Thank you so much for your support and feedback on the recent launch of the Self.Styled.Life podcast. I’ve been blown away by all of your comments and I’m so glad that the first couple of episodes have supported you in creating your self-styled life.
In the very first episode of the podcast, I introduced my signature framework for a self-styled life. Now, if you’ve been hanging out with me for any length of time, clarity, mindset and action need no introduction. But one of the things I realised in recording the podcast was that my friends who learn visually would probably like a diagram. And perhaps a few words to read. So I thought I’d jump into my journal and deliver both of those things.
First though, what is a self-styled life?
For me, a self-styled life could be described as similar to living a self-determined life.
The Collins Dictionary defines self-determination as ‘the act or power of making up one’s own mind about what to think or do, without outside influence or compulsion’.
And practically that translates to life where you know what you want and where you’re going. Where you live by your values and define your own measures of success.
When you’re living a self-styled life, you fill it with beautiful humans, experiences and objects that bring you joy and fulfillment. This is true for all elements of your life. For your career, your relationships, your creativity, your finances and your well-being. It’s an ‘and strategy’ rather than an ‘or strategy’. It’s not about having a great career and a dodgy home life. Nor should you be sacrificing your professional or creative success because you chose to have kidlets. I promise it is more than ok to be thriving in all areas of your life.
When you decide to live a self-styled life, you write your own rules and set your own limits. You start to let go of the endless comparison that is so ingrained in us from a young age. I’m sure you’ve heard that Theodore Roosevelt quote about comparison being the thief of joy. But the funny thing is that our entire societies are set up in a way that drives us to compare. From the minute we’re born our vital statistics are compared against other babies. Our education systems actually rank us in terms of academic performance and that ranking can impact the decisions we make about our futures. Later in life, our bank balances, incomes or size of homes tells the world where we fit on some artificial scale.
Letting go of comparison and measuring your progress against your own success criteria is a big part of styling your own life.
When you choose to self-style your life, you build the skills to deal with the self-protective behaviours like perfectionism, procrastination and people-pleasing that get triggered by self-doubt. You regularly give yourself permission to say ‘I’m ok to do life my way’. And life feels vibrant, authentic and awesome as you start taking actions that build competence and ultimately confidence and self-belief.
Building your self-belief is at the heart of a self-styled life. And in my mind, the whole process is like baking a cake. You need a recipe. Why? Because it takes a combination of specific ingredients to make a delicious cake. And the same goes for a delicious life. You need to mix together clarity, mindset and action when you are self-styling your version of a fulfilled and fabulous life.
Knowing what you want and where you’re heading, as well as how you want to feel, are key to a self-styled life. Have you ever jumped in the car for a drive but not had a destination in mind? I can tell you it gets pretty frustrating fairly quickly. You know you want to go somewhere but you’re not sure where, so you wander off aimlessly. Unless you can choose where you’re off to on the fly, all you end up doing is wasting fuel and making yourself feel dissatisfied. It’s easy to feel like maybe it would have just been better not to try at all.
It turns out that it is a really similar situation in your career and your life in general. If you’re not clear on what you want and how you want to feel, then there’s a good chance that you’re setting yourself up for frustration and dissatisfaction.
Other elements you need to get clear on include what you value and how you will measure success.
Mindset is the second ingredient in a self-styled life. And it’s funny. Mindset is a word that comes up all the time in coaching and small business circles. But it doesn’t come up that often in professional circles. Rarely have I heard someone ask “What was your mindset heading into that meeting?”. But I have heard the question ‘What were they thinking?’ more times than I can remember. Which is a really straightforward way of thinking about mindset, as is the Merrium-Webster dictionary definition sums things up well with a simple ‘a mental attitude or inclination’.
So, why is mindset so important? Well, how we are thinking influences how we experience life. Henry Ford had a point when he said ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right’. Our thinking and our underlying beliefs about what we can and can’t do, be or have impacts how we show up to everything in our world.
Now we can’t have a conversation about mindset without introducing two very important concepts – self-belief and self-doubt. Certainly, the stronger our self-belief, the more comfortable we will be making change in our lives. However, most women don’t show up to their lives with a mindset that features unwavering self-belief. In fact it’s more likely that you’re living with self-doubt.
Self-doubt holds women back in so many ways. It has the power to stop them from upgrading any element of their life. From careers to health, from relationships to creativity, if you can’t trust yourself to choose what you want or don’t believe you can have it, you’re probably not going to get very far.
And it’s mind-blowing how often women don’t recognise their self-doubt as something that keeps them stuck. But that doesn’t mean that our self-doubt doesn’t make sense.
As a self-belief coach I’ve learned that self-doubt is a completely understandable response to psychological risks like disappointment, failure, conflict and rejection. And feeling stuck has nothing to do with capability, destiny or being wrong and everything to do with the ways we’ve learned to preserve our sense of safety and belonging. The truth is, it’s our sophisticated protective beliefs and protective behaviours (like procrastination, perfectionism and people-pleasing) that keep us stuck.
But with work, or with self-belief coaching, women can access their inner wisdom and to discover who they are underneath their self-doubt.
Action is the third element of my signature framework for a self-styled life.
Yep, I hope I’m not bursting too many bubbles here, but once you’ve got clear on what you want and built some supportive thinking patterns, you’re going to have to put yourself out there.
But action leads to progress and progress, no matter how small, keeps you motivated and at the same time delivers change. Yes, baby-steps do count. Little steps, taken consistently, can lead to massive results. Yes, you can self-style your life by putting one foot in front of the other, over and over again.
Action can also take the form of an experiment. Experiments are a really cool way to take action. The data you gather in the experiment can build your self-belief and self-trust that you can reach your goal, vision or dream
So there you have it. My self-styled life framework in a nutshell. I’d love to know. Which pillar challenges you the most? Which area do you feel most comfortable with? Let me know in the comments section below.
And until next time – stay fabulous.