Financial Planning, Investments, My Life, Trading Secrets, Women Empowerment, World economy & politicsYou can find original article at Business Woman Media website
Don’t hold back: women should take control of their investments
One of the myths about why there are not many women engaged in trading and investing is because they are scared of taking action in the ‘male world of finance’. Women are often scared of not knowing what to do… how to start. As a woman trader who started from zero and becoming a millionaire, I know that the best way to overcome that fear – even on a limited budget – is to dip your toes into the market.
The old saying that it takes money to make money is true. And those living paycheck to paycheck may feel there often isn’t enough money left over to put towards investing.But if you don’t put money away for later years, you will face a very difficult future. One day, you won’t be able to work and you may not have enough money to live on… So what can you donow to escape such a catastrophic situation in future?
To reach any goal, you need look for opportunities, not for excuses.
Financial freedom comes to the persons who take control over their finances – It’s a golden rule of the universe. My advice is not new, but it works. Follow 3 easy steps to change your life and take control over your financial future:
One of the best thing you can do for yourself is to develop a habit of saving part of your salary or other income. Even a small amount regularly saved adds up over time. Savings today are guarantees and possibilities of tomorrow. Beginning today first of all reserve 10% of your income to save. You can save even more — or if 10% seems to be too big an amount for you, start with 2% or 4% and increase it every month. Make every dollar count! How often do you go to fast food restaurant, how often do you buy snacks? What if you cut out even small part of those expenses each month, netting you an extra $100 per month? At the end of the year you will have $1200. Yes, it does not seem like much to get started, but anything is better than nothing, and it can make a big difference in 20 years.
Start a special account to save 10% of your income and pay it with the same respect as you do your mortgage. Be disciplined – it’s your key to success. And never touch your savings, except for investing.
While you are letting your savings mount up to the level where you can use them, educate yourself about investment. There are many free courses and a lot of information around that can teach you the basics of the market, the different kinds of shares, bonds and other opportunities. Beware of those who recommend anything they personally get a fee for pushing. Learn for yourself what the risks and rewards are from different types of investing.
3. Get started
Start investing as soon as possible, as soon as you accumulate enough funds to join the investment program you like – do it! If you are just saving, not investing, you will never become wealthy, because inflation will be eating your money day by day and year by year. The magic formula is saving + investing = financial freedom.
To reach a goal you need to make a first step – do it now!
Here are strategies to silence your overly critical internal monologue and help you reach your goals.
To reach your goals, you have to take risks, develop constructive routines and make time to listen, learn and reflect. The prospect of making any of the above adjustments to your life is empowering — that is, until your mind starts to wander.
Any time you’ve thought about making a change or pursuing a passion, you’ve probably dwelled more on your present state than your potential. Or once you got started, minor setbacks or flubs have felt like deal-breaking failures. You’ve beaten yourself up, berated yourself or felt overwhelmed or alone.
Constant reminders of other people’s triumphs only make you criticize yourself more. Whether you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed or reading a story on Entrepreneur, your kneejerk reaction to someone else’s success might be a combination of envy and self-loathing. A cascade of negative thoughts can produce negative outcomes: Inaction. Retreat. Bad habits. By thinking negatively about what you will accomplish, you formulate a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You’re not inadequate, and you’re not doomed to fail. So next time you’re thinking some variation of one of those things, try these 15 strategies to propel yourself out of the funk you’re in and proceed with the mission you’ve set out to achieve.
1. What you tell yourself: “I don’t know when or how I’m going to do this.” What you should think or do instead: Set a schedule.
Set aside time to work toward your goal for a given period each day or week. Then stick to your plan. Create a calendar slot for it, and treat it as non-optional, like a job. Eventually, you’ll form a new habit.
“Whatever it is, if you want to do it, you need to prioritize it,” says Danielle Krysa, author of Your Inner Critic Is a Big Jerk. “Just like you schedule the rest of your life — work, the gym, pick-up/drop-off of kids, whatever — you have to schedule this in.”
2. What you tell yourself: “I’m not in the right environment.” What you should think or do instead: Carve out a corner.
That doubting, destructive voice in your head will find any excuse to impede your progress toward your goal. It’s easy to blame your environment, but there are ways to make your circumstances work for you — or create new ones.
