As a youngster, I went through a phase of comfort eating and picked up a lot of extra weight. Some family and friends – with the intention of being kind – told me not to worry, it was just “puppy fat” and I’d grow out of it. Many other school kids weren’t as kind and openly teased me about being “a fatty”. I was about six when all this was going on and these labels ‘helped’ me form a complex that took many years to shed. In fact, the “FAT” label stuck around long after I’d shed the extra kilos. Looking back, I was thin on the outside for many years before I really felt thin on the inside too.

As children we often learn about who we are based on how the world views us (especially our parents and close family). Their feedback and the labels they use to describe us are paramount to our self image; we start to see the world through the lens of “chubby”, “shy” or “self-conscious”. That label becomes part of our identity, we often carry it around for years and we look for evidence to support it, unless we stop and test to see whether our childhood labels still fit. As you examine yours, you might be surprised to notice that you’ve outgrown your labels or that they were never even true in the first place. Let’s STOP right now and take Key Steps to…

Replace the Old with the New

1.Make a list of your accomplishments. Remember to list both the personal and professional ones and then ask yourself… Would someone who is really [fill your label in here] have achieved all that?

2.Ask a colleague or friend. Pick someone you can really trust for good feedback and ask them to describe your qualities. Listen carefully to the words they use to describe you and what picture they create. You may be surprised to hear that some of their labels contradict your old ones. And it’ll be interesting to see how their picture compares to the one you have been carrying around for so long. Ultimately, the only person who can remove the label is YOU. Use this feedback to make a new picture and create new positive labels to inspire and empower you to…

“be the difference that makes the difference