Note: This article first appeared on Charity Village
Walking into a boardroom and averting your eyes as your stomach clenches is a horrible feeling. When you are worried about what you need to say and how you will say it, you begin to agonize. The doubt creeps in. Others in the room intuitively sense your inner hesitancies. This uncertainty spells disaster.
Now paint a different picture. Imagine entering the room with poised posture. Sense within you the assurance of your abilities and certainty that you can handle what might come your way. Others may not be able to put their finger on it. However, you know they are aware of something about you. It is your confidence.
Confidence isn’t something handed to you. It is not a skill that can be taught. Confidence comes from within.
Confidence is part wise elder and part courageous warrior. Your confidence grows as you gain wisdom and then apply that understanding to experiences, events, and relationships. Self-confidence develops when you internalize the lessons and insightfully apply your learning in the future.
Years ago, I yelled at my administrative support. We were young. I’d just received a promotion into one of my first leadership positions. This lady and I went from co-workers to me supervising her. Instead of allies, we became opponents. We spent a lot of time vying to be right. Shouting at her to show me respect did much more to tarnish my reputation then it did to nurture it.
As a result of that exchange, I reprimanded myself for being inept and unprofessional. I realized if I wanted to be the leader I desired, I needed to seek mentorship. I reached out to respected leaders for insights. In doing so, I was able to address tough conversations with increasing skill.
As a leader, I courageously stepped into no end of difficult discussions. As a result, I gained confidence. It was through my applied learning and my willingness to take risks that I become more adept and bold about doing the work that needed to be done. Boldly engaging in those situations helped me to mature and strengthened our team.
Confidence grows when you further your knowledge and expose yourself to new situations. To thrive as a leader, you will need to establish habits that cultivate learning. You must challenge yourself to move beyond what is comfortable.
Establish these three are three habits to foster increased confidence.
Tackle tasks you are avoiding.
What we are skirting around is often the thing that will advance us the most. Heck yes, it may be tough. Absolutely, you may not want to do it or maybe you don't even know how to do it. But the fact that you have been dodging it is a huge clue that it is something you might want to challenge yourself with.
To identify the task you have been avoiding requires you to take a few moments each day of reflection.
Do something outside of your comfort zone daily.
We like our beloved coffee. We have a favorite pair of shoes. We take the same route to work each day. It’s comfortable. It doesn’t require thought. Routine is important. Equally imperative in growing yourself as a leader is taking risks.
The more often you leave the security of what you know, the larger your zone of comfort becomes. You didn’t know the people you worked with when you started. Over time, you’ve learned more about them and now have a relationship with them. The first time you picked up a cell phone it was strange. Now you use it every day. Learning a new task or skill requires a place of not knowing how first. But going there is where you learn.
Spend 15 minutes a day learning something new.
We are most afraid of what we don't know. It's time to change that.
Make the unknown familiar.
The greatest leaders are readers. The most impactful people have within them a wealth of knowledge. The most confident people have a storehouse of experiences, stories, and knowledge.
To increase your confidence, you will need to learn. The more you learn through courses, books and videos, the more you can tackle different situations in different ways.
Increasing your confidence requires you to gain knowledge and step outside your comfort zone. Feed the wise elder within your and cheer on the courageous warrior. Together they will develop the confidence you desire and need to become the incredible leader you were born to be.
Most people don’t come out and say they want more confidence. They say things like:
* Communication is a big challenge for me
* I am struggling to address concerns/issues with staff or my boss
* I don’t feel like I have enough experience/training to do my job
* I feel like an imposter
* I struggle to be taken seriously as a competent leader
All of these boil down to wanting to grow your confidence. When you watch this session, you will learn 3 Lil’ Secrets to Grow Your Confidence!