“Carve out a little corner of one room and set it up so all your essential supplies are within reach,” Krysa writes in her book. “It helps if you surround yourself with some things that inspire you into action.”
Once you establish a dedicated place, it will be easier to tune out other aspects of your life while you’re working toward your goal. When you’re sitting in your corner, surrounded by inspirational objects, or at your new table in your community space, you’ll have physically and mentally removed yourself from the place where you also pay bills, eat dinner or help your kids with homework.
3. What you tell yourself: “I’m not in the mood.” What you should think or do instead: “Procrastinate with purpose.”
That’s what Krysa, who is also an artist, does when she doesn’t feel like tackling a big task.
“Maybe that means I go into the studio and I use that hour to tidy everything up. Or maybe I go to the art supply store and stock up on everything I’m low on,” Krysa says. “But the interesting thing is, when I do that, I end up getting creatively jazzed up again.”
Fill your time with productive tasks that will indirectly lead you toward your goal, she suggests.
4. What you tell yourself: “I don’t know what to do next. I feel stuck.” What you should think or do instead: Relax and take your time.
Working toward a goal often involves decision-making, tackling difficult tasks and making tough sacrifices. Often, when faced with these dilemmas, people feel pressure to resolve them quickly, but they aren’t always sure about the best course of action.
First, try to relax and take it step by step.
“When you overthink a decision, your instincts aren’t involved at all,” Heather Havrilesky, author and advice columnist who pens New York magazine’s Ask Polly, told Entrepreneur.com. “So the idea is to get into a relaxed space and then feel through your options and your ideas about what you want or what you might enjoy, without getting too attached to what you learn about yourself and your true desires on any given day.”
She advises writing down what you like about a potential decision vs. what you dread about it. She also suggests forgiving yourself for not having taken the next step yet. Chances are, you’ll be more satisfied with the end result if you give yourself time.
“You don’t end up feeling like your decisions are arbitrary when you make them in a calm, relaxed state of mind,” Havrilesky says.
5. What you tell yourself: “I will never achieve my goal.” What you should think or do instead: Tell yourself the opposite.
So you’ve had a setback in your quest to achieve your goal. You know you shouldn’t insult yourself, but you can’t stop. The criticisms become more and more negative, maybe until you convince yourself of something terribly untrue, such as “you’re worthless,” or “you’ll never achieve your goal.”
Your failure to execute on your goals up to this point is not a reflection of your character. The fact that you’ve formed a goal in the first place indicates that you have an idea of how to better yourself or add something to the world. Now you have to do it, and the biggest obstacle in your way might be yourself and that nagging voice telling you there’s something wrong with you or that you can’t.
“Every time you have one of those negative thoughts, write it down. Then write the positive opposite, and stick it somewhere where you can see it,” Krysa says. “Suddenly you end up surrounded by positive things instead of negative things. It’s very Kumbaya, but it really does work.”
6. What you tell yourself: “I’m a total mess.” What you should think or do instead: Organize the little details of your life to prime yourself for your big goal.
It’s easy to get bogged down by the small things, such as how you look, how clogged your inbox is or how many errands you’ve been putting off. Disorganization in minor aspects of your personal life could deter you from thinking you’re ready to take on something big.
Prepare as much as you can. That way, you can focus on bigger hurdles.
7. What you tell yourself: “My goal is stupid.” What you should think or do instead: Exude confidence bordering on arrogance.
If you’re preoccupied with the idea that no one else will be interested in what you’re trying to do, you may start trying to convince yourself that you should quit pursuing your goal based on what you’re worried others will think.
Havrilesky says she’s made the mistake of beating herself up internally to the point where she couldn’t speak concisely or coherently about her ideas for new projects. She’s learned from her mistakes and now understands that confidence is everything.
“Take up a little space and own who you are,” she says. “Don’t worry about what they’re thinking.”
She also encourages good posture. Havrilesky says that she has found “standing like Wonder Woman” helpful in reinforcing positive self-perception. Despite the fact that science has not proven power posing effective, some people do find that it boosts their confidence.
8. What you tell yourself: “That other person already achieved my goal and made it look so easy. I’ll never be as good as them.” What you should think or do instead: Approach the person and ask for advice.
