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Three I’s to Increase Influence through Stage and Media

Three I’s to Increase Influence through Stage and Media
by Allison H Larsen

 

It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

Think about it. Do you know who Oprah is? Of course! But, does SHE know who you are and if she did would things be different for you and your business? What if more people knew who you were and what you did? Would you make more money and influence more people?

It’s simple, the more the world sees you and hears you, the more people will know who you are.

I will never forget the first time someone recognized me from tv. They came up to me with tears in their eyes and expressed how something I had shared on my show had touched them deeply. Or, the time a lady approached me at an event and told me she had heard me speak from stage a few months prior and had changed her business model to fit the advice I had given. She thanked me for inspiring her to take things to the next level. Or the time an influential leader in the personal development world called ME and asked if I could help connect them with some speaking time. I had been following this person online for years and they had heard about me!

So, what is my point? If you have a business model that requires clients for success, stage and media is a great way to reach more people in a very efficient and impactful way. The good news is that with social media and modern technology, there are more platforms than ever. The bad news is that there is also more competition than ever before. Here are three effective I’s that you can implement to set yourself apart from the competition and grab the attention of television, radio and event producers.

I- IMAGE
Whether you like it or not, people will make a judgement about you in the first 7-10 seconds based on your appearance. And, if your image does not match your message it will be a much harder sale.

For example, remember Sarah Palin who was the candidate for vice president when John McCain ran for office? Ms. Palin often wore dark, boxy and very sophisticated clothing with dark rimmed glasses and a classy hairdo. Upon first glance, one might think she was a very serious individual. However, when Sarah Palin spoke, she was bubbly, funny and often cracked jokes. Her image did not match her personality or message. Subconsciously when someone’s message or personality does not match what we think based on their look, our brains mistrust them.

One speaker I had in my coalition was a delightful individual who spoke from stage about finding happiness in life. But, when he sent me his headshot for the website, it looked more like a mug shot. He was not smiling and did not look happy. I encouraged him to send something that would be more of a match for his message. After all, who wants to learn about happiness form someone who look like a kid who just got his tricycle stolen!

When you are considering what to wear on stage or getting your head shots, make sure your dress and expression portray your message and represent your brand. If you don’t know where to start you may want to consider hiring a good stylist for a few months. That is what I did when I first began my speaking and media career and it was one of the best investments I have ever made!

I- ICON Status
What is the first thing that any tv, radio or event producer will do when they are considering featuring you? They will want to look you up. This is why it is so important to have a good website. And, preferably an icon site, a url where they can go to find out all about you! I have a website about my speakers coalition (www.speakerscoaliton.com) which is great when someone wants to find out about what I do. More importantly for speaking and media, I also have an icon site, a website all about me where people can go to find out who I am (www.allisonlarsen.com).

Another important thing to have to increase icon status is an E.P.K. (Electronic Press Kit). This is basically your headshot, bio and credentials in digital form. I house my E.P.K. on the “about me” page on my website. If you don’t have a website, a pdf with this information that you can send to producers works as well.

When you are putting together your icon site or E.P.K. make sure and include a good head shot, an impactful bio and any logos from programs or publications that you have been featured on in the past. This looks very impressive.

I- INTERVIEW
If you know how to give a good interview, you will be more likely to be featured in the media. You will also be able to have a greater impact with the stage and air time that you have. Here are some things you can do to prepare to rock your interview.

Come up with a few stories that illustrate a point. You could have a story about why you do what you do, a success story with a client, or even a story about a failure that you were able to learn from. Each story should have a clear moral or point at the end that people can learn from. You should have a 60-90 second version of each story ready that you can tell during an interview. Think short and sweet. That is what the media wants.

Next, come up with 3-5 quantifiable steps that people can implement. These steps should be easy to write down and demonstrate your expertise. This will leave the audience wanting more of you.

Above all just remember to be yourself. Your Image, Icon Status and Interview Skills should magnify who you are to reflect the best you. Once the world truly understands who you are and what you do, you will be able to reach more people and get more clients.

