Rewrite your internal self talk

Rewrite your internal self talk

Rewrite Your Internal Self Talk

Rewrite Your Internal Self Talk 

A few years ago, I had the privilege of taking part in a year long leadership development program held in California. I met the most incredible humans from around the world. Many are now life long friends and colleagues. A group of us still meet virtually every two weeks to practice our leadership skills, hold space for each other in our darkest of moments and have the opportunity to speak our truths and show up as our true authentic selves.

What I love so much about this group is how we can witness in a safe space when our inner critics show up. Those are the voices in our heads that judge ourselves and others, that tell us we’re not good enough, that tell us we suck. It was in our last “Leaders Show up” group call that my inner critics had a field day.

As the group was conversing, I could feel myself becoming so passionate about the topic of discussion that I chimed in with what I felt were words of motivation and inspiration. How it was received was more like advice. What we could all feel was how the energy shifted in the space. There were triggers going off in so many of us and I could feel my inner critics show up to tell me:

Who do you think you are!?

  • No one is going to want to listen to you!
  • See!? I just proved to you yet again that you’re worthless.
  • I told you that you don’t belong here! Just shut the F**K up!

In the past, I used to actually feel good when I was proactive in my negative self talk. I felt that, if I could put myself down first, no one else could “get” me. I would simply become very quiet and retreat into myself. It was a way to control my internal and external environment and I treated it like it was some sort of reward for staying on top of the situation. It was a way to feel safe.

On other occasions I would verbally underplay my accomplishments or put myself down through self deprecating jokes. People would often say to me: “Ann-Marie, you’re hard on yourself!” My reply would always be: “Ya, but I’m so good at it!” and then laugh it off to lighten the mood.

What do your inner critics say to you?

Do you ever have those nasty inner critics in your head as well? What do yours say to you? Do they say things like?

  • OMG, look at yourself.
  • Eeew. Gross.
  • Look at all your mistakes!
  • You totally screwed that up. Everyone noticed.
  • You should know better than that

Most of us have some sort of nasty inner critic that thrives on sharing his/her negative opinions, judgemental thoughts and downright rude and obnoxious antics.

While it might seem a little odd to think about having a conversation with yourself in your own head, we do it all the time.
Our brains are always chatting away with some sort of internal dialogue, whether that’s in words, images, or feelings. Most of the time, we’re just not conscious of it.

Brain chatter = Self-talk.

It’s important to remember that our brains and bodies can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s imaginary. This means, if we pay attention more to the nasty inner critics, vs our inner Champions our brains and bodies will treat what we say as true and see the external and internal environment as legitimate threats to our well-being.

Nasty Inner Critics makes us feel like crap

When the volume of those inner critics is continuously on high and always on, it creates stress. When that happens, our brains will do what it has been doing for a gazillion years: go into protective mode through fight, flight, freeze or appease.

In small amounts, stress can be a positive thing. It can inspire productivity and motivate you to complete your goals. But chronic stress can have many adverse effects, including irritability, depression, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, sexual dysfunction, substance abuse, depletion of the immune system and even life-threatening illness.

To build resilience and hear your inner Champion more often than your inner Critic, here are some tips:

Create a Champion list:

List some things that is serving you in your everyday life. You may at first have a hard time thinking of some things for most people tend to discount the smaller accomplishments in life that help them grow every day.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • I only hit the snooze button once today
  • I had a banana instead of a chocolate bar
  • I called two friends
  • I stayed on the line with my leadership colleagues even though I felt discomfort
  • Work with a Change Champ Coach to help with rediscovering you Inner Champion

Feed the Champion vs the Critic:

As addressed in the Champion Lifestyle program, there is a direct link between diet and mental well-being. Your body runs on fuel in the form of food, and if the fuel you put in your body is not healthy, you can’t expect your body to produce optimal wellness. A diet low in nutrients can deplete your reserves of vitamins and minerals, making it even more difficult to manage your resilience to the inner critics.

  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine, sugar and alcohol,
  • Replace fatty meats and processed foods
  • Choose fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and fish, nuts, seeds and legumes.
  • Sign up for the Champion Lifestyle program to create and internal and external Champion lifestyle

Reframe your negative thoughts.

In my Champion Mindset program, you are given lots of activities to help you reword and reframe the negative self-talk that may be showing up for you.

