12 Questions to Test Your Level of Self-Connection

We often try hard to stay connected to others (e.g., to friends and family). But how do we stay connected to ourselves? Self-connection is a new, important concept, one which I will discuss in the rest of this post. To do so, I describe a recent study by Klussman and colleagues on the development and validation of a new measure called the self-connection scale.

What is self-connection?

Self-connection has three components. These consist of self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-alignment.

  • Self-awareness: Awareness of one’s internal experiences, thoughts, emotions, sensations, preferences, values, intuitions, resources, goals, etc.
  • Self-acceptance: Full acknowledgment and acceptance, without judgment, of self-relevant characteristics and experiences. And seeing them as part of us and belonging to us.
  • Self-alignment: Using self-knowledge to behave in ways that authentically reflect oneself and fulfill one’s psychological needs (e.g., autonomy).

All three components are required for self-connection. For instance, awareness without acceptance may result in self-loathing and self-harm.

Before we continue, let me note that self-connection is different from similar concepts such as authenticity and mindfulness. Authenticity is only one element of it (i.e., self-alignment).

And mindfulness is closer in meaning to a combination of self-awareness and self-acceptance, but not self-alignment. Let us take a brief look at the research by Klussman and colleagues on the measurement of self-connection.

Investigating the validity and reliability of the self-connection scale

Study 1

Sample: 308 participants; 49 percent female; average age of 38 years old; 80 percent white; 45 percent with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Measures

  • Self-connection: A pool of 29 items
  • Authenticity: Authenticity Scale
  • Mindfulness: Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised
  • Self-concept clarity: Self-Concept Clarity Scale
  • Flourishing: Flourishing Scale
  • Meaning: Presence of Meaning subscale of the Meaning in Life Questionnaire

Study 2

Sample: 164 participants; 39 percent female; average age of 36 years old; 77 percent white; 47 percent with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Measures

  • Self-connection: The Self-Connection Scale developed in the previous investigation
  • Life satisfaction: “In general, how satisfied are you with your life?”
  • Positive and negative affect: Positive and Negative Affect Schedule
  • Anxiety and depression: Patient Health Questionnaire for Depression and Anxiety (PHQ-4)
  • CDC health measures: CDC Healthy Days Questionnaire
  • Health behaviors: Preventive Health Behaviors Scale

Study 3

Sample: 992 participants; 56 percent female; average age of 34 years old; 72 percent white; 52 percent with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Measures

  • Anxiety and depression: PHQ-4
  • Eudaimonic well-being: Flourishing Scale and Presence of Meaning subscale of the Meaning in Life Questionnaire
  • Hedonic well-being: Positive and Negative Affect Schedule
  • Self-connection: The Self-Connection Scale
  • Self-acceptance: The self-acceptance subscale of Ryff’s Psychological Well-Being Scale
  • Self-compassion: The Self-Compassion Scale-Short Form

Results

The Self-Connection Scale demonstrated good reliability and validity. For instance, analysis of data showed it was related to similar constructs—authenticity, mindfulness, self-compassion, self-acceptance, self-concept clarity, hedonic and eudaimonic well-being—yet distinct from them.

In addition, the factor structure of the scale was confirmed.

Testing your self-connection

To determine your level of self-connection using the scale developed in the study, follow the instructions below.

Indicate your agreement with the items from the Self-Connection Scale—whether you strongly disagree (1), disagree (2), somewhat disagree (3), neither agree nor disagree (4), somewhat agree (5), agree (6), or strongly agree (7). The numbers in parentheses are the scores associated with each response. Note, Item 4 should be reverse-scored.

  1. I have a deep understanding of myself.
  2. It is easy for me to identify and understand how I am feeling in any given moment.
  3. I know myself well.
  4. I am often surprised by how little I understand myself.
  5. I try not to judge myself.
  6. When I find out things about myself that I don’t necessarily like, I try to accept those things.
  7. Even when I don’t like a feeling or belief that I have, I try to accept it as a part of myself.
  8. I can easily forgive myself for mistakes I have made.
  9. I find small ways to ensure that my life truly reflects the things that are important to me.
  10. I spend time making sure that I am acting in a way that is a reflection of my true self.
  11. I try to make sure that my actions are consistent with my values.
  12. I try to make sure that my relationships with other people reflect my values.

