Monthly Archives: January 2013

4 Ideas To Deal Effectively With The Fear Of Disapproval

Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being a people-pleaser.

The fear of disapproval is one which really hinders many of us in life.  How many things do we need to talk ourselves out of?  How many of our goals do we give up on because of the negative naysayers that we encounter?  My answer to both questions would be “far too many.”

With today’s post, I would like to encourage you to take steps to deal effectively with this fear.

The Fear of Disapproval often stops us from expressing our ideas, feelings & opinions

This is an unfortunate and negative consequence of the fear of disapproval.

Many of us try not to “make waves” or “rock the boat.”  We don’t want to experience rejection, or feel the loss of a close relationship.

On the other hand, if we don’t express our feelings, ideas, opinions and wishes, we often feel “stifled” in life.

I’m sure that you would agree that part of a free society is to allow other people to be themselves – to allow them to express their own unique personality, ideas and opinions.

Why not allow yourself to do so?  Even on a small scale, start to express your own ideas, preferences, and opinions.  If other people approve of your ideas, then great!  If not, recognize that your own worth and significance in life is not determined by the high or low value others place on you.

Your worth and significance is immeasurable.  If you fear disapproval, begin to stand up and be true to who you are.  Make it a new habit to value your own uniqueness.  Other people may not always accept you.  That’s okay.  You gain strength in life by being true to who you really are.

The Fear of Disapproval Can Even Hinder us from Asking Questions

In grade school, one of the biggest fears is to look “dumb” or “foolish” in the classroom.

One of the biggest fears is to ask a “dumb” question.

I feel fortunate to find a few mentors who tell me that there is no “dumb question.”  It’s great to bounce ideas off of these mentors and get some really good feedback.  With this blog, it’s great to have the additional help.  It would be foolish for me to think I could do it all on my own.  I used to think so.

The goal of these blog posts is to provide you with tips, information, and ideas that will help you face challenges, learn from them, and succeed.  Hopefully, my ideas have been helpful.

I can’t say that I’ve “cornered the market” on all the good ideas and tips out there.  If I ever start to believe that, I hope I stop writing for this blog.

In a previous blog post, I included an image which I called: Be Thankful.  This image includes some valuable statements – ones which I hope you will find encouraging.  Here is a link to the image on this website:

http://topliferesults.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Be_Thankful1.gif

The second statement in the image says “Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.”

The great part of learning is that it never ends.  Fear neither the “dumb question” nor the disapproval you think you’ll get by asking.

The best mentors out there will tell you that there are no “dumb” questions.

The Fear of Disapproval Often Stops Us from Taking Reasonable Risks in Life

If you watch and observe young children, you’ll notice a sense of adventure and wonder in their lives.  They tend to use their imaginations and are often creative.  They also have an enthusiasm to learn new things, a type of enthusiasm that many adults would envy.

When children or teenagers are labeled – and told that they “can’t” or they’re “not good enough”, many start to believe more in their limitations than in their dreams in life.

As adults, we tend to get caught up in obligations, duties, challenges, difficulties, and our limitations.  If we have been told often enough, “You can’t do that! It’s too difficult!”, we tend to believe these things quite easily.

Once we start to fear rejection and disapproval of others, we tend to really limit and hinder our progress in life.  It’s very sad.  We become concerned about getting the approval the others- than with moving forward with our lives.

There are people in your life who believe in you, your goals, and your potential.  Be grateful for them.   Recognize that everyone that you encounter won’t love you, approve of you, or accept you.  That’s okay.  That’s part of life.

At the end of the day, you will be grateful that you took that reasonable risk or chance in your life.   You may not always be successful, but you will learn, grow, develop, and gain greater strength and courage in your life if you work on your dream.  That is my hope for you with today’s post.

Our Fear of Disapproval Often Leads Us into the Realm of “What If” Thinking

From my perspective, the underlying fear of disapproval is very unsettling.

When we tend to focus on this fear, our natural inclination is to get caught up in all kinds of “what if” types of questions, such as:

  • What if he (or she) doesn’t like me?
  • What if this person doesn’t agree with my ideas?
  • What if the banker turns me down for the loan that I need?
  • What if I don’t “fit in” with this new group of people?

In all types of scenarios, we almost tend to convince ourselves that we won’t be able to “handle it.”

In these instances, it’s helpful to examine some valuable past evidence.  You most likely have been disliked before.  Being rejected was painful, but did you end up moving on with your life?  Of course you have.  Has anyone disagreed with your ideas or put you down because of them?  Likely, you have encountered this scenario.  You were able to move on to someone else who liked your ideas — and were happy to have the opportunity to work with you or be a part of your life.

