Category: Self doubt

What are you waiting for?!

By , March 20, 2013 7:01 pm

iStock_000015337955Small“How much of human life is lost in waiting”.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lecturer and Poet

What are you waiting for just now?

  • The perfect client to walk through the door
  • That promotion I was promised
  • The right person to come into my life
  • The right time to leave my current job
  • For someone to notice the great work I’m doing
  • One more course or workshop that will teach me how to be a ……….

…These are just a few examples.

When you think about it we are ALL waiting for something…

I remember walking Belle the black labrador with my Dad on the beach at Alborough as if it were only yesterday (The reality is it was probably 25 years ago!).

We’d often talk about the children stories he was writing and how all the characters (The Camblesforth Bunnies) were getting into mischief! He talked about how One day he’d publish these books. One day he’d find out what needed to be done. One day he’d share them with the world.

My Dad was in a waiting room that lasted the rest of his lifetime.

These stories are still in a folder waiting…

He’d written and illustrated a series of short stories. One day as we were walking he told me that he was waiting for the right person to come along to give him the nudge and make things happen.

That person never showed up.

Sometimes the person you’re waiting isn’t going to show (they might not even exist) because the only person you are really waiting for is YOU.

I was coaching an executive this week whose long-term dream was possibly coming true: Her boss had been preparing her to step into his shoes. Suddenly he had decided to leave. This was the director’s role she’d always wanted. She now needed to step out and demonstrate that she was ready to secure the  secondment as a director. It was everything she’s been working towards.

You’d think she’d be excited and buzzing…

Now, she faced her own resistance of self worth and self-doubt and her confidence dipped. As the fear of stepping up became real, she started to push the role away…

Sometimes we create a false ceiling to hold us back because we just might actually pull it off! Fear kicks in and we create limiting beliefs that get in our own way of success. Gay Hendricks in his book called the Big Leap – calls this an Upper Limit Problem. We sabotage our own success because of our discomfort of a hidden fear inside that wants to keep up playing small. Our Lizard Brain is working overtime to protect us!  This is the last obstacle between you and success.

I believe that my Dad had an upper limit problem with his books. He’d got so far, then he got scared. The fear was enough for him to put the idea a side and allow himself to be distracted by something else.

What are you waiting for just now?

What would it be like if you decided to stop waiting and take a step towards what you want to create or have in your life?

I see opportunities as grains of sand in an hourglass… The hourglass turned when you were born and the grains of sand are falling through and slipping away.

Life is short and it’s easy to put things off because we believe that we have all the time in the world and we can come back to it and do it later.

…All you have is NOW… Now is where you can make things happen.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. What are you waiting for just now?
  2. Why are you waiting?
  3. What is holding you back (is it real or perceived)?
  4. What would it be like if you decided to stop waiting and take a step towards what you want to to achieve in your life?
  5. What is the very first step you could take today?

You can choose to leave your waiting room – Reach through your fear to find the courage to take your very next step.

Remember… Courage is ALWAYS waiting at the other side of fear.

Don’t waste your life waiting…

Take a moment to think about this today…

 

 

How to be YOURSELF – Even when talking to important people!

By , February 27, 2013 2:34 am

Be Yourself“Leadership is not about holding on to territory, it’s about letting go of ego, bringing your spirit to work, being your best and most authentic self.”

~ James A Autry, The Servant Leader

Why are people sometimes so afraid to be themselves?

One of the key principles of self-leadership is the importance of being you.

However, some of us hide who we really are and instead present an image of how we think the other person wants us to behave in the hope that we will be accepted or liked.

I see this happen a lot in business, especially when leaders are stepping out of their comfort zones to play a bigger game. In corporate you might be attending a meeting with senior managers. As a business owner, you might be meeting an influential client or someone who is a role model and you feel star-struck to work with them.