So, how did you do? Note: The first four scale items are related to self-awareness, the next four to self-acceptance, and the last four to self-alignment.

A high score suggests a high level of self-connection. A low score suggests you are either not self-aware, not accepting of yourself, or do not act in concert with your feelings, beliefs, values, goals, etc.

Needless to say, a high score is desirable. Indeed, research by the authors shows that self-connection is associated with a number of positive outcomes. These include positive emotions, life satisfaction, flourishing, clarity in life, and meaning in life.

People who are disconnected from themselves are more likely to experience negative emotions (e.g., sadness, anger, confusion, stress) and feel their life is unsatisfactory and has no purpose.

Takeaway

Many of us commit to staying in touch with friends and coworkers, current events, the newest trends, and the latest cutting-edge technology, but rarely commit to staying in touch with ourselves—our changing feelings, sensations, thoughts, inner resources, goals, etc.

If you belong to this group and are disconnected from yourself, there are ways to remedy the situation. Simply pause a few times during the day and check how self-connected you feel. Ask: In the last little while…

  • Have I been self-aware?
  • Have I been self-accepting?
  • Has my behavior reflected my true self?

Commit to getting to know yourself better and becoming your best friend. It may change your life.

By: Arash Emamzadeh

Arash Emamzadeh attended the University of British Columbia in Canada, where he studied genetics and psychology. He has also done graduate work in clinical psychology and neuropsychology in U.S.

Source: 12 Questions to Test Your Level of Self-Connection | Psychology Today

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11 Self-Sabotaging Phrases To Drop From Your Vocabulary

Sometimes we say things to ourselves that aren’t in our self-interest. Calling yourself a loser or saying “I’m such an idiot” every time you make a mistake isn’t having a positive effect on your self-esteem (on the other hand, you should definitely try affirmations), but beyond the obviously negative self-talk, there are a host of things we say that hold us back more quietly.

While not as plainly negative as “I suck at everything,” these phrases sabotage us in a sneakier—but still damaging—way. Here are some words and phrases that work in the background to stealthily undermine us; things we’d be better off leaving behind when trying to reach our goals.

“I don’t have time”

Consider that it’s a misconception that we do or don’t “have time” for something, because we control what we prioritize. In actuality, we have time for things we make time for. Sometimes, “I don’t have time” can be a smokescreen for: “I don’t want to” or “I’m afraid.” When it comes to pursuing life goals, it’s easy to cite lack of time as a reason to not get started. But what if you dedicated just 10 or 20 minutes a day to start work on your next big goal?

“I don’t know how”

And where would we be if we only did things we knew how to do? Somewhere between Boringtown and Dead Inside-ville. It’s normal we don’t all know how to write a book proposal or run our own business. No one does when they first start. Instead of resting on the excuse that we don’t have some magical fount of necessary knowledge, we can get going on the what, and learn how as we go.

“I’m not ready”

This excuse is gold because it lets us off the hook. Most people will sympathize or corroborate our ironclad reasons for not taking action yet. The problem with “I’m not ready,” however, is that it assumes there is some magical time off in the future when we will be. But there isn’t.

Even if we earn more money, get more experience, or “settle down,” we still may not feel ready. Because it’s not really about those things, anyway. It’s about our relationship to fear, change, and the unknown. By all means, prepare before leaping. But if we spend spend too much time preparing, we may find ourselves in the same spot a year—or ten—from now.

“I’ll try”

In the words of the eternally wise Master Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda uttered these words when training a young Luke Skywalker out of his surly lack of belief in himself. The concept applies to us non-Jedi knights as well. The words “I’ll try” contain an implicit lack of commitment.

It’s more comfortable to say we’ll “try” to do something, but it’s much more productive when we pick a side and hold ourselves accountable for taking the actions necessary to do the thing we said we’d do.

