Self-blame, inner critique, and the parent self in overdrive implode our positive image. Success is a stretch for those who hang their head in shame.

When I was in Toastmasters, one of the members gave a speech entitled “Be kind to yourself.” He suggested what we all know as a fundamental truth, but rarely acknowledge: To err is human. When events don’t go as planned (or, when your best made plans go awry), resist the first impulse to beat yourself over the head. I take comfort in what Penny Peirce suggests in The Intuitive way: The Definitive Guide to Increasing Your Awareness – that we should consider things (both good and bad) as revelations regarding our life’s journey.

What is it that you’re intended to learn from unexpected mayhem? Being receptive (as opposed to constrictive) allows us to see the lesson. Post revelation, how can you unfold and move forward? If everything happens for a reason, then peering at your life through a telescope may be the best course of action. Our most beneficial lessons occur when we take a step back.

  • Know that mental self-injure is a result of self-blame. Are there other responsible parties who contributed to your problem? Shouldering the load yourself relieves other people of their apportioned serving (especially when they’re charged with oversight). Remember that we’re all in this together. Relatedly, Deming reminds us that the majority of employee failings are caused by outside forces.
  • Keep in mind that perfection is a nonexistent species. We can strive for excellence, but we can never reach the infallible. Our best is all we can do. We are works in progress many times not privy to essential knowledge.
  • Envision the positive. In the Sandra Bullock movie Premonition, her obsessive focus actually manifested the conditions she feared most. What catastrophes have you envisioned for your imminent future? For the most part, monsters in our mental closet never materialize. Giving people the benefit of the doubt (and putting a positive spin on your circumstance) can make your assumptive world come true. Relatedly, Tony Robbins mentions that after a year of intense envisioning, he moved into his dream home – a castle in La Jolla. 

Our minds are powerful tools that can conjure either fear or friendship. Where we steer the rudder charts our course.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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