If the majority of network marketing/direct selling professionals are women, why are the top levels of leadership in most companies still dominated by men? While the answer to this question is complex, I believe women have one habit that slows us down and keeps us from succeeding at higher levels in our business.
Men and women face similar challenges when building a business, but where we differ is how we relate to ourselves as we go through these challenges. Men seem better able to remain objective about business issues; they don’t take the ups and downs of entrepreneurship too personally.
Women, on the other hand, have a more difficult time dealing with setbacks and challenges. Call us sensitive, overly emotional or thin-skinned, many of us take what happens (or doesn’t happen) in our businesses personally. We can be so critical of ourselves, can’t we? When our business doesn’t measure up, we don’t measure up; our self-worth and confidence can get closely tied to our results and bottom line.
Our crazy, overdeveloped inner critic goes on a rampage when our results aren’t what we expect them to be. Worse, many of us start to believe that only by being hard on ourselves will we create the results we want (because how else will we stay motivated, right?).
Ironically, beating yourself up is the habit that keeps you from succeeding. Why? Because criticism (whether self-imposed or external) robs us of our enthusiasm, energy and ability to create what we want. It zaps our self-esteem and keeps us from our real power.Beating yourself up is the habit that keeps you from succeeding. Click To Tweet
Imagine a small child learning to tie her shoes. As her parent, would you criticize her every mistake? Such negative feedback would put a dent in her self-confidence, and no doubt she’d soon give up.
Funny though, as women, we do this to ourselves all the time. When a prospect fails to return a call or cancels a meeting, we make that event about us—our worth and abilities. We criticize ourselves for not “doing it right” and doubt if we have what it takes to succeed. The entire process puts a major chink in our confidence and makes us want to give up.
In contrast, what if you praised that little girl for every attempt at tying her shoes? With compassion and positive feedback, she’d enjoy the process of learning; she’d continue her efforts and get better (and faster) results.
Your Inner Cheerleader
Compassion and positive feedback are the keys to women’s success, too! How you relate to yourself (as critic or cheerleader) impacts your confidence, the action you take, and the results and income you create. Instead of berating yourself, what if you developed your inner cheerleader and learned to be more encouraging and compassionate with yourself when facing a challenge?Compassion and positive feedback are the keys to women's success Click To Tweet
This may feel counter-intuitive-especially if you have a well-developed inner critic! You may say to yourself, “Well, if I’m too easy on myself I’ll get soft and not follow through. I won’t create what I want.”
In fact, the opposite happens. The kinder you are to yourself, the more empowered you will feel. Positive feedback motivates women more than anything, and when we give it to ourselves, business challenges lose their hold on us. They stop being a reflection of our worth and start becoming opportunities for growth and learning.
5 Ways to Turn Your “Inner Critic” Into a Powerful “Inner Cheerleader”
Here are a few simple exercises that can keep you inspired even when facing tough business challenges.
1. Focus on what’s working. Even in the most challenging situation, something is working. Where are you winning? What are you doing well? Keep track of your accomplishments (daily if you can) and give yourself a ton of recognition for everything positive.
2. Look for lessons and opportunities in every challenge. What if everything really does happen for a reason (and it always serves us)? Ask yourself, what is the lesson in this current challenge? How can I use what I’m learning here to move my business forward?Look for lessons and opportunities in every challenge. Click To Tweet
3. Be more compassionate with yourself, and allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. Speak to yourself in compassionate ways. “Of course, I’m upset. What I am going through is tough, and it’s understandable to feel frustrated. AND I acknowledge and congratulate myself for _______________. I know I am learning a lot right now and with a little more time and practice I’ll create what I want.”
4. Focus on who you are, not just on what you are doing. Who are you becoming as you pursue your goals? What strengths and qualities do you already possess, and which ones are you developing? What you create (results, sales, etc) will come and go, but who you become in the process of building your business is the only real and lasting measure of success.Focus on who you are, not just on what you are doing. Click To Tweet
5. Keep a WIN journal for a minimum of 2 weeks.For 5 minutes a day (or longer if you wish) jot down answers to the following questions:
~Where am I winning right now?
~What am I really proud of right now?
~Who am I becoming every day by building my business?
~What can I do to be my own best cheerleader right now? How can I be more compassionate and supportive? How can I encourage myself?
It’s natural to feel discouraged when working through business challenges (whether you are a man or a woman). I strongly believe, however, that as we learn to silence the inner critic and become better cheerleaders to ourselves, women will tap into our real strengths, and easily create the business and lifestyle we deserve.
Sonia Stringer is a professional speaker, coach and popular mentor to 300,000 women in the network marketing/direct selling profession. Known as “The Women’s Business Coach,” she is known for “elegant influencing skills” and her ability to help women sell and recruit in a way that is comfortable, classy, and highly effective.