For me, this examination of the past evidence proves to me that I have gained courage and strength in the past with each chance I took.

Every we try in life will not be successful, but that’s okay.  Every apparent failure offers a great learning experience.  It depends on our perspective or response to it.

All you need to have with each failure is the courage and the heart to try again.

I like an acronym Jack Canfield uses in his book called “The Success Principles” in his principle called “Reject Rejection.”  His acronym is SWSWSWSW- meaning “some will, some won’t, so what- someone’s waiting.”  As Canfield notes “Out there somewhere, someone is waiting for you and your ideas.”

If you get caught up in a “what-if” scenario, remind yourself that you will only be successful in life by trying, attempting, taking chances on being turned down, and by pursuing your goals.  If you’re unsuccessful, you can still gain a feeling of greater strength and courage for the next attempt.  Give yourself a “pat on the back” for trying.  Far too many people don’t even try and quit too soon on their goals and dreams.  Don’t be one of them.

I like the quote in the image below, which says “Risk.  You won’t create new life opportunities unless you’re prepared to open a few new gates.”

Until my next post, have a great day.

risk 4 Ideas To Deal Effectively With The Fear Of Disapproval

Face Your Aversion To Change As You Overcome Anxiety

The concept of “change” can be a rather overwhelming undertaking.

This morning, I looked up the word “aversion” in Webster’s English Dictionary.

The first word they used to define it was “antipathy.”

At that point, I wondered what “antipathy” meant.  I had an idea, but no clear definition.

They defined “antipathy” as a fixed dislike.

In too many instances in life, it’s way easier to hold onto old anxieties, fears, and insecurities.  Why?  I think it’s likely because these feelings become familiar and part of everyday life.

Letting of and overcoming these negative emotions takes time, effort, and a healthy measure of courage and strength.

In today’s post, I have three ideas about personal change.  My hope is that these ideas will be a source of encouragement for you.

Recognize that a Positive Attitude Towards Change will Help You (and not Hinder You)

If you’re beginning a journey of personal transformation, the concept of change can be rather scary proposition.

When we make personal changes – and start to become less anxious about life, it requires us to take an adventure into the “unknown.”

I’d like to encourage you to develop a healthy perspective or attitude towards personal change.  I would agree that it’s easier to settle for the status quo in life, but why settle?

That’s the exciting part about having goals, plans, and dreams for the future.  They inspire us, and motivate us to take action, and to learn, grow, and develop each day.

If you want to learn how to overcome anxiety, why not take action and learn all that you can – and then put into practice the valuable things you learn?  You don’t need to be the same person you were yesterday.  Each day is a great opportunity for personal growth.

Once you have a positive attitude towards change, you will be more likely to tell yourself “This change in my life will help me.”  

With this healthy perspective towards change, you will make much better progress in your goal of personal improvement.  I have tried it, and it seems to really work!

I like a quote I read this morning from Gail Sheehy”

If we don’t change, we don’t grow.  If we don’t grow, we are not really living.

This quote encourages me to embrace change in my own life- as I take action on my own personal development.  I’m grateful that I found this quote, as I recognize this need in my own life.

Recognize That Change Involves Stepping Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

Years ago, when I began my personal development library of books and audios, I started to face new things about myself.

I had attitudes, fears, and hang-ups in life that were holding me back.  It was uncomfortable for me to face new realities about myself.

A few years later, it was even more uncomfortable for me to attend a personal development seminar, where I met many people on the same type of journey through life that I was.

I’m grateful for these people and this experience, though.  I was able to keep in touch with a few of them after the seminar.

Going back to the Gail Sheehy quote, when I think about the term “growth”, it really does involve stepping outside of the personal “comfort zone.”

Growth involves facing our fears, taking action - knowing that we’ll survive things like disappointment, failure, disapproval, and rejection.  These experiences help us learn about the power of perseverance, courage, and of the will to succeed.

Realize that Making Changes in Life Can Be Rewarding

I like a comfort zone image I found on photobucket.com – a free photo sharing site.  I saved a copy of it on this website.  You can access it here:

http://topliferesults.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/comfort-20zone-small1.jpg

I would encourage you to print out this image.  It will remind you to begin to take action when you don’t want to take action in life, and when you’re tempted to maintain the “status quo”.

