Deb Sofield


If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule

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You would think that the admonition of, If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule–never lie to yourself , would be a no-brainer, but we all know people who consciously (or subconsciously) lie to themselves about themselves. Or they lie about the most mundane matters or willfully choose not to see the truth because, frankly, it hurts when, due to life circumstances, change must happen. But remember, the lie that seems small and insignificant today, may over time grow into a habit that can be damaging to your business, your friends and maybe (not to be dramatic) your life.

Today’s message is short.

It is 98 degrees here in South Carolina, but when I saw this quote, it was a cold blast of frigid air of memories of self-delusional clients, (former) friends and, in some cases, my own self-deception about how I think about myself.

Here is the key to this message of,

If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule–never lie to yourself.

And I’ll add about yourself, your abilities and your “good works.”

Friend, you cannot afford to live in a fantasy or alternate universe when it comes to the rough and tumble daily striving for success, greatness or memorability. Why? Because clear, logical, reasonable thinking is what is required for success in today’s environment. You must honestly, truthfully, candidly see your world for what it is, and do not hide from the truth no matter how hard it is to look at. But here is the good news: you can change your life. People do it every day, everywhere and at any time; it just takes an honest assessment of where you are and where you want to go and who you want to be.

When I say that you need to be careful about the lies you tell yourself, I’m not going to focus on the physical because with some hard work that can change. Yes, losing weight is hard, and living within your budget is hard, and keeping your space, clothes, car and person clean is hard to sustain day after day but, come on, you can succeed at those daily rituals when you put your mind and a little time to it…don’t be so lazy.

Today, I’m asking you to think about how you value yourself–trusting that you do see value in yourself. I know I speak a lot about your self-worth because I believe that you are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ That is my personal faith and belief not just about myself but also about you, because you were created for more than getting out of bed each morning, going to work, coming home, feeding the dog, going to bed and getting up to do it all over again the next day. You have to believe that life offers more than what you are taking, or even asking for, and if you don’t believe that then I question why you’re lying to yourself and living in a scarcity mentality instead of abundance mentality. No, I’m not going “woo-woo” on you with a magic pill or a self-delusional easy fix. The fact is if you…understand and then respect the one rule that is life-changing it is this, you were made for more than you are choosing to take and live today, but you have to stop lying to yourself that you are not worth it.

Is it easy? NO. Is it attainable? YES, but only if you stop the bellyaching of all the things you claim you can’t do and take it one step at a time, walking in the direction of things you dream about doing. A few years ago I read the book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho and, although I found the book an interesting read, the theme that really stood out for me is the idea that “…when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it,” and

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

When you decide to stop lying to yourself and stop hiding from yourself, due to your fear of failure, I do believe you will slowly see the outcomes of the things you desire. And I know from my own life experiences, when I put my time, effort, prayers and contacts together–time after time–I find I am able to achieve that which I had only dreamed of. Do I lie to myself? No, because I know that if I do the honest work that is required for success, a decision will show up. Either I’m in, or I’m out, and I am good with whatever happens believing that I have been spared from something I could not see, or I have been given that which is good for me.

Years ago I stopped complaining about things I felt were unfair in my political life, business life and even personal life because I laid my burdens down and decided that I would accept the idea that I had been protected from that which I could not see. Easy? Believe it or not, it was, because I don’t lie to myself acting like I deserve something I didn’t work for or being honest with myself knowing I wouldn’t really enjoy the journey since it wasn’t my heart’s desire but the sweet desires of others who meant well.

When I ask that you respect the rule of never lying to yourself about yourself or your abilities, here is what I mean.

As you know, I am a speech coach, and I have a wonderful list of amazing clients who want to be on the national speaking circuit. The good news is that many of them will make it and a few will not. It’s not because they are not good at their craft, but when the reality of what it takes (and these days how long it takes) hits– the physical strength to hold up due to the hours of travel, average hotel rooms (praying there are no bedbugs), waiting in airports and then dealing with missing or cancelled flights, eating on the go, all for a one- or two-hour stage presentation with a standing ovation–it is hard. Now, my job is to help them get to the stage. Their job is to love it and stay or not.

My other job as their coach is to make sure they are what they say they are. You would think that was a given, but we all know people who claim to be experts on branding and social media who don’t have a website. Or they claim to speak to thousands, and yet a Google search of their name comes up with less than three hits. Or they claim to be a “thought experts” (I’m still not sure what that means) and yet there is no paper trail of their thoughts or ideas to help someone succeed in the industry they claim to be in.

Are you allowed to make claims? Yes! But you need to figure out that if you’re such a great “thought leader” why you have no followers. So be self-aware enough to know that the truth of your claim is easy to find, or you will be discredited, not because you’re not a good person but because you lied to yourself about yourself. Easy to fix, by the way–just do the work.

I want to end with the one lie that really does cause harm to you personally, and that is the idea that you are doing “good works.” Simply put, I hope you are. I hope you are giving to charity, helping the less fortunate and sharing your time and talents with those who need a helping hand. But be self-aware enough to know when it crosses from good works to martyrdom. No one is impressed with that attitude. In fact, when it hits that point, they are turned off by the very mention of your heroic deeds.

Here is how I see this play out time and time again. A good soul does some good works, but they inflate the value of their time and talent. Then they get their feelings hurt because “no one appreciates them” and they “do so much for others” and “they’ll just stay here while you go have fun” and all the other statements of self-imposed sadness.

This one is so harmful. When you start to believe your own narrative about how much you do for others and how good you are to others and how no one appreciates the things you do or you’ve done, you kill the spirit–the soul, the life essence–of the deed since it appears that it was not done out of love but out of duty. “Duty” may be how you show love to others, but it smacks of self-righteousness, smugness and conceit. Admit it, if you saw that in other people you’d be turned off, so don’t think we don’t see through your silly little martyrdom. Just hope we still love you enough to tell you to knock it off or perhaps even stop doing your “good deeds,” because on the scales of life, you’ll always come up wanting, and I’m pretty sure you didn’t start out that way. So continue to do your good deeds, but please just remember to do them with love and not bravado–save that for the stage.

Alright, tough love Tuesday. Funny, I didn’t start out with this hard of a message in mind. I wanted to keep it short and remind you of the thought that I believe is life-changing and that is, “If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule–never lie to yourself about yourself.”

You’re better than that. I just know you are.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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