It can be toxic to think about other people’s success. You may put them on a pedestal and think they’re superhuman or free of doubt. Ultimately, you may become wildly jealous of them to the point that you devalue yourself and your potential.
When Krysa found that a writer whose work she followed made her feel this way, she bravely did what so many people never consider: She asked that woman to meet.
“I decided to reach out and go, ‘Hey! How do you do what you do? And also I’m super jealous of you,’” Krysa says. “I wanted to say it out loud, and it turns into admiration when you do that.”
They met for coffee, and Krysa told her, “I think you’re perfect.”
The woman burst into laughter. “‘Are you kidding? I think you’re perfect,” she replied.
This led the two of them to compare notes.
Krysa walked away with some valuable insight into how this seemingly “perfect” woman achieved her success, a realization that this person was actually human, a self-esteem boost and a new friend to boot.
You shouldn’t feel shy about reaching out to someone you feel inferior to. The other person probably feels similar feelings, and you have plenty to teach her, too.
9. What you tell yourself: “Even if I achieve my goal, I’m never going to impress the people I want to impress.” What you should think or do instead: I’m here to connect with others.
Reaching a goal, especially a professional one, is often about more than your ability to excel in your line of work. It also involves a social element, such as networking. This leaves many people convinced that they are going to make a bad impression. Someone will find them too shy, too bossy, too something and not enough something else, and that deficiency will cloud all of their achievements, so they think.
Havrilesky has a solution: “You don’t focus on your worst self, and you also don’t focus on your fantasy self,” she says. “Instead, you think about the people who love you, find you incredibly charming and remember how you act around those people.”
Approach meetings and social events with an interest in others rather than a preoccupation with yourself and your own shortcomings.
“They’re just regular people who’ve learned how to play certain roles,” Havrilesky says. “Remember that you’re not there to impress anyone, even though that’s what your bad brain tells you. You’re there to connect.”
10. What you tell yourself: “It doesn’t seem like I’m making any progress toward my goal.” What you should think or do instead: Find someone to hold you accountable.
When you take on a new challenge, it can be discouraging when your life doesn’t magically change overnight. You’re working so hard, yet you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere. You begin to wonder if all of your effort is worth it.
To ensure you don’t give up on your goal, establish a support system — one person or a group who will hold you accountable. It could be a family member, it could be Facebook friends or it could be a life coach. You’ll feel less alone in your journey, you’ll have someone to report to who will make sure you follow through and best of all, you’ll have someone who will notice and remind you of how far you’ve come.
“You’ll know that you have someone or a group of someones that are holding you every day in your highest self, to the standard of what that looks like, how that person behaves, how that person treats themselves,” says Jessica King, a life coach and senior instructor at Peloton, who works with clients to meet their fitness goals. “Once the awareness around habits and patterns and self-talk is a conversation that’s out in the open, it’s kind of wild how quickly transformation can happen.”
11. What you tell yourself: “That didn’t work.” What you should think or do instead: Keep your goal, but find a new means of achieving it.
It’s one thing to be oblivious of the subtle progress you’re making, it’s another thing to know that what you’re doing is ineffective. But rather than give up in those instances, try a different approach.
Say you’re trying to learn a new skill. For example, you might be trying to learn a new language solely by listening to audio guides during your commute, but you’re really not a strong auditory learner. So, you may need to rethink your approach. Perhaps, you learn better with an app or with gamification.
Similarly, King acknowledges that cycling isn’t the right form of exercise for everyone trying to achieve a fitness goal. Some prefer yoga, kickboxing or dancing.
“Any sweat is a good sweat,” King says. “What’s interesting? What’s fun?”
12. What you tell yourself: “This goal isn’t enough. I should be doing more.” What you should think or do instead: Focus.
Don’t overload yourself with to-dos. If you’re making a little progress, don’t devalue what you’ve already accomplished by trying to take on a new task or goal. It’s likely that you still have work to do on the first one.
“I know something that always came up with us at Roo Outdoor was we have our product, we have our marketing, we have our customers. What’s next?” says founder and CEO Mike Kafka. “I always felt like I had to do something more, do something else.”
Instead, Kafka recognizes that he should just focus on one thing at a time. The next thing “will come organically when you’re not focusing as much energy on it,” he says.