Looking for the Good

“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.” Eeyore (AA. Milne)

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor Frankl

Our perspective shapes our life. It is all about what we choose to see. Is it a weed or a flower? Is it a trial or a lesson? Is it a hardship or a gift from God? It is my belief that we can grow and learn from everything in life. We can turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones, allowing us to get closer to our divine potential simply by changing our attitude or how we view our situations and opportunities in life. We can learn. We can grow. In order to do so we need to have a great perspective. Think of a trial you may be experiencing right now, keep it in mind as you read the following experience.

A lady in one of my classes shared an interesting experience with me. Her son was diagnosed with cancer in his early 20s. He had just moved to a big city thousands of miles away. She described how she travelled back and forth, watched her husband go into thousands of dollars worth of debt, and how indescribably hard it was as a mother to watch her son suffer. She questioned God in anger one night asking “Why would you do this to my son?” After a year of treatments and surgeries the cancer finally went into remission.

About 10 years later she was talking with her son and mentioned how almost losing him to cancer was one of the worst experiences in her life. Her son replied, “Oh mom, cancer didn’t almost kill me, it saved me.” He then explained how he had gotten in with the wrong crowd, and was in a gang at the time he was diagnosed. He was in way too deep. The only way out of the mess he found himself in with this gang was to be diagnosed with a life threatening illness. He told her he was sure he would be dead by now if he had not gotten cancer. Suddenly, her perspective changed. She said she thanked God every day from then on that her son got cancer.

Perhaps you haven’t had quite as drastic of an experience as the one I just shared, perhaps you have. Either way, here is a simple exercise you can do to begin changing your perspective.

  • Fold a paper in half hot-dog style.
  • On one side write down a list of your trials.
  • On the other side write down the things you have learned or can learn from them.
  • If you are having trouble identifying what you can learn, ask God.
  • After completing the list, take a moment of gratitude for all the opportunities you have been provided, all the gifts God has given you.

We can choose to learn and grow from the trials we experience in life. If we learn to have a greater perspective we can find the gifts hidden in our challenges and continue to progress towards our potential.

Taken from Chapter 8 of Soul Intuition by Allison H Larsen.

How to Enhance Your Intuition

Have you ever wondered what your purpose is? Perhaps you’ve struggled to find your divine gifts, or feel as if you aren’t fulfilling your potential. Life is crazy. Life is hectic. In all the bustle and noise, it can be difficult to find the quiet answers to these constant questions. The solution is simple, if not always easy. Everyone has their very own soul intuition. Learning to tap into this intuition, to listen to your soul, will help you find the answers that resonate with you. Here are a few tips that I’ve found to be highly effective when tapping into and developing your soul intuition.

Tip #1: Find Your Message

You were born with a unique blueprint for greatness. You were given divine gifts and talents. You also have had opportunities and experiences that helped shape you and make you who you are today. There is only one you. What is it that you have been blessed with, experienced, or developed that you can share with others to help make the world a better place?

For years I struggled to find my message. I didn’t feel particularly gifted, I didn’t have any miraculous survival or rags to riches story. Then, I began to tap into my soul intuition. I started to recognize what my unique message was as I discovered my God-given gifts and reflected on lessons I have learned throughout my life.

There’s a simple exercise to help you begin to find your message. Start by making a list of things about which you are passionate, and a list of your talents. You will find that there may be similar things on both lists. There is your first clue. Now, write down three experiences that you feel have shaped your life. Under each write one thing you learned. Then, combine the similar words and the lessons learned. That is your message. It may not be polished yet, but it’s there.

Tip #2: Find Your Why

Why do you want to discover your God-given gifts?

Why do you want to live to your fullest potential?