Whoever the person, it’s easy for us to feel small, unworthy, inferior, or of lesser value. We perceive them as being so much more important and fall to pieces in these situations instead of being our normal, confident and articulate self…

Our internal thinking has a huge impact on our confidence and self worth. Our social and parental conditioning is against us being authentic and over time we have created rules, such as:

  • It is disrespectful to disagree with our elders, seniors or those more important than us.
  • Only speak when you are spoken to: We are taught what to say, when to say it.
  • Who you are is shaped by those who have influence over you. (You hand over your power to them.)
  • Don’t brag about what you’re good at as it might make other people feel uncomfortable. Push it down… (This is why most of us struggle to talk about our own successes.)
  • You have to be submissive with people more important that you.

Society creates ‘norms’ and we measure ourselves to them. We are under pressure to fit in. So here’s how we respond:

  • You want to keep the peace and hope they like you. So you say what you think they want to hear in order to become a people-pleaser.
  • You believe that your opinion is of lesser value and doesn’t count or it doesn’t matter. You perceive the other person’s opinion is of far greater value.
  • If you challenge or disagree with something, then you’ll be shot down or seen as difficult or negative.
  • You should keep your head below the parapet and blend in.

We live up in our heads most of the time, believing our thoughts to be the truth (you literally are what you think!).

Most of us go through life not knowing who we are or what we want. We settle, survive and keep our heads down. This is easier than trying to be yourself. Being real exposes you to vulnerability and judgment – this is scary.

The perception that someone is more important than you is often based on old concepts of power, especially in business. We try to work out where we fit in in the hierarchy.

True power comes from your personal power as a human being. By building trust and support you naturally attract other people.

Here are some tips on how to be you:

1. STOP WORRYING about what other people are thinking about you. You have no idea what they are thinking. These assumptions aren’t real. They are probably not thinking about you at all! This distraction only makes you get your own way of success. Instead of worrying about what to say, or how you look, focus on your intention for the meeting. Be 100% present for the person who is talking.

2. KNOW YOUR VALUE – Be useful as a leader to those you serve. Know WHY you’re attending the meeting.  Understand the value that you bring. You are there to provide information or  expertise so that others can make an informed decision. You are helping them to understand and make sense of things and prevent them making mistakes: Here’s how I can help you…

3. BE AN EQUAL –As human beings we all have the same worth and dignity. We are all equals no matter what role we play. See yourself as a consultant, not as a sub-ordinate. Let go of ego (theirs and yours) – it’s a distraction. Understand that some personality styles are different to yours. They package their language in a different way. It’s normal, not personal.

4. ALWAYS BE YOUR REAL SELF – Be the same person at home as you are at work… because you are! Be your authentic self – It’s who you really are. You have the same values whatever role you are playing. You already know how to interact with people at other levels – This is no different – Just be YOU. Find the language to help you say what you want to say.

5. FIND THE COURAGE to be you. Learn to listen to your heart as well as your head. People want an honest opinion, not ‘lip service.’ Be authentic and respond assertively, even if it is a difficult message. Remember, you are just talking to another person – we are all the same.

Be the person YOU want to be… from today!

It’s really okay to be YOU – Take yourself to work!

 

It’s Time to ‘Fire’ Your Inner Critic…

By , October 31, 2012 8:47 pm

“On the journey of self-discovery, let us stop looking for what is wrong with us. Let us discover, instead, who we are and how we work! Let us put our judgment aside as we explore the amazing system of selves within us and learn to live with ever-increasing honesty, choice, and freedom.”

 ~ Hal Stone, Author.

Do you have voices in your head? (…I know it’s not just me!)

Our self-doubting critic usually shows up as we’re about to deliver a presentation or when we’re stepping up to do something bigger. Once we stretch out of our comfort zone we become vulnerable to negative self-talk.

Your inner critic sounds so real that it’s easy to believe the voice in your head and before you know it, you’re spiraling in a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom!  In creeps self-doubt, uncertainty as your confidence drains away.

One of my coaching clients, James, asked me to help him to overcome his inner critic who would appear after a presentation or any other situation where he was stepping in and being a leader.

James would find himself replaying a situation over and over dwelling only on the negative aspects of the event or conversation.  Any negativity was magnified and blown out of proportion.  James’ inner critic was ultra-critical of any mistakes. His Inner Critic was a perfectionist who had zero tolerance for imperfection. He was overly protective.

This negativity created extra pressure for James the next time he was in a similar situation. He was tired of this voice and wanted to get away from the constant negativity in his head.

