Is It Really More Mature to be Modest?

While I was at a friend’s house the other day, her teenaged son emerged from his bedroom, barely said four words and left out the front door. 

My friend shook her head and said, “He’s so arrogant right now.”

Of course we all know that teenagers have their phases, and celebrity-level self-importance is one of them, but I also know a great deal of adults who haven’t moved on from this phase either.

But I wonder…

Is it more adult to be humble and modest, or is that how we’ve been taught to follow the pack and settle for average?

My friend’s son left the house and went where he wanted, without permission.  He just took it. Freud would say he’s acting directly from his Id where pure desire is king.  Yet, that grab life by the ‘you-know-whats’ is very enticing.

But as we grow up we often dim down this behaviour because we’re taught that acting upon pure desire without regard for anyone else is just plain selfish, immature, and makes people not like you very much.  Freud calls this later inner critic the the super-ego. 

Having an inner-critic that reminds us of our values and how to use proper judgement in society and personal relationships (think: the opposite of the Kardashian women).

But again I wonder…

Could it be that this behaviour of practised modesty and humility be exactly what holds us back from exploding with purposeful ambition? 

Is it also what annoyingly stops us from just graciously accepting compliments on our success, without the extra caveat of, “Well, I had a lot of help,” or “It was nothing, really – anybody can do it”?

What more can I say to that?

“Oh, ya, I guess it wasn’t a big deal. Sorry for saying so.”

Really?  Now I’m apologizing for complimenting you?

Not that we should love it when people toot their own horn or think they can walk over others, but it’s so refreshing to meet people who will take a compliment for what it is and appreciate it with pride. These people say thank you with intent and they acknowledge you for acknowledging them.  It doesn’t even seem arrogant – just appreciative and very mature.

Anything less actually makes me feel foolish for complimenting someone in the first place and leaves us both feeling awkward and small.

We may not like it but the Kardashians sure are good at getting what they want and they have no shortage of success – even though it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly that success is in…

Thirtysomethings are struggling enough while we’re defining who we are and what it means to be an adult. Let’s not take away the successes we’re actually having by downplaying them like they’re nothing. 

If you acted bravely enough and grabbed something you wanted, be more than a little proud.

It’s okay!

You don’t look like a selfish teenager.  The difference is that you’re going to accept praise graciously and with class.

Secondly, you are more likely to bring more success and achievements when you are confident in your abilities and what you’ve achieved.  Whether you believe in the Law of Attraction or not, no one – not the Universe or a potential client or headhunter – can deny the attraction to someone who knows what they’re doing and can represent it well.  This goes for everything from being a power player in business to being a great parent, son or daughter, or even friend.

Think about this:  someone notices that you’re being a really solid shoulder to cry on for a friend and they tell you so.  You can either respond with,

“Oh it’s nothing; he just really needs me right now.”

Or you could say, “Ya, It’s what I’m good at so I’m happy to help.” 

If you were the one giving the compliment here, wouldn’t you be more likely to want to be friendly to the second person in future?

There are so many ways to play small and this is only one of them.  Next week’s post will be another look at how we diminish ourselves and shy away from our biggest and brightest game.

And if you’re ready to big up your game right now, get in touch for a FREE coaching strategy session.  In one session we can design a game plan for you that will get you going on the path that’s right for you and wastes no time getting you to success.

Find out more at ashewoodward.com or contact support@ashewoodward.com

When Superman is Hungover…

Have you ever looked back at your teens or early twenties and said, “What was I thinking?”

I have.  And the worst part is that there’s so much I can’t remember!  I’m not sure whether to blame it on aging or something else – like maybe the possibility that I wasn’t really thinking at all, which is a real possibility.

You may have heard of the Superman complex, a term usually attributed to fearless teenagers who act irrationally and irresponsibly. Think skateboarding, parkour, experimenting with drugs or even openly admitting to being a Belieber. 

Now, I don’t want to start something with psychologists here but, in my experience, the effects of this complex last a good deal longer – into late twenties and maybe even our thirties, like a type of mindset hangover.