13. What you tell yourself: “I’m so overwhelmed.” What you should think or do instead: Journal.
Goal-setting requires focus. You have to stay organized about what you need to do to achieve your goal, but you can’t shut the world out, nor can you always resist the temptation to get ahead of yourself. When there are a lot of thoughts swirling around in your head (including negative ones), it can help to write some of them down.
That’s what Kafka does every morning. He writes just one or two things most days, whether it’s something he wants to work toward or something that’s been on his mind. There’s no structure or plan for what he writes down — he just records his thoughts.
“It’s helped a lot with clearing my thoughts, refocusing on things that are in the present, things that I want in the future,” Kafka says. “It’s a process of getting out some of the thoughts that I may have had, so I’m not thinking of, ‘What’s the next thing, next thing, next thing?’”
Writing things down also gives him the chance to reflect. He says he goes back and reads his notes bi-monthly to resurface ideas, do follow ups and remember things that were done well.
14. What you tell yourself: “Working toward this goal is taking over my life.” What you should think or do instead: Take care of yourself.
A lot of people who are working hard toward a particular goal, be it a college degree or a company launch, let their wellness go by the wayside. They romanticize all-nighters and ramen noodles and think that the more they’re sacrificing for their goal, the more likely they are to reach it.
While some people succeed despite neglecting their own health, it is not sustainable for most.
“The way you treat yourself, the way you eat and the way you think are all going to contribute to the end result of whatever you’re creating,” trainer King says.
If you’re not paying attention to your nutrition, it is going to affect your ability to think clearly. Similarly, stagnation in the body correlates with stagnation in the mind — and creativity.
Don’t be afraid to invest some time to burn some energy and take care of yourself by eating right and sleeping.
15. What you tell yourself: “I’m scared to face the changes that achieving my goal will bring.” What you should think or do instead: It’s not a matter of life or death.
Think of the most intimidating thing you’ve had to face or the most dangerous situation you’ve had to get out of. Now recognize that you made it. You’re here, right now, reading this.
Now think of your goal, and think of which aspect of reaching it is so scary to you. Compare that what you’ve already overcome in your life.
Finally, know that it’s natural to fear new things. Humans are creatures of habit. But humans also have a tendency to beat themselves up. You’ll continue to do that if you don’t take the plunge toward what you’re trying to achieve.
“Sometimes we find ways to prevent ourselves from succeeding, just so we don’t have to live in a new way, among new people, because that sounds scary,” Havrilesky says. “Even if things go badly, I try to laugh about it without internalizing some larger sad message about myself. Everyone screws up here and there. No experience is a verdict.”BY LYDIA BELANGER
Fear can be crippling. Fear can be debilitating. Fear feeds resistance and stops us from achieving dreams, from challenging the status quo, from using our voices, from trying something new.
It’s doubtful that there are many businesspeople who have gone through their career without experiencing fear—loss of face, loss of market share, loss of revenue, or worse still, loss of forward momentum. Many question Can I? Who would want to listen to me? Do I have the experience to do this?
Crazy thoughts and irrational fears.
The truth is that fear, for many of us, is present every day. The question is how to turn the feeling of fear into a powerful tool. Here are five key tips to remove the fear and achieve the success that you want:
1. It all starts with YOU.
The only judgment that matters is the one you have of yourself, so decide what is it that you are going to stand for, what your testament is to the world, what difference you want to make today to influence the lives of others around you. When you have a sense of clarity and purpose for yourself and your life, when you are clear on your why, you can then begin the journey to achieve what you desire from your life, business or profession, and enjoy longevity in your success because you are living life on purpose.
2. Trust your intuition.
Understand what makes up your value system and own it. Live it. Work it. If you don’t start leading from within, taking control to acknowledge your own values and beliefs and the person that you are on the inside, you will never be capable of being the better person on the outside. This system is unique to you and it is your responsibility to take ownership. There are times when it will be challenged or when you will give in to other’s values—and you will look back and wish you had trusted your intuition. That intuition, that gut feeling? Don’t ever mistrust it. It is a key part of you, and you should learn that it is one of your best assets. Ignore at your peril.
