I was just thinking this morning about the closing sentence of the fairy tales of my youth, “and they lived happily ever after.”

We are paying special attention this month to happiness.  Happiness is one of the 15 competencies that are measured for the Bar-On EQI (emotional intelligence assessment) that I am certified to use with my clients.   What I have learned as part of that work is that when happiness scores are low, there are two competencies I look to first; self-regard and self-actualization.  When one feels unhappy with who they are or what they do it affects how they view the world.

Some of my friends on Facebook know that I’m traveling this week on business.   Across from the hotel is a 24 Hour Fitness and my room key gives me access to the gym and I can participate in classes at no extra charge.  This is a real benefit to me because when I travel, I sometimes struggle to eat healthy and get enough exercise.  This translates as, “I’m tired at the end of the day and just want to go back to the room and lay on the bed watching TV.”  And even worse, I talk myself into having a “special meal” as a treat, almost as if the meal becomes some form of companionship…a way to avoid another night alone.

It’s a bit embarrassing to admit this, and especially to acknowledge that this behavior has a negative impact on my self-regard.   My body loses its tone and I put on extra pounds.  I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin, start to view myself as weak, and know I am not living my value of health and wellness.  This has a noticeable impact on how I interact with the world.

This week I made a sacred promise to break through this pattern.   Monday, I got up early and exercised 30 minutes on the cross-trainer.   I paid attention to how I ate through the day and had dinner with a friend (I could have avoided the wine or the dressing on the salad, but overall it was a good day!).  Tuesday it was a 60-minute Zumba class after work and a light dinner.  This morning I am feeling proud of myself (and a bit sore)!

To raise self-regard we have to create moments of pride.  We can do that for ourselves and we can participate in it for others.   Take a moment right now and identify how you will make happiness happen.  It’s easier than you think!  And if you need a helping hand, schedule a consultation now.

If you like this blog, I think you will like my book The Cycle of Transformation. Available now!

HighResolution_Warnke_ DebSiverson20121208-9332-EditDeb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.


Isn’t it crazy how much we can dislike ourselves?  What I mean by that, is that there is always some part of who we are that just doesn’t quite make the grade.  In the last week, my very pregnant daughter (two weeks from delivery) is mourning the loss of her girlish figure, my fifteen year old is fighting with a breakout or a cold sore, not sure which, and one of my clients struggles with why they didn’t get that new job.  And I get it, how many times in the last week have I questioned, doubted, or berated myself for some choice I made or didn’t make.  If I am honest, it is more often than I’d like to admit.

In the Bar-On EQI language, the emotional competency we are talking about is self-regard.  Of course it is important to be realistic about our strengths and limitations.  I for one don’t want to look at myself through rose colored glasses, but when I cross the line and engage in too much negative self-talk, then it becomes a problem.  How do we learn to accept ourselves, even shall I dare say love ourselves, warts and all, for all that we are?  How do we conquer the “I’m not good enough,” gremlin?

I was in California last weekend, working with the HerShe non-profit, my co-lead and I had a chance to do some amazing work on gremlins. For those of you that haven’t heard the term, a gremlin is that little voice in your head that tells you some version of how you are not skinny enough, smart enough, nice enough, determined enough, and so on.  I believe that its mission was originally to keep us safe and protected, but when we let it run amok, a gremlin can get in the way of us having what we really want in our lives.  I watched beautiful, smart, young women become immobilized by their fears that no one would ever want them, and they translate the circumstances of their past into a story that impacts their future.  The story in their mind reminds them that something is fundamentally wrong with them.  Then the voice in their head steps in and looks for validation that this story is true.  When this happens, and without an awareness that it’s only a story, they get stuck and risk moving forward into all that is possible for them.  

There is real danger when we let our mind search for validation of all that is wrong with us. And then tell us over and over, in a cunning way, “See, I told you that you’re not GOOD ENOUGH!”  

Pay attention the next week to how many times you put yourself down, or look for something wrong in yourself.  Improving self-regard is largely about minimizing negative self-talk, and finding reasons to honor the best that you already are.