Business Etiquette Blog with Margaret Page

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Many Dimensions of Your Path

June 15, 2017

Other people may be there to help us, teach us, guide us along our path,
but the lesson to be learned is always ours.”

– Unknown

Forest Lane Forest Path Away Autumn Nature

Feeling like you’re “on the right path” is crucial to being satisfied with your life. Most of us know this, but when it comes to determining what the “right path” is, many people are unsure.

Your path is a way of being in the world that fulfills you and calls forward your own unique gifts. If you’re wondering if you’re on the right path. well then you’re not. How do I know that? Because when you’re on the right path, you know it. It feels absolute and undeniable – it’s just right, and no one can convince you otherwise.

If you aren’t feeling that level of clarity and conviction, it’s time to do some investigating. Think about the following questions: What makes your heart sing? What makes you so excited that you can’t wait to jump out of bed in the morning?

When presented with these questions, some people get very excited as they tap into their own reservoir of personal inspiration and energy. But others get anxious, frustrated, even depressed by these questions — because they can’t feel their own passion anymore. Maybe they lost faith in the possibility of their dream, or someone talked them out of it. Or they just got swallowed up by the demands of day-to-day life and forgot to keep dreaming.

For those of you who are confused about your path, a few questions can get you thinking in the right direction:

  • When you were a child, what did you always want to be? Why? This line of thinking can call forward some of your innate talents and core passions.
  • Who do you admire, or aspire to be like? What do you like best about this person? These questions can reveal some of your intangible goals.
  • What roles do you play in your life (i.e. parent, boss, confidante, etc.)? How would you like to show up in each of these roles?
  • What is your most cherished compliment? Why is that important to you?
  • What would you like to experience in life?

If you’re ready to take action on a path that inspires you, please take some time for the following exercise. Not only will you walk away with some valuable insights about your life, but you’ll also have the clarity to make changes and take steps in a direction that resonates deeply with you.

As a coach, I recommend:
Go to my website www.beyondthepage.ca and download the Wheel of Life.

This wheel represents your life. On a scale of 0-10, where the center of the wheel is zero and the outer edge is 10, indicate your level of satisfaction in each area of your life by shading in that section of the wheel. (For example, if you’re fully satisfied, shade the entire section; if you rate that area of your life at a 5, start at the center and shade halfway to the edge.)

Once you’ve finished shading, take a look at the shape of your Wheel of Life. Is it full and smooth, or uneven and jagged? This wheel is the vehicle you are using to travel your path. how bumpy is your ride?

Now, choose an area of your life that you’d most like to improve and brainstorm three action steps that will improve your experience in that area. For example, if you scored low on Health, you could schedule an appointment with the doctor, join a gym, improve your diet, take vitamins, eat more nutritiously, and so on.

Commit to raising your rating by 1-2 points in the next week, and another increase within 30 days. With consistent steps in the right direction, a rewarding path is only a matter of time.

Have fun with this – after all it’s your life! Your path!

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Posted by Amazing Editor in A Page of Insight and tagged , ,

10 Ways Women Sabotage Their Own Presentations (And How to Fix Them)

May 11, 2017

Speaker at conference and presentation. Audience at the conference hall

Presenting before a group is a golden opportunity to make your voice and your opinions heard, to change minds and hearts, and to woo people to your business.

So why is it that we women are so prone to sabotaging these valuable moments?

I’ve watched thousands of speakers and have presented innumerable times myself, and over the years I’ve noticed a pattern: Women are prone to several habits and tics that undermine their message.

I’m not saying that men don’t make similar mistakes — they do — but let’s face facts. Woman make less money on the dollar. We face the tug-of-war between home and the office in a different way than men do. We risk being called too shrill, too bossy, too opinionated.

Combine that with the following speaking faux pas and you risk undermining your own hard work. You can gain the upper hand, though, with a bit of practice. Here are the most common mistakes we women make — and how to fix them.

No point of view. Women are wonderful at one-on-one discussions and small groups because we’re naturals at collaborating and building consensus. Unfortunately, that also means that many women avoid the stage. We have fewer female speaking role models that we can emulate, and we can tend toward general sharing of information rather than specific viewpoints. A presentation without a point of view can come off as a lecture, or the presenter can appear wishy-washy. The fix: Create and cultivate your own unique perspective. Think about TED Talks: They’re informative, yet they always have a point of view that makes you think. By drilling down, reflecting and asking good questions about your information you can develop an opinion that stands out.