  • If the root of your stress can be linked to a particular event where you felt like you failed, simply notice and name it for what it is. Reframe the event in your head and realize that failure is essential for growth.
  • Take the example of my Leadership call. I was able to notice and name the internal inner critic that showed up when I felt vulnerable. My Inner Champion was able to take the lead and ask me the powerful questions to help me sit in the discomfort and challenge the belief of not being good enough.
  • Sign up for the Champion Mindset program and start transforming your negative self talk and rediscover your Inner Champion

Clearly visualize yourself doing things you’re proud of.

Remind yourself of that awesome moment, and make it as real as possible — like making a movie of that experience in your head.

  • Have a name for the movie, the characters in the movie and who the Champions and/or Heroes are in the movie.
  • Allow yourself to binge watch that movie over and over again in your head so you can clearly see yourself doing and being that Champion

Let’s face it, that nasty inner critic isn’t going away any time soon. It’s part of the human condition and no one is exempt from having negative self talk. Yet, you don’t have to be a hostage to them either.

Developing and strengthening your Inner Champion is a critical key to turning down the volume on the internal noise. It’s also your key to resilience and thriving in an imperfect world. With a the right tools and support system, you’ll be on the road to conquering your self-doubt, negative beliefs while building confidence and leverage your Champion strengths

To the Champion in YOU!

The Perfectly Hidden Wound

The Perfectly Hidden Wound

The Perfectly Hidden Wound

The Perfectly Hidden Wound

I never knew this until recently, but I am a recovering perfectionist. My aim in this newsletter is to share my personal story and shed some light on a growing epidemic: Perfectionism.

I honestly thought that my innate need to function at an exhaustingly high level was just normal. The obsessive need to – practice my sports, eat the “right” foods, walk the “right” way, enunciate my words when I speak, write “correctly” – were all just a standard expectation in the world I grew up in. The only problem was, I didn’t know what “correctly” and “right” meant.

Why?

Because every time I thought I met the standard put upon me by the figures of authority in my life, the bar got raised higher or the target got changed.

Not only was I juggling all these daily expectations in my every day life, I was becoming hypervigilant of how to please my authority figures (at home, in my sport, in my work and in my relationships). It led me to perceive the world as a dangerous place where I constantly needed to change my behavior in order to avoid perceived punishment, which for me was to take “love” away.

While the world saw a very successful individual who was an inspiration to many, what I felt on the inside was fear, shame, guilt and never feeling that I would ever be worthy of anyone’s love, including my own. You could say that I developed a coping strategy for the silent screams and the loneliness I was experiencing on the inside by excelling in many activities in my life, especially in sports.
I was born in an environment where rigid structure, and discipline was just the way things were.

As I reflect back, mental health was something no one talked about yet many around me struggled with. I felt that I needed to excel in everything I did to keep those around me happy and receive “love”. I also knew that I couldn’t afford to make mistakes for if I did there was a fear of hearing those dreaded words “I’m disappointed in you.”, or “If you don’t do this, I’ll be disappointed”.

As a young child and adolescent those words sounded just like “I won’t love you if you make a mistake” and “If you don’t do this, I’ll take love away from you”. To me, I couldn’t afford to make mistakes for It truly felt like I would never be loved.

As a manifestation of this thought process, I did everything I could to become the best at my sports. I also developed exceedingly high and rigid standards on how I ate (ie: how I held my fork and knife and how I sat up at the table, etc), how I spoke, how I wrote, how I walked, how I dressed, etc. Many times, the need to excel felt so overwhelming that I became paralyzed, like when a person freezes when a wild animal charges toward them.

While all this was happening, I was deeply suffering inside. I couldn’t tell anyone that I struggled with reading and writing, I couldn’t tell anyone that I had constant back pain while practicing my sports, and I couldn’t tell anyone that I was beyond terrified of authority figures. I became the best at everything I could control and even tried to control what was outside of my control.

I became a bonafide perfectionist

In the book “Perfectly Hidden Depression: How to Break Free from the Perfectionism That Masks Your Depression” by Margaret Robinson Rutherford, Ph.D, she defines 10 characteristics of perfectionists:

  • Have a constant, critical, and shaming inner voice.
  • Demonstrate a heightened or excessive sense of responsibility.
  • Detach from painful emotions by staying in your head
  • Worry and need to control yourself and your environment.
  • Intensely focus on tasks, using accomplishment to feel valuable.
  • Focus on the well-being of others but don’t allow them into your inner world.
  • Discount personal hurt or sorrow and struggle with self-compassion.
  • May have an accompanying mental health issue, such as an eating disorder, anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or addiction.
  • Believe strongly in counting your blessings as the foundation of well-being.
  • May enjoy success within a professional structure but struggle with emotional intimacy in relationships.

