what I really liked in terms of style, color, makeup, hair, jewelry, inhibited in my movements and physical presence.  I compared myself in my mind to the thousands of other women my wonderful photographer Jacklyn Greenberg had shot before – young and old men and women who I thought were beautiful and charismatic (so it seemed to me).  Along with headshots, weddings, and national events, Jacklyn does “risqué” photography as well, all of it stunning.  Some clients are naked or are only partially dressed and from Jacklyn’s website, all of them seemed gorgeous, vibrant, and unabashedly free.

I thought, “Oh, no – this is going to be a very long day.”

Stage 2: “Wait, maybe I’m not so bad.”

As the first hour progressed, with the help of the fabulous Jacklyn and wonderful make-up artist D.D. Nickel, things changed and I changed. I moved from fearing everything about me was wrong and inferior, to remembering that what I am – inside and out – is not terrible — far from it. I started to see how my fears– about my looks, weight, age, clothes, wrinkles, skin, tummy, etc. – are universal and the only thing keeping me stuck in my insecurity was me. Interestingly, it wasn’t the make-up that made me feel better – it was the understanding that — unadorned — I was just fine.

Stage 3: “Hmmm…I guess I do have some unique, valuable qualities.”

Then, midway through, something interesting happened.  I saw through their eyes that — as I let out who I really am — sharing my authentic personality, what I care about, my quirks, how I’m different –  the shoot went much better, and the day became raucously fun. I forgot I was being photographed.  We talked, shared, probed, guffawed, and as I connected more deeply with Jacklyn and D.D., I saw how my qualities could be seen as unique and valuable – to the experience at hand, but also in relationship with these great new folks I was partnering with, and even in helping spread the word about their work and the stunning property (Winvian) we were lucky enough to be shooting on.

Stage 4: “It’s ridiculous (and a sheer waste of time) to hide – I’m going let it all out.”

Towards the end, the idea of hiding was long gone.  I wasn’t afraid, shy, or reluctant – I was excited, energized, and inspired to be even more of myself.  I saw clearly how stepping up and powering up to share myself in the most authentic, vulnerable way possible was the ONLY way this whole thing would work (in a photo shoot and in life ).

Stage 5: “Ok, I can honestly say – I love and accept myself.”

Finally, at the end of the day as I was driving home, tired but exhilarated, I felt a flush of self-acceptance (dare I say self-love).  I had done something that was scary and challenging for me.  I had stepped up to a very high vision for where I want to go – in my life, in my career, in my professional pursuits — I held out high hopes for I wanted for and the outcomes I’d dreamed of, and I pushed myself to be real enough, and courageous enough, to make this happen.  Not just because I went to a cool photo shoot, but because I believed in myself and the idea that I’m worthy of putting myself out there in the world in a bigger way.

At the end of the day, I was able to utter to myself exactly what my spiritual therapist years ago implored me to state as an affirmation every day – “I thoroughly love and accept myself.”   In the past, I coughed up a hair ball every time I said that.  Now, with each day, it’s much easier.

*  *  * *  *  *

Some women might read this and think, “Wow, what a narcissist Kathy is!” because we’re culturally trained to think that if we love ourselves (and dare to whisper that we love ourselves), we’ll be self-involved, selfish, and self-absorbed.  I challenge that idea.  Self-love is desperately, vitally important and needed in the world today. You simply can’t have a wonderful, rewarding and happy life and career – and you can’t be of service to others fully — if you don’t love and accept yourself – flaws, gaps, foibles and all.

We’re imperfect as humans – that’s undeniable.  But can’t we love our imperfections, embrace our uniqueness and our authentic selves, instead of exhausting ourselves spending so much time, money, and energy hiding our true selves from the world?

Do you have the courage to walk through the five stages of self-hate to self-love today?  Are you ready?

Let Go of What You Hate To Make Room For What You Love

Kathy's Video Blog "Work You Love"

Welcome to Episode 11 of Work You Love!

Today, I’d like to share about the idea that, in order to build a successful, rewarding career we love, we have to proactively move away from doing work that drains and demoralizes us.

How do we let go of what we hate, and what kind of outcomes are possible when we do?

Check out the video below for answers to that, and for a recent true story from my own life of how letting go of work I didn’t like created the space, opportunity, and energy for work I love:

 

The key takeaways from today’s video are:

1. Determine what you want to let go of, specifically.

2. Identify what you want to do more of – what you love.

3. Commit yourself to creating new opportunities to do what you love.

4. Be open – don’t overly-attach to what it has to look like.

For more information on letting go, check out my Forbes post Why Letting Go Of What You Hate Is Essential To Building a Career You Love.

Here’s a tweetable for you:

If your plate is overly full with work you hate, you’ll never do work you love.  Be brave; let go. @kathycaprino

Click to tweet:  http://ctt.ec/bpRHj

See you next time!

What work are you ready to move away from?

