Archives for self-esteem

Find It Hard to Break Bad Habits or Form Good Ones? Check Your Self-Talk!

The inner critic… do we all have one? No, but the vast majority of us do. The real question is, what is it saying? Are you consciously aware of it? What decisions does it make for you?

My first professional coach called the inner critic a gremlin. She was a great help in helping me recognize my inner voice. She helped me realize just how much of my decision-making was driven by this inner critic.

  • It inhibited my relationships, because it caused me to feel self-conscious being my authentic self.
  • It limited my future, as it told me what was and wasn’t possible for me.
  • It stunted my growth, as it told me to defend myself rather than take accountability.

When I first recognized this inner critic, I was pretty mad and it. She gave me permission to express that anger, and assigned homework like putting my gremlin’s face on a balloon, giving it a few good punches, and then popping it.

I wrote down the common things I noticed it saying, mostly that I wasn’t good enough and wasn’t deserving of good things. I can directly attribute this work to launching this business nearly 15 years ago. If I hadn’t have recognized this voice telling me how destined I was to fail, I would have never told that voice to shut the hell up!

That voice didn’t go away. It still shows up, and I am grateful for it. Because you know what? Sometimes I am not my highest self, and it shows up to tell me where there is room to grow and love me through it.

I have found that the key to growing consciously is not to make the inner critic an enemy, but to realize the inner critic is YOU, and to start turning your inner critic into a constructive conscious coach who speaks kindly to you and loves you unconditionally.

I once had a coach help me understand if I didn’t have a great relationship with money, I need to think of money as someone I’m dating and wish to attract. How am I regarding money? Do I resent money? Do I expect that it will go, so I put my guard up and refuse to welcome it in the first place? Do I do things to make money know how special it is to me, what a priority it is to me? How am I treating money?

When I thought to apply this lesson to my inner critic, my conscious growth expanded exponentially!

The people who have been influential in shaping us are people. They have not always been their highest selves, and unfortunately, we often define ourselves by those moments. These moments can create trauma and wounds that we may never know need to be healed unless we become aware of them. They form beliefs about our relationship to this world, what’s for us and what’s against us. And, they contribute to the fuel our inner critic uses to “save us” from experiencing that rejection again.

When you tune into your inner critic, do you hear your own voice, or the voices of others who have projected their own insecurities onto you? When I tune in while in a deeply reflective state of mind, I hear my own voice, but I flash back to moments when others shrunk my sense of self.

I’ll be real with you – this can be painful to relive. I recommend journaling. Imagine that you, present day as your highest self, could intervene with your younger self, and, like the parent you want to be, teach your younger self that those hurtful words and/or actions were not about you! They are not the truth. Tell your younger self what the truth is!

You might think this is woo woo crazy stuff, but you already have a voice that speaks to you. It’s already you, so you might as well speak to yourself as your highest self – kindly, with compassion and grace.

Do you feel engaged, inspired, and inclined to do what a bully tells you? Do you want to succeed for this bully, or do you want to sabotage this bully?

When you want to form a good habit or break a bad habit, your conscious mind attempts to give your unconscious mind an order. Your unconscious mind likes to take orders, but like you, it might take or leave orders based on the kind of rapport it has with the “boss.” Otherwise, it will continue along the path of least resistance, which is to keep listening to the inner critic.

We make what is conscious unconscious, or automatic, through repetition, which can be accelerated when the mind is in the most receptive state. In order to make your unconscious inner critic the kind of loving, inspiring leader you want to listen to, be intentional, kind, and patient with yourself. Have regular pep talks with yourself. Send yourself internal verbal votes of confidence. Affirmations have been clinically proven to produce results.

Habits go from a push to a pull once your unconscious mind starts to cooperate. Just like any good leader will get the best results in the short and long-term by inspiring his/her team with a compelling vision and by appealing to their highest selves, you will find good habits more easily form and bad habits more easily break when you convert your inner critic to your most powerful advocate and cheerleader.

Hard Habit to Break (2006 Remaster)

Provided to YouTube by Rhino/Warner RecordsHard Habit to Break (2006 Remaster) · ChicagoChicago 17℗ 1984 Warner Records Inc.Guitar, Keyboards: Bill ChamplinB…

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Work-Life Balance? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself…and Answer Honestly!


Are you tired of working too many long hours? Do you feel occasional pangs of guilt that you “should be” spending more time with your loved ones? Or working out and staying fit? Or engaging in your hobbies and passions? Or keeping up with the stacks of unread books and magazines? Or just going out and having more fun?  

You’re not alone. For women with a successful career track record, a yearning for “work-life balance” is high on the list of desires. If you find yourself in this situation, ask yourself these 5 questions … and be completely honest with yourself as you answer them:

    1. How often is the “should” word coming up in your thoughts and feelings of guilt? The word “should” is a big clue that you’re feeling external pressures from family, friends, and society. It means you’re not feeling like you’re totally empowered to make your own choices. Assume you ARE empowered to make your own choices. Then ask yourself how would you spend your time, if you had it YOUR way?
    2. Do you worry that you would be perceived as not being committed enough to your job if you went home before 6pm? Many women over-work to over-compensate for lack of self-esteem/self-confidence. Sheryl Sandburg said in her best selling book “Lean In”: “ Slowly, it began to dawn on me that my job did not really require that I spend 12 full hours a day in the office. I had believed that others were demanding this of me … but in truth I was torturing myself.” Unfortunately, the traditional practice of judging employees and promotability by face time rather than results still persists in most companies. But ask yourself if the promotable men in your office are working as many hours as you are. If they’re not, then why are you?
    3. Are you spending all your time at work because your home life isn’t very satisfying? Or because you have no one to come home to? Or because you’re avoiding certain people in your life? Many of us, especially women who are going through a rocky transition in their personal life such as divorce, separation, or an unsatisfying marriage ALSO have a tendency to bury themselves in their work as an “escape”. Of course that’s a trap because if spend all our time working, how can we ever hope to “have a life” and develop new relationships? Could you be a more interesting, multi-dimensional person if you spend time on a variety of activities and passions, and not just work?
    4. Is it difficult to say “No” to people who request your help or your time? Many women have difficulty saying “No” because they need to be liked, and don’t want to turn people away. Take a close look at how you spend your time. Are you focusing most of your time on truly important activities? What activities can you let go of? Stop feeling guilty. Learn to say “No” very tactfully, and with a smile. It’s time to set clearer boundaries so that you don’t get drained of your precious energy. And once you set your boundaries and communicate them to the people in your life, then stick by them.
    5. Are you trying to do everything yourself?  Have you tried delegating tasks to other people … and given up because they didn’t meet your expectations? Many of us are perfectionists. We have very high standards and we like to see things done our way. The problem is that if we insist on adhering to our standards, we end up doing everything ourselves. Effective delegation requires that the person to whom you are delegating have the right skills, experience, and motivation to succeed. This includes tasks at home as well as at your workplace. You may have to train them as well as communicate the expected outcomes and timeframes. But they need some freedom to do the task the best way THEY think it should be done, which might be different than how YOU would do it. Let them do it. Done is better than perfect, isn’t it?

The best way to achieve work/life balance and make room for both life and career is to make deliberate choices, set your limits and stick by them. Do the best with what you’ve got, make the best choices you can … and accept them. You’ll have peace of mind and a lot less stress.

Do you agree? I’d love to get your comments below.


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