I am here to tell you, it won’t be easy. For every success, every gain in life, there is a cost. It would be easier just to sit at home, hidden from the world, watching TV and eating chips all day every day. You wouldn’t experience as many failures. You wouldn’t have to deal with as much emotion. You wouldn’t have to worry about what other people thought, if you were doing the right things, or struggle with criticism from others. Yet, here you are, taking the time to invest in yourself. You must want to make a difference in the world. Why?

Why do you feel the desire to make a difference? Is it for you? Is it for your family? Is it for God?

It is crucial that you determine your why and write it down, because there will be costs to pay along the way, and you will have to decide if it is worth it. If you have a powerful why, if you remember it, all the challenges and struggles will be worth it, because at the day’s end you will be able to look yourself in the eye and feel like you make a difference.

Tip #3: Keep Working on You

Beginning to tap into your soul intuition and using these tips, while a great place to start, doesn’t mean that you are good to go for the rest of your life. To reach your full potential, you must keep going and growing in life. There are important things that you will do now. There are important things that you will do years down the road. If you forget to take care of yourself along the way you will lose focus. Take the time to keep growing and to keep going. You must feed your soul allowing it to thrive throughout your life. If you take time for you, you will be able to give your all in everything you do.

Taken from chapter 12 of Soul Intuition by Allison H. Larsen.

Creating Soul Commitments

Have you ever used the words always or never when making a commitment to your soul? Have you ever said “I am always going to exercise.” Or maybe, “I will never eat sugar again.” How often are you actually able to successfully fulfill these ultimatum statements? There is a better, easier, more successful way to enact these goals in your life!

Always and Never

Always and never are long times. They are huge commitments to fulfill and easy promises to break. I have seen clients embrace this all or none philosophy and wrestle with guilt, pain, and failure, when they aren’t able to perfectly fulfill their goals. The times in my life that I have tried this method I felt like I failed more that I succeeded, because I could never celebrate success. Even if I had been successful that day in my goal, I could not claim to be an overall success because I had not reached the final destination of never or always. I was constantly thinking about the next day, or week, month, or even year. I felt overwhelmed and was less than excited about the future, eventually I would give up.

Just for Today

There is a simpler solution. A finite way to make easy and obtainable that which may seem daunting and out of reach. Make all your goals “just for today.” Each day I would start my goals with for for today… I found that at the end of almost every day I could celebrate success. And, if I didn’t, that was okay because there was always another chance for success tomorrow. As you begin to live the “just for today” principle, you will begin to notice some big shifts within your soul. You will be more gentle with yourself, notice and celebrate successes, and your soul will thank you for it. Just for today find happiness, success, and peace. You deserve it!

Action Steps

Get something on which you can write. Make a list of the things that you have set goals to achieve in the past, but have not succeeded. These could be big things, such as getting out of debt, or small things, such as eating less sugar. Now, find a way to word that goal that goes with the “just for today” phrase. For example, “Just for today I will spend less than I make.” Or, “just for today I will eat healthy food.”

Make a list of no more than five of these daily goals and make sure to keep them in a place where you can review them daily. Each morning state out loud your “just for today” goals while looking in the mirror. Repeat tomorrow.

Finding Gifts in your Faults

Do you ever wonder what your strengths are or question if you even have any? I often work with people that are slow to recognize their God-given gifts and talents. When my clients ask me how they can discover theirs, I give them one powerful piece of advice. If you want to find your strengths, the first place to look is behind your weaknesses. That is often where they are hiding.

The Greatness in your Faults

Looking to your faults and weaknesses to discover your strengths may seem a bit counterintuitive. However, oftentimes we may find our weaknesses are just our strengths turned up too high. Consider the weaknesses you may find in yourself, and think of the positive qualities or motivations that are at the heart of those perceived weaknesses. Don’t let the world define you. Don’t let past experiences and conversations limit you. Look within to find answers. Your strengths are there. They may just be hiding behind negative labels of perceived weaknesses.