Pacing the stage. This is a bad habit that’s common among both men and women presenting on small to medium stages. Pacing the stage makes you seem unsure and it also robs your audience of a steady viewing point. Think about what audiences have become accustomed to: Broadcasters stay in one spot. At large events, you don’t see speakers dashing all over the stage — it would be magnified on the Jumbotron! Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move during your presentation. But pacing doesn’t indicate confidence or wisdom; it telegraphs nervousness to the crowd. The fix: Try the Fripp method of stage movement: move when you want to demonstrate action such as walking or running, when you demonstrate the passing of time, and when you transition from point to point. Remember that your goal is to connect with your message and to connect with your audience. Before speaking, release nervous energy with jumping jacks and move on to deep, diaphragmatic breathing to center yourself and clear your mind. You can even hold your hand over your heart to remind you of how you want to present yourself to your audience: With a passion that clearly comes from within.

High voice and upspeak. Everyone’s voice tends to rise when nervous — it’s human nature — but on the stage it’s a clear sign that you have a bit of stage fright. Upspeak, on the other hand, is when your voice rises at the end of a sentence so that it sounds like a question. Women are more prone to upspeak thanks to our collaborative nature; we want to invite opinions. It’s common for speakers to draw the audience in with rhetorical and literal questions, but those questions need to be planned and deliberate. The fix: Practice modulating your voice. Slow down. Be present. Focus more on connecting with your audience rather than being overwhelmed by the prospect of having one. Remember, all speaking is public speaking and you’ve been speaking to others your entire life.

Too much smiling. Women are taught from an early age to smile, but smiling too much can seem as if you’re insincere. I’ve watched women smile through presentations even when they’re delivering pain points and bad or sad news, which throws the audience off. You want your facial movements to reflect your inner feelings and emotions; otherwise, it’s just a mask! An audience can always sense a speaker’s lack of authenticity. The fix: Practice with your presentation so that you’re not just reading words, you’re delivering a message. You would be thrown off if a person told you about a death in the family while smiling; the same rules apply to your presentation. Both you and your audience will have a better time if you take the journey together. A word of caution: If you’re still acutely grieving over a loss or difficult event you’re not yet ready to share what you’ve learned from the platform.

Clothing that doesn’t match the occasion. There’s a time and place for your favorite short skirt or deep-V shirt, but it’s not on a stage or in a boardroom where it can detract from your credibility. The fix: Stick to skirts or dresses that are knee-length or just above the knee and avoid cleavage.

The wrong set of heels. As with short skirts and low-cut tops, there’s a place for those sky-high stilettos. (Hint: It’s not at work or on the stage.) Keep in mind, too, that certain high heels — no matter the heel size — can make a distracting clack-clack-clack as you walk across a stage. The fix: Stash the stilettos and test your heels on a hard surface before making your presentation. If they make noise when you walk, ditch them in favor of a less noisy pair. If the problem persists, buy some felt-bottomed ballroom dance shoes. This will allow your words to be heard rather than your heels.

Clothing patterns. Men, in their suits and ties, normally have an advantage here: We haven’t seen too many heavily patterned clothes for men since the 1970s. We women, on the other hand, have a wide variety of styles and patterns to choose from when dressing. Unfortunately, too-busy patterns can put the focus on our clothes rather than on what we’re saying. The fix: Reserve patterns for off-work hours and stick to solids.

Imploding body language. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has a term for women who cross their legs, pull their shoulders in, or cross their arms: “imploding.” All three of these body stances make you physically smaller, which is the opposite of what you want when you’re before an audience. To connect, you must be open. For your message to land, you need to deliver it confidently. Creating the smallest version of yourself doesn’t indicate confidence, it indicates defensiveness. The fix: Stand with your shoulders back and your spine straight. If you’re sitting, keep your legs together and uncrossed or crossed at the ankle.

Using eyeglasses as props. Eyeglasses are essential for so many of us, but they belong in one place during presentations: Balanced on the bridge of your nose. If your glasses slide down your nose and you peer over them, it gives the actual effect of looking down your nose at someone. Not the best if you’re trying to create a real connection. Another faux pas is removing the glasses and then holding them while speaking. Drama teachers will tell you that props are powerful because they command attention. Do you want to command attention to your reading glasses? The fix: Adjust your glasses immediately if they slide down your nose. At the next opportunity, have them adjusted at an eyeglass store. If you need to remove your glasses during a presentation, make sure you have a place to stash them out of sight.