When you print out the image, you will see 9 descriptive words, feelings and phrases that you may often experience when you accept your perceived limitations and remain within your comfort zone:

  • 90% of the population
  • Mediocre Life
  • Just Survival
  • Fear
  • Tired
  • Depression
  • Settling
  • Average
  • What If I Can’t

In addition, you will notice that the Comfort Zone image has 12 descriptive words and phrases for life outside the comfort zone:

  • Fearless
  • Excitement
  • Success
  • Financial Freedom
  • Wealth
  • Dreams
  • Belief
  • Confidence
  • Passion
  • What if I CAN
  • Fulfillment
  • The Sky is the Limit

Here’s an example of a couple of brief activities that make a big difference in my own life.  As I review a few of my favourite time management affirmations, I feel inspired to take action and manage my time well.  As I review a few of my self-confidence affirmations, I experience a greater sense of self-acceptance – that even if I don’t quite accomplish all the things I planned for the morning, I will still approve of myself unconditionally.

If these documents and files remain on my computer – and I don’t bother reviewing them, then I have missed out on a great source of courage and inspiration.

It’s not enough to just read about some good ideas.  Application makes all the difference.

Once you embrace change (as you step outside of your comfort zone), your life can be characterized by the second list of 12 descriptive words (rather than the first list of 9 words).

Which list fits you better?  I hope your answer will be the second list.  If so, I’d encourage you to take action on your goals and dreams today.  Don’t allow anxiety to hinder your life.  Access help and support, implement new ideas in your life, and then you will be astounded by the progress you can make.

All the best to you as you take today’s opportunity to learn, grow, and experience a greater quality of life.

In summary, here are my three ideas about personal change:

  • A positive attitude towards change will help you (and will not hinder you).
  • Making a meaningful change means stepping outside of your comfort zone.
  • Making changes in life can be difficult but ultimately rewarding.

I like the quote from Arnold H. Glasgow in the image below, which says “Nothing lasts forever – not even your troubles.”

May you be inspired to make the most of your day with this post.  Until my next post, have a great day.

Troubles Face Your Aversion To Change As You Overcome Anxiety

Start with Small Steps In Your Battle With Depression

For me, overcoming or conquering depression has been a major struggle.

I am grateful for this blog, as it has given me the opportunity to provide what I hope to be valuable information and advice for you.

Creating these posts has been helpful for me. I would like to say that I practice the advice I give.  In a busy schedule, though, I often try to hurry to try to keep up.  I’m hoping to do a better job and overcome this habit.

As I have begun to practice some of my tips and ideas, my overall mood is improving.  However, I still find some mornings to be a challenge, such as the one I’ve had today.  It’s not easy to try to be “upbeat”, positive, or motivated in today’s challenges.

I’d like to help you with three benefits you can experience when you take small steps in any battle with depression.  Even when we experience a “season of discouragement”, any bit of inspiration or help we can find is worthwhile.  This is my goal for today’s post.

Let’s move forward with today’s ideas.

When you start with a Small Step, You can Begin to Experience a Greater Sense of Accomplishment 

I think it’s true that there are many of us (if not all) who would like “instant fixes” to our problems, challenges, frustrations, and battles with negative emotions.

However, the “instant fix” doesn’t seem to exist. Many of the most notable accomplishments and achievements we have in life don’t take place easily.

Lately, I have discovered the value of having challenging expectations for myself.  I’ve started to recognize of the value of having reasonable expectations. 

Many times, my expectations have been too high and unrealistic.  When I have fallen short of my goals and plans, I have started to berate myself for being lazy or “second rate.” These labels have been unhelpful.

The power of our thoughts is truly amazing.  I used to downplay the role my thoughts play in the results I have each day.  I no longer do so.  The ideas and thoughts that we dwell on, reflect upon, and focus on have an effect on our feelings, attitudes, and behaviours.

Begin to set a challenging goal for yourself.  If you have a goal to overcome depression in your life, begin with a small step.  If you have a serious form of depression, this step may involve picking up the phone to contact a local distress centre.

If you have a milder form of depression, begin to set a small goal.  Choose one that is realistic, and one that you will find rewarding.  Perhaps you have a book in your personal library that inspires and motivates you.  Read through a bit of it each day.  Listen to music that you find encouraging.

Overcoming depression or discouragement takes time.  Since I have developed a set of rewarding and realistic short-term goals, my thinking, attitude, and enthusiasm for my life and education has definitely improved.

You will begin to recognize the Power of Patience and Perseverance

Developing new habits of thought takes time and some energy and effort.

Be compassionate with yourself whenever you fail or fall short of your expectations.

As I mentioned several paragraphs above, having realistic expectations is important.  It’s important to hold yourself accountable to reasonably high standards.

If you are a perfectionist (like I am), it’s difficult to forgive ourselves for our mistakes or shortcomings.  It’s easy to fall into a trap of accepting the past labels we have given ourselves – or the ones that others have given us.