What Makes Us Unique

What makes us different, what sets us apart, those things that we may think are broken about ourselves, these are the things that can actually be the greatest gifts we have to offer the world. We can learn how to use them to benefit ourselves and others. Each of us is born with specific gifts and those gifts, in combination with the experiences we have in life, give us an individual skill set we can offer the world. No one else has your combination of talents, personality, and background. There is only one you in the world. What have you been given to offer it? What makes you unique?

Take Action

Write down a list of things that you feel are your weaknesses. Across from each, list on potential strength that could be hiding behind it. For example:

Too trusting might be paired with the ability to love and see good. Obsessed could become strong focus. Too emotional might be the ability to connect deeply with people.

Taken Soul Intuition by Allison H Larsen.

QUIZ: Are You a Spiritual Capitalist or Are You Living Unfulfilled

Take this simple quiz to determine whether you are living up to your full spiritual potential. Answer each questions on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being never and 5 being always.
  1. Do you feel like you have more to offer the world, like you aren’t quite fulfilling your potential?
  2. Are you letting your worries and doubts stop you from moving forward in life?
  3. Do you experience daily moments of discouragement?
  4. Do you spend most of your day involved in meaningless tasks?
  5. Do you feel like their are people in your life that are dragging you down?
Total up your score: If you scored 
  • 18-25 you are in spiritual bankruptcy and need immediate intervention so that you can raise your spiritual credit score
  • 11-18 you are in spiritual debt and could use some assistance
  • 5-11 you are making ends meet, but don’t have any reserves for a rainy day
  • lower than 5, good job, your spiritual bank account is full.
If you need help, here are 3 keys for increasing your spiritual capital:

1. Invest in yourself:

Did you know that, when faced with the decision, most small business owners are ten times more likely to invest money in their business than in themselves. This may seem like a savvy business practice, but is it really always best to put your business before yourself? Research has found that leaders who are actively involved in personal development are more productive, not to mention that they experience greater happiness and satisfaction with life. Often the best time and resources we can spend is in the pursuit of our better self. 

 

2. Surround Yourself with Spiritually Conscious Leaders:

According to Jim Rohn, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Surround yourself with people who uplift and support you. If you need to let go of some less than ideal relationships to make room for better ones, do it!!!

 

3. Become a Moment Millionaire:

Remember life is a journey, not a destination. If you are always thinking to yourself that you will be happy when you make money, or when you write that book, or when you close that next big deal, you are robbing yourself of the richest blessing of all, experience joy in the presence moment. Next time you find yourself feeling discouraged or sad, take a break to think about 5 things that are going right in your life, for which you have to be grateful.

How Do I Make Money Doing What I Love?

I am often asked, “How do I make money doing what I love?”

I am in contact with people every day who are like you. They just want to be both successful financially and feel fulfilled in their work. Luckily there is a way to have both and I will show you how.

In order to answer this, I’ll describe the process it requires as well as one major false concept to overcome in that process.

FIRST: Identify what you’re good at

Okay, let’s talk about the process of making money doing what you love.

If you’re going to make money doing what you love you first need to identify what gifts you have, what you’re good at, or can become exceptionally good at. Try eliminating those things you love to do but can not or would be best not to try to monetize; e.g. becoming an opera singer when you’re completely tone deaf.

talent

Make a list of all the gifts, talents and skills you have. Be sure to be honest with yourself. You may think, “But I already know what I love, and I love playing in my rock band.” That may be the case, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fall in love with doing something else. Don’t get so hung up on it being just one way. Remember, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

The reason this is important is because, first of all, our talents are ours to help or inspire others, which means you have things within you that are profitable. Secondly, you’ll often love what you’re doing if you are using those gifts to serve others in your work, which means your happiness and monetary success are quite malleable.

SECOND: Find the Value

In order for you to actually make money doing anything, let alone what you love, you have to provide value that other people are willing to pay for. If you want it to be sustainable, you’ll need to ensure enough people are paying you for that value. If only your mom will pay you for it then you aren’t actually providing value worth buying or you at least haven’t made enough people aware of it yet (a.k.a. marketing).