Preening. This is another unconscious action that’s particular to women: We touch our faces and push around our hair while speaking, which is just as distracting as using eyeglasses as props. The fix: If necessary, pull your hair back so you’re not tempted to touch it. Ask your hairstylist to teach you two or three stage-ready styles that you can easily create yourself. Touching your face can be a difficult habit to break, but I’ve found great success by remembering that touching your face can spread germs and make myself more vulnerable to illnesses like the flu.

With a little preparation, practice, and awareness, you can dial back distractions and turn your next speaking engagement into a chance to make a difference for your audience.

 

 

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Posted by Margaret Page in A Page of Insight, Communication and tagged ,

Nine Nuggets for Networking

November 21, 2016

gold-nuggets

 

Supersize these nuggets, then share them with others. Have fun networking!

  1. When you meet people at a networking event, shake hands, smile and look them in the eye. Greeting people warmly is always welcome.
  2. Have professionally designed and printed business cards available to give on request. Better yet, make a point of asking others for their cards . . . that way, you can follow up and not wait for them to contact you.
  3. Listen well when talking with others. Use your eyes, heart and brain as well as your ears to engage in a full conversation. Never look over the person’s shoulder to pick out someone “more important.”
  4. Take opportunities to praise people for the contributions they make. Letting them take a bow makes you both feel good!
  5. Make a point of regularly connecting with people on your key contact list, even when you aren’t requesting something from them. They will feel nurtured by your outreach.
  6. Follow up your networking conversations within a day or two (that’s why you ask for the other’s card). Graciously follow through on any agreements you make—and do it as soon as practical.
  7. If you’re in a conversation with people who are badmouthing others, do the reverse. Say positive things instead; “goodmouth” them as recommended by Susan Rhohan.
  8. Acknowledge what others do and who they are by sending cards, emails or letters. Frequently congratulate those in your networking circle on their ideas and achievements.
  9. Always ask people how you can help them accomplish their goals. Get specific details and follow through on what you promised. Doing that will build loyalty and trust every time!

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Posted by Margaret Page in A Page of Insight, Business Etiquette, Etiquette Edge, Newsletters and tagged , ,

I Dodged a Bullet

August 13, 2014

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love – then make that day count!” – Steve Maraboli

A few months ago, I had first-hand experience of knowing how one’s life can be changed with one small piece of information. It only took a few small moments to receive unwanted news for me to begin to have a different perspective.

Back in April, I had a medical scare involving the big C – breast cancer. I went through many doctor’s visits, exams, and biopsies, and while I worked on staying positive I did wonder what was in store for me next.

If my tests were poor what course of treatment would I have? How long would it take to treat the problem? How will this affect my family? What plans would I have to alter short term? What goals and plans would have to be ditched? Would I ever be able to go back to my regular life? The unknown was what scared me the most.

Now, I’m happy and blessed to tell you that my medical results turned out negative… I had truly dodged a bullet! Of course this was an immense relief for my family and I, but it taught me something more than just to focus on my health.

During my “unknown” period, I was ever so grateful for those around who opened their hearts and gave me the time and space to just be. Friends, colleagues, and family jumped in to support me in beautiful unexpected ways. From flowers, cards and plain old phone calls, my life was filled with knowing others cared.

After I took “me” time to allow myself to recuperate from the scare (think self-care – spa time, shopping therapy, meeting friends for afternoon tea, etc.), I realized I had let some relationships in my life slip away. While at the same time, I was positively taken back by the amount of love and support.

I often advise my coaching clients to find the positives even in difficult situations, and for me, this was my opportunity to walk the talk and I did this in two ways: reconnecting with people and finding magical moments.

Through my ordeal I found myself wanting to reach back and reaffirm connections or share thoughts that were left in the land of the unsaid. When I began to reach out, people reacted so positively with their warmth and love. I soon discovered a newfound appreciation for keeping in touch with more people in my spheres of influence.

At the same time I began to notice magical moments. The moments have always been there, but I just hadn’t noticed them. Now I find myself smiling and feeling warm-hearted at small everyday occurrences. For me, this was spending my time with my grandchildren and watching their faces. The way their eyes light up in such an innocent, or humorous way is the epitome of my magical moment. And I remember myself thinking that I sure hoped I would be around to watch those faces graduate from school or even get married.

I also began to notice more magical moments in other everyday occurrences. Beautiful sunsets, the way the moon shines on the ocean, an elderly couple holding hands, and even a special eagle I’ve named Fred who lives in the tall pine tree next to my home.

Often times, we forget to stop and relish in these magical moments, as we are easily swept away by the busyness of the everyday.  