“Maybe”

“Maybe” is a great word to keep us stuck in the comfortable malaise of indecision. To avoid committing to bringing that casserole to book club, “maybe” away. But when it comes to bigger ambitions, there’s no better way to stop us in our tracks than with a weak-ass maybe. Saying “maybe” to something is still making a choice—a choice that leaves us in limbo and pushes the same choice further down the road. What if we decided now?

“I should…”

The word “should” is made of judgment. It implies that something is the right thing to do, and if it isn’t done, there will likely be negative consequences. Instead of using “should,” replace it with “I will.” After declaring what we will do, we can enjoy the empowered feeling of making a choice from possibility, rather than fear.

“If it happens, it happens”

While this phrase can at times be useful as an exercise in letting go of the outcome after putting your heart and soul into something. As a standalone, it implies we have zero self-agency or impact on a given outcome. The things we want most don’t just “happen.” They require vision, commitment, and repeated action.

“But so-and-so really needs me”

It’s a wonderful thing to help others. But there is such a thing as giving so much as to put us in a perpetual martyr position where there is no time, resources, or bandwidth left to improve ourselves. Are there places in your life where you’re over-functioning for someone or something else? Commit to taking back some of that time for you.

“I’m not smart/talented/brave enough”

As the story goes, Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Where would we be today if he had internalized that feedback?

We all “lack” in some areas and are stronger in others. The good thing is, we don’t need to be champions of intellect, courage, financial prowess, and beauty to achieve things. Instead of comparing ourselves to others and despairing about our interpretation of the results, we can focus on what we know are our strengths. (P.S. Courage comes from practicing being brave. If we do little things we’re afraid of, our bravery muscle will grow.)

“Just my luck”

We might say it when there’s “crazy traffic” and we end up being late, but saying things are “just my luck” puts us solidly in the victim position, as if there’s nothing that can be done to change what “happens to” us.

Take the last thing that you were mad about. What could you have done differently to improve the outcome? Empowered change starts with taking full responsibility for our choices—and their consequences—both good and bad, rather than habitually blaming “bad luck.”

“If only…”

These two words often lead into a wish, hope, or a complaint. “If only I was younger.” “If only my rent were lower.” “If only I’d gone to a better college.” Phrases like these keep us in a state of fantasy and helplessness. They presume a certain set of conditions or circumstances that would perfectly set us up for a successful, happy life. (Recognizing this is impossible is actually quite freeing.)

Try shifting this statement into one of declarative action. “When I get my Master’s…” or “Tomorrow, I will…” and follow it up with one step you will take towards your goal.

Source: 11 Self-Sabotaging Phrases to Drop From Your Vocabulary

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How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure

A client (who I’ll call “Alex”) asked me to help him prepare to interview for a CEO role with a start-up. It was the first time he had interviewed for the C-level, and when we met, he was visibly agitated. I asked what was wrong, and he explained that he felt “paralyzed” by his fear of failing at the high-stakes meeting.

Digging deeper, I discovered that Alex’s concern about the quality of his performance stemmed from a “setback” he had experienced and internalized while working at his previous company. As I listened to him describe the situation, it became clear that the failure was related to his company and outside industry factors, rather than to any misstep on his part. Despite that fact, Alex could not shake the perception that he himself had not succeeded, even though there was nothing he could have logically done to anticipate or change this outcome.

People are quick to blame themselves for failure, and companies hedge against it even if they pay lip service to the noble concept of trial and error. What can you do if you, like Alex, want to face your fear of screwing up and push beyond it to success? Here are four steps you can take:

Redefine failure. Behind many fears is worry about doing something wrong, looking foolish, or not meeting expectations — in other words, fear of failure. By framing a situation you’re dreading differently before you attempt it, you may be able to avoid some stress and anxiety.

Let’s go back to Alex as an example of how to execute this. As he thought about his interview, he realized that his initial bar for failing the task — “not being hired for the position” — was perhaps too high given that he’d never been a CEO and had never previously tried for that top job. Even if his interview went flawlessly, other factors might influence the hiring committee’s decision — such as predetermined preferences on the part of board members.

