Stop Worrying --> Develop Confidence
Now, I am not suggesting you shouldn't worry. Well, ok, maybe I am. Don't worry, but do take it into account. Worrying is pretty much useless. Conscious pondering is very helpful.
Start with Competence
In my latest blog post Competence & Courage and the Connection to Confidence,
I made the connection between having the skills (competence) and acting courageously to practice those skills so that you increase your confidence. Now we are taking that one step further, linking it all to credibility.
Competence + Courage = Inner Confidence
** Expressing your Inner Confidence evokes Credibility **
Deepen your learning on how to increase your credibility....Watch this week's video!
What is the #1 fear in women leaders? It is the fear of not being competent, not measuring up, looking like an idiot, stumbling over your words, failing or making a big mistake!
I hear it all the time from my clients: "I am afraid of looking like I am not competent"
So many of us worry that someone will find out we don’t know how, can’t do it, or are completely inept. It keeps us awake at night and wreaks havoc with our self-esteem. It also tends to get in the way of doing a good job and feeling good about the work you do. We wonder if some day they will expose us for the fraud we are.
The inaccurate use of the word competence
Competence, having the skill or ability to do something, though it is sometimes confused with having the courage to use that skill and feeling confident when you learn to use it well.
You have the skill; You are just afraid to use it
Women worry they aren’t competent. Yet, they likely are very competent in many areas. What they lack is the courage to apply the skills, knowledge or talents. They also wait for confidence to show up before they step out. But the truth is, they all work together. Let me explain.
My story - A simple example of this:
Last night I put on a session about work-life balance for a local agency. I show up, pull out my computer and my own projector and start hooking up the two. It took me less than 3 minutes, and I experienced no stress, feeling quite capable.. I was able to multitask, chatting with the coordinator of the event while I attached the lines appropriately.
The back story
Rewind a few years when I first got the projector. I was panicked that I wouldn’t have it set up before the session started, worrying everyone would be sitting their rolling their eyes as they waited. Time-after-time I’d get it set up only to find it was projecting the wrong image. I’d get even more flustered when I went to play a video during the training. It never seemed to work. I felt inept, hesitant and fearful.
My growth of competence and confidence
Over the years by courageously working at it, I gained competent and confidence.
First, I did some research on Mac computers and mirror screens. I gained the knowledge of how to share a different screen on the projector, than the one on my computer as the one I want to see, but don’t want you to see, has “presenter notes.”
Next, I practiced. A lot. Over the years, I have set that projector up what feels like a zillion times. First I’d set it up at home, shining it on my dining room wall to get the hang of it. I brought it to Toastmasters trying it out on a safe crowd. I showed up early at events, courageously asked the Tech support at conferences for help and determinedly figured it out.
Finally, I felt the confidence increase. Now, even when something goes wrong, I don’t get thrown. I slow down, become more mindful and walk myself through the process.
It started with competence; learning how.
I then had to be courageous, even if I wasn’t an expert and was a bit scared.
The confidence followed the practice.
Take a look at where you feel confident
Break those steps down to things you now feel quite confident to do such as perhaps riding a bike, using a cell phone, cooking or managing money. You weren’t always able to do those things confidently. Knowledge, skills, practice and being brave all worked together to give you the feeling of competence (Tweet that) But, what you really have is a feeling of confidence. You had the competence early on, what you lacked was the belief in yourself. That faith in your abilities came with practice.
Take a look at where you are struggling with a feeling if incompetence in your current role. First, step back and look at the skills you think you would need to feel that level of competence increase. Then look at where you may already have some of those skills, where you could gain more. Then, identify how you can practice that. Finally, grab ahold of some courage and start practicing. You’ll find the competence and confidence both come in a short while after.
How it might look for you
You may feel incompetent in addressing difficult conversations feeling you lack conflict resolution skills.
Where do you communicate in all facets of your life? With your spouse, children, community board or with the last car dealer you purchased from are examples of potentially daily conflict situations.
Look for opportunities to practice your current skills and the new ones you learn.
This is where courage comes into play. You may want to take on a new role on your community board or attend the local Chamber of Commerce meetings. However, you may already have lots of places to practice, without taking on anything new. They key, is to put yourself out there and try it. Don’t sit back and “see what will happen.” Don’t avoid conversations hoping it will go away. Get in there and let it get a bit messy. You will never learn without trying.
Competence + Courage = Confidence
Competence is knowing how. Courage is doing it even when it feels scary. Confidence is experiencing it and realizing you lived through it. (Tweet that) The next time you find yourself worrying about feeling incompetent, take a deep breath and remind yourself, I’ll figure it out. Then …figure it out!
