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Praise Yourself! It’s Good Business

written by Maggie Sale Ostara, PhD

Here at the end of the calendar year, you may be reflecting on the year gone by.  This is a great practice as you complete this cycle, and as a foundation for the one now unfolding.

But if you are like most people, you are more highly attuned to the things you think you didn’t do well, then you are to the things you learned, let go of, or accomplished.

Those inner nay-sayers can be vicious, counting what you haven’t done, or pointing out what you did incorrectly, or just plain driving you with the mantra:  it’s never enough, or never good enough.

I find myself often reminding my clients to stop, step back, and notice how well they’re doing.  “Appreciate what you’ve done,” I’ll exclaim, “pay attention to all you’ve accomplished.  Don’t compare yourself to other people.  Compare yourself to where you were six months ago, or a year ago—really it’s remarkable.”

It’s great to have an excellent work ethic, and high standards.  These absolutely will contribute significantly to creating a successful business. But they are not helpful if they become ways to beat up on yourself.  Not helpful at all.

I recently learned the scientific reason for this.  (I have all kinds of metaphysical and psychological reasons, but this scientific one is cool.)

It’s called the Inverse Zeno Effect.  According to Kim Marcille, the Inverse Zeno Effect is a phenomenon in which processes can be slowed down or accelerated depending upon how you measure them.  How you measure them, and how frequently, will determine what the Zeno effect is.

Basically what this means is this: if you frequently measure what you haven’t done, or what you think you haven’t done well or correctly—you will put the brakes on your success.  But if you frequently measure even the smallest accomplishments, you will speed up the process toward your success.  Even better, says Kim, wrap your vision around how you praise your actions, and you will amplify the effect even more.

So this year, as you reflect on what you’ve done, use the Inverse Zeno effect to your advantage.  Like this:

Step One:  Make a list of everything you did to educate yourself about your business, and what you did to build your business.  Start with the big things, and work down to the smaller things.  Really take the time—a few hours maybe—to go back through your year, and map out your efforts and your accomplishments.  My experience tells me that you have probably either forgotten, neglected, or discounted much of what you did because it didn’t create the direct result that you hoped it would, or because your expectations were not informed by enough understanding about how business actually works.

~ > As one of my mentors, David Neagle, says:  “You have to remember that most things you do in business don’t work.  That’s why persistence is so important.”

Everything is an experiment and a test, even when you’re working with proven models.  So it’s important not to be too hard on yourself while you’re learning what works for you.

Step Two: Take your list and frame it with statements about how your actions helped to promote your vision and purpose for your business.  Here are a few examples:

You wrote a blog article once a week.  Frame it like this: In 2012 I wrote an article in my blog every week, which helped me to refine my message, identify my tribe, and reach out and provide value to my people.

You attended 1-2 events per month in the last quarter of 2012 to meet new people and expand your network.  Frame it like this:  Over the last three months, I reached out to new people, developed new relationships, and now have a broader network to work with in 2013. 

You filled your practice each week with clients.  Frame it like this:  In 2012 I created a strong foundation for my business with regular clients, and now I’m well positioned to leverage my expertise for greater rewards and income in 2013.

Step Three:  Step back, review your list, and acknowledge yourself for what you did do.  No matter how few or how small, focus on what you did do, and particularly on what you enjoyed and appreciate.  Discipline yourself to focus on what’s positive, not on the negative.  B r e a t h e and take it in.  Really take it in.

Step Four:  Develop a frequent practice—you can start with once a week, then build up to once a business day—of accounting for what you accomplishedDon’t wait until the end of the year to add it all up!  You will accelerate your results if you frequently note your actions, and frame them as accomplishments.

For example, for today, I’m going to write:  Today I wrote an article for my Tribe about how appreciating yourself is good for your business.  This article helped me stay focused on what really matters, enables me to provide value to my people, and helps promote my overall purpose of upliftment through soul-inspired business development.  Ah, that feels good just to write and read it.

Your Turn! List out at least one of your accomplishments from 2012 that you want to celebrate and that we can celebrate with you.  The Inverse Zeno Effect is magnified even more when you share with others.

Maggie Sale Ostara, PhD left her prestigious job as the Director of Women’s a Gender Studies at Columbia University when she realized she’s not built to work for anyone else. Since then, Dr. Ostara has become a Certified Human Design Specialist (Level 4), a Certified Clarity Breathwork Practitioner, a highly sought after teacher-mentor, who teaches high-achieving women how to develop their personal sovereignty, to activate their super powers, and to unleash themselves from society’s prescription of success.

She’s the creator of the Soul Signature Self Awareness Project, the Wheel of Power of the Visionary Entrepreneur, and over 20 educational programs focused building soul-inspired businesses that positively impact the world and taking command of your life through personal sovereignty. She’s hosted 5 multi-speaker online conferences, and spoken on over 15 such conferences reaching audiences of over 200,000 participants.

With two decades of experience supporting 20,000+ students and hundreds of clients through her online programs and conferences, Dr. Ostara teaches how to avoid overwhelm and burnout, how to make reliable decisions, how to create a bigger impact with less effort, and how to transform inner liabilities into powerful assets and allies.