By James Sale
I had a great training day the other day on motivation and self-esteem. During it I recommended a simple technique for increasing self-esteem which I have found over the years to work. One of my clients said, “You ought to write about that”. Hm. Good idea.
Dr Nathaniel Brandon called self-esteem the single most powerful force in our existence. On it everything depends. As he goes on to say: “Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves.”
Unsurprisingly, self-esteem is a core component of motivation. Three key factors feed into motivation: our personality, our self-concept, and our expectations. In brief, the self-concept or self-identity comprises three main components: the ideal self, the self image, and the self esteem. The heart of our self-concept is our self esteem – there we feel ourselves.
The problem is – for many – that what we feel is ‘crummy’ or rotten, and then we go through the processes of disguise or of creating the false self images, or what Branden called the “pseudo self esteem” – a personal reality characterised and motivated by fear. This leads to living not in a universe of facts but in a “universe of people”, whereby people derive their opinion of themselves not from within but from others’ views. This creates dependency and lack of authenticity.
What can be done about this? Well clearly, read the books of Nathaniel Branden for one thing! According to Google there are 2548 references to self-esteem on my laptop; and 18,500,000 on the Web – so plenty to choose from!
More specifically, then, here is one technique that I love. Most people know of affirmations – repeating (a mantra as it were) a positive, present-tense, and personal statement to yourself. The idea is to hypnotise yourself into believing and subsequently manifesting the core idea that is currently not reality. So, for example, the great Brian Tracey’s favourite affirmation is: “I like myself”. One is specifically advised to repeat the phrase with feeling, intensity and frequency so that the sub-conscious will accept it. It can work but the problem is: the subconscious frequently doesn’t accept it. In effect it says, “Come on – like yourself? Get real – you hate yourself!”
One way round this rejection by the subconscious is to repeat the phrase but use a more deeply embedding process. For example, combine the affirmation with Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and the result is much more powerful. This really does work because the tapping procedure directly accesses the sub-conscious through the acupuncture meridians, and the ingenious methodology that Gary Craig discovered also involves a ‘psychological reversal’ tapping to prevent sub-conscious rejection! Wow!
However, not everyone has the time to go and learn EFT. So, here at last is something simple which I really like and do myself on a daily basis: ensure at the end of every day that you log at least 3 things, activities, or words that feel good to you. And when I say log I only mean you have to capture it in one sentence, so we are not talking about huge diary commitments. That’s it!
What’s so powerful about it, then? In one word: evidence. When you think about it, the subconscious is like a jury in trial. You say you like yourself, right? But what evidence is there that substantiates that affirmation? And when you think of this you remember that most of us seem to spend an inordinate amount of time logging all the negative stuff we do or which happens to us. How many of you have had an almost perfect when towards the end of it the boss came up and made some casual remark which troubled you till bed time and beyond? We seem to have an inordinate capacity to focus on the bad stuff.
By focusing on the good stuff, logging it, and then subsequently reviewing it, we remind ourselves of our best side. Even better, as in a trial, written evidence has far more clout than casual hearsay of memory. It’s almost believable because it’s in writing – it’s authored – and so an authority. Over time – and it’s not an immediate fix – we begin to believe, at last, that we are capable of goodness, that people like and admire us, and that within us there is worth. Ultimately we can become independent of others’ perceptions – we know who we are and we like that.
Give it a try for a month. Get a new note book. Use one page per day. Date each day and log three ‘achievements’ (no matter how small) or good words by you or to you. I have done it for eight years and the truth is that after you have accumulated this body of evidence you begin to feel pretty wonderful about yourself whatever anyone else may say.
If you are a business coach or management consultant or people development or HR expert who wishes to grow your business, access unique and proprietary motivational technology, be able to recruit and retain sub-licensees, join a growing family of motivational experts across the globe, then speak to James Sale.
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