Here are 3 tips to help you join me in uncovering more magical moments.

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Posted by Margaret Page in A Page of Insight

How To Keep Calm and Love Your Body!

June 24, 2014

“Loving your body only when it is in perfect shape is like loving your children only when they’re well-behaved.” – Unknown

With the official start to summer well on its way, its time to soak in all the magical moments – the beautiful and vivid-coloured flowers, the sound of children playing outside and the warm kisses of the sun.

The question is, why do so many of us, myself included, struggle to find peace with our bodies, especially during this time of the year? I realize that “body talk” is an intimate and sometimes uncomfortable topic, but I have a feeling you’ll enjoy learning about the idea of ‘self care’ which I’ll go over in a bit.

We are bombarded with a ton of messages everyday, anywhere from weight loss products to more dramatic measures of finding our “perfect bodies,” such as plastic surgery. This causes us to forget how to love our bodies and as a result, the people and our activities around us.

It recently dawned on me that we need to relate the Oxygen Mask Model to our own bodies – always attend to it first so that other areas of our lives can be properly taken care of. To love the bodies that we have been given allows us to be happy in those other areas of our lives, which then allows us be more productive and efficient in our endeavours.

To simplify this, think of it in terms of the old phrase, “love yourself before anyone else can.” This well includes loving your body too.

I want to introduce you to the idea of self-care, or in the words of Nona Jordan, self-responsibility. We have a responsibility to ourselves to take care of above all else, us. More likely than not, you’re a busy bee taking care of other’s responsibilities and putting yours aside. Whether you’re consciously thinking about it, this can have implicating effects on your mind and body.

When many of us hear or see the term ‘self-care,’ we often associate it with something of a medical nature – but what I want to share is something quite the opposite. Its more mental than it is physical.

Here are 5 ways you can keep calm and love your body!

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Posted by Luvania Pathmanathan in A Page of Insight

Just Say, “Thank You!” (And then watch what happens)

November 18, 2013

The spirit of service is a truly transformational force in the world – and the spirit of gratitude is a very powerful way to amplify it.

I learned so much about this by watching the ways of a charming lady named Kathryne Holmes. She was elderly by the time I met her, yet always made the effort to attend our Toastmasters conferences and events. Although she wasn’t part of our leadership team, per se, she definitely was a world-class leader – in the art of expressing gratitude.

Every single time I crossed paths with Kathryne, she made a point to stop what she was doing, look me in the eye, share a warm smile, and thank me for my service and contribution to the organization.Thank You!

Kathryne thanked people wherever she went, for whatever they did – large or small. And whenever she did, people could feel her genuine gratitude. It rang out through the tone of her voice; it shined through her smile and the sparkle in her eyes. And people were always so touched by this; they felt different afterward.

That’s the heart of gratitude – it makes people feel different. It energizes us; it lights up our hearts; and it inspires us to want to do more!

When someone thanks us for our efforts, they make it so much easier to contribute again. And the more joy and warmth they express, the more honored and appreciated and inspired we feel.

Appreciation doesn’t just flow from one person to the other… it flows through both people and out into the world, investing positive energy into their spirits, and therefore, their efforts.

Saying thank you gives people a little push to continue performing or behaving in a way that is worthy of acknowledgment. It creates an eagerness to show up at our best – and that eagerness is highly contagious! So even the simplest “thank you!” makes waves that reach and influence an unknowable number of people.

Kathryne has since passed on, but I will always be grateful for the way she modeled the practice of expressing gratitude to others. Until I saw her in action, I never realized how a simple expression of appreciation can become such a powerful force in the world. It is an agent of change, and a powerful tool to mobilize the best in people.

In the Olympics, the difference between good and great is just a fraction of a second… but in life, the difference between good and great might just be an expression of gratitude.

Something to consider:

This past year was probably my busiest one yet. As the leader of a 6,000 member organization (Toastmasters District 21), I was constantly on the go, juggling far more than ever before.

Along the way, I witnessed SO many people contributing their efforts and insights and time – and doing so wholeheartedly! I was touched to the point of feeling reverence.

And yet, when we’re at our busiest, it can be very challenging to slow down enough to offer some heartfelt acknowledgment, or to be consistent in doing so. But it is always time well spent – and much easier than suffering the regret of missing the opportunity.

I’ve been reflecting on this a lot lately, because it pains me to think that I failed to thank some people as directly and sincerely as they deserved. If I could, I would call each and every person who contributed along the way, to thank them not only for their actions but also for their supportive spirit.