So we decided to ‘Fire’ his Inner Critic…

The quality of your inner dialogue has a huge impact on your actions and results. We all have an Inner Critic and an Inner Coach available to us. It’s almost like having your own internal team in your head!

You get to choose who you want to employ: the Critic or the Coach…

The inner critic is the negative person in your team – holding you back, draining your energy, stealing your confidence and self-worth. They make you play small and always block your path.

If you were an employer the critic would be fired for not being a team player, having a negative attitude and for being a disruptive influence!

This doesn’t serve you at all…

The inner coach is a positive encourager, who can help you step back from the situation to reflect and focus on learning and forward motion. Your inner coach:

  1. Is caring and supportive while giving you permission to take risks.
  2. Is not interested in the criticism from others and pushes this aside.
  3. Helps you to focus clearly on your goals.
  4. Allows flexibility and permission for you to be Imperfectly Perfect.
  5. Helps you to put things into perspective and think objectively.
  6. Challenges your emotional assumptions (that are normally plagued by inaccuracies).
  7. Helps you ask for advice from others without feeling inadequate.
  8. Promotes self-awareness and self-improvement as an adventure and as an opportunity for growth. Learning is part of the journey.
  9. Helps you to build your competence and confidence.

Your inner coach is a high performer, if you decide to listen to him/her. This is the type of inner employee that you need to hire!

Here are five ways to develop your inner coach:

  1. Recognise when your critic tries to take over and make a conscious choice to listen to your coach instead. Try turning the sound down or muting  your critic so you can’t hear them!
  2. Decide to actively listen to your coach instead. We are supportive of others when they are learning, so be a friend to yourself. It’s okay to make mistakes and not be perfect. Learning is about continuous improvement.
  3. Dis-associate yourself from the situation. Imagine you were coaching someone else in the same situation, what would you say to them? How would you support them?
  4. Make time for positive reflection after the event. Ask yourself: What went well? What would I do differently next time? What have I learned? Write down your next step to apply your learning.
  5. Give yourself permission to get it wrong, screw it up and make mistakes. Learning is messy because skills and behaviors can take time to master.

It’s like we all have a critic sitting on one shoulder and a coach sitting on the other whispering in each ear! YOU get to choose which one you want to listen to…

Give your inner coach a job for life!

 

Why being vulnerable makes you a better leader!

By , September 19, 2012 11:30 pm

“Being vulnerable takes a great deal of courage because it means letting go of the old notions of control, forgetting forever the illusion that you can be in control.”

~ James A Autry, Author

 

Here’s how I see it…

Being vulnerable is an essential characteristic of being an authentic leader because you transcend to a deeper level of connection and meaning to your work, your life and your dreams. It evokes your spirit of self-leadership and gives you permission to be your real authentic self.

There’s always an element of discomfort and self-doubt at the start of any leadership workshop, as the participants inwardly compare themselves to the other people in the room.

I recently trained the first module of leadership programme and was surprised to see three different levels of management on the same workshop. How can you be fully open to learning if you have your boss or your team members in the same room?

It was a risky experiment…

Would people be open to learning? Would they be open and honest or would they just pay lip service to each other in order to seek approval?

This risk paid off BIG time…

What I witnessed in the classroom was transformational… I observed a deeper human connection to each other and the meaning of work. Egos and fixed mindsets dissolved before my eyes as people openly shared their growing pains and were prepared to learn from each other.

The whole experience actually made me a little teary!

Here’s why being vulnerable can make you a better leader in your life…

We are more similar than you think. Whoever we are, however we look and whatever role we play in the world, we all have similar hopes and fears, ambitions and desires. We all experience loss, grief, love and achievement.

People who develop a fixed mindset perceive the world through a distorted lens where some people are superior and others inferior. Their ego protects them by constantly comparing them to others and they feel a need to display their superiority. They don’t take their weaknesses seriously because it’s too risky.

Here’s how the EGO sees it: There’s a huge risk in stepping away from what you do well in order to try to master something new… don’t do it!