Yup! That was pretty much me!

My perfectionism traits were:

People pleasing, rescuing and feeling that, if something didn’t go well it was 100% my fault. Any failure on my part only validated the feeling that I wasn’t deserving of anyone’s love. I would seek validation, yet could not absorb a single molecule of a compliment if I did receive one. To me it felt selfish and undeserving. On the inside, I would think, “Oh but if you only knew….” and that I had brought anything bad that ever happened to me upon myself for not being good enough.

I don’t think I truly recognized the degree to which perfectionism was becoming detrimental to my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing until about 10 years ago when I finally hit the wall and searched for help.

Through therapy, and a lot of intention and awareness around this, I now recognize the traits that have been my coping strategy to feel safe in a world that felt anything but. Through baby steps I was able to shift my mindset to one of empowerment and self love.

If you see yourself in this story, if you focus on what you’re doing wrong vs what you’re doing right, if you’re someone who appears to others to have the perfect life, but underneath that façade painful secrets exist, plagued by perfectionism and worry that you hide your true authentic self, then read on.

Take the Mindset quiz to see where you land.

I started to take courses and built credentials so that I could help others with their mindset, build their inner strength and resilience and become the person they were truly meant to be. Most importantly I want to pass on to you the subject of perfect imperfection by creating the Perfect Imperfection program.

Champion Mindset

This passion project that has been 30 years in the making and has brought so much meaning to me and to the lives of every person that has taken the program so far.

I want to give others the opportunity to let go of perfectionism and learn to be OK with being human.

Some may feel reluctant to pursue this program for fear of exposure and loss of control, as they consider coming to terms with recognizing the carefully created shield, they have built for themselves.

This is why I created the program as self-paced and 100% confidential. This program gently balances the perceived loss of control with a new definition of safety around self-acceptance, fulfillment and a feeling of expansiveness.

This program is designed to encourage you to make changes within yourself at your own pace and without pressure to “perform” for any one, including yourself.

As you begin to peel back the layers of that shield and begin to honor your true authentic self, powerful changes will come your way.

Your true potential (mentally, physically and emotionally) will unfold, perhaps for the very first time in your life!

Champion Mindset is created to educate, guide and support you on your quest to truly thrive in an imperfect world. Our graduates are now noticing that; yes, crappy things still happen AND it is not a reflection of their worth and it does not make them any less deserving of love.

Here’s what some had to say:

  • “The most helpful topic for me was reframing self-talk”
  • “This program moves you from resistance to resilience!”
  • “I loved learning more about the inner critic. It was a game changer!”
  • “Just by changing one word in my vocabulary it changed the way I see and do things.”
  • “I’m so happy I took this course. I feel so inspired!”
  • “Thank you, Ann-Marie, for this course. I’m looking forward to the next course!”
  • “You awakened a sleeping force that is and has been me all along!”
  • “I recently heard Ann-Marie speak and found her information very insightful and helpful. This program sounds amazing and very timely with that everyone has experienced last year.”
  • “This is the program I have been waiting for! I will recommend it to friends and colleagues. It will resonate with so many people, and may (like it did for me) open the door to emotional healing.”

“Champion Mindset is the mindset I’m leaning into these days. Battling my critical inner demons using skills learned in Ann-Marie Flinn’s Champion Mindset program is moving me forward to self-love and acceptance.”

If no one tells you today, let me be the first to say YOU matter and your imperfections are what makes you authentic and a true Champion!

Click Here to learn more about the Champion Mindset Program!

I look forward to seeing you there,
To the Champion in YOU!

Ann-Marie Flinn

 

What is unhealthy Perfectionism?

What is unhealthy Perfectionism?

What is unhealthy Perfectionism?

What are the signs?

What’s the difference between unhealthy perfectionism

and the healthy pursuit of excellence? 

I was recently a keynote speaker at a large women’s conference where I presented Perfect Imperfection.  Part of my talk included the idea of giving ourselves a bit of slack when it comes to the rigid standards perfectionist’s place on themselves when wanting to achieve goals.  The audience of 500+ in attendance loved it!  Yet there was one comment from a high achieving woman that got me thinking. 

While she praised my talk, she also asked:  
“Doesn’t everyone try to achieve goals and standards?  Isn’t that just a normal part of life?  I mean, you don’t get ahead in life by being a slacker, right?” 
I thought I may have missed the mark in how I was communicating the idea of Perfect Imperfection
It got me thinking: if given another opportunity, how would I course correct  the narrative to modify how I explained the idea of flexible standards?  So, in the spirit of perfect imperfection, allow me to clarify the difference between unhealthy perfectionism and the healthy striving for excellence.     

