Here at Ideal Balance Coaching, I’m all about getting caring people to put their wants and needs first. I believe, when you’re the kind of person who wants to help others, it’s too easy to give, give, give until you have nothing left. This is when you start to feel exhausted, upset and angry. By making time to focus on your needs you can prevent that happening.
As part of my work and mission to help you put your needs first I’ve created a model of needs. It breaks your needs into 4 broad categories and provides a framework to help you start thinking about what you do want. You can read more about the whole model here.
Today I want to focus on the Self-Esteem Needs category, as I feel this is one that so many people struggle with. This category is all about your own feelings of worth; about doing the things you need to do to cultivate confidence and self-belief. Here are 10 ways you can develop your self-esteem needs:
The more you learn, the more confidence you have in your skills and abilities, developing your self-efficacy. Learning is a great way to grow and expand your comfort zone.
You could choose to learn something new for your business, which will help you create new services and up-level your business. Or you could learn a new skill just for your life, and own benefit. It’s now suggested learning a second language can help ward of dementia in later life, and who doesn’t want that?!?!
Establish healthy boundaries with one person
As well as being all about you putting your wants and needs first, I’m also about building healthy boundaries. Personal boundaries are the limits you put in place to outline how you want to look after yourself and be treated by others.
When you are a caring person, your boundaries can easily become blurred, as you try to accommodate your friends, family and clients. The thought of then implementing boundaries across all of those relationships, and starting to say no, can feel overwhelming.
Just start with one relationship. Think about someone who would be more receptive to your new boundaries and start communicating them to that person. When I started the business, my boundaries needed changing. Dave was the first person I shared those boundaries with. I knew he’d be more receptive than other people.
If you can’t think of anyone, start with establishing new boundaries for yourself. In my last article, I discussed the idea of saying no to yourself. This is you putting a boundary in place for yourself.
I don’t feel I need to go into a lot of detail about this point. There is a lot out there on ways to practice self-care. Self-care is how you look after yourself. And how you look after yourself teaches others how they should treat you as well. Self-care is a way to show yourself that you like yourself and show others that you deserve to be treated with respect.
If you need some ideas I have a Pinterest board on self-care you can check out.
Try something different
This could be categorised under the learn something new heading, but I think of it differently. Learning something is making a conscious effort to obtain more knowledge and skills. Doing something different is doing something that doesn’t directly impart knowledge or skills.
If you always drive to work, either drive a new route home, take public transport or try cycling. Only ever travelled with other people, book a holiday alone. Always use the same equipment at the gym, mix it up with a class or personal training session. Like to listen to music when you’re walking, try it in silence and listen to the noises around you.
In all of these examples you are bound to learn something new, and possibly pick up a new skill, but that wasn’t the intention. The intention was simply to mix it up, try something new.
Create a positive feedback file
Do you keep a list of all the compliments and positive testimonials you get? If you do, do you actually re-read any of them? Research has found it takes 5 positive comments to outweigh one negative one. Positive comments have to work so much harder to break through the psyche. Having a place where you note all these positive comments big and small, and look over them regularly, will help make that process easier.
Struggling to find things to put in the folder? Send an email out to old clients to follow up with how they’re getting on. Or ask friends and family to name some things they like about you. List the things you like about yourself.
Write an Accomplishments List
Similar to a positive feedback file, an Accomplishments List is simply a place where you record everything you have achieved in your life. This was first introduced to me by a therapist when I was struggling with my confidence, and it’s something I go back to when I need a bit of a boost. Include all learning, qualifications, milestones and things you’re proud of. Go back as far as you need to and keep it as simple as you want to.
We all achieve so much in our life, and more often than not we let it pass us by, as we’re only moving onto the next, bigger thing. When I first started coaching getting my first client was a huge deal to me. Now when clients come on board, although I’m excited to work with them, I don’t celebrate the connection that’s been made in the same way as I did at the beginning. And I think I, and all service-based entrepreneurs, should.
Use regular writing to get to know yourself. Write about what you like and dislike, what has gone well for you, and what you’re struggling with right now. Explore your feelings and beliefs you have about yourself. Dream about where you want to be in life, and what it would feel like to have the life of your dreams. Practice self-forgiveness in written format, explore past hurts that you want to let go of, and look to your bright future.
I can’t sing the praises of journaling enough. My self-care Pinterest Board has pins about journaling, with some questions to get you started but there are many resources out there on how to do it.
Revisit an old hobby
What things did you love doing as a child? Do you still do any of them? I have ridden horses since I was 7 years old and I still love it. There have been periods where I’ve stopped riding though, and I’ve always loved going back to it.
I believe having some variety and stimulation in your life is a key part of your self-esteem needs. It helps keep you open to new ideas, and helps you grow your comfort zone. Revisiting old activities is a way of bringing variety and stimulation into your life without having to think of new things to do.
Also, chances are, if you enjoyed doing it as a kid, you’ll enjoy doing it as an adult!
Set a goal
I spoke about this a lot in January (read the posts here.) I believe having a clear idea of what you want from life and turning it into tangible goals is a great way to establish boundaries, self-efficacy and self-esteem. Achieving your goals helps your confidence grow, as it’s making you consciously aware of what you’re accomplishing in your life. The more consciously you live life, the better self-esteem you will have.
I don’t personally believe in setting SMART goals but do think you need your goals to be written and structured in a way that will make them achievable. If you subscribe to my mailing list (you can do at the end of this post or here) I will send you the methods I use to structure my goals in a handy e-book.
Do some power poses
Have you heard of power poses yet? If not, definitely watch the TED talk about it. If you don’t have time for that right now I’ll summarise (but go back and watch it later). Holding high power poses for 2 minutes will help you feel more confident and more powerful. The idea is then you can ‘fake it’ until you become it.
These poses are great, as they can be done at any time, and 2 minutes really isn’t that long. You could strike the “Wonder Woman” before you go on your next discovery call with a new client. Or in the toilets, before you do that big conference presentation.
Now there has been some contention about the validity of results of the original research, but I think, at the end of the day, it’s two minutes of your time and if it makes you feel more confident, who cares what changes it makes to your hormones?
There are 10 things you can do to work on meeting your self-esteem needs. I was pleased to see, as I was compiling this list, that I’m doing quite a few of them already. If you read my last monthly review post, you will know I have a set of goals I’m working on, which includes one to try more things. I’ve stopped updating my positive feedback & accomplishments lists though, so I am definitely going to look at starting those up.