Although I can’t make thousands of phone calls, I can honour their contributions with a commitment to the spirit of gratitude.

I sincerely hope you will join me in this practice.

 

Margaret Page

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Posted by Margaret Page in A Page of Insight

Appreciating the POETry of Life

October 15, 2013

No matter whom you are or what you do, there are days when life just grabs you by the throat and screams, PAY ATTENTION!ATTENTION

I had one of those days recently. It’s no exaggeration to say that I barely escaped a brush with death. As dramatic as that may sound, I want to share much more than the story with you… because the best part of this experience arrived long after the dust settled.

It started a few weeks ago…

I was travelling along the highway at about 80km/hour, following behind a big-rig truck with a backhoe loaded on it.

Suddenly, I heard a tremendous noise – and in the blink of an eye, huge chunks of metal and cement came flying at me!

The truck and its load were too tall for the overpass. The backhoe had collided with a bridge and they both shattered into pieces.

In an instant, I felt like I was in a movie! Debris was flying in every direction… and in the next moment, my windshield was splattered with greasy hydraulic fluid. I flipped on the wipers but they just smeared the grease around. I couldn’t see ahead!

A glance in my rear-view mirror told me that cars were fast approaching from behind, so I didn’t dare stomp on the brakes. But what was going on ahead of me?

Had the truck stopped? Were there chunks of backhoe and bridge in my path? I had no way to tell!

Only my angels know how I made it from the center lane to the side of the highway without the benefit of sight. Fortunately, no one was injured in the chaos. Whew! (My poor car is another story… but that’s not the story I really care about.)

In the hours and days that followed, you might say I entered into an altered state of consciousness. Not the intoxicated kind, but a surreal one… a time of heightened insight.

Once the shock wore off, I felt incredibly blessed to be alive! I was acutely aware of the fragility of life, and that it can vanish in a heartbeat. No one knows how much time we have left, so no day is “just another day”… every single one is special.

I thought about the ritual I share with my eight-year-old grandson, where we list three things we’re grateful for at the end of the day, and I felt my sense of gratitude swell like never before.

To share just a few of the countless thoughts I had:

  • I am grateful to see the sparkle in my grandsons’ eyes, and savour their light and expressiveness…
  • And I am grateful to have my daughter and her family within driving distance; and a son who lives close to my heart.
  • I am blessed to have my mother still with me, after all these years; and to genuinely enjoy my relationships with my sister, brothers, cousins and other family members.
  • I am grateful to live in a home that delivers “living art” outside my window every day.
  • And I’m absolutely thrilled with the fascinating and heartwarming people I share my life with.
  • I am deeply grateful for my love of reading and the wisdom of the authors whose writing I absorb.
  • And I am delighted with my sharp senses, which flood my experiences with color and flavor and feeling.
  • And – lucky me! – I am blessed with a strong, healthy, pain-free body that lets me explore and enjoy the world every day.

But most of all, I am grateful for my ever-present sense of gratitude, which enriches my life with a deep sense of meaning and appreciation.

Because without that… you don’t have much at all!

Something to consider:

Gratitude is like an internal muscle. We have to exercise it in order to feel its power. And when we do… well, it can transform any moment from dull to spectacular.

One of my favourite ways to elevate my sense of gratitude is an app! There are dozens of them available; I check in with the Gratitude Journal (for iPhone) every day. Try it; you’ll be amazed at how easily this simple practice will change your life for the better.

When it comes to thinking about what you’re grateful for, Tim Saunders (in his book, Today We Are Rich) takes the POET approach: People, Opportunities, Experiences and Things. He wrote,

I put People first because taking note of their greatness in your life feeds your confidence in others. I put Things last because they cause us to focus on material items that can either be in short supply or be taken away entirely.

What a genius way to think about our blessings!

Gratitude is the only way to feel rich. And there are so many elements that enrich our lives! So I invite you to take a few minutes to assess your life’s *real* net worth.

People: ____________________________________________

Opportunities: ______________________________________

Experiences: ________________________________________

Things: ____________________________________________

See? There’s POETry in all of us! And the more we reflect on it, the more poetic life becomes.

Margaret Page

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Posted by Margaret Page in A Page of Insight

Impress Yourself! Your happiness depends on it

May 17, 2013

“We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant

Self-esteem – the holy grail of success! – is central to so many aspects of a happy, fulfilling life. Our sense of confidence, courage, ambition and worth sprout from our self-esteem like branches from a tree trunk, reaching into every aspect of our lives. Our work, our relationships, even our physical presence is infused with self-esteem. When it runs weak, our branches wilt; and when it courses through our veins, we grow strong and vibrant.

