By: Terri Hayes
I use the term “High Five” quite often. This dates me a little because “High Fives” preceded the fist-bump, but to me, a High Five sparks much more “good job” than a fist-bump.
I was a tomboy growing up… I still identify with that label and wear it proudly. I played sports my whole life and High Fives were used in abundance throughout those competitive years.
But here’s where we’re going to apply High Five to life. All too often as humans, we tend to focus on the negative. There have been studies proving this is the natural inclination, but I’m not going to get into the social science today, just trust me (or go look it up).
We notice all the things we’re doing wrong or could improve on. We beat ourselves up over not being a better spouse, parent, child, sibling, athlete, artist, dancer, friend, Christian, [insert your self-abuse equivalency here]. When we focus so much on what we’re not, we miss out on all we ARE!
I had a client who was so committed to self-improvement that she had concocted a brilliant plan. It was pretty much the financial debt snowball concept, only with perceived weaknesses. Initially it seemed like a great plan. She had already figured out that trying to work on too many “weaknesses” at once usually results in overwhelm and slow progress. The idea was to focus on one weakness and overcome it to a satisfactory degree. Once she felt good about the progress made there, the momentum could then be used to tackle the next taxing perceived weakness. Probably a perceived weakness that was more challenging (the bigger debt) than the previous. But since the “conquered weakness” was out of the way, there was more energy to be applied to the next weakness challenge.
The debt snowball is a great tool for getting out of financial debt, but a tool that works well in one application isn’t necessarily ideal in another. I have an alternative idea I feel is much more effective in this scenario.
We get whatever we focus on in life. If we keep focusing on what we don’t want, we’ll have more of it. The first step to creating any change is deciding what you DO want so you have something to move toward.
My challenge to her, to me, and to you is this. Take one week off from overcoming all perceived weaknesses. I know it will be hard but try not to even look at them! They are going in time-out for a week! Instead, focus on your awesomeness and the good things you do. They don’t have to be big things! They can be, but if you look for both, even the most minute things, you can find a LOT!
You didn’t make the snarky comment when you really wanted to. Give yourself a High Five!
You got right out of bed and didn’t hit the snooze. Give yourself a High Five!
You did a favor for someone. Give yourself a High Five!
You told someone kindly you couldn’t do a favor. Give yourself a High Five!
You smiled at someone today. Give yourself a High Five!
Fill in the blank: I love ______________ about my body. Give yourself a High Five!
Fill in the blank: I love ______________ about my personality. Give yourself a High Five!
Fill in the blank: I love ______________ about my living situation. Give yourself a High Five!
I appreciate _____________ about myself. Give yourself a High Five!
I changed the toilet paper roll. Give yourself a High Five!
I texted someone just so they knew I was thinking about them. Give yourself a High Five!
I took two extra seconds to look someone in the eye with love. Give yourself a High Five!
I am __________________ [fill in with favorable attribute]. Give yourself a High Five!
I suggest the “I am [______favorable attribute________] at LEAST once a day.
If you want to step it up a notch, look yourself in the eye in the mirror and say your acknowledgement out loud to yourself and do a physical High Five to that remarkable person in the mirror.
As you set your mind on a mission to notice the good you are and the good you do, and acknowledge those with a High Five, it may surprise you how many perceived weaknesses just kind of vanish or become much less important when you do!