Are You Too Hard On Yourself?: The RESET Challenge #2

Boosting Self-Compassion for Personal & Professional Success
Boosting Self-compassion for success

Feeling in a rut? Do you want to do something different and more meaningful in 2022?  Join Coach, Dionne Nicholls, as we begin month two of the RESET challenge.

The RESET is a year-long journey that will provide you with the tools to take action and provide clarity when it comes to pursuing your goals and dreams. By immersing yourself in this challenge, you’ll be able to overcome roadblocks and lead a more fulfilling life.

It was through the practice of self-compassion and self-love that a dear friend of mine  and mother to my 6 year-old godson found the courage to leave a work environment where she was chronically overworked and overloaded with responsibilities for more than 10 years. It was through this practice that she was able to make the decision to put herself and her own well-being first.

What is self-compassion?

Self compassion is the ability to extend kindness and understanding to oneself in times of failure or suffering. When you experience negative emotions because you made a mistake, failed, or are faced with feelings of inadequacy, you can choose to approach it without judgment or self-criticism.

As humans, we are the only species on the planet subjected to societal pressures and expectations, causing us to hold ourselves to a different standard and become harder on ourselves. I, myself, am no exception. As moms, for example, we tend to hold such high expectations of what motherhood should be that we’ll beat ourselves up over the same thing over and over again sometimes for years! In fact, a Master Coach and Founder of Abroad by the name of Justin Milano conducted a robust case study with over 1300 leaders across the globe to examine mindsets and behaviors that affect their emotional and mental wellbeing and what he noticed is that self-compassion consistently ranked lowest.

When we can embrace our imperfections and accept that things may not always turn out the way we want them to, we save ourselves a lot of time and energy

Why is self-compassion so important for a successful reset?

People who practice self-compassion become more resilient and adaptable to setbacks, which you will inherently face as you embark on your journey of reinvention.

Believe it or not, the role of our inner critic; that harsh, critical voice, is to protect us from perceived fear as well as our ego, also known as our survival mechanism. It goes into overdrive when you are about to initiate a transition, as you are going into uncharted territory. You don’t have all the answers and are scared you might fail.  That can be very intimidating.  Our survival mechanism aims to minimize pain and keep us safe within our comfort zone. So, when we are looking to do a full reinvention of ourselves or on an aspect of our lives, having self-compassion is crucial. Otherwise, the process will be full of physically, emotionally, and mentally draining starts and stops. Such events will make for such a miserable experience that you could end up procrastinating or completely giving up.

When we can embrace our imperfections and accept that things may not always turn out the way we want them to, we save ourselves a lot of time and energy. You can go from slow, gradual, and frustrated to adding velocity, power, and more joy to the process.

How do you build up your self-compassion?

According to world-renowned researcher and expert, Carol Dweck, the first step in building your self-compassion muscle is cultivating a growth mindset.

Instead of going into your typical cycle of beratement, judgment, and criticism because you feel you said something so inappropriate in an interview, an example of a growth mindset approach would be to:

  1. Honor your feelings. Do not suppress or ignore them, for what we resist will persist and will eventually come out some other unhealthy way. Rather acknowledge the feelings, feel them, and let them move through you.
  2. Find the lesson. A powerful exercise is to ask ‘what’ instead of ‘why’ questions.  ‘Why’ keeps you stuck in the spiral of self-loathing, but ‘what’ empowers you to search for meaning; to learn something from a difficult situation. For example, “What is the meaning of this moment?” or “What can I learn from this?”


Other self-compassion practices:

  1. Mindfulness. Observe the negative voice in your thoughts without judgment, relating to them from curiosity instead.  Ask yourself, “Whose voice is this?” It usually stems from something we were told in our childhood from a parent, teacher, coach, etc.
  2. Disrupt. Interrupt the negative chatter by getting present to what is true. A powerful question to ask yourself is,”What do I know to be true?” Positive Affirmations are also a great tool.
  3. Talk to yourself like you would your best friend. If your friend made a mistake, what would you say to them? Now, turn those words back to yourself.
  4. Dr. Kristen Neff, PhD, recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion, recommends exploring self-compassion through writing. She says, “Everybody has something about themselves that they don’t like; something that causes them to feel shame, to feel insecure, or not ’good enough’. This exercise will help you write a letter to yourself about this issue from a place of acceptance and compassion”. For more of Neff’s exercises check out her website,


Final Words

Self-compassion is a form of forgiveness. It is a true act of generosity to yourself to embrace all parts of you, to learn from your failures so you can grow, transform, and actualize your full potential as a mother in every area of your life.

Look out for your next RESET tip in April! We’d like you to share your journey with us and we look forward to receiving your feedback. You can email us on contact page or share your feedback on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, and tag us.

Dionne Nicholls is a professional coach trained through Accomplishment Coaching. After a successful 20-year career in the fashion industry and  a single mom at the age of 40, Dionne transitioned to become a leadership coach. As the Founder of Live Your Best Life For You, she focuses on supporting her clients to  make significant shifts in their lives and leadership styles, while taking a firm yet empathetic stand for their goals and  dreams. Inspired by her own personal journey of reinvention, Dionne dedicates her life to supporting working mothers who are challenged with balancing their commitment to a thriving, meaningful career, and personal life. She is the creator of the signature program The RESET: How to Pivot from Powerless to Purpose and is a Brand Ambassador for The Five-Minute Journal, the gratitude journal that changed her life.

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