In coaching Alex through this approach, I encouraged him to redefine how he would view his performance in the interview. Was there a way he might interpret it differently from the get-go and be more open to signs of success, even if they were small? Could he, for example, redefine failure as not being able to answer any of the questions posed or receiving specific negative feedback? Could he redefine success as being able to answer each question to the best of his ability and receiving no criticisms about how he interviewed?

As it turned out, Alex did advance to the second round and was complimented on his preparedness. Ultimately, he did not get the job. But because he had shifted his mindset and redefined what constituted failure and success, he was able to absorb the results of the experience more gracefully and with less angst than he had expected.

Set approach goals (not avoidance goals). Goals can be classified as approach goals or avoidance goals based on whether you are motivated by wanting to achieve a positive outcome or avoid an adverse one. Psychologists have found that creating approach goals, or positively reframing avoidance goals, is beneficial for well-being. When you’re dreading a tough task and expect it to be difficult and unpleasant, you may unconsciously set goals around what you don’t want to happen rather than what you do want.

Though nervous about the process, Alex’s desire to become a CEO was an approach goal because it focused on what he wanted to achieve in his career rather than what he hoped to avoid. Although he didn’t land the first CEO job he tried to get, he did not let that fact deter him from keeping that as his objective and getting back out there.

If Alex had instead become discouraged about the outcome of his first C-level interview and decided to actively avoid the pain of rejection by never vying for the top spot again, he would have shifted from approach to avoidance mode. While developing an avoidance goal is a common response to a perceived failure, it’s important to keep in mind the costs of doing so. Research has shown that employees who take on an avoidance focus become twice as mentally fatigued as their approach-focused colleagues.

Create a “fear list.” Author and investor Tim Ferriss recommends “fear-setting,” creating a checklist of what you are afraid to do and what you fear will happen if you do it. In his Ted Talk on the subject, he shares how doing this enabled him to tackle some of his hardest challenges, resulting in some of his biggest successes.

I asked Alex to make three lists: first, the worst-case scenarios if he bombed the interview; second, things he could do to prevent the failure; and third, in the event the flop occurred, what could he do to repair it. Next, I asked him to write down the benefits of the attempted effort and the cost of inaction. This exercise helped him realize that although he was anxious, walking away from the opportunity would be more harmful to his career in the long run.

Focus on learning. The chips aren’t always going to fall where you want them to — but if you understand that reality going in, you can be prepared to wring the most value out of the experience, no matter the outcome.

To return to Alex, he was able to recognize through the coaching process that being hyper-focused on his previous company’s flop — and overestimating his role in it — caused him to panic about the CEO interview. When he shifted gears to focus not on his potential for failure but on what he would learn from competing at a higher level than he had before, he stopped sweating that first attempt and was able to see it as a steppingstone on a longer journey to the CEO seat.

With that mindset, he quickly pivoted away from his disappointment at not getting the offer to quickly planning for the next opportunity to interview for a similar role at another company.

Remember: it’s when you feel comfortable that you should be fearful, because it’s a sign that you’re not stepping far enough out of your comfort zone to take steps that will help you rise and thrive. By rethinking your fears using the four steps above, you can come to see apprehension as a teacher and guide to help you achieve your most important goals.

By: Susan Peppercorn / Harvard Business Review

Susan Peppercorn is an executive career transition coach and speaker. She is the author of Ditch Your Inner Critic at Work: Evidence-Based Strategies to Thrive in Your Career. Numerous publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, the Boston Globe, and SELF Magazine have tapped her for career advice. You can download her free Career Fit Self-Assessment and 25 Steps to a Successful Career Transition.

Source: Pocket

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References:

17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd  What Is Creativity?