3. Be brave.
Stepping out of your comfort zone creates a new perspective—we know this. Yet fear gets in the way and we get trapped, stuck in status quo, a place of stagnation and no growth. Be brave and take a journey to the edge. This alone will strengthen you and give a massive boost to your self-confidence and self-belief. Stepping out of your comfort zone empowers and engages, it forces you to face your fear head-on. Imagine the possibilities and use this to fuel your bravery as you discover new opportunities and unlock new pathways to success.
4. Stand in your spotlight.
Don’t be afraid to be brilliant. Have the resilience to shine and follow your dreams of business and personal success. There is nothing wrong with making your own profile, or your own brand, as strong as you possibly can. Because it is only when you are operating from that position of self-leadership that you can truly give to others.
5. Chase progress over perfection.
Most of us instinctively spend time and energy seeking the big goals and achievements—those moments that are incredibly satisfying and equally, at times, hard to come by. Focusing only on the bigger goals can lead to disappointment and frustration, and while those big picture goals are important, we often lose sight of the incremental successes and achievements along the way. Take time to acknowledge and recognize the small wins each and every day.
6. Take action.
Much of what we fear is the future. It is important to bring our overthinking mind continuously into the present, focusing on what needs to be done right now, and take action and get on with it. Action allows us to overcome fear and inertia because by taking action, by doing it anyway, by being brave and going for it, we feel back in control.
7. Embrace decision-making.
When you hold back from making decisions out of a fear of failure, it engenders that same fear in others around you. This means lackluster projects, an endemic inability to change the status quo and a potential lack of future leaders around you. A large part of being brave is to risk failing, make the tough calls, and show those around you that this is OK.
It is those people who are willing to challenge themselves, who make themselves accountable for their own success, and ultimately their own happiness, who recognize the need to reach a little bit further, a little bit higher, who end up with the biggest satisfaction. Be 5 percent braver than everyone else. Dig deep and share your unique talent, your thought leadership, your expertise. Create energy and that energy will drive change for you and those around you. It is those who take the leap, who face their fears who are able to create momentum in their success dreams.
At the end of the day, what will it cost you if you don’t at least try?
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. There are so many different factors that contribute to how your message is perceived: your body language, facial expressions and, maybe most importantly, your tone of voice and how you actually speak.
Today we share a few key tips:
1. Don’t upspeak.
“It’s so important to pay attention to how you sound,” stressed Burton. Though not enough of us think about it, our voices convey our emotions — and could be holding us back.
“Upspeak” is when you dramatically soften a statement by making it sound like a question at the end, which indicates uncertainty. Instead, your voice should command attention. Avoid turning statements into questions, but also avoid the dreaded “vocal fry,” where your voice sounds monotone with no emotion. Simply, sound and act confident.
2. Channel your anxiety into excitement.
Nervous before a big meeting? Instead of telling yourself to “calm down,” tell your brain (and in turn, your body) that you’re simply excited. According to Burton, excitement, like anxiety, is a high arousal state and the two emotions are much more closely aligned than calmness and anxiety. Thus, it is a much smaller leap to go from anxious to excited than to go from anxious to calm.
So tell yourself that you’re excited, and really believe it.
3. Speak truthfully and accurately.
According to Burton, a lot of women get hung up on the idea of being positive all of the time, but being positive is not essential to success.
It’s more beneficial to your career to address when pessimism, or speaking negatively, is actually needed. Be truthful and accurate about challenges facing a task or project and then speak positively about your ability to overcome them.
4. Keep in mind the likability factor.
Your ability to influence people and allow them to see your viewpoint depends on how much they like you, according to Burton. Superficial? Yes, but Burton stressed that is how we’re wired as humans and by understanding the process of how people come to a place of “liking” will increase your chances to succeed.
One important caveat to keep in mind: Not everyone will like you and that is OK. Just be your best self and take every opportunity to be kind, authentic and supportive to your co-workers.
This mindset sent a food executive from layoff to a 13 store business
5. Ask the tough questions.
Asking pointed, direct questions will help to eliminate confusion. It also empowers others to own their actions. In this day and age, having the right answer isn’t as important. It’s about asking what is expected of you and staying on task.
