How to Stop Your Insecurities from Hijacking Your Aspirations

How to Stop Your Insecurities from Hijacking Your Aspirations

Editor’s note: guest post by Scott L. Sind

Ever feel like your professional life is a constant roller coaster ride?

Some days you experience huge wins, but others leave you languishing in emotional despair, questioning your competence and wondering if you’re on the verge of being outed as an utter fraud.

Sound familiar? I’m willing to bet that most of you have felt this way at one time or another. I certainly have, and I still do when something doesn’t go quite as expected.

Even worse than suffering these moments of insecurity is that it’s far too easy for negative thoughts to become etched in your psyche as limiting beliefs. Once that happens, your reality is then defined by those beliefs—you now have a view of the world as unfriendly, uncaring, and rife with barriers.

Inevitably you settle into a state of inertia. It’s comfortable there, where you aren’t exposed to the notion of failure.

But what about your dreams? Your lifelong desire to do great things? Sadly, many of us have created mental models that abundance is for the lucky and achievement is reserved for others who are better, smarter or more deserving than we are.

The good news is that you don’t have to accept this as truth. (more…)

On Vulnerability, Going Carless, and Having a List of People You Can Call

On Vulnerability, Going Carless, and Having a List of People You Can Call

One of the things I like the most about not having a car is that it forces you to be a little bit vulnerable.

Sure, in this day and age, you can take advantage of ride-sharing or just rent a car. If you’re lucky enough to live in a city with public transportation, that’s another option. But there comes a time when you’ll wish you could borrow someone’s car.

Why is it so hard to ask?

If the number of cars that line our street during the day is any indication, there are certainly plenty available. The truth is I’ve always avoided asking for help unless it was an emergency. For example, if I slipped on a rock after a long stroll down the beach, I would, most likely, ask for a stranger’s help in the long hobble back.

I wouldn’t like how vulnerable that made me feel. And I know I am not alone. (more…)

You Don’t Have to Prove Yourself to Others–Love Yourself Instead

You Don’t Have to Prove Yourself to Others–Love Yourself Instead

“The girl has to kill the rabbit.”

E veryone stared at me. It was my second day of Survival Training, a program that’s meant to teach you how to stay alive in case you’re shot down behind enemy lines.

I had resisted peer pressure before. In high school, I refused to style my hair or wear make-up, despite classmates who told me I could be so pretty if I just tried. I stuck to my guns, even when my mother had to beg her colleagues to offer their sons as dates to dances.

This shouldn’t have been any different. I am a huge animal lover. I have nothing against hunting for food, especially in a survival scenario. But this wasn’t a wild rabbit we’d caught. It was supplied. It was trusting and tame.

And I absolutely did not want to swing a stick like a baseball bat to break the creature’s neck.

This time, however, I felt a need to prove myself, to show those boys I was every bit as qualified to be a military officer as they were. I wanted them to know I was brave and tough. I accepted the gauntlet as the natural fate of a woman in the armed services.

They had found my weakness.  (more…)

If You Love Someone, Set Them Free (Starting With Yourself)

If You Love Someone, Set Them Free (Starting With Yourself)

P ETA thinks I’m cruel.

According to them, all cats should be indoor cats. They call on owners to protect their loved ones from the “not-so-great outdoors.”

Why? They might get kitty AIDS. There are bad people who will sell them to laboratories or light them on fire. There are even other cats, and make no mistake, those cats are mean.

It’s not that these things aren’t true, even if the selling them to laboratories sounds a bit like an urban myth. It’s a dangerous world out there and you will likely extend your cat’s life span by keeping them inside.

But it’s also a pretty one-sided story. Yes, it can be a big, bad world, but there are plenty of insidious dangers inside the house: boredom, aggression, depression.

Just because your pet can’t vocalize what they’re feeling doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering. When a heat wave hit London and we were desperate to at least crack open some windows, one of our cats wouldn’t stop making escape attempts. No matter how clever we tried to be, she would find a way to wriggle out, forcing me to track her down and drag her back to her prison cell, I mean, loving home.

Until one day I looked in her eyes and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I love this animal like a part of my family and here I was denying her the one thing she wanted, and all I could think about was keeping her safe.

So I opened the window and let her go. (more…)

The Price of Freedom

The Price of Freedom

A lot of people tell me they’re looking for freedom.

I completely understand, because much of my life has been a crazy courtship of the concept. I just didn’t understand the cost until recently.

After high school, I joined the military to escape a totalitarian father, which even I have to admit is funny. It’s true that, by comparison, the military was a picnic. The upperclassmen at the Air Force Academy nicknamed me Cadet Happy Camper because even when they were yelling in my face or making me do iron mikes, I couldn’t help but smile.

The military culture convinced me I was willing to die for freedom, the kind that belonged to someone else. But I struggled to take even the tiniest risks to grant me my own. (more…)

5 Steps to Fearlessly Asking for the Help You Need

5 Steps to Fearlessly Asking for the Help You Need

Editor’s note: guest post by Sophie Lizard.

There’s a certain pride in solving your own problems, isn’t there?

Maybe you made it through a tight month financially by selling some items on eBay.  Or maybe you somehow managed to get your dog to vet, your kid to the doctor, the groceries for dinner, and your report for the boss–all without inconveniencing anyone but yourself.

Doing things for yourself is empowering.

But if you’ve ever struggled onward with heroic determination rather than ask for help when you really needed it, you’ll know that independence comes at a price. Sometimes, it’s a price you’d be silly to pay.

It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.

Lena Horne

Many people these days find themselves over-committed, overwhelmed, and anxious.  Unfortunately, too many think the solution lies only in self-help.

A much needed complement, though fraught with fear and guilt for many, is to ask for help from others.

Not only does this help relieve your own burden, but studies show that human contact and kinship alone can help reduce anxiety.  It turns out getting help for yourself actually serves everyone.

To make that happen though, you have to ask.

And that scares the crap out of you just as much as it does me. So, let’s beat that fear today. (more…)