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JENI ALEXANDER: Every morning I say three kind things to myself in the mirror, and this is why...

By Jeni Alexander

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Jeni Alexander. Picture: James Mackenzie
Jeni Alexander. Picture: James Mackenzie

Sharon Leons managing director Jeni Alexander discusses why we need to get better at celebrating success in life.

When I was younger my mum always taught me to say three kind things about myself every day. Even now, each morning I look in the mirror and say three kind things about the woman staring back at me. It gives me a positive pair of glasses to look at the world through.

When was the last time you celebrated one of your colleagues at work? When was the last time you celebrated yourself? If you are scratching your head, trying to remember the last time this happened, then you are probably like most people in the Highlands. We aren’t very good at celebrating our successes up here. But I am on a mission to change that. Why you ask? Quite simply: we have one shot at life, we may as well enjoy. So, this month, I have a few challenges for you that I want you to capture and hopefully we will see a bit of a kindness movement spread.

First up – champion your young people:

In today’s world we live on our phones, staring down at the screens. Young people are especially known for this, and they are constantly seeing snippets of perfectly curated moments of others’ lives online – this leads to a lot of comparison and in turn negative self-talk. I feel that I have a responsibility to champion young people in the real world. Their uniqueness, their talents, and their successes, whether that be in work or in their personal lives, deserves to be recognised. I need to tell them that it’s okay to go for what they want and that they deserve to have a life that is of value.

So, this month, I challenge you to say kind things to each of your young staff members and ask them what their dreams are. It may not match your business goals, but you could just be the person they talk about when they are older. The one that helped spur them on and gave them the building blocks to live the life they want. Perhaps you will be the first one who has ever done it.

Secondly – spread the love to your employees and colleagues.

Life can be hard for a lot of people, and some days it’s hard to see the clearing through the trees. A kind word or a wee chocolate bar on the desk can go a long way in lifting someone’s mood. Perhaps your work has had a busy deadline, or a new project that has been getting off the ground. Maybe you have had an exceptionally busy shift and customers or patients have been non-stop, and staff have barely had a minute to breathe. All of that can take a toll on people and they may not feel that they are being valued amongst the craziness of it all. Make sure you recognise that value in them – they are going to remember that. So, your second challenge is to do something that shows that you care what your staff or colleagues do. Leave a wee sticky note on their desk telling them something specific that they’ve done well. Bring in some cakes for the office or take someone in a coffee. Do something that makes people feel special – I promise in return you will feel the same way back.

Jeni's parents – James and Heather Sheerin – have always encouraged her to believe in herself. Picture: Callum Mackay
Jeni's parents – James and Heather Sheerin – have always encouraged her to believe in herself. Picture: Callum Mackay

Thirdly – celebrate yourself.

If I was just talking to myself negatively all the time I wouldn’t be where I am today. So, I am passing this wisdom onto you. It’s okay to tell yourself that you are intelligent, that you are kind and that you have a nice smile. That is not egotistical – it is true. Tell the world when something has gone right, even if that’s finally clearing that pile of washing away.

Go on, you might feel silly at first, but I promise, if you start your day by being kind to your reflection, it will set you up for a day of paying it forward.

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