For instance, if you have ever considered yourself to be lazy, unmotivated, or a “failure”, you need to forgive yourself for your wrong decisions, and for past events that you regret.

That way, you can begin to move forward with your life.

I know that I needed to do so.  Lately, I have begun to review some affirmations that give me courage and strength. This morning, I reviewed a good list of self-confidence affirmations.  Here are two valuable ones that can help you with your level of self-approval:

  • I love and approve of myself aside from my accomplishments.
  • I am loving and accepting of who I am and who I am becoming.

My hope is that I have encouraged you to be more approving and accepting of yourself.

As you start to develop new habits of thought (that fit the criteria of self-acceptance), you will recognize the power of patience with yourself.  Not only that, you will be truly astounded by the progress you will begin to make in your life.

You may have been making some progress in your life lately.  If so, congratulations!  Keep going.  If not, this is a great starting point.

Remember that you will need to be persistent with these new “thought habits.” Anything worthwhile in life doesn’t come easily – whether it would be achieving your goals or developing new habits.

You will Recognize That Each Day is an Opportunity for Success

Lately, I have started to recognize the value of taking small steps with my goals and dreams in life.

I developed an extensive goals list a few years ago.  Every time I reviewed it, my first thoughts were “This is so unattainable.  How could I ever do that?  It seems so out of reach.”

Smaller steps and short-term goals seem much more believable.

We can all make some type of smaller, incremental change for our well-being today.  This may take a bit of courage, but it’s a lot more doable than focusing on a big, overwhelming goal.

Lately, I have been learning all I can to set up a valuable blog and online business.  It’s been a tough challenge.  With my other work schedule, I have often felt overwhelmed, uncertain, and rather intimidated by all the things I have needed to accomplish.

Our natural response to new challenges or goals in life is to ask “Can I do this?  Will I be able to do this?  I’m not sure that I’m up to this challenge.”

When we start to focus on the big picture, our big goal, or the big obstacle that we’re trying to overcome, the emotions of fear and discouragement may tend to set in.

When you start to have some small, short-term successes, you can build upon them.  You can use each of these success stories as a source of encouragement to keep going, and to keep making progress.

With any success, there is a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.  You can tell yourself:

“With each small, worthwhile goal I accomplish today, I am proud of myself for taking the action I need to take to improve my life (or my well-being, or business).”

You can fill in the blanks or paraphrase the above statement to include what would be most meaningful for you.

Why settle for the status quo in life?  The beauty of each day is that you don’t need to be the same person you were yesterday.  I include myself in this category.

Each day truly is a new opportunity for learning, personal growth, inspiration, and for achieving the short-term goal that is most meaningful to you.

My hope is that I have inspired you to make the most of today’s opportunity.

In summary, here are three benefits you can experience- as you take small steps in your battle with discouragement or depression:

  • When you start with a small step, you can begin to experience a greater sense of accomplishment 
  • You’ll begin to recognize the power of self-approval, and the value of being patient with yourself
  • You will begin to see that each day is a new opportunity for learning, personal growth, inspiration, and for achieving your short-term goals.

I like the quote from F.A. Wickett in the image below, which says “The most urgent necessity in human life is to be able to face life victoriously.  For many are living mentally, physically, morally and spiritually defeated.”

Until my next post, have a great day.

facing life victoriously Start with Small Steps In Your Battle With Depression

Start With Small Steps in Your Battle with Anxiety

When many of us try to make personal changes, we tend to want to succeed as quickly as possible.

This could be a major reason why so many people tend to abandon their new year’s resolutions within the first few days or weeks into a new year.

Taking big steps with our goals for personal change is more appealing than taking small steps.

Short-term plans often take a back seat to big visions, goals, and dreams.

The problem with the “big goal” or dream for our lives is that it often seems so unattainable.  Maybe that’s because we often fail to have some type of written short-term plan to achieve it.  Having a lofty goal is easy.  Creating a plan to accomplish it requires some extra work.

If we’re not careful, we can become quite impatient when our progress in life doesn’t quite match our expectations.

Many of us battle with emotions such as fear or anxiety in one form or another.

Today, I would like to encourage you to make small incremental changes in your life as you take small steps in your battle with fear or anxiety.

Why would you want to even start making small changes?

In today’s post, I will give you three benefits or reasons for doing so.  These ideas have been encouraging to me this week – and I hope you will be inspired and encouraged as well.

You Can Gain Valuable Help, Support, and Encouragement

I think it was Jim Rohn, a prominent teacher on personal development who once said “The book you don’t read won’t help.”