LINKS from today's session
MASTERING CONFIDENCE INTENSIVE - 8-week online program
Join the CONFIDENT WOMEN LEADER'S group here
Find your GUIDE SHEET # 8 - Changing Your Mind Chatter
Find MY BOOK - Mastering Confidence: Discover your leadership potential by awakening your inner guidance system
With your busy schedule you may have read or watched some of these, but missed others. Perhaps you are looking to catch up, are curious or just eager to grow. Either way, I've got you covered.
These are the top blogs, videos and guide sheets from this year.
Top Blogs of 2017
Discover your leadership potential by awakening your inner guidance system
The solution for “I hate my life”
You can feel a surge of confidence now. Learn this proven technique.
Competence & Courage and the Connection to Confidence
If you are tired of hating your job, read this
Top Guide Sheets of 2017
7 days of journal prompt to help you examine your life
Grab your 3 steps to increasing your awareness of your Mind Chatter
Discover how gritty you are and how to increase your grittiness
Use this guide to Intentionally decide who you are at your best and create the plan to be that person.
Excellence in Leadership Series - Summary
Top FB Live Sessions of 2017
Have you ever held back doing something because:
Hold back no more!
In this quick post I am going to tell you why you SHOULD join the upcoming 5-Day Challenge; Get out of your RUT and back in your GROOVE.
By the time you get to the end of the article, you'll be early looking for the sign-up link!
How it works
The 3 Reasons to Join
1) It's fun!
There is a level of excitement doing something with a group of other ladies who are doing the same thing as you. This time though, you won't have to learn crazy Zumba moves or wonder why on earth you agreed to come to pain and wine night!
2) It's a quick way to grow
The exercises are designed to be quick! They will take you only 5 minutes each day. I'm planting a seed that will grow throughout the rest of your day and week
3) You will be making your Facebook time useful
We all know how easy it is to get caught up in the web of Facebook. Silly cat videos, online sales, and the family gossip can hook you. This time you'll be eager to read other's ladies posts about their progress, share your own and provide encouragement and support. It will be more meaningful than mindless scrolling.
On Friday, December 8th I'll be opening registration for the Blueprint for Change program.
ONE ENTRY INTO CONTEST - Anyone who joins the 5-Day Challenge and completes the exercises each day of the challenge and participates in the webinar (or views it after) will be entered into the draw for 50% off your the cost of enrolling in Blueprint for Change at either level!!!
BONUS ENTRY INTO CONTEST - If you want the chance to have your name entered twice, all you need to do is INVITE A FRIEND to join the challenge. If they sign up, you'll have your name entered to win the 50% off your cost of enrolment for Blueprint for Change ...that is if you participate in each day's activities ;-)
If you are in the middle of something and it’s hitting you big time, you’d probably rather not be at work. The dread of this particular challenge is dragging you down. You feel it in your body, and you hear within as your thoughts, that echo around the common theme, “I can’t handle this anymore!”
You are feeling incompetent, overwhelmed and perhaps, fear that your credibility is slipping.
What if I told you, you can instead, feel more confident right now? In this article, you will learn the one question to ask yourself to remove that self-doubt and instantly feel surer of yourself.
If there were such a thing as a Leadership Doctor, they’d diagnose you with failing confidence. The one telltale sign, without the blood work or body scan, would be your negative mind chatter. The doctor could tell what the issue was, as soon as you mentioned to them that your thoughts were full of:
What do you think about yourself?
Confidence is what you tell yourself. Nothing more. If you think you can, you can. If you believe it’s possible, you’ll figure out a way to make it happen. If you trust you will handle it, you’ll handle it. Confidence is a belief in your abilities, of your potential and of your faith that you can learn or figure it out. Confidence is an inner game.
Are you worried about what others think about you?
Where many women get stuck is that they wait for something to happen, someone else to do something, say something or offer them a better option. If you doubt, hesitate, hold back, or find you are afraid to say something, it could be because you want the go-ahead from someone else.
Their opinion won’t make you feel more confident
Sadly, most women leaders rarely hear words of encouragement like that from their boss, their board chair and probably even rarer still from their employees or colleagues. Praise, accolades or encouragement just don’t show up. But here’s the funny thing…even if it did, it still wouldn't make you feel any more confident. Because it doesn’t matter what they think, it only matters what you think!