As I see it, this phase has all the common symptoms of a regular alcohol-induced hangover: headache, nausea, lethargy and even memory loss.

If you feel any of these because you feel like your best days are behind you, and you long for the person you used to be; or, perhaps, you often catch yourself saying things like…

“I used to be so motivated

“I used to be so fearless

“I used to be so ambitious

“I used to be so fun

“I used to be so thin

“I used to be so in love

                                           …I don’t know what happened”…

…then you may have a Superman Complex hangover.

In our thirties, the feeling that we’ve lost our amazing, superhuman capacities certainly isn’t good but, unfortunately, very common. 

So how do we get our mojo back if we even can?

Personally, I don’t think we get it back. The days of fearless, ‘conquer-the-world’ stuff are gone.  Sorry.  Chances are, the stakes are just too high now; you’ve built your empire and other people depend on you; you have a solid reputation, or little ones to support and set an example for.

In other words, we replace our superhuman mindset with even better superpowers that will thankfully continue to support us later on.  It’s kind of like how Superman is great because of his other worldly powers but Batman is really awesome because he’s an example of how powerful a regular (albeit billionaire) man can be.

Think about it, in our twenties we are bold, fearless, believing we can fly; but, we’re also kind of stupid.  Case and point: my spontaneous trip to Italy at 22 when I took the bus in the wrong direction. Then walking back almost 10 miles back to civilization all the while in scorching heat with no sunblock on. Mamma mia!

I certainly don’t want that carelessness back but I do want the adventurous spirit and a little of the ‘devil-may-care’ attitude woven into my daily routine, to save me from what sometimes feels like the monotony of adulthood.

So what can we do?

Well, gone are the days when I could abandon my work and family to venture to Italy on a moment’s notice and be careless with my young, supple skin.

But I remind myself that here are the days that I bask in the security of my job, steady income, my supportive family and the greater knowledge of myself. Seriously, delving into my own issues and becoming stronger day by day is an amazing adventure and it’s what sprinkles my thirties with extra excitement.  Every day I find out more about myself I feel more free and capable and this is a thrill. 

It truly makes me cringe when I remember how weak-minded and self-conscious I used to be.  It’s just like the next day when you remember what you said in the drunk dial to an ex.  Not pretty.

So if you’re still hungover – feeling groggy and nauseated by your present circumstances, you’d better perk up fast. Life is happening and waiting for you to show off your experience muscles like flashy new superpowers or flashy new gadgets that you bought with your own money because you are a cool grownup with a cool, grownup job.

If you have to, send a signal to your inner Batman to remind you that being a grownup is awesome, just for different reasons.

I’m certainly thankful that my jobless, hitchhiker days are over and I have no desire to still be sneaking in late to my parents’ house.

In other words, try and remember that being a grownup has its perks.

Though, if you suspect you have a Superman Complex hangover that’s keeping you stuck and yearning for the past, you may need to unload some of the residue you still have lingering from your teens and twenties. 

And if you’re ready for the hot cup of coffee that will help you perk up and get into the good stuff in your thirties, get in touch for a FREE coaching strategy session.

Find out more about how to apply on the Coaching Page at ashewoodward.com

For Anyone Who Has Told a Kid to “Earmuff it!”.

I was at an amazing event this week – a roomful of female entrepreneurs who are all committed to positive change while creating multi-million dollar companies.

The speeches were fun, thoughtful and really personal – authenticity at its best.  And the most authentic part was the language.  More than a few of the women forgot themselves (as in, forgot about the little ones in the room) and let the F-bombs fly freely.

As the night went on, we just rolled with it and started shouting, “Earmuff it!”, a helpful catchphrase from the movie, Old School, that tells kids when to cover their ears against bad language.  It ended up being such a laugh and a fun solution.

Afterwards, I couldn’t get the “Earmuff it” phrase out of my head and it actually led to a really big AHA moment.

When we’re kids, there are a lot of terrible things for us to hear from adults.  The funny thing is, we never talk about how this doesn’t ever really go away – the content just changes.  In other words, there are still a lot of things we as adults need protection from. 