You get to be yourself. Sometimes we sacrifice who we are for the sake of what we perceive other people think we are. The best gift you can give the world is an authentic YOU. Knowing yourself gives you the confidence to hold the same values in whatever role you are playing in work or your life. You are the same REAL person in every situation and you’re not trying to be someone or something else. You are living true to yourself, being honest and open irrespective of status or ego.

It takes great courage to be vulnerable because you’re letting go of an illusion of control. Our true power comes from our ability to recognize that we can’t always be in control and it’s okay to ask for help and the support of others. You can openly admit when you are wrong. Being vulnerable isn’t always a safe option because it means playing outside of your comfort zone, where it can feel unsafe and uncomfortable. It’s easy for others to ridicule you, especially when you’re trying something new. Remember that ridicule and criticism is a reflection of the other person’s fear because they feel threatened (it’s not about you).

You connect with yourself at a deeper level. You’re being honest with your feelings and open to doubt, fear and uncertainty. Most of us learn to hide our feelings and protect ourselves in early life because it is perceived as a sign of weakness, so you push them deep down inside and repress them. Knowing yourself helps you to have a deeper faith in your intuition.

You don’t seek approval from others. Acceptance is more important than approval. You listen to others and accept people without judgment. You don’t tell people what you think they might want to hear. You deliver the truth with compassion and empathy. It’s not about winning or losing. You accept disagreement as a natural part of human interaction.

You’re a risk taker. Vulnerability is a risk you have to take if you want to create and experience deeper connection and success in your life. Putting your real self out into the world can feel daunting. However, I see a greater risk in hiding your true self by contorting, twisting and pretending to be something else instead of expressing your ideas or sharing your value in the world.

You stay in your power. When faced with a vulnerable situation, you get grounded, clear and deliberate with your intention holding authenticity as your goal. You stand in your power rather than playing small and shrinking to protect yourself.  Vulnerability is infectious! You lead the way by role modeling your bravery to others… Pass it on!

Being vulnerable takes a great deal of courage and it’s not an easy choice.

When you choose to be your REAL self, your world changes. People start to connect with you at a deeper level; they perceive you as honest, open and authentic. You stop contorting yourself to ‘fit in’ and ‘people please’ – You become the leader in your life.

Give yourself permission to be vulnerable…

 

How many people do YOU need to talk to before you make a decision?

By , August 28, 2012 5:50 pm

“Today, as leaders are called on to build their companies by creating the future rather than investing in the past, vision matters more than ever. Vision requires what looks to others like a leap of faith: the ability to go beyond the data and make a smart guess.”

Daniel Goleman, Author and psychologist

Have you ever tried to make a decision when you’ve felt confused and uncertain? You weren’t sure what to do? Perhaps you’ve gathered so much information that you didn’t know which way to turn?

I used to be a professional involver…

Whenever I needed to make a decision I’d start asking friends, colleagues (and anyone I spoke to!) for their opinion because it felt so difficult for me to make the decision on my own. I based a lot of my decisions on other people’s opinions of my situation (including my early boyfriend choices!).

I know now that I was terrified of the uncertainty and vulnerability of getting it wrong.

“Listen to your gut…” my friend would say, but I couldn’t hear a thing! All that was there was the knotted and uncomfortable feeling of having to make another decision. Lost in fear and uncertainty, I’d throw my decision straight out to others… HELP ME!

I believed that if I gathered other people’s opinions it would help me to feel stronger, and after all, I could share the blame if things didn’t work out because it wasn’t me making the decision – I had the excuse that others influenced me.

I’d procrastinate and survey those around me for opinions,grasping at any help I could get from others. I’d want certainty before I could make my decision. Most of us aren’t good at not knowing and crave a need for certainty. In the absence of certainty, we look for reassurance from others.

Looking back, I know that I felt so vulnerable.

Last week, I was coaching a client who was procrastinating over making a decision because she was scared of exploring the options. She was worried that it would ultimately take her away from what she really wanted.

Sometimes we are too scared to even manifest options because we don’t want to know the answers in case it’s not what we want. Or, if you have to think about it and gather the data, then you’ll have to make a decision… and things change!

Exploring can be scary – but it’s a great way to help you get clear. I imagine it like trying clothes on in the changing room before you decide to buy – you get an insight to how it looks and feels. This data helps you to make an informed decision.

