5 Ways to Love Yourself Into Greatness

Whenever I take an AMP dance party spin class, two things are certain – I’m going to have a lot of fun and my body will be challenged by the intense workout. A few weeks ago though, I also got a huge dose of inspiration that prompted me to write this article.

During the class, our great instructor Ryan Makely-Phillips shared this nugget of wisdom – “You cannot hate yourself into change. You must love yourself into greatness.”

Cue to the image of Bill and Ted, from their first excellent adventure movie, saying “Whoa!” in unison. At least, that’s what happened inside of mind. I googled the quote and found the source is Emma Lovewell, a popular Peloton instructor, author, and lifestyle guru.

Those words resonated deeply with me, and I kept turning them over in my mind. It applies to so many aspects of our lives.

Let’s say that you want to make a career change. If you start from a place of disliking yourself or not feeling good enough, you immediately limit your chances of success. Fear and self-doubt might cause you to take a lesser role or accept an opportunity with a company that has a toxic culture because you don’t believe you deserve better. But when you focus on your strengths and actively love and believe in yourself, that creates tremendous opportunities. You’ll pass on jobs that aren’t what your heart desires, holding out for the one that can catapult you to greater happiness and fulfillment.

I first learned the truth of those words over 30 years ago, when taking my first massive step towards personal transformation. Back in 1992, I was fifty pounds above my natural weight, felt sluggish all the time and my self-confidence was non-existent. I was trying to hate myself into change with restrictive diets that quickly failed, and non-stop self-criticism.

Then I let go of my angst over the number on a scale, and changed my focus to just feeling better. My friend Samantha Worthen invited me to join her and some of our other college friends at a step aerobics class. It didn’t matter that I was the heaviest person in the class; I loved it and was hooked. Enough that I signed up for a membership and decided to take classes before work to ensure I wouldn’t blow it off later in the day.

The tendency to drive change from a negative place manifested at first. I placed the worst, most unattractive photo of myself by my alarm clock to motivate me to get out of bed in the morning. It worked for a while, but then felt disingenuous to use myself as the bogeyman. So, I stopped and instead shifted into personal cheerleader mode by focusing on small wins and progress. It worked. I lost the extra pounds, got healthy and have stayed that way for decades now – because I chose to love myself.

Now I’m a positive person. But I still need to actively choose to love myself each day to be at my best professionally and personally. Whatever circumstances you face, you can immediately start to overcome obstacles and live the life you want.

Here are 5 ways to love yourself into greatness:

Make it manageable.

Want to change some aspect of your life? Trying to do everything at once can trigger self-doubt and inner criticism. Instead, break your goal down into manageable steps. For example, in addition to my corporate job, I intend to do more keynote and breakout session speaking because speaking brings me so much joy.

A year ago, that goal seemed overwhelming – I had confidence in my speaking ability but had no clue about how to find opportunities. So, I broke it down into chunks – the first step was updating my website with credentials and testimonials, then I developed my signature speaking topics, and so on. There’s so much more to do, but now I know by being focused and deliberate on the task before me, it will get done.

Create your inventory of awesomeness.

Give yourself 5-10 minutes of uninterrupted time – back away from the smart phone stat – and make a list of your personal awesomeness. I’m talking about your personal qualities that make you proud, like having a great sense of humor, your keen intelligence, or being a loyal friend. Then include things you are good at; perhaps it is singing Taylor Swift songs, managing your team at work, the sport of axe throwing…you get my drift.

Now type this up on your smart phone or laptop, write it down in a journal, make a video about it on social, a PowerPoint presentation about it, etc. The goal is to create a physical/virtual list that you can easily access. Visiting that list regularly reminds you of the different aspects of yourself that you love, fueling your greatness. Plus, when negative chatter enters your mind, reviewing this inventory can take you back to a positive mental state.

Celebrate wins.

As you pursue a change or new direction, pause to celebrate every win along your journey. Let’s say that you are angling for a promotion at work and have volunteered to take on more responsibility. If you receive a public acknowledgement from a member of the executive team, that’s a win, as is being chosen to lead a new project, being the person from your department to present quarterly results, and so on.

Savor every one of those wins and celebrate, rather than postponing your joy until the promotion is received. The goodness you feel at every milestone will enhance how you show up at work and your output.

Prioritize self-care.

Want to crush your goals? Then make self-care a top priority. While some people believe that focusing on self-care is selfish, there is nothing inconsiderate about prioritizing your well-being.

Taking good care of yourself – through setting boundaries, exercise, improved nutrition, taking breaks, exploring fun hobbies, practicing mindfulness and more – enables you to thrive at work and home, be more present for loved ones, overcome obstacles, increase your energy, and bring more goodness into your life overall. Here are more tips for how to make self-care a regular practice.

Be patient.

Do all those adages about Rome not being built in a day make you roll your eyes? Well, the truth is that patience is a virtue. When you are reaching for greatness, it’s more about playing the long game than trying to be an overnight sensation that fizzles out quickly.

A great book to read on that topic is The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World by Dorie Clark, one of the world’s leading branding experts and coaches. Patience didn’t come naturally to me, but when I finally got the hang of it, change became a lot more rewarding.

How have you loved yourself to greatness?

Leave a Comment