I tend to be pretty reliable keeping my commitments to others. In fact, I have been known to go above and beyond the ‘call of duty’ to be loyal to my word and not leave someone hanging. Key point to pick up on here, my dear reader, is ‘when it’s for someone else.’ When it’s for myself, I tend to reneg on my decisions more regularly than I’d like to admit. I am pleased to say I have improved at this over the years, so it happens less often these days, but the tendency is still there, lurking.
Which of these three things do you do in YOUR life? I hope this helps you realize that you’re not alone and that there is reason for optimism in changing these habit patterns.
The three sabotage strategies women tend to struggle with are:
- Committing to Everyone but Ourselves
- Chronically Undervaluing Ourselves
Let’s look at each of these one by one.
1) Committing to Everyone but Ourselves
Why does our loyalty extend to everyone else in our lives, but if I decide I need or want to do something, I’ll easily cancel out if I’m too tired or get distracted by other ‘things’ that come up. Why do I sometimes avoid doing tasks I need to do?
Here’s a new affirmation to focus on:
I am committed to myself.
Be committed to self. We are just as important as everyone else, no more, no less. Yet we will treat ourselves as less. It’s important to be my own best friend. Do the things I know I need to do for me. Treat myself with a reasonable level of importance. It’s okay to spend time on me. It’s okay to nurture myself. I don’t have to be giving to others all the time.
Spending all my energy on others just leaves me shortchanging myself, not being as effective as I could be in the world, which leads to discontent and creates a non-productive downward cycle. I need to reserve a portion of my energy to spend on ME, for me.
Many women are just too darn busy! We juggle multiple roles, each with their own list of priorities. Often these priorities don’t blend well or downright conflict with each other, adding to the complexity of it. I’m reminded of that old “Enjoli” perfume commercial in the 70’s where the jingle went something like “she can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never ever let you forget you’re a man, she’s a woooo-man, Enjoli.” The idea was that women could do it all….and we bought into that ideal and image, but also brought a lot of guilt and non-productive beliefs with us. We began to believe we needed to be perfect. We had to somehow juggle it all…..ourselves. We became martyrs in the effort to be devoted to our families. And if we fell short, the critical inner voice clocked in and we dutifully berated ourselves with self-criticism, put-downs and even became angry and impatient with ourselves.
We don’t HAVE to do it all. Our job is to manage it. Know what needs to be done, but find ways to delegate some of it. Can some errands be done monthly or twice a month instead of weekly? Is there any way to combine tasks which will save time? Not long ago, I found I was spending way too much time on errands and needed to limit how many times a week I did them. I began putting items on a list and limiting errands to only once or twice a week. If we went without certain things for a couple days, it wouldn’t be the end of the world! Now many people buy non-perishable and household items off the internet saving them time traveling to a store.
We can say NO…..we don’t have to fit in one more thing to an already full schedule.
3. Chronically Undervaluing Ourselves
The Leadership section of Forbes published an article by Kathy Caprino, a business consultant and writer of career and women’s issues. In it, she recounts in her consulting work how much she sees recurring patterns of women undermining and undervaluing themselves resulting in stalling their personal or career growth.
And these aren’t all women who were raised without opportunity or education working lower paying jobs. Caprino works with middle to senior level women administrators both in the corporate sector and in small business (Caprino, 2012). These are women who have experienced enough success to have excellent self-esteem and know their value. Why is it that no matter where we are in our life’s journey, we women still tend to undervalue ourselves?
As a small business owner, I see this with other women I know in business as well. We know we have gifts and useful products and services, but something gets lost between that acknowledgment and the process of actually doing business.
Learning to feel good about ourselves and our skill set is a daily practice, much like prayer or yoga. It can be helpful to research others in our industry and see what they offer, their price points, and what makes them unique. Use that information to position ourselves wisely. Once we’ve done that, it’s important to stop second-guessing and doubting. Remind yourself of your strengths with a daily gratitude practice and eagerly anticipate new prospects and loyal clients.
Caprino, K. Forbes. URL: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2012/10/23/the-7-most-common-ways-women-limit-and-sabotage-their-success/#1d0223ffac31