 

Let’s take an example from the setting of an athlete: 

 

Setting personally demanding goals, like that of an elite athlete can be done in a way that is positive for the individual. 

Take my sport of body sculpting (aka: bodybuilding) for example.  This sport requires intense focus and discipline at the gym, and in the kitchen.  The body is “sculpted” in a way that gives the illusion of perfection onstage.  When prepping for a competition, we would not see the high standards for performance as a problem; rather we might see that as an integral part of high achievement. 
Where perfectionism becomes unhealthy is when those very high standards of achievement are so rigid that, if anything less than a 1st place finish or a body that isn’t “stage ready” all year round is seen as failure.  If intense self-criticism shows up and creates a inner belief  that the athlete has performed poorly and/or has failed as a person, that is when these high standards become unhealthy.   

Translate this to every day life

This same scenario can also be seen in any aspect of life.  Take education, your career, being a parent, a partner, a friend, etc.  If striving for excellence in any part of life is so rigid that the person measures their self-worth around whether they win or lose, then striving for excellence turns into unhealthy perfectionism.
For some it may be difficult to see where the healthy pursuit of excellence ends and unhealthy perfectionism begins.  The main difference between the two are (as quoted in the book Overcoming Perfectionism):
  • In unhealthy perfectionism the person’s view of themselves is dependant on how well they think they achieve their own demanding standards. 
  • In unhealthy perfectionism the person continues to pursue their self-imposed rigid standards despite negative consequences. 
Coming back to my example of an elite athlete, there is a fine line between pursuing high standards to achieve a particular physique, and the obsession around perfection all year long.  If the athlete puts unrealistically high standards on how he/she looks 365 days a year and measures their self-worth by what they see in the mirror every day then it becomes unhealthy perfectionism.  The self-worth is dependant on pushing themselves so hard to have that “perfect body” that it actually becomes detrimental.

It might feel weird to consider self-care, relaxation, taking a break, or loosening the reins as a strategy for the healthy pursuit of excellence.  What I can tell you is that, this mindset is the secret sauce that the world’s top athletes, leaders and trail blazers apply to sustain exceptional long-term success.  I call it “Intentional Recovery”.   

To be clear, setting goals and standards that you want to achieve is a normal and healthy part of life.

However, when you become so self critical of yourself with comments like: “I should have done better!”, I am a failure because…”, “I’m always missing the goal!”, or even “I’m such an idiot”, then it’s difficult to thrive and feel joy in any accomplishment that you set.   This is the work that I do with my clients in my Change Champ Coaching 

 

Today is a breakthrough day!

Join the hundred who have already registered for the Perfect Imperfection online program! 

This program is NOT about lowering your standards. It’s about addressing the over dependence of your self-worth on striving and achievement.
This 5-week self paced program is created to help you pursue excellence in a healthy way.  It’s evidence-based methods can break the cycle of “never good enough”, so you can excel AND feel good about yourself.  

  • Discover the unconscious beliefs that are driving you. We call them, your inner critic
  • Unearth your internal Super Hero that will lead you to trust your intuition
  • Find creative tools to strengthen your resilience so you can bounce back when things get tough
  • Notice when “Should” and comparison paralyzes your true self
  • And so much more!

Created with you in mind, this program offers you a plethora of opportunities to discover who you know deep down inside the person you were always been meant to be. 

Isn’t it time to invest in your future? 

It’s time to empower yourself and embrace your true authenticity. 

It’s time to be Perfectly Imperfect   

 

 

 

Register today

Join the hundreds who have already registered for the Perfect Imperfection program.  Learn to thrive in an imperfect world

Change Champ Blog

Change Champ Blog

Having Ta-Da Moments

Learning to embrace mistakes

Ta-Daaaaa!

I remember the days (many moons ago) of being a competitive figure skater, practicing my spins and jumps over and over and over again.  One year, as was I practicing for a regional competition and a challenging new routine, I spent way more time on my butt than on my feet.  At times I would get so frustrated that all I wanted to do was quit!  Thankfully, I had an amazing coach that, whenever I stumbled, fell or felt frustrated would simply look at me, hold his hands way up in the air and yell “TA-DAAAAA!!!!  It was my prompt to continue to smile, get back on my skates, refocus and keep going.  Over time as I continued to practice, I was falling less, smiling more and embracing the challenge of my “best-in- class” winning routine.  As my coach would say: I would continue to “show up”.

