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Small Tweaks Yield Big Change

I think I may need to work on my inner voice a little. A friend of mine the other day told me that he was practicing positive self talk. Oh yea, I remember that.

When I was losing weight, oftentimes I used the shower or walks as my auditorium, mainly because it seemed soundproof. It’s not enough for me to THINK these warm and fuzzy thoughts. I have to actually commit to them verbally or in writing – like a contract – so I chanted (and sometimes ranted) at myself in both these venues.

My walking thoughts usually revolved around something I was trying to achieve, like a certain number on the scale or an attitude adjustment. The shower was more like my therapist’s office. I complimented myself in there. It already seemed pretty ridiculous standing naked, brazenly confronting everything I hated about my physical shell so I figured, what the hell, I might as well try to sync some good messages into my brain during this vulnerable state.

The key is repetition. It feels a lot like that ancient Saturday Night Live skit with Billy Crystal talking to himself in the mirror about how marvelous he was. As silly as it seems, it works, but it takes practice. And, the more I do it, the more likely I recognize truly beautiful things about myself.

I realized this morning with all that has been going on in my life this skill might be a little rusty since what popped out on the paper under appreciations was, “I managed to get my shit together to organize my thoughts enough that I don’t feel like a complete moron at work.”

Hmmm… I don’t think that is quite the skill-building exercise that I’m looking for. It made me laugh and realize how inpatient I am with myself. Sometimes I wonder how in the world I ever managed to lose a hundred pounds because I want all the answers now. Yea, right.

I know this is impossible, but how did I lose sight of it? Much of life and the cool things that happen involve a series of small tweaks that build upon each other. That certainly holds true about the weight loss. It was absolutely necessary to set small, realistic goals. Sure I wanted the weight to fall off in 50-pound chunks, but I had to focus on the process in order to achieve the greater objective.

This week has been a good exercise in patience and a reminder that perfection is always going to be about 20 paces ahead, probably taunting me. While it may be a good idea to “do my best,” sometimes I need to sit back and acknowledge that what I’m doing is pretty cool too.

In that vein, I want to alter my appreciation to, “I’m asking lots of questions and learning as much as I can about my new job, and I bring a fresh perspective to the organization that will further the greater mission.”

How’s that? What is it that you bring to the table?

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