Written by Sally Blount
The only way to advance in a career—that is, to advance in the influence and impact you have on others—is to become someone whom others respect and with whom they want to work. For me, the biggest hurdle I had to overcome professionally was, quite honestly, me. During my thirties and early forties, I had to rewire some of my basic programming. I had to change how I tended to think and behave at work. Even now, I still find that self-awareness is key.
As I reflect, there were three particularly important lessons along my path to greater impact:
Learning to welcome negative feedback
As a middle daughter and “good girl” who grew up in the 1970s, I thought that if I worked hard enough, I could be perfect. And, for some reason, I thought that perfection was the goal. I did pretty well in high school and college, so I was able to maintain the illusion for a while. But when constructive feedback started coming in my twenties—during my first job and early marriage—it felt excruciating. No matter how well intentioned, I often became defensive and made excuses.
Then, in my late thirties and early forties, I went through some humbling experiences and realized that “perfect” wasn’t possible and wasn’t the point. (Divorce and raising teenagers will do that for you.) I’m not wishing tough times on anyone, but the long-term outcome was actually good for me. I had no choice but to confront and accept that I had made mistakes, some big ones, even though my intentions were usually good. Once I finally did that, I shed my defensiveness and became comfortable with being flawed. I learned that perfectionism isn’t what good relationships are about.
To be clear: I didn’t lose my desire to try to be better. I simply began to embrace feedback. So today, as I continue my journey—to be more effective at work and to be a better partner, mother, leader, and friend—I actually seek out feedback, as I’ve learned that the only way to grow is to know where you are falling short.
Learning the limits of big titles
People sometimes make the mistake of thinking that success is all about having the right title. While that may be nice, my experience suggests that success is the outcome of good work, not the cause. Further, big titles and high-visibility jobs are not always what they seem. So the second important lesson is that success comes when you make a positive difference in every room that you are invited into, regardless of your title. If you contribute, you’ll get more invitations, you’ll get respect, and you’ll have impact. And in the long run, positive impact, not your title, is the goal.
This lesson began for me during my first deanship at NYU, where I was a “low status” dean. I didn’t have as big a budget or span of control as other NYU deans. Yet I often got invited into rooms in which I was able to make an important difference. Because I was seen as someone who was low-ego and a strong facilitator, and because my low-status role wasn’t threatening to other deans, I was able to be an agent for the provost and president in moving key conversations behind the scenes. Indeed, at NYU, my “low status” actually helped me be “high impact.”
Getting comfortable not being me
Being effective requires a high degree of self-awareness and self-actualization. Indeed, some leadership gurus argue that these are the key determinants for becoming a great leader. The challenge, in my mind, is how you express that growing awareness of your true self in the presence of others.
For many years, I felt muted at work. I was surrounded by men, and often got the sense I was too female, too vibrant, and too emotional. I frequently picked up the vibe that I had to dial down my personality in order to fit in. There were days when the constant self-editing felt overwhelming. But over time, as I got more comfortable with myself (both my strengths and my weaknesses), I was able to focus more externally. And I found that I was most effective when I thought less about me and more about how I could help others. The truer you become in being you, the less you and your personality need to enter the room.
Effective, seasoned leaders know that their interactions are about the people with whom they are interacting. As a result, these leaders stay vigilant and self-aware. They monitor their self-expression, learning how to turn up and down their personalities to the extent that it is helpful to the group and the tenor in the room. A strong leader can bring a 500-person audience alive with a heartfelt personal story that inspires customer responsiveness or hard work, and they can fade into the background in a 12-person conference room as others engage in problem-solving. The key is that their personality becomes a tool to be used with precision, not a pressing need that must get expression.
Beyoncé Knowles, singer, songwriter, actress
“I truly believe that women should be financially independent from their men. And let’s face it: Money gives men the power to run the show. It gives men the power to define value. They define what’s sexy. And men define what’s feminine. It’s ridiculous.”
Marilyn Monroe, actress
“If there is one thing in my life I’ve been proud of, it’s that I’ve never been a kept woman.”
Hillary Clinton, politician
“Wealthy women have rights in every country. And poor women don’t.”
Coco Chanel, fashion designer
“There are people who have money and people who are rich.”
Oprah Winfrey, TV personality, businesswoman
“I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.”
Gertrude Stein, writer
“I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. It’s better to be rich.”