It’s important for you to take the time to figure out what people will pay you for. There are all sorts of jobs that exist which need the talents or skills you have. So do a quick Google Search. Apply for those jobs, or if you already know what you want to do, try and sell it, go out and do it, see where it takes you.

“In order for you to actually make money… you have to provide value that other people are willing to pay for.”

 

-Addressing the Elephant in the Room

elephantLet’s just call out the Elephant in the room. Most people live under this assumption that if you do what you’re most passionate about, you’ll magically make money. What a load of bologna! Things don’t magically happen, unless you’re actively attracting that magic (in other words “luck”) through consistent work.

Here’s the other Elephant in the room.

Many people are fed the idea: ‘Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’ Not true! I have done the work, I’m still doing the work, and I know many people far more successful than I, and they too know this is a lie. (No one actually knows where this quote even came from: read here)

Here’s the truth about. The outcome can sometimes be so exhilarating that the work you did feels like nothing (at least for a time). However, in order for you to do what you love it will require you to do things you don’t love, but those things will increase your time and return on doing what you’re most passionate about. More on this below in THIRD.

THIRD: It takes Mettle!

Maybe you’ve already looked into jobs and have tried a million different things, or maybe you’re going to try this out. Eventually you will hit the same wall. The wall of: this sucks, I don’t want to do this.

At some point you’re going to realize something: Making money doing what I love involves doing a lot of things I don’t love. -Congratulations, you’ve stumbled onto another truth. This truth is known and embraced by the successful.

Any time you attempt to do anything there are obstacles to overcome. All work, all jobs will entail obstacles. Many people have small obstacles they are accustomed to dealing with because they are reaching small goals or not striving. Any time you really try to succeed, and reach greater heights like making money doing what you love, those difficulties are going to be much greater.

So how do you deal with any of this? By having mettle. In other words, pushing through this, not giving up, embracing what needs to be done and doing it.

“Making money doing what I love involves doing a lot of things I don’t love.”

It is completely unrealistic to expect that your work, no matter what it is, will be enjoyable and pleasant. Even super successful people who made a living doing what they love didn’t always enjoy it. Walt Disney, for example, was often super stressed out, spending all of his time trying to fix problems. He embraced that in order for him to achieve the outcome he wanted, he would need to push through the trials of finding enough money, overcoming bankruptcy, and fighting fierce competition with much better resources, etc.

And this brings me to the last point I want to emphasize:

FOURTH: OUTCOME vs PROCESS

I don’t want to paint the path to your success with gloom and misery because there’s actually a lot of sunshine. But the main problem most everyone faces when it comes to succeeding is changing their wrong thinking.

When people think about making money doing what they love, they normally begin mixing the OUTCOME with the PROCESS.

For example, imagine a man who wants to be an artist. He knows he can paint and he wants to make money doing that. What does he picture in his mind? He sees himself holding up a magnificent, finished painting before an admirer and then that admirer handing money to him and taking the picture home, leaving him with a smile on his face and a feeling of success. -This is the outcome.

artist

How did he get there?

What the artist doesn’t see are the countless hours he spent trying to get his layout just right on the canvas, getting the mix of colors just right, correcting mistakes, and even starting over. Then calling vendors and applying for shows to showcase his painting, driving there, setting up, and worrying that maybe his painting isn’t as good as the guy’s next to him. Then going to another show and another without a sale. Watching people walk by, trying to convince them to look at his painting and engage their interest. Late nights, early mornings; low pay, no pay, and dead ends. -This is the process.

He is completely oblivious to the process because all he sees is the outcome. And that’s what most of us do.

Yet, we should focus on the outcome, but we must learn to do so without allowing ourselves to become so disenchanted with the process that we give up on it. Succeeding is allowing our desires for the outcome to be brighter than the shadow of challenges in the process.

 

So, remember to keep your head level, don’t be disillusioned with the work before you. Making money “doing” what you love requires work, hence the word “doing”. If you didn’t have to work for it you would not love it. Change your thinking, identify your skills, and persevere through the process to obtain the outcome.