Maybe there are people in our lives who consistently put us down, or maybe we have a bad day and we just can’t get someone’s nasty words out of our head.

Not to mention how we all can be our own worst enemy at times with the negative self-talk and low self-esteem shamefests that happen behind a happy face.

Oh, how I wish there were a pair of in-brain earmuffs I could wear to block out the mental chatter of my fear, self-doubt and guilt sometimes! 

This crazy idea inspired me to start using the phrase, “Earmuff it,” for a whole new reason.  Just as the adults in Old School tell the kids to, “Earmuff it,” against bad language, we can do the same for put downs and negative self-talk, which is just the equivalent of damaging bad language for adults, don’t you think?

So next time you lack self-confidence or feel down about yourself, Earmuff it!

You’re not good enough.

Earmuff it!

You probably don’t have what it takes.

Earmuff it!

No one will ever take you seriously.

Earmuff it!

You’re kidding yourself.

Earmuff it!

You’re going to embarrass yourself.

Earmuff it!

You get the idea.

Eventually, it gets easier to ignore the negative stuff coming in and it even makes building stronger mental toughness and positivity into a game. Plus, it makes me smile a little at the cheekiness of it all. 

This is even perfect for anyone who’s not really into the whole mantra, woo-woo brand of spirituality and just needs a quick reminder to get out of the usual funks that we crawl into at times.

But, I think it’s something we could all give a try as we continue to carve out the best possible paths for ourselves.

Give it a try this week and let me know how it goes on the Facebook page.

And if you need more helpful, kick-ass spirituality get in touch for personalized sessions to kickstart your dreams (especially if you’re looking to create your own multi-million dollar company that gives back) and get you on your true path to success.

ashewoodward.com

Photo Credit: http://www.aliexpress.com

Getting Over Your Big BUT!

Even though it’s a snowy day here in Toronto, spring is in the air.  Unfortunately, It also means I always have to be prepared with plenty of tissues in my pocket to combat my mild allergies this time of year.

Last week, I happened to notice a fellow sufferer on the subway – red eyes, sneezing, sniffling, and then riffling through her pockets and bag for (I assume) a tissue. She didn’t find one and I watched her as she sat back sadly to politely and discreetly sniff away every couple of seconds.

Knowing I had my pack of tissue in my pocket, my first reaction was to offer her one.  But as I put my hand into my pocket, the voices began…

But what if she doesn’t really need a tissue and she’s just a sniffly person?

Or,

But what if she throws it back in my face and flat-out rejects my tissue in front of everyone and I’m outcasted and publicly shamed?

And (my personal favourite),

But what if it’s not allergies at all and she’s actually a zombie who sneezes when she’s hungry for brains?

Having a great imagination is a blessing an a curse sometimes, really.

Then I thought,

Well, that’s just too much risk so I’m sure she’ll figure it out.  I’ve been in the same position myself but I managed.  It’s uncomfortable to sniff away without a tissue, but it’s not life or death. She’ll be fine…

Thankfully, my sympathy for her outweighed any ‘ifs’ and ‘butts’, and I offered her to help herself to the package.

Did she scream in my face and reject my offer?  Did she try and eat my brain? No, she didn’t. Phew, right?

Actually, she laughed, thanked me profusely and it led to a really nice conversation on our commute, and even ended in an email exchange.

I don’t know where it will lead – a new friend, connection or new client?  I do know that she’s sending me one of her favourite TedTalks and I’ll probably send her some funny allergy memes. But after that, who knows?

The point is that the potential wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t ignored my ‘big buts’ and just acted upon my first instinct.

I can’t believe I was so close to talking myself out of it, giving myself the permission to let something go because of a myriad of [some crazy] excuses and missing out on a great chat and a cool new connection.

The lesson learned here is that my big buts can really get in the way of great things.  It’s not easy to quiet them BUT we have to try, especially in the hopes that something amazing (not life-threatening) will come of it.

Have you overcome a big BUT lately?   I’d love to hear about it on the Facebook page.

And if you need a hand overcoming your big BUTs, get in touch to learn how coaching can help.  Go to ashewoodward.com or reach out any time at support@ashewoodward.com.