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We develop strategic plans in businesses. They are supposed to guide organizations in the coming year or two. But do you have one? Your own I mean. Do you have a comprehensive strategic plan that is your map for your personal future? If not, it is essential that you begin the process now. Here’s why:
1) If you don’t plan your life, someone else will
Companies are notorious for steering you to develop skills in an area that the business needs. If you are skilled on the frontline and the program lacks supervisors, guess who will be up for a promotion soon? Your boss may even send you on leadership training.
But, is it what you really want?
It may be. But if you haven’t taken the time to strategically look at your career goals, and how they fit in your life goals, you won’t know. You will simply be ushered in the direction of your organization’s needs.
You need to be conscious about planning your life
Without conscious thought to what you are focusing on, both in your position at work and as an individual with a life, you will just go with the flow. Someone else’s tasks, agenda items, meetings, and assignments will fill up every minute of your day. You won’t make choices because you will have no room for choices. Your indecision will mean that someone else will rule your days. That tends to leave you feeling like a bit like a puppet. Ouch!
2) Work and Life are inextricably intertwined
You may have a performance plan at work complete with goals and subsequent training. However, when you rely on your employee performance plan as your roadmap, you are overlooking the bigger picture. Even if you tremendously contributed to the plan, it is only a minuscule slice of your life.
Performance Improvement Plans don't address the whole picture
A performance plan typically looks at you formal educational and training needs. Additionally, it might take into account a few interpersonal skills. Honestly, though, even if communication skills are addressed in your performance enhancement plan, it’s seen as something you’ve done wrong. This approach leaves you full of shame as you find yourself forced to improve in that area. "Cindy could benefit from conflict resolution training" pretty much means you screwed up. Shame on you!
What's going on at work, is likely going on at home too
But think about it for a moment, if you are having trouble communicating with an authority figure at work, you likely find similar patterns in your personal life. Suppose someone consistently ends up in scuffles with their peers, take a step back and look at their whole life. You likely find her also repeatedly spatting with the other moms on her kid’s hockey team. If you have interpersonal problems at work, my dear, you also have them at home.
The things you struggle with are part of a bigger picture
3) If you aren’t growing, you get bored and bitter
Development doesn’t stop when we hit 18 years old. It changes.
Less physically focused than we were in childhood and adolescence, the emphasis on adult development shift to mental and emotional growth. To be happy, content, and to feel fulfilled we must continue to be growing.
We need to be stretched
The problem is, if we are not given opportunities to think outside the box, stretch our cognitive reasoning, learn innovative theories or develop fresh skills, we stop growing. We become stagnant. Boredom sets in. Our days become monotonous, and we start to resent our jobs. We get bitter and cranky.
It sucks to be a hamster
Even if we are busy and rushing around going to meetings, responding to emails, writing proposals and putting out fires, we can still feel bored. Apathy sets in. We become jaded. We just go through the motions of our day. Complacency becomes the way of life. This is the hamster wheel syndrome!
There is a reason you are here, now...
The truth is, we were meant to do meaningful work. We were put here on earth to contribute and to give back. We need to know that we are doing that. We need to know that what we are doing matters. We know we are making a difference often when we feel stretched in a good way.
We feel needed when we are doing something, that truly only we can do. We feel fulfilled when we are more than a mere workhorse, butt in the position or warm body filling a job description.
Congratulations you wrote your goals down! You did do that right? Double applause if you devised a plan of how to accomplish those goals. Now what?
Build in a Systematic Review Process
It is this systematic process of habitually appraising your journey as you move towards your goal that will make you successful. Furthermore, this grittiness, being determined despite adversity, is how you become a strong woman and a strong leader.
I am an avid advocate of positive thinking. I know emphatically the quality of your thoughts is completely correlated to the quality of your life. However, I also know that positive thinking alone does not equal success. You actually have to do something!
Review Your Strategy for Achieving Your Goals
The actions you take and the way you take those actions on your journey to achieve your goals makes a difference. This is the hard part. In truth, many of those activities aren’t going to be easy, enjoyable or engaging. That is precisely why many people don’t achieve their goals. The minute it gets arduous or they come up against a barrier, they stop.
Adversity Strengthens You
Here is the thing, though….you NEED those roadblocks! The difficult parts are the essential parts. It is by going through the struggle that we learn. It is during the challenges that we grow. The process of getting through the trying segments of the journey are prerequisites to reaching the goal. The grittier you are, the more effective you will be.
Your Plan Keeps You Moving
To keep moving forward when challenges hit, you must have a plan, a plan that includes recognizing roadblock and what you will do to get over them. That plan, strategy or blueprint might incorporate coursework; you could include tactics that include the building of support networks, or your approach might integrate the practice of learning to manage your thoughts and actions. I strongly suggest that your plan is multifaceted because let’s be honest ladies…we are a bit complex. Therefore, we need a plan that will address all of our intricacies.