This statement is very true.  As I look back on the past, I think back to all of the books I didn’t finish reading, and all of the great ideas I didn’t take action on.

In the past few years, I have read books on changing my thoughts, and on moving beyond fear.  I like the writings of authors such as Brian Tracy (with his book called “Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life) and Susan Jeffers (with her book called “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”).

A few years ago, I purchased an audio program called “Attacking Anxiety” with Lucinda Bassett.  This program has been valuable for me.  It has helped me recognize that many people suffer from feelings of anxiety and depression.

These types of resources programs helped me recognize that I’m not alone with the feelings that I battle with.  There are people who battle with these emotions, and they have achieved success with ideas, principles and the strategies that are recommended.

Here are a few good questions you can ask yourself:  Am I willing to step out and learn new things?  Am I willing to seek and accept the help, support, and encouragement from others who have had success?  Am I willing to start making small incremental changes in my life – by taking action on what I learn and read?

I hope that your answer is “yes” to all of the questions in the above paragraph.  If so, with the help and support of excellent advisers and mentors, you can make the personal changes that you desire.

You Can Build a Sense of Accomplishment and Confidence in Your Life

Think about a life area that you want to improve in.  Maybe you want to develop a habit of setting short-term goals.

When you begin to set a few short-term goals, and then start accomplishing them, it has a profound effect on your mood, attitude, and self-esteem.

Lately, I have developed the habit of setting a few “doable” interim goals.  As I have accomplished them, I have gained a greater measure of inner strength and courage in my life.

When you begin to step outside of your comfort zone, you too will be able to tell yourself “I can handle this.  I am ready for the next challenge.”

I like a quote I read from Eleanor Roosevelt, a former US First Lady:

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face… do the thing you think you cannot do.

This is excellent advice.  Beyond our limited “comfort zones”, we will not only get more out of life, but we will also contribute more to the world of those around us.

Sometimes the small step is to decide to take action in life, and to not settle for the “status quo.”

Originally, I was going to include “accomplishment” and “confidence” as two different benefits.

But the two benefits seem to ”work together.”  Once you have accomplished a few meaningful short-term objectives, you will gain confidence for the next interim goal that you have set for yourself.

You will Recognize that You Can Develop New Habits for Your Life

This is an outstanding benefit.

When you begin a new project for improvement, making a start is half the battle.

Once you begin to experience the benefits of making the desired change, you will be encouraged to keep going.

For instance, if you are able to make short-term plans (and accomplish them), you will begin to recognize that you can boost your productivity, make progress (instead of excuses), and move closer towards achieving your goals and dreams in life.

Lately, I have started to use a computer software item called text ticker to review some affirmations.  The affirmations that I loaded into the program scroll across the bottom of my computer screen.

These affirmative and positive statements encourage, inspire, and motivate me to take action in life, go after my goals, and review powerful thoughts about myself, along with the positive characteristics I desire to develop.

I have also kept a list of affirmations in a binder by my computer.

As I have developed the habit of reviewing these statements, my overall mood and attitude is improving.

I previously saved an image on my site entitled Strength”If you don’t currently use affirmations, this image has some very good affirmative statements that you can refer to each day.  Here is the link to that image on my site:

http://topliferesults.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/quote.jpg

Take the small step of creating affirmations, and reviewing statements that affirm your strength, capability, and potential for success.  This small step will be valuable to you as you overcome anxiety and reach your goals in life.

There are other types of habits that you can develop.  Daily habits that inspire you to take action and work on your goals are ones that are well worth developing.  Setting short-term goals, reviewing your progress on a daily basis, keeping organized, and maintaining a good exercise or workout schedule are good habits.  These are the types of habits that you can develop.

I must admit that I have more to learn about the topic of habits.  In my research for today’s post, I came across a helpful blog post from Susan Krauss Whitbourne called “Put Your Habits to Work for You”.  Here is a link to this insightful and helpful post:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201206/put-your-habits-work-you

My hope is that these ideas will be helpful, inspiring, and encouraging for you to make great changes in your life.

Here is a quick summary of three valuable benefits to make even the “small incremental changes” that you desire in your life:

  • You will gain valuable help, support, and encouragement – as you seek answers and take action on the valuable things you learn
  • You can build a sense of accomplishment and confidence in your life – as you step outside of your comfort zone and face your fears.
  • You will recognize that you can develop new and positive habits for your life

I like the quote from the image below which says “Every great achievement was once considered impossible.”

Until my next post, have a great day.

Achievement Start With Small Steps in Your Battle with Anxiety