5 Tips for Successful Entrepreneurs

There are a million ideas that run through the minds of budding entrepreneurs and just about as many suggestions for them as well. You have something you want to do, but you aren’t sure how to get it to really take off, and the advice out there can be confusing or conflicting. As one who has successfully launched two businesses, I want to share with you 5 tips that I know will help you because it’s exactly what helped me.

  1. Don’t listen to those who don’t know: sophOne of the biggest mistakes nearly everyone makes when fulfilling their dreams, is they listen to the wrong people. As you are struggling and working to make your goals a reality, your crazy dreams, your wild success, there will be a lot of naysayers and the most destructive are those closest to us, that love us. Just know, that if they haven’t made their dreams a reality, if they haven’t done it, then the only advice they can give you is advice that will only give you the same exact results they have.
  2. Do what scares you: Often what scares you the most is exactly what you need to do. As long as it’s moral, legal and ethical, go for it. Get outside of your comfort zone, put yourself in a position to be VULNERABLE. Why? Because when you’re vulnerable you’re authentic, and when you are vulnerable, you set yourself above 95% of all other people and become recognizable to your niche.
  3. Do what others won’t: Doing what scares you isn’t enough to be successful. It’s important that you study your competitors, or those who are doing something similar to what you are going for. See what they aren’t doing or aren’t willing to do, and do it. What others don’t do or won’t do is sometimes exactly what people want and will pay for. It’s as simple as adding an additional service or feature or support that makes your work over-the-top amazing!
  4. Listen to your niche: As much as you might wish that you could just come up with an idea, do it, and be successful, the reality is, you can’t be successful and live your dreams unless you give people what they want. So, no matter what you initially think people want, the only way to figure out what they want is talk to your niche. Talk to them, ask questions and listen. Listening means observing the way they spend their money. If you have a service that no one buys, then they are telling you that you might need to change something. People speak with their money.
  5. Double your efforts: No matter how much you think you are doing there is always something more that you can do. But, instead of being vague and saying you should do more, let me tell you that you should double your efforts in promoting yourself. Double, triple, or even quadruple any efforts that get you seen. If you post once or twice a day on Facebook and twitter, then post 4 times a day. If you’re only writing words in your posts, try using pictures and especially videos of yourself speaking and sharing ideas that are all about helping your niche, not talking about how awesome you are. You are only awesome to people if you treat them as awesome!

These are simple but vitally effective ways to go from obscurity to being known and successful. Application is key to everything, and if you apply nothing you gain nothing. So, as always, apply, apply, apply! Just try one of these. If had to suggest just one for you to start out with, it would either be #1 or #4. Those will be most valuable as you are getting started. Try each one and watch your results grow.

LEARNING SELF-LOVE:

When you look in the mirror what do you see? Do you see your flaws and blemishes or your beauty and potential?

Many people have no problem reciting hundreds of flaws, but struggle to list off just a few good qualities or things they love about themselves.

How can you move past your insecurities? How can you embrace your God-given gifts and divine potential and see yourself for the truly marvelous and wonderful individual that you are?

The answer is to learn to see yourself through a divine filter. When God looks at us he sees our soul potential. He focuses on what we have been given, not what we don’t have. God also recognizes those weaknesses that are preventing us from becoming all we can, but instead of allowing those things to define our souls, He sees a way that we can learn and grow from them.

I did not always see myself through God’s eyes. In fact, for a large portion of my life I did what many people do, I focused on everything that was wrong with me. I could barely look at my own reflection because I would pick myself apart. It was a hard way to live and it prevented me from recognizing the many gifts and abilities I had that could bring me lasting happiness and bless the lives of many others. My self-image was truly stopping me in my tracks and preventing me from reaching greatness.