Your confidence rises or falls based on what you think about your capabilities
You become more confident when you shift your inner dialogue. When your thoughts rotate around reflections about what you can do, instead of what you can’t, your confidence rises. To feel increased confidence, work to have these kinds of thoughts yourself:
To feel more confident, tame your inner dialogue
To be a confident leader, you need to be the encouraging voice inside of your head. Instead of the negative mind chatter, you need to:
Tame your inner dialogue
Confidence is what you think you can do. The challenge is most of our thoughts are unconscious. Learning to change your inner dialogue takes time. It helps when you develop a system for checking in frequently with your thoughts and adjusting them as necessary.
The proven technique: Install a system to help you manage your thoughts
A system that helps you to pause your thinking and checking in with your thoughts is the first step. Once you pause, take a moment to ponder. Ask yourself if your current thoughts are moving you towards the feeling and outcome you desire. You may find as you reflect that your thoughts are keeping you stuck in feeling incompetent, overwhelmed and lacking creditability.
Ask yourself this question to instantly feel more confident
If your thoughts are negative, focused on what’s not working or circling around who needs to say or do something before you can feel sure, try asking this question.
To feel more confident right now, what do I need to be thinking?
The act of pivoting your thoughts to the future, to confidence instead of lacking confidence changes how you feel.
When you shift your thoughts, you proceed forward with increased feelings of confidence. You once again feel more capable, because you are thinking about all the experience you have, what you’ve done before and how much you believe in your project.
When you manage your thoughts, you feel more confident
You can overcome self-doubt and feel a surge of confidence by following the system to regain control of your thinking. Every time you are struggling, or you hit a wall, come back to pausing. Stop long enough to reflect (ponder). Ask yourself: To feel more confident right now, what do I need to be thinking? Shift your thoughts (pivot), and take the next action step forward (proceed).
2 Immediate Boosts of Confidence
Sometimes though you need an immediate boost of confidence to handle a tricky situation. You can find 2 immediate confidence boosts here to get you through today’s challenge.
In celebration of the launch of the audio version of Mastering Confidence I decided to share a set of quick tips to help you boost your confidence. Each of them is expanded on in depth in Mastering Confidence.
You can grab the book Mastering Confidence on Amazon, Audible and iTunes
If you are interested in the Mastering Confidence Intensive, that I talk about in the videos, you can find the details here.
1) Choose to be confident
Here is the quick tip:
Remember the word Response-able.
Instead of feeling powerless, take responsibility for the situation. Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions in each situation.
Learn more in this quick tip video:
2) Find Clarity
Here is the quick tip:
Keep the 3 W's in mind: Who, Where and Why
Get clarity on who you are, where you and your team are going and why that is so important
Learn more in this quick tip video:
3) Tune into your Inner Wisdom
Here is the quick tip:
Tune into the right voices in your head
Turn down the negative mind chatter and turn up the volume on your inner cheerleader
Learn more in this quick tip video:
4) Emotional Intelligence
Here is the quick tip:
Learn to manage your emotions rather than having your emotions handle you.
Don't let other's comments and actions hijack your emotions. Learn to regulate your emotions and channel them in helpful ways.
Learn more in this quick tip video:
5) Act Courageously
Here is the quick tip:
Act courageously, don't wait to feel confident
Confidence comes after we’ve had the courage to act even when we don’t know exactly how it’s going to turn out but knowing that we are take this step or making this stand because it matters.
Learn more in this quick tip video:
Feeling out of control is a nasty feeling. When we are out of control, we are often reacting to what’s going on:
• The tears are ready to come, and it is soooo NOT the time to cry.
• A sarcastic comment slips out, and we didn’t mean it to.
• We bite someone’s head off…and then regret it.
• Our voice quivers, telling the world how nervous we are.