 

Successful People: The 8 Behaviors They Avoid

In my work, I’ve been fortunate to learn from amazingly successful, impactful professionals and entrepreneurs.  I’m defining “success” here as achieving what matters most to you, individually and authentically – not as some objective measure of outer wealth, accomplishment or achievement.  Observing people in action who are living fully on their terms and absolutely loving it, I’ve seen how they think, react, interrelate, problem solve, and lead.  I’ve applied these lessons to my own life, and to those I coach.

I’ve noted that people who love what they do for a living and have created tremendous success and reward, not only engage continuously in life-supporting behaviors, but also avoid certain negative actions and mindsets that other, less successful people habitually get lost in.

The 8 self-limiting, negative behaviors successful people avoid are:

Engaging in “below the line” thinking

“Below the line” thinking refers to a particular mindset that shapes how you view the world in a limiting way.  It leads to your believing that what’s happening to you is outside your control and everyone else’s fault – the economy, your industry, your boss, your spouse, etc.  Below the line thinking says, “It’s not fair what’s happening, and I don’t have what it takes to overcome these challenges. I didn’t expect this and I can’t handle it.”  Above the line thinking, on the other hand, says, “I clearly see the obstacles ahead, and I’m addressing them with open eyes.  I’m accountable for my life and my career, and I have what it takes to navigate through this successfully.  If I fail, I’ll still wake up tomorrow exactly who I am, and will have learned something critical.”

Mistaking fantastical wishful thinking for action

Successful professionals pursue outcomes that flow organically from their current actions. Unsuccessful individuals attach to fantasies that may relieve them momentarily of their situational pain but have no basis in reality.  For instance, I’ve heard from corporate professionals who share, “Kathy, I really hate my job and desperately want to leave.  I’ve been wanting to write a book and become a motivational speaker for several years now.  What’s your advice?”  I’ll respond, “OK, great.  Are you writing and speaking?” and more often than not, the answer will be, “Uh…no.”  You can’t write a book if you’re not writing anything, and you can’t speak in public if you haven’t developed any material to speak about.   It’s critical to take bold action toward your visions, in order to create success.  Successful people develop huge goals too, but they crush them down into smaller, digestible (but courageous) action steps that they then build on, which leads naturally to the end goal they’re pursuing.

Remaining powerless and speechless

Successful people are in touch with their power, and are not afraid to use it and express it.  They advocate and negotiate strongly for themselves and for others, and for what they care about, and don’t shy away from articulating just how they stand apart from the competition.  They know how they contribute uniquely and the value they bring to the table.   In addition, they don’t wait to bring up concerns – they tackle challenges head on, speaking about them openly, with calm, poise and grace.  They don’t hide from their problems.  And they don’t perceive themselves as hapless victims.

Putting off investing in themselves

I see this behavior over and over in those who feel thwarted and unsuccessful – they are incredibly reluctant to invest time, money and energy in themselves and their own growth.  They are comfortable only when putting other people’s needs ahead of their own.  They’ll make any excuse for why now is NOT the time to invest in themselves or commit to change.  They feel guilt, shame and anxiety over claiming “I’m worth this.”  Successful people don’t wait – they spend money, time and effort on their own growth because they know without doubt it will pay off – for themselves and everyone around them.

Resisting change

Successful people don’t break themselves against what is or drown in the changing tides.  They go with the flow.  They follow the trends, and embrace them.  They are flexible, fluid and nimble.  They react to what’s in front of them, and improvise deftly.   Those who are unsuccessful bemoan what is appearing before them, and stay stuck in the past or in what they “expected,” complaining about how life is not what it should be and why what is feels so wrong.

Honoring other people’s priorities over their own

Successful people know what matters most to them – their priorities, values, concerns, and their mission and purpose.  They don’t float aimlessly on a sea of possibility – they are masters of their own ship and know where they want to head, and make bold moves in the direction of their dreams.  To do this, they are very clear about their top priorities in life and work, and won’t be waylaid by the priorities and values of others.  In short, they have very well-defined boundaries, and know where they end and others begin.  They say “no” to endeavors and behaviors (and thinking) that will push them off track.  They know what they want to create and the legacy they want to leave behind in this lifetime, and honor that each day. (To get clearer on your priorities, values, and desires for the next chapter of your life and work, take my free Career Path Self-Assessment.)

Doubting themselves and their instincts

Those who doubt themselves, lack trust in their own gut or instincts, or second-guess themselves continually find themselves far from where they want to be.  Successful professionals believe in themselves without fail.  Sure, they acknowledge they have “power gaps” or blind spots, and areas that need deep development.  But they forgive themselves for what they don’t know and the mistakes they’ve made, and accept themselves.  They keep going with hope and optimism, knowing that the lessons from these missteps will serve them well in the future.

Searching for handouts and easy answers

I can often tell from the first contact I have with someone if they’ll be likely to succeed in their new entrepreneurial venture and career, or not.  How? By the nature of their expectations, and how they set out to fulfill them.  Here’s an example – if a complete stranger reaches out to me expecting free help without considering what she may offer in return, it’s a bad sign.  Let’s say she asks something like this: “I’m launching my new business and wondered if you can give me some advice. I can’t pay you because I’m a startup, but I hope you can help me anyway.”