We All Have It, and Need It 

How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques 

What Are The Levels Of The Mind And How To Improve Them 

How To Improve Short Term Memory: 7 Simple Ways to Try Now

7 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd

  Is There a True Measure of Success? How to Define Your Own

  How Do You Measure Success: 10 New And Better Ways

  50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

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How a Personal Commitment Helps Your Business Grow

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There are numerous reasons for starting a , including pursuing a passion, wanting to set your own hours and wanting to make more . But if you’re not committed to a larger purpose, all those reasons may not be enough for your business to succeed.

What Is a Commitment?

A commitment can be defined in three ways:

1. It gives you purpose. Let’s define a commitment as a greater purpose for your life that drives you forward every day. Many studies have shown that purpose even leads to longer life for men and women alike.

2. It’s never finished. A commitment is not, “I want to own a successful business,” because that doesn’t give you lifelong purpose. A commitment will never truly be finished, and you’ll work towards it for many years.

3. It’s personal. Although having a purpose in your business is important, your commitment is personal. It will affect all areas of your life, including business, and it will impact how your business grows.

Related: Communicating Purpose Can Create a Boom in Business

What’s the difference between a goal and a commitment?

A goal is defined as a result that you aim for, define, plan for and then achieve. You have many short-term and long-term goals in life, but a commitment goes beyond even the most long-term goal. It’s not something you finish doing, but something you constantly work towards.

How does a commitment help your business?

It helps you focus. A lack of focus can be extremely detrimental to your business, not only from day to day but on a larger scale. To succeed in your business and complete each day’s, month’s and year’s goals, you need intense focus more so than a long period of focus.

Warren Buffet’s “2-List” strategy for focused attention is a perfect illustration of focus: defining your priorities and eliminating the rest. You write down your goals, and then circle the top five. Then you don’t just prioritize these — you eliminate the rest.

Commitments help you make that list and then define your top five. If you’re hyper-focused on a commitment, you can be focused on each of your business’s projects and goals, because they all lead to the one thing you’re most focused on. If something doesn’t align with your commitment, you eliminate it.

Commitment helps you set and achieve goals

A commitment is lifelong; it’s something you may never fully achieve. But you can set goals along the way to get you ever-closer to your commitment. And your business’s goals and success are intertwined with your commitment.

My leadership coach, Jose Bolanos, who trains leaders to form “noble commitments,” describes goals as “islands on the horizon.” Before you reach a shore, you will swim from island to island, focusing on something closer on your way to the far-off mainland.

These islands are steps towards your commitment, and these become your goals. Commitments matter to your business goals because they define what those goals will be and give them a larger purpose.

As a business owner, developing goals for yourself and your business will be easier when you create them in the context of a commitment. Instead of defining your success according to money, which as we know can be fickle, defining it based on a larger purpose will help you stay afloat in difficult times, and redirect accordingly.

Commitment gives your business a higher purpose

As I said before, having a higher purpose is important to business. Businesses with purpose are more successful, outperforming the by 42 percent, according to the 2018 Global Leadership Forecast.

Because in theory, your business should be an extension of you and your life, your personal commitment should inform your business’s purpose and help it succeed. If your commitment was, “I want to impact others,” your business’s commitment should reflect this and put it into action.

Commitment makes you a better leader

Compartmentalizing your life won’t help your business succeed. Who you are and what you do as an individual should and does affect your professional life, and by extension the lives of others.

Having a personal commitment that you connect to your business’s purpose will intertwine your personal development and your company’s growth. As you work on yourself as an individual, you will become a better leader, because your purpose will be directly connected to your business’ vision.

How do you find and define a commitment?

Defining a commitment comes from answering three questions:

1. What do you want? Discovering your commitment comes from defining what you want. A commitment is going to be terrifying (and if it’s not, you may be doing something wrong) and require you to change.

2. Why does it matter? Going back to the importance of purpose, studies found that people who helped others felt they had more purpose in life and lived a better life because of it. A commitment should matter to you, your community and the world.

3. Who does it benefit? It’s fine if the answer is just you for now, but you’ll find as you go that your commitment, especially as it becomes part of how you run your business, will begin to impact many people. If impacting people is part of your purpose, then this answer is even simpler.