• That cuss word just tumbled out, when it shouldn’t have!
All of these are examples of losing control. We feel powerless to hold onto our feelings and behaviors. We simply react.
The Blame Game
Many of us blame that reaction on other people around us, or on the situation. Darn Kleenex commercials, they always make me cry. My daughter tells me it’s my fault that she cries. If I cry, it makes her cry.
We do the same in business settings.
• If she hadn’t said that, I wouldn’t feel this.
• If we weren’t so stretched, I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed.
• If it weren’t for the economy, the weather, the crappy office space, the…I wouldn’t be…
Giving Our Power Away
But when we hand over our thoughts and feelings to other people or the bigger “world,” we give our power away. Basically, you are saying, I am not in control of my emotions, or I am not in control of the way I act. It’s that belief that makes you feel powerless. When you feel powerless, you certainly don't feel confident!
Really, it is the rains fault that you feel sad? No. Nor is it your boss’s fault that you feel overwhelmed. I know it sure feels like it. But hear me out for a moment.
Regain Your Sense of Control
When you gain access to what is going on inside of you, you can regain your sense of control and your power. In this blog, I talked about the rain example. We can choose to see rain as a pain in the butt, or a blessing. We can enjoy the sprinkles as we take out our umbrella or grumble and groan at how it’s wrecking our plans. It’s up to us how we see it. In the same way, when we do some work we can begin to feel grateful for the disgruntled staff member. They are growing our conflict resolution.
Take back your Power with this tool
Here is the tool to gain back that control and increase your confidence. Using the Inner Guidance Cycle, you can shift from giving your control away, to taking your power back.
There are 4 steps to the Inner Guidance Cycle. They are Pause, Ponder, Pivot and Proceed.
Let’s use the example from above to see The Inner Guidance Cycle in action.
The Inner Guidance Cycle in Action
By moving through the steps of the Inner Guidance Cycle, Pause, Ponder, Pivot and Proceed, you begin to take back your inner power. Instead of feeling out of control you begin to regain a sense of power. But this time, it is internal power. It isn’t your power over the situation or power over another person. You’ve found your voice. You’ve connected to what is truly important. You found the power from within. That’s the true meaning of being in control. This inner power is your inner confidence.
To be in control of yourself, do the inner work. Connect to your Inner Guidance System. You’ll be glad you did!
When you pause and notice what you are actually thinking, you may have realized that the thoughts you are thinking are not exactly helping you get to where it is you want to go. AND you may have realized that you are not quite sure what to do about that. I mean really, it’s not as if you just snap your fingers and they are changed forever. I wish!
The trick is to change your perspective. It is to alter the lens through which you are viewing the challenge in front of you, the relationship that is frustrating you or changing how you see yourself.
Shifting your perspective takes a bit of practice. Once you train yourself to alter how you see things, you’ll get better at doing it more quickly. There are two things you need to have when you want to start changing the perspective of your thoughts
You need to hope you can change your thoughts and you need to develop a plan to do that. Let’s break that down more.
Before I explain a bit more about hope, let me first let’s define optimism. We often get the two confused. When you are optimistic, you believe that your future will be better than your present. It’s good to be optimistic
When you turn optimism into hope, you take it one step further. Hope is not only believing your future can be better than your present. Hope is also understanding and accepting that you have a role in making your future better than the present. Rather than just waiting to see what happens, hope helps you to make it happen.
3 parts to HOPE
To cultivate this kind of hope, there are 3 parts to consider; goals, confidence, and pathways.
First, identify your goal.
Your goal is your future desire. But it’s less about out there…and more about inside of you. What is the different inner experience you are looking for? In the context of what we have been talking about for the last few weeks, your goal is to have different thoughts. You now know that when you change your thoughts, it will change your experience of things.
In the second example above, the goal is not a rain free adventure. That is something that is outside of your control. Instead, your goal is to feel a sense of joy when you and your family are at the park despite the rain. The goal is inside of you: joy.