For those of you stuck in self-hate, self-criticism and self-doubt, you are not alone. Many people live this way, but there is a better way to live! Try this 3-day challenge to empower you to make a crucial shift in your life. You may find that as you implement these steps you will begin to love yourself. At the end of the challenge you will be able to see your divinity each time you look in the mirror.

3-Day Challenge (goes along with the Learning Self-Love Article)
Day 1: “Think success and it will happen.” -Thomas D. Willhite-

– Before you get out of bed in the morning, smile and think, “This is the best day of my life!”
– Before you do anything else take the time to meditate or pray. Express gratitude for the blessings in your life and imagine how you want your day to go.
How do you want feel?
Who are you going to help?
What are you going to accomplish?
– After your meditation or prayer, write down your intention for the day in your journal.
Pick one specific thing you would like to have happen that day.
– During the course of the day, reflect often on who you want to be and what you want to accomplish. This will be especially hard, but very helpful, when you find yourself in a less than desirable situation and you are put to the test.
– Before you go to bed, take time to reflect on your day. This can be done through prayer or meditation.

Day 2: “The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” -Henry Ward Beecher-

– Repeat all the steps for day one and…
– Notice all the good things that happen to you throughout the day, however small they may be.
– Before bed, record in your journal all of the good things that happened that day.

Day 3: “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” -Buddha-

– Repeat all the steps for days one and two, plus …
– Pray to be able to see yourself as God sees you. Then,…
– Sit in front of a mirror for 10 minutes without thinking any critical thoughts or finding any flaws. You may only extend mental compliments and love to yourself. Only positive thoughts are allowed. If you want a real challenge, every time you criticize yourself, start over!
– Make a list of all the good things you accomplished during the day.

OVERCOMING PERFECTIONISM

Would you be surprised if I told you that the valedictorian of your local high school, a girl that was not only gifted academically, but was involved in several extracurricular activities and had many friends was suicidal and has attempted to take her own life? She showed no signs of depression, but deep inside the pressure was too much. What pressure you may ask? The pressure to be perfect, self-inflicted and totally destructive. So it is with the classic perfectionist. Anything short of perfect is unacceptable. Self-hatred and criticism are constant companions and you are your own worst enemy. An enemy that is unescapable.

Amber Stephenson was that girl. On the outside, she appeared to have it all together and was successful in the eyes of many, but deep down she was miserable. She was a classic perfectionist, constantly competing with herself and always coming out on the losing side.

Who is the typical perfectionist? Usually there are no public tears or meltdowns. The typical perfectionist seems to have it altogether, is well groomed, even beautiful. There is always a smile and they seem to be good at everything.

For Amber, she appeared to have it all together, but she was screaming inside, trapped in her own hand-crafted, gilded cage. Her friends and family had no idea of the living hell she was experiencing daily. Constant self-criticism and destructive internal dialogue can be fatal if left unchecked over a long period of time.

Luckily. Amber’s attempt to take her own life was not successful. It was a wake up call and when she recovered Amber knew that things had to change. She recognized that she was struggling with a form of depression that often accompanies perfectionism.
Amber decided that in order to become whole, she needed to look outside herself, to start helping others.

I have learned over the years that if you are in pain, you must give to match your pain and then, and only then, you just might forget yourself. That is just what Amber decided to do, becoming a nurse and recently developing an amazing program to help people who are struggling with depression and perfectionism. Today there is a depth to Amber’s smile and a God-like quality in her gaze, as if she is seeing you through His eyes.

There is hope for the perfectionist. As Amber began to look outside of herself and serve others, she felt a love that was contagious. She began to see herself through a divine filter and self-love and gratitide eventually replaced self-hatred and condemnation.

If you or someone you know is struggling with perfectionism begin by following these 3 tips:

1.
Find someone to serve.
This could be an individual, group or charity.

2.
Compliment yourself daily.
Give yourself a compliment out loud each day. (i.e. “I am a caring, capable mother.”)

3.
Keep a gratitude journal.
Each night before bed write down 3 things for which you are grateful.