Related: 5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Combine Profit and Purpose

Don’t be tempted to turn finding a commitment into a journey of self-discovery. Your business (and you) need a commitment sooner. Instead, define a commitment quickly, start working on it and evolve it.

By: JC Hite Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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The 3 Keys To Becoming Irresistible – John Gorman

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There’s a routine question asked in job interviews, first dates, table games and so on: What is the most important thing you look for in other people?

There’s variations on this format (i.e. “What’s the most attractive quality you look for in a potential partner?” Or, “What’s your greatest strength?” And so on) but, in general, the answer remains the same: The character trait you hold above all. When pressed, I’ve often stumbled and resorted to something trite and probably not true: honesty, humor, confidence, charisma, etc. Those are fine answers but they’re not in my estimation the correct ones.

And so one day I sat down on my pleather couch, brewed some holy basil tea, queued up some Anderson Paak on the Spotify and really, truly tried to whittle down the essence of what makes truly admirable, special people exactly that. I analyzed people I looked up to, people I was attracted to, and people I just couldn’t dream to be without.

And I found that the answer could never be just one thing, and that many of the things I think I admire are manifestations of other, deeper things I admire more. Here are the three components that, when taken together, create a spellbinding supernova of a person — one who can command a room and control their destiny, one who can be both altruistic and intelligent. And so I give them to you and make a case for each.

Humility

This trait is the root of all growth, learning and kindness. It’s the belief that you are not yet so great that your mind cannot be opened, and it’s the presence of mind to remember that we are all interconnected equals, and that injustice against one is an injustice against all. It is, flatly, an absence of entitlement. People who exhibit humility let their work speak for itself, they remain stoic in the face of their own suffering, and they remind themselves — and others — that life is fragile and therefore valuable. Humility quells ignorance and cultivates grace. I want this in the people I hold dear.

Curiosity

Without curiosity, you cannot be enthralling or even engaging, nor — most rudimentary of all — successful. It is frankly impossible. Curiosity drives an insatiable quest for knowledge, culture, novelty, experience, beauty, art and connection. It is the bedrock upon which you can build a life filled with stories, memories, accomplishments and relationships. People who exhibit curiosity can become masters, or polymaths, or auteurs — but they must first always have an open mind.

They first seek to listen, to absorb, to immerse, to traverse. The world is too large and their time on it too short to ever remain fully satisfied in their pursuit of whatever new ideas pass in front of them. I want people around me to remain curious, routinely examining the world through fresh eyes, and using their eyes to find fresh corners of the world.

Empathy

This trait is the miracle drug of humanity (and elephants, and dolphins). It is the simplest, sweetest attribute one can possess, and the most worthwhile one worth cultivating for social success. Empathy brings people closer, and makes others feel understood and less alone inside. And if there is one thing we’re all looking to become a little less of, it’s alone.

When I see truly empathetic people, I see people who genuinely care, but also people who remind us that sometimes it’s okay to be still with someone else and not invade their space or encroach their boundaries. This unique ability to understand the world through others’ eyes and cut to the heart of what others are feeling and experiencing. Empathy breeds compassion, connection and love. It is an important precursor for honesty.

You may have noticed the three are closely related. This is no mere accident. In fact, when you stack humility, curiosity and empathy, you can easily see how they amplify each other.

Humility is the soul. Curiosity is the mind. Empathy is the heart.

Humility is how you value yourself. Curiosity is how you value your others. Empathy is how you value the bonds between yourself and others.

Humility is the soil of knowledge. Curiosity is the water that helps it grow. Empathy is the sunlight that shows us which way to bend.

And if you take any two without the third, you’re missing a crucial component: Humble, curious, apathetic people are slothful. Humble, disaffected, empathetic people are sensitive but not very interesting. Brash, curious, empathetic people are exhausting. But when you bring them all together, you create a benevolent triad.

These three traits are the key to becoming warm, smart and memorable. They’re irrepressible and irresistible. They’re my favorite qualities in others: the most attractive, the strongest, the most admirable. And whether I’m hiring them, dating them or learning from them, these are the qualities I look for above all others.

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