It influences everything we do and are – and yet, it’s so intangible! So mysterious. Some people seem born with it; others really struggle for it. Most of us fall somewhere in between, feeling it ebb and flow over time. One thing is certain: self-esteem is tied to happiness. And that makes it worth investigating – right?

Let’s take a closer look and see what it takes to develop self-esteem, why we tend to struggle with it, and what specific steps we can take to raise our self-esteem.

Syndicated radio therapist Dr. Laura Schlessinger once said, “In order to build your self-esteem, you need to impress yourself.” In other words, when you are genuinely pleased with yourself, your sense of pride rises – and any time you are unimpressed with your behaviours or results, self-esteem plummets.

self esteemSimple formula, right? So it may seem, but impressing yourself is no simple task. Why? Because we hold such high expectations of ourselves that it takes a LOT to impress ourselves!

Most of us are so self-critical that it is virtually impossible to earn our own approval. We are so busy looking at how far we have to go that we ignore how far we’ve come! We habitually gloss over our successes, setting our sights on the next goal before we stop to celebrate a win. We downplay our minor achievements, thinking, it was nothing… no big deal.

And that is a grave mistake. Every time we indulge that one little habit, we deny ourselves an opportunity to develop self-esteem.

The definition of self-esteem is “seeing one’s self as worthy of esteem or respect; a feeling of pride in yourself.” Psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden, perhaps the world’s leading authority on the subject, defines self-esteem as “seeing one’s self worthy of happiness.” In other words, good enough to be proud of. Good enough for YOU to be proud of.

One of the most common traps in the quest for self-esteem is trying to impress other people. Our parents, siblings, friends… neighbors, co-workers, boss… that guy at the gym, that young lady at the coffee shop. If you look good in their eyes, that’s something to be proud of, right?

Wrong. As it turns out, if you doubt yourself, the more success and approval you attain, the more you feel like a fraud.

Self-esteem is an inside job. It starts deep within and radiates outward, through everything you do and say; it’s reflected in your posture, intonation and presence. It enlivens and animates you; it colours your reputation; it commands respect. You can’t paint it on with the right clothes, the right car or the right joke.

Fortunately, there is a lot we can do to improve our self-esteem. Here are five ways to build yourself up, from the inside out:

  1. Check your expectations.
    Do you expect too much of yourself? High standards exist to inspire you, not serve as a constant reminder that you’re not measuring up. Be willing to tweak your expectations of yourself to make them a bit more attainable. Only ask of yourself what you would ask of a “normal” person. You’re likely to hit the mark – and when you exceed it, you’re guaranteed to impress yourself.
  2. Celebrate your wins!
    When good things happen – when you reach a milestone, achieve a goal or follow through on an intention (even a small one!) – make a point to stop, acknowledge and celebrate. You deserve it! Life is more than just climbing the mountain; it’s also about turning around and appreciating how far you’ve come. That’s what makes all the climbing worthwhile! Start a journal of personal achievements and challenge yourself to enter something every day… even if it’s as minor as getting out of bed on time. The more you look for your wins, the more you will see, and the stronger your self-esteem will become.

  3. Honour your word.
    Following through on your commitments… speaking honestly… communicating consciously and non-violently… these behaviours are deeply connected to a sense of self-respect. Have you ever noticed how awful you feel when your words and your actions are out of alignment? Even if you “get away with” telling a lie or failing to follow through, a guilty conscience will make sure you pay the penalty in self-esteem points. The same holds true when you lose your temper and unload on someone – whether they deserved it or not. Practice communicating your position without doing damage to yourself or others.

  4. Lead with your heart.
    One of the easiest ways to feel good about yourself is to show you care about others. Random acts of kindness are fun and inspiring, and they benefit the giver as much as the recipient. Watch for moments when you can lend a hand, offer words of encouragement, or acknowledge someone’s effort. Step out of your comfort zone to show that you care about a fellow human being and you will impress yourself every time.

  5. Vanish your “shoulds” – and embrace your “coulds.”
    We all have things in the back of our minds that we think we “should” do… but we don’t. Exercise more? Call Mom? Watch less television? Whatever it is, those “shoulds” are taking a huge toll on your self-esteem. The longer you ignore them, the more damage they do. In the wise words of author Louise Hay,

I believe that should is one of the most damaging words in our language. Every time we use should, we are, in effect, saying “wrong.” Either we are wrong or we were wrong or we are going to be wrong. I don’t think we need more wrongs in our life. We need to have more freedom of choice. I would like to take the word should and remove it from the vocabulary forever. I’d replace it with the word could. Could gives us a choice, and we are never wrong.