Helen Gurley Brown, journalist
“Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort.” Brown was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine from 1965 to 1997.
Bette Davis, actress
“To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labour, to be given chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.”
Dolly Parton, songwriter, actress
”Count your blessings more often than you count your money.”
Nicki Minaj, rapper, songwriter
”To all my Barbies out there who date Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, you’ll be better off in life. Get that money.”
When you understand who you are meant to be, your purpose will finally become bigger than your fears.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ―Aristotle
To truly know yourself is the most important skill you can ever possess. When you know who you are, you know what you need to do, instead of looking for permission from others to do what you already know you ought to do. It allows you to bypass tons of frustration caused by putting time into the wrong things. Yes, life is supposed to be full of trial and error, but this lets you find the best areas for you to experiment with in the first place. Once you know yourself, you will become more confident, you will understand your purpose, and you will begin making a bigger impact on the world.
So how can you know who you are and what you ought to do in life? Here are the six steps you need to take in order to know your true self:
1. Be quiet.
You cannot and will not be able to know yourself until you take the time to be still. Many people don’t know themselves because any sort of silence scares them; it’s too uncomfortable to be alone with every flaw staring back at them. But it isn’t until you get alone, evaluate yourself and are completely truthful with yourself that you will actually be able to see every facet of your life—the good and the bad. Be quiet and discover your true self.
“Observing yourself is the necessary starting point for any real change.” —Chalmers Brothers
2. Realize who you truly are, not who you want to be.
I know you already have a set idea of who you desperately want to be, but it might not be who you were designed to be; this is why knowing who you really are is so important. When you know who you are, you will finally see where you and your specific gifts fit into the bigger picture.
And although there are many points along your journey to help you discover yourself, the best way to begin is to take a personality test and the StrengthsFinder test. (If it’s been five or more years since you’ve completed either of these, take them again.) No, these self-evaluations aren’t perfect, but they do pinpoint your top areas of strengths, so you can focus on the change you were meant to bring into the world.
3. Find what you are good at (and not good at).
This might be the most difficult step in the process of finding who you are, but it’s a necessary one. Sure, it takes trial and error to find what you’re good at, and no, I don’t want you to give up before you’ve had more than enough attempts, but knowing when to quit is a gift that everyone needs to learn.
Quit when you’ve put in ample time and your efforts aren’t giving back in return. What is ample time? Only you can decide that. But when you quit correctly, it isn’t giving up, it’s making room for something better. When your actions do nothing but drain you—rather than produce more passion and increase your drive to do more—that’s a good sign it is time to1 focus elsewhere. Your strengths will show you who you are.
4. Find what you are passionate about.
Following passion of any kind is a good thing, and you need to pay attention when it comes because it indicates an area of life that you need to pay more attention to. If we’re talking about following your passion in work, it’s a good thing. And if we’re talking about having more passion for life, it’s a good thing. Focus more on passion; understand yourself in better ways, and you’ll make a bigger impact. Passion produces effort and continuous effort produces results.
5. Ask for feedback.
If you don’t know yourself, hearing what others have to say about you is a helpful practice. Ask them two simple questions: “What strengths do you think I need to develop further?” and “What weaknesses do you think I need to work on?” Of course, their opinion isn’t going to be perfect, but their feedback will probably indicate a few areas you should at least take a second look at. This step is especially important for those who are stuck in finding themselves. Sometimes those closest to us can see something we might not be able to see in ourselves.
6. Assess your relationships.
A large aspect of knowing yourself can be found in your relationships. When you realize you’ll never truly know anyone else until you discover yourself, the importance of knowing yourself becomes even more apparent. This truth especially rings true for business leaders, because if you don’t know the people on your team, then you will be lost as a leader. But this rule also applies to any relationship in your life. Almost as much as you need to know yourself, other people also need to know who you are. People need you—the real you.
Use your reflections to fight your biggest fears, because when you understand who you are meant to be, your purpose will finally become bigger than your fears. When you realize who you are, you will spend less time spinning your wheels. Focusing on your strengths gives you the needed traction to begin making a bigger and better difference in the world. When you know yourself, you will find more peace, and you will find success quicker than ever before.
Now go take action and find your true self, starting today.