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with executives, athletes and entrepreneurs who had the desire to “show up” in whatever was passionate for them.  They too would metaphorically stumble, fall and feel like quitting when things got difficult.  It was times like this where we would work on discovering their inner critic, their super hero and how to dial things up or down with intentional baby steps.  We would visualize seeing those set-backs and the challenge of striving for what was important to them as “Ta-Da” moments.  

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a “Ta-Da” moment when you have stumbled, screwed up or made a mistake?  That’s the mindset around Refocus to show up.  

It is possible that you could say to yourself in those moments: “Ta-Daaaa! – I get to take a moment to refocus and start again” and “what did I get to learn from this?”.

Embracing the idea of refocus to show up gives you permission to be Perfectly Imperfect with your actions and attempts for moving forward with what you’re aiming for. 

 If you catch yourself being judgmental, saying something harsh, and/or beating yourself up, just know that you get to practice saying: “Ta Da!” 

As I often say, the work of shifting if your mindset is  not easy.  So, give yourself some self-compassion.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and creating the new mindset of Perfect Imperfection takes time as well.  YOU GOT THIS!!

In my Perfect Imperfection Program participants will: 

1.    Receive useful insights and mental tools to help minimize the stress of being perfect 
2.    Create awareness and curiosity of their present mindset
3.    Increase awareness of how fear can show up as perfectionism
4.    Discover how to reframe words that get us stuck in the trap of perfectionism
5.    Bring normalcy to perfect imperfection, reminding you that you’re not alone

And so much more! Take the 2 minute mindset quiz to see where you land with your wellness and self-care.

Make this your year to Refocus and Show up as the Champion that you are!

PS… Sign up for my weekly newsletters and join the Change Champ private Facebook group page for more tips and helpful ideas to Champion your wellness and well-being. 

Not sure what program is right for you?  No problem!  Contact me to set up a complimentary 30 minute consult to discover what Champion program is the best fit for you and your specific needs 

 

 

Are you a perfectionist?

Are you a perfectionist?

Are you a Perfectionist?

What are the signs?

How do I know if I’m a perfectionist? 

I was recently asked by some folks “How do I know if I’m a perfectionist?”  and, “How can I spot a perfectionist?”

Being a recovering perfectionist myself – and researching this topic for decades – the short answer is:  it’s someone who’s hooked on things being difficult.

If you’re not personally a perfectionist chances are there is someone in your life that is.   

You may have been bitten by the perfectionistic virus, even if you’re not naturally a perfectionist yourself.

Many of us are inundated with perfectionist expectations.    

 

Here are some examples:

  • We always have to be “working hard” or “busy”.
  • Quitting is for losers and anything less than A++ is “failure”.
  • We set all kinds of ambitious goals for ourselves and not be happy even if we’ve reached them
  • We don’t “measure up” to what we see on social media
  • If it’s too simple we discount it as an achievement
  • We can’t remember the last time we truly felt like ourselves.

 

Sound familiar?

Embracing your imperfections can feel like a wild mindset shift that may require you to break from how you’ve done things in the past.  It could set an entirely new course for your future as an authentic person that is thriving vs just surviving.

It might feel weird to consider self-care, relaxation, taking a break, or loosening the reins as a strategy for happiness.  What I can tell you is that, this mindset is the secret sauce that the worlds top athletes, leaders and trail blazers apply to sustain exceptional long-term success.  I call it “Intentional Recovery”.  

Today, ask yourself:

  • Am I a perfectionist or living in a perfectionistic environment?
  • Could I be just a little kinder and more compassionate with myself today?
  • Do I need a little extra recovery for self-care today? 
  • Take the 2 minute mindset quiz to get more clarity around perfectionism   

 

Today is a breakthrough day!

Join the hundred who have already registered for the Perfect Imperfection online program! 

In this powerful self-paced program you will:

  • Discover the unconscious beliefs that are driving you. We call them, your inner critic
  • Unearth your internal Super Hero that will lead you to trust your intuition
  • Find creative tools to strengthen your resilience so you can bounce back when things get tough
  • Notice when “Should” and comparison paralyzes your true self
  • And so much more!

Created with you in mind, this program offers you a plethora of opportunities to discover who you know deep down inside the person you were always been meant to be. 

Isn’t it time to invest in your future? 

It’s time to empower yourself and embrace your true authenticity. 

It’s time to be Perfectly Imperfect   

 

Register today

Join the hundreds who have already registered for the Perfect Imperfection program.  Learn to thrive in an imperfect world