I couldn’t agree more! Here’s a powerful strategy to turn your shoulds into coulds, and give yourself a massive self-esteem boost.

Conquer Your Inertia! 4 Steps to Get Clear and Get Moving

  1. Identify the one thing you could START doing that would make the biggest positive impact in your life. And, identify the one thing you could STOP doing that would benefit you the most. Chances are, you already know what these things are; you’ve probably had more than a few conversations with yourself about them. Take a few minutes to get crystal clear that yes, these are the two things I could address that would make the biggest difference in my life. Write each one down.

  2. Next, make a detailed list of the benefits that will come when you follow through on these.

  3. Now make a detailed list of why you’ve been resisting these steps.

Ex. The one thing I could start doing that would really benefit my life is: exercising daily.

  • It would benefit my life through: improved health; more energy; confidence; being able to wear my “skinny” clothes again; increased ability to play with my (grand)kids; mental clarity.
  • I’ve been avoiding this because: I hate to get sweaty; it’s hard to find time; I feel weak and inept; I feel self-conscious in the gym; I don’t know how to get started.
  1. Once you’ve gotten clear, it’s time to start taking steps that will move you in the right direction. Start with simple, easy to achieve steps. Maybe you share your list with a supportive friend. Maybe you start with just five minutes of exercise a day. Whatever it is, acknowledge yourself for moving in the right direction, every step of the way. Stick with it, and as your track record improves, you will feel yourself becoming the person you always knew you could be.

When you activate the potential that lies within you, your self-esteem rises exponentially! So go ahead… impress yourself.

Margaret Page

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January Fever: Get Fired Up!

January 28, 2013

Anyone else have a case of January fever? I absolutely love January because it’s the time of year when people are most willing to take action, make changes, and exercise their ability to shape their lives. There’s a lot of talk about goal setting and resolution making, but I think of January as a lot more than that – it’s a time of visioning, dreaming, planning and manifesting. It’s the month of inspiration and courageous steps forward!

Now, I don’t know about you, but it sure seems to me like 2012 was an extremely challenging year for a lot of people – which, on the flipside, makes this January extra exciting. It’s a fresh start, a new chapter, a chance to turn the page and create from scratch. What a wonderful opportunity!

So if you’re feeling inspired to make this year your best one yet, I want to share a great strategy to help you on your way.

The late, great Earl Nightingale, a pioneer in leadership and self-actualization, suggested a simple yet profoundly effective technique to achieve personal breakthroughs in record time – and I’ll tell you about that in a moment.

But first, it’s important to note that many people will find themselves resisting this strategy. At first glance, it seems too easy, too simple, especially to those of us who tend to struggle and sweat to get what we want.

But, according to Mr. Nightingale, it doesn’t have to be so hard! If you want to achieve a personal breakthrough, all you have to do is this: Turn off the television, the computer, the phone and the radio; silence the distractions and sit quietly at a desk with a pad of paper and a pen. Write your goal or problem at the top of the page. Then, for the next 30 minutes, ask yourself: How can I accomplish this goal or solve this problem in the easiest and fastest way possible?

This is an incredibly powerful way to unlock an unlimited number of ideas. Truth be told, it may become one of the most inspiring and motivational things you do all year! (Trust me on this one… it’s true!)

Now, this may seem like a very simple thing to do – and in fact, it is. However, you may find yourself resisting it. (I’ll admit it… I do!) So, why is that? Well, according to Earl Nightingale, most people would rather do anything in the world than THINK. We would much rather turn on the TV, browse the Internet or chat with a friend, all the while worrying about our challenge instead of taking the time to solve it.

However, this is January – and January fever can burn hot enough to melt that resistance. It’s a breakthrough month! So give yourself the gift of trying this out. Clear your desk, set a timer, sit yourself down, take a deep breath and just begin. If you can get that far, you’ve already done the hardest part. Soon, you will find yourself inspired, thrilled and amazed with the creative ideas that spontaneously appear.

A quick word to the wise: know in advance  that many of your ideas will be less than stellar. That’s okay. You’ll toss out many of them; that’s just part of the process. Write them down anyway. During brainstorms, the golden rule is: do not edit yourself. Let the ideas flow freely, without judgment. Just record the brainstorm.

