May 152019
 

Most people I know — especially other writers — subscribe to the “this may be good but I can do better” school of work. As a result, given the right combination of HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) our minds can quickly flip over to “this will never be good enough.” That inner critic can grab hold and shake our confidence like a dog with a new toy. This is part of the reason that the online #WritersCommunity flourishes: there’s always someone there to be goofy or to share compliments with a floundering counterpart.

We thrive when others point out our good qualities and the things we are doing well. Compliments are some of the best gifts we can receive — especially until we learn how to provide this wonderful experience for ourselves.

That #InnerCritic can grab hold and shake our confidence like a dog with a new toy. Click To Tweet

I spent many years teaching women how to appreciate their own talents and strengths. While there are many ways to do this, one of the exercises I routinely used was called Building Emotional Muscle. Here’s an abbreviated version.

Below are 45 words for positive traits:

  • active, determined, kind, adventurous, energetic
  • lively, artistic, enthusiastic, loving, aware
  • expressive, observant, beautiful, forgiving, open
  • bold, friendly, patient, brave, generous
  • powerful, bright, gentle, ready-to-learn, capable
  • handsome, respectful, caring, happy, responsible
  • changing, hard-working, sensitive, confident, honest
  • strong, cooperative, imaginative, thoughtful, creative
  • inventive, unique, dependable, joyful, wise

Choose your favorite 5 and list an example of how it manifests in your life.

You can also use this list with some of your online (or in-person) “crew.” Tweet, text, or email an example of how each of them exemplifies one of these traits. Choose a day during the week or month to share this sort of support within that group. Eventually, each of you will have a great collection. In fact, while you’re at it, why not have each group member add 10 or 15 words to the list?

One of the problems with using this sort of technique to counteract your inner critic is that many of us have a hard time accepting compliments.

Sometimes this works best if you don't compliment the person directly -- let her overhear you. Click To Tweet

In that case, here are two more recommendations. First, don’t compliment the person directly — let her “overhear” you. Address your compliment for Ann to Barbara, like this: “Have you noticed the way Barbara’s writing has improved? Her creativity is really shining through!” Depending on the relationships between people involved, Barbara should either not respond or can say/post a simple “thank you.”

Finally, writing can be a lonely business. Comments on blog posts let writers know that someone is reading – and that alone is a great form of feedback. If you’re not sure what to say, refer back to this list. It makes a wonderful starting point for sharing compliments — online or in real life!

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Andrea Patten is the author of The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head.

May 272015
 

Have you made your summer plans yet?  Whether you are fortunate enough to be planning a family trip or trying to put together a decent child care plan, the school year is coming to an end and ‘what to do about summer’ has probably been part of your recent thinking.

Go paperlessWhile babysitting, dog walking and gardening are still options for a lot of kids, technology has certainly opened up some additional possibilities.

Seriously… so many of us joke about how much more intuitively middle and high school students are able to organize our laptops or set up a quick website.   Why not let them?

[Tweet “We joke about how much more easily kids  organize our digital media…”]

Let them help you make a list of some of those aggravating “to dos” that are cluttering up your office or your hard drive….  whether it’s labeling and uploading digital photos you’d like to share, scanning documents,  re-tagging blog posts for better SEO or setting up a FaceBook page for your business, the best person for the job may be closer than you think.

[Tweet “This might make a good virtual summer job for someone you know.”]

What other digital chores would you like to get some help with?  Recording podcasts? Adding media to your website’s library? Playlists and albums? Cloud back-up? Setting up meet-ups or a virtual book club?

What do your kids have to offer?  You may even want to help them share those skills with family and friends.  What do you think? What online chores would you like to offload?

Jul 302014
 
English: Shopping carts in ABC Tikkula.

English: Shopping carts in ABC Tikkula. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[Tweet “There can be long-term benefits to changing a child’s short-term economic expectations.”]

When it is difficult to make ends meet there is a particular parental struggle that doesn’t need to exist:  it is not necessary to feel guilty about setting limits on previously over-indulged children.  In fact, even if you haven’t established a precedent of over-indulgence, there’s no need to feel guilty about setting economic limits.  Like any tough situation, this one holds potential for some valuable learning:  there can be long-term benefits to changing a child’s short-term economic expectations.

[Tweet “Of course it can be difficult to say “no” to someone we love.”]

Of course it can be difficult to say “no” to someone we love – and all parents want to be able to give their kids the best of everything.  But how do we define “the best”?  Can it be in the skills that we introduce and allow them to practice?  How about the benefits of budgeting?

Here are a few:

  • Setting priorities:  What is it they want the most?
  • Money management:  What is the relationship between saving and spending?
  • Planning: What will it take to get it?  What resources to they already have?  Which ones will they need to develop or find?
  • Self-determination: Are they willing to work for it?
  • Research:  Is there a way to get a better price on “the thing”?  Is it ever on sale?  Can it be found second hand?
  • Problem-solving: If they’ve not saved enough money how will they earn more?  Odd jobs?  Yard sale?

Giving your children a chance to learn the benefits of budgeting is a gift that will last far longer than… well… just about anything on their list!

 

 

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