From this one email, I know she’s not ready to make it happen in her own business.  Why? Because successful professionals (and those destined to be) wouldn’t consider asking for help in this way.  Instead, they: 1) understand that they have something important and valuable to offer in any situation, 2) are willing and happy to share or barter that in return for what they want, and 3) they treat others exactly as they would like to be treated.

Successful professionals are respectful, resourceful, curious, competent, tenacious, and they figure out how to get the help they need without asking for handouts.  That doesn’t mean they don’t seek assistance when and where they need it , or make use of the many free resources available to them (like Score.org, etc.).  It means that they don’t expect something for nothing.  They treat others equitably and fairly and know they deserve the same.  Successful professionals realize that if they’re not willing to pay for products and services they want, then others won’t be willing to pay them (yes, it works like karma).

They also know that their success is directly proportionate to the effort they put inMost of all, they understand there are no short cuts or easy answers on the road to success.

(For more about achieving greater success in your career, visit Ellia Communications, my free teleclass Breakthrough to Your BOLD Plan for More Happiness, Success and Reward, and my book Breakdown, Breakthrough.)

 

How To Create Your Own Breakthrough

Kathy's Video Blog "Work You Love"

Welcome to Episode #8 of my video blog Work You Love!  I’m happy you’re here!

Ever wondered why, despite all your hard work and efforts, you can’t seem to get a break or move forward as you long to?  There are reasons for it – it’s not random or just coincidence.

This episode explores the critical blocks to creating the success and happiness you want, and also shares 5 key steps to creating your own breakthrough.

If you have the sense that no matter what you’re doing, the needle isn’t moving as it should in your life and work, you won’t want to miss this video.

Here’s my take:


The key steps to creating your own breakthrough are:

1. Do the inner work required to know who you are authentically, and what you really want.

2. Don’t fight against what’s happening – see what your life situation is trying to teach you.

3. Take concrete steps to change how you operate in the world.

4. Release your subconscious blocks to greater wealth, happiness, power, and success.

5. Bring more happiness into your life NOW, regardless of your external conditions.


Today’s top message:

CLICK TO TWEET: Doing the work of becoming MORE in this world is up to you. Realizing who you are is a great place to start – @kathycaprino #WorkYouLove

Thanks for watching, and wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

All Best,
Kathy

 

What Do I Do When My Spouse Doesn’t Want Me To Make Changes?

Kathy's Video Blog "Work You Love"

Welcome to Episode #7 of my weekly video blog Work You Love!

Today, I’m addressing Evelyn’s question about how to handle an unsupportive spouse who resists your making the changes you long to in your career.

Evelyn asks:

“I want career coaching now, however my husband is not a supporter.  I’m at a point where I want to start and own my own business but he is very risk averse and doesn’t want to intentionally gamble with the idea.

I am in a rut, I’m exhausted and I want to get re-energized and once again know that the work I do matters or offers me satisfaction. I am a middle manager in my career but also a wife, mother, community leader, active church member who feels like her job is sucking the life out of her. My husband thinks because of the uncertainty of times I should be happy I have a job that pays 6 figures, and I appreciate that, but I know that if I don’t figure out my career, reinvent myself or do something I’m going to burn out completely and my career reputation will be ruined.

Do you have any pointers that would help me convince my husband to believe you could help me improve my career outlook and pull me back from the edge of career suicide. He thinks it’s a waste of our hard earned money for no real gain.”

 

Here’s my take:

 

 

The key messages from today’s post are:

1) Don’t try to “convince” your spouse.  Just communicate powerfully, authoritatively, and masterfully that you can’t continue the way you are.  Share in a compelling way that it’s time to make some form of positive change, and you’d like his/her support to do it.  But remember – you don’t need permission to take control of your life.

2) Figure out how important this career shift is to you now.  If it’s critical, prioritize it highly, and do what it takes to create the changes you long for.

3) Remember – you don’t have to risk everything to bring about the shifts you need to be happier in your career.

Here’s a tweetable for you:

CLICK TO TWEET: Become the master of your own ship. Don’t let others dictate what you need, and what you can have.  @kathycaprino #WorkYouLove

It’s up to you – no one can do this for you.

Does your spouse support you in making the changes you desire in life and work?  How do you handle it? Share your candid thoughts below.

Thank you for watching Work You Love, and many happy breakthroughs. See you next week!

 

(For more on building a successful career you love, join me on November 19th from Noon to 1:00 pm for my FREE teleclass Breakthrough To Your BOLD Plan for More Happiness, Success and Reward.   Find out how to take your career to the next level of success, happiness, and reward!)

 

Career Path Self-Assessment

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Kathy's CAREER PATH SELF-ASSESSMENT SURVEY!

 

Finally, gain the self-knowledge, insights and answers you need to improve your career today!

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