If the phone rings or the dog barks, or something else tries to distract you, ignore it. Keep this appointment with yourself. It is important enough to devote your full attention to it.

Challenge yourself to put at least 20 ideas down on paper. Give yourself permission to be a little crazy and silly; it helps to free your imagination from self-judgment. (Hint: that’s often when the genius shines through. And besides, it makes the process more FUN!)

Here’s is a simple example:

“How can I lose 25 pounds in the easiest and quickest way?”

  1. Clean all junk food out of my pantry, fridge and freezer.
  2. Fire the gardener and hire a personal trainer.
  3. Dance my way through housecleaning chores.
  4. Salads for dinner – always. And no sugary desserts.
  5. Stop snacking at my desk or in front of the television.
  6. Spend more time with my thinnest friends and ask how they stay that way.
  7. Post a mirror on the refrigerator, just about thigh high.
  8. Always eat in my underwear… with no clothing to hide my belly rolls.
  9. Never answer the door for Girl Scouts selling cookies.
  10. Invite my mother to nag me about my weight.

Go ahead, have fun with this! Get creative. You don’t have to hold yourself to everything that you put on paper, just throw out some ideas and reconsider them at another time. The point is to get your wheels turning, the wheels of creativity and inspiration. These wheels will carry you forward toward solutions and results.

Again, think in terms of quickest and easiest solutions. Train yourself to look for the shortcuts and the most inspiring pathways toward your goal; you’ll learn to think quicker and better, and to reach for breakthrough ideas. Strive to get more inspired, more often.

Most importantly, abandon the idea that achieving your goals requires a long, hard struggle. That approach is soo 2012. Make this the year that you finally find a way to create what you want without all the blood, sweat and tears.

And when the ideas start rolling in, please let me know… I can’t wait to hear what you will create in 2013.

In support of your success,

Margaret Page

P.S. Want to know what I’m creating in 2013? More belly laughs! I firmly believe that laughter – big, hearty belly laughs – are central to a great quality of life. I want to experience this kind of joy every day! If you have any tips for me, or any funny things to pass along, please reach out to me on Facebook or Twitter. And if there’s anything I can do to support you in making this a phenomenal year, please be sure to let me know.

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What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

October 22, 2012

“Hindsight is always 20/20” ~ Billy Wilder.

As we grow older and wiser, we often find ourselves looking back and saying, “If I only knew then what I know now!” It always seems so obvious, doesn’t it?

So when I was invited to speak at a college graduation, my mental wheels really started turning. What could I share with this crowd of eager young adults, just emerging from the cocoon of their education, ready to test their brand new wings on the winds of the world?

What words of wisdom would prove useful in meeting the challenges that lay ahead?

To answer these questions, I reached back into my own history and asked myself: what would have helped me to hear in my early 20s? The floodgates opened and a torrent of ideas came rushing through my mind.

“Invest in relationships. They are life’s greatest gifts.”

I reflected back on some of the lessons I tried to teach my own children…

“Never, never, never stop learning!”

…and some of the principles that I attribute to a happy life.

“Do the things you love now, not later.”

I thought about some things that life’s hard knocks had taught me.

“Even ‘bad’ experiences bring important lessons with them.”

And, I sifted through some of the ideas that helped shape my character.

“Always leave things better than you found them.”

Some thoughts revealed a healthy dose of perspective, the kind that only comes with age.

“It’s going to be ok, it really is!”

And the voices of discipline and self-control spoke up too.

“Being emotional is overrated. Learn to control your emotions.”

Optimism came through, loud and clear…

“Don’t forget to smile. You have a lot to be happy about.”

…as well as a strong tone of encouragement.

“Be bold in your life. It can make all the difference.”

Quality of life ideas also came in strong.

“You can’t live a good life with a bad attitude. Just be happy. Savor good times, and release the bad times.”

It’s important to recognize that most of the things we would tell our younger selves are still worth telling ourselves today. So I encourage you to take a few minutes to ask yourself: “What would I tell my younger self?”

Jot down your answers and tuck that paper away; be sure to put it somewhere that you will stumble across in the future. When you rediscover your note, chances are good that your current self will appreciate the advice.

Want to take this process one step further? How about we share our wisdom with each other? After all, we’ve paid our dues for this knowledge, so let’s share the wealth!

I’ll start… here’s what I would tell my younger self:

  1. “Focus more on building relationships rather than just getting the job done.”
  2. “Acknowledge and celebrate successes as often as possible.”
  3. “Spend more time becoming a better communicator.”

What would YOU tell your younger self? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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