But You Must Keep Reviewing Your Plan
Once you have your strategy in place, you need to review that plan on a regular basis. That way when you hit those roadblocks, feel overwhelmed and want to quit, reconnect to your strategies to get you over the hump. Your plan will remind you of what you can do if you are feeling overwhelmed, confused, apprehensive or stuck.
Make the Review Time Effective
You need to install a habit of reviewing your goals. The following steps will give you a process for your weekly review of your goals and your strategic plan to achieve those goals.
Goals --> Plan --> Take ACTION
Believe you can. Set goals. Plan how to achieve those goals. Take actions steps forward. Fall down. Get up. Dust yourself off. Begin again where you left off. This is how you become a successful gritty woman!
A few words on a piece of paper won’t change your life unless you move into action as a result of those words. To move forward, you need to turn your goals into plans. It’s time to take action towards making some shifts in your life.
How do you want to experience the next few months?
Over the last few week’s I’ve encouraged you to look at how you want to feel in the coming months and to make a list of goals that will help you to achieve those feelings. I’ve explained how installing good habits can help you to reach your targets. If you’ve been following along, and taken some time to do the homework, then you now have a list of goals and habits.
Now what? Get mindful & strategic!
You may be wondering what the best plan of attack is to start moving ahead with those goals. The answer is... a strategic one. Before you get overwhelmed or try and dive into it all at once, I want you to slow down. Building a strategic plan to change your life takes mindfulness.
Take a deep breath….and another one….and one more for good measure.
Behind the scenes
Moses may have separated the sea with one sweeping motion of his staff, but it was years of behind the scenes work that got him there. It’s that behind the scenes work that many of us want to skip over. But…..you have to do it if you truly want to succeed, change your life or have a dramatic impact. You know that nothing really happens, simply by snapping your fingers.
Take the time, to achieve the results
To truly attain results, there are many steps to take. Along the way there, obstacles, both inner and outer, that you will need to overcome. Also, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but truthfully there also will be many times where you will have to put in the sheer effort and persist over time to get somewhere.
Persistence and perseverance
It takes persistence and perseverance, over time to achieve anything. What is going to help you stay the course during all of that, is a plan. Your plan must be complete with strategy, timelines, and lifelines when needed. It is a plan that you develop and then put into action that allows you to be effective.
Creating a strategic plan for life
Create your plan today by taking each of your goals and answering these questions:
Homework: Putting it all together
Now, create a strategic plan that you will work through in the coming months so you can achieve your goals.
Next week we will cover how to take move forward with the plan. Remember to put the work in now. Do the behind the scenes work this week so that you can reach the feelings you want, achieve the goals you desire and shift your life so that you find more enjoyment and fulfillment. Being strategic gives you the peace you want.
Hey my Dear, are you working on designing the year that lays ahead of you? I hope so! Creating goals for yourself allows you to find a different experience in life.
Rather than letting your days unfold in front of you and reacting to whatever fire flares up, I am encouraging you this month to designing your life. When you create a plan with goals, your life will be a more enjoyable one; I promise you that!
Two Types of Goals
As you refine your goals for the coming year, I want you to consider two different types of goals.
First are the goals that most people set. I call them external goals because they are outside of you. What I mean by that is there is something that happens in the outside world that you can often see or touch when you reach your goal. When you achieve external goals, you can point to them and say I did that!
The other kind of goals is what I call internal goals. I say they are internal because when you accomplish these goals, there is a shift that happens inside of you. It is connected to your thoughts, emotions and often includes a degree of inner discipline.
Why does it matter?
The reason it is important to make the distinction is it helps you when you decide what you will need to do to realize your goals. It can be a bit confusing, though. Let me help to clear it up.
The point in considering internal or external?
The point in looking at the difference is to consider both what you really are looking for and how to accomplish it. When you feel the inner shift you need to make to obtain the visible results that you desire; you often find that you are more successful at goal attainment.
Is it a goal or is it a habit
The second consideration if questioning whether it is a goal that you are trying to achieve or a habit you are establishing. The difference between these two is when you reach a goal you are done. You don't have to do the same goal again. Conversely, a habit is something you continue with, often forever.
The point with considering the difference between a goal and a habit is to look at the change you desire. Frequently it is the habit that allows you to achieve the goal. It was when I created two habits of both taking10,000 steps daily and recorded my food daily, that I was able to reach my weight loss goal.
The habit of sitting down and writing first thing each morning allowed me to reach the goal of publishing my book last year.
Continue to refine your goals for the coming year. You may want to break them down into external goals as well as internal goals. Then, consider what habit you need to cultivate that will allow you to reach that goal.
Goals setting isn't complicated. It is multifaceted
It is when you look at goals you want to achieve as more than a statement that you will find success. You are a multifaceted lady, my dear.....as such, your goals need to be multifaceted. Look at what you want to happen outside of you and the internal shifts you also need to make. Then, install habits to assist you to do that. When you create goals in this manner, you’ll find much more triumph this year.
My book is out!