Next, consider your level of confidence in yourself.
Do you believe in yourself and your abilities to change how you think so that you will get a different experience?
Can you find joy despite the rain? Can you create fun and enthusiasm in those around you and turn the puddles into games? The question is, do you really believe you can change your thoughts and that by doing so you will change your experience. If you don’t believe that, you are not going to find that sense of joy you are looking for.
Finally, plan your pathway.
What route are you going to take to achieve that goal? What will you need to do, again, think inside of you, to get there?
Your plan might be that before heading out on the trip, you dig out the rubber boots. You may also pack and an extra set of clothes. But it is more than the outside planning here; the key is to plan how you will change your thoughts. You could design a shift in thinking from “This is not going to go well” to “What can make this fun for us?”
he “If/Then” Plan
As you look at your pathway to get to that different experience, you may notice some potential bumps along the way;
When you are planning this shift in thoughts and experience, take those potential obstacles into account and plan for them.
If my child gets cranky, then I will remind myself to take a deep breath helping me to respond more calmly rather than reacting with frustration.
Use the If/then formula to plan ahead for how you will respond (conscious choice) rather than react (getting hijacked by emotions and events).
If this happens... then I will…
Let’s look at the scenario of a meeting with the annoying co-worker.
Hope + A Plan = The Ability to Change Your Thoughts & Thus Your Experience
Cultivating hope and developing an if/then plan are important factors to building the skill of shifting your perspective. Remember, this takes time and practice. When you start to change the filters through which you see problems, others and yourself, you will start to experience them differently. Define the outcome you want, your goal. Believe you can, your confidence. Decide what you will do, if something goes wrong, your plan.
Hope you can change your future, by taking back reasonability for your thoughts. One-step at a time my dear, one step at a time!
Thoughts, a voice in your head, monkey brain, or mind chatter. We call it many things, but it’s all the same. It is the conversation or monolog we are having with ourselves inside our head. What you need to know about that mind chatter is this:
MIND CHATTER is there:
We all have thoughts; the majority of them are unconscious. It is the thoughts we are oblivious to, that often lead to experiencing our lives in ways we don’t want.
For example, many of us don’t realize that via our inner thoughts, we have been convincing ourselves that we can’t handle our overwhelming responsibilities, appointments and to do’s.
Yet, if you stopped and paid attention to your thoughts you might hear your mind repeating similar phrases like a broken record:
MIND CHATTER rules your life:
What you think about creates your experience of life. Or…what you expect, you get. It is those unconscious expectations that you are setting for yourself that make you feel the way you do.
In the example above, your unconscious thoughts of overwhelm gave you the experience of feeling incompetent in handling your day. When you have those repeating thoughts in your mind that are reminding you that you can’t handle it, you create your sense of overwhelm. That draws your attention to notice everything that goes wrong, every second “stolen” from you and each extra task added to your list.
You can manage your MIND CHATTER:
When you become more aware of your thoughts, you can choose what you are thinking. Those different thoughts shift your experience.
Once more, using the example above, you could begin to manage your thoughts about your day. Instead of the catastrophic thoughts that you have about your overwhelming day, you can catch yourself going down that path and turn a different way.
By choosing instead to think about your ability to handle things and to be alert for opportunities, you change your experience.
When you become more conscious of your inner thoughts and then shift them, you also find you experience your day differently. You didn’t necessarily change anything going on outside of you; you shifted your thought about what was going on outside of you. The tasks, meetings, and duties are still there; they just have less power over you. Shifting your mind chatter leave you feeling more in control and on top of the priority projects; not everything, but you know that it’s the true priorities that matter at the end of the day.
The tools to managing your thoughts:
Developing an awareness of your mind chatter helps you to manage it. When you manage your thoughts, you manage your life. It is by handling your inner world that you create the experience in the outer world that you desire. Remember, what you need to know about that mind chatter is this: it’s there, it rules your life, and you can manage it.
Available on Amazon
Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.