Give Yourself Some Credit

Climbing Bear Syndrome

Do you celebrate your successes? Big, small or otherwise?

Do you even FEEL successful in your life?

One reason you may not feel all that successful is because you probably rarely give yourself credit for all the amazing things you do on a daily basis (yes, you are amazing!).

If by some chance you slip for a minute and bask in the glow of your accomplishments, you immediately feel the need to down-play your success, especially to friends and family.

Why do you do that?

Why is it so wrong to acknowledge a job well down? Maybe you are afraid of people thinking you are bragging or touting your own horn.

It often comes down to the fear of criticism—being afraid of what others will think and say; afraid of the “shoulds, coulds, woulds, and what ifs” from other people.

Did you know that many of the most successful people in the world revel in their accomplishments by covering their walls and homes with photos, trophies, magazine covers, etc.? They’ve succeeded. Not only does the world applaud their efforts but they give themselves credit for all their successes.

If you have kids, you might know the song (or perhaps you sang it as a child) “the Bear went over the Mountain?”

The Bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain to see what do you think he saw? He saw another mountain, he saw another mountain, he saw another mountain and what do you think he did? He climbed another mountain…” (sourced from Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach)

Many many people suffer from the Climbing-Bear Syndrome.

We scale one mountain, solve one problem, and overcome every obstacle.

But is the accomplishment celebrated? Do we savour closing the deal, delivering the goods, graduating night school, getting the promotion all while raising our families?

No! We dismiss our personal successes as if they are luck, and then we wonder why we feel so unfulfilled.

Another reason we fail to recognize our own successes is because many of us waited patiently for decades for parental approval that never came no matter what we achieved.

We have been conditioned to believe that NOTHING we do is ever good enough and we continue this nasty cycle by withholding approval from OURSELVES.

When I was newly separated and had a mountain of debt, over a two year period, I found my ideal job, filed for divorce and paid for it completely myself, put my son in private pre-school, paid off all my debt, found and bought my own house, trained and ran two marathons, all the while raising two young boys. It sounds exhausting just writing that.

On the surface, I looked successful. But I was in a frenzy to succeed.

I had the Climbing-Bear Syndrome big time. But I also had the self-destructive illusion of believing that the next thing would be THE one to bring me recognition I’d been hungering for. The big break would finally arrive.

Since I didn’t give recognition to myself, the only place left was the outside world. Surely the world would notice in a meaningful way how hard I had worked and all I had overcome?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work that way for most of us.

Although you may get your 15 minutes of fame, the world cannot confer the recognition that will make you feel fulfilled. Read that again.

The world cannot give you the credit you crave. ONLY YOU CAN!

So open the champagne, toast yourself, pat yourself on the back, and give yourself credit after the completion of each project, accomplishment, and achievement—big and small.

Life is short. You can’t afford to wait for the world’s approval.

About the Author

Heather WIlsonHeather E. Wilson is the founder and CEO of The Canadian Coach, a directory and membership platform designed to unite, support and promote Canadian coaches. She's a successful business coach, speaker, author (Your Life According to You!), warrior, change-maker, risk-taker, and adventurer all rolled into one dynamic package.