Here are some thoughts on how to become a better decision-maker by tapping in and learning to trust your intuition…

Intuition is an important skill in business today because there is an explosion of information and data overload. Neurological research has proven that attuning to your feelings helps you to find meaning in data and you can make better, rational decisions. The smart guess matters to leaders especially when there is no clear map of the future and you are creating your strategy through visioning. You can’t predict everything through data!

1. Create some space to listen – Not knowing creates fear and worry that makes you feel vulnerable. The loud noise of anxiety drowns out your inner voice. Take some time out on your own, away from your busy day – quiet time where you can hear yourself think. Listen to your inner voice – don’t ignore it. Learn to trust your intuition as it will guide you. Even if it doesn’t always have the answer, it will help you find the next step.

2. Generate some options – Go into the changing rooms and create some options to try on for size – what does it look-sound-feel like for you? Exploring doesn’t involve you having to make an instant decision. Gut feelings are part of the data too! Sometimes our gut tells us that we don’t know enough to make a decision without exploring some more… so explore!

3. Tune into your feelings – Start to notice what feels right. Our intuition gives us a compelling sense of what feels right by creating literally a gut feeling! This offers us a guide beyond the data presented, that tells us what we need to know or directs us to fact-finding and reasoning. Sometimes it’s a quiet voice; sometimes it shouts very loud!

We pick up many life lessons subconsciously without being aware of learning them. Throughout life you accumulate wisdom from your day-to-day experiences.

Your intuitive self is VERY wise and allows you tap into this wisdom while holding space for uncertainty.

 

5 Things To Do the Next Time You Feel Like Quitting!

By , March 7, 2012 8:02 pm

“The difference between success and failure isn’t the absence of fear but the determination to pursue your heart’s desires no matter how scared you are.”

~Martha Beck, Author and Coach – Finding your Own North Star

Sometimes I feel like quitting!

The last time was a few weeks ago after my cat died suddenly. I’ve had three deaths in the last six months and was getting sick to death of death! I’d reached the “WTF!” stage. I felt like giving it all up throwing my laptop away and getting a job in a tea shop. I could happily spend my days serving cups of tea and chatting to customers. Blissfully avoiding any responsibility!

How many times have you felt like giving up, throwing the towel in and running away to start a new life or career?

Monthly?

Weekly?

Daily?!

Life isn’t always easy. There are times when things get difficult and we struggle with loss, uncertainty and doubt.

Quitting is always an option especially you’re faced with what seem like impossible challenges.

Here’s the thing…

There is a difference between TALKING about quitting and ACTUALLY quitting…

One involves THOUGHT the other ACTION.

The truth is that EVERYONE FEELS like giving up at some point. We all hit a roadblock that’s hard to get around:

  • You’re scared to begin because you might fail
  • You’re riddled with uncertainty and doubt – Especially when things become murky or unclear.
  • You’re questioning whether you were really cut out for this after all?
  • You’re feeling like a dumb-ass for giving up your well paid job to go it alone and now no one’s knocking at your door for your services!
  • You’re repeatedly asking yourself WTF am I doing?!
  • You have more excuses for not carrying on than reasons for carrying on
  • You’re questioning the answers the Universe appears to be showing you just now!

Fear and doubt are dream killers and in moments of uncertainty it’s easy to allow them to erode our confidence and win-out. We want assurances on how things are going to turn out and when these aren’t available we become uncomfortable with taking action. We hesitate our energy drains away and up pop the excuses. Avoidance strategies kick in and we skulk back to hide in our comfort zone, waiting for either divine intervention or for someone else to save us!

We stop being successful…

This lack of energy towards your goal reinforces the limiting beliefs that “I’m not cut out for this…” and you become locked into a lack-mindset.

These are the defining moments that make us question and challenge ourselves. You have a choice between Getting Out and Going Deeper in.

Here’s what to do when you feel like quitting:

1. Take responsibility. Let go of any excuses and accept where you are right now. You might not be able to influence what has happened in the past, but you can influence the present and shape future outcomes. Stop blaming others, the recession or the moon being in retrograde! Dust yourself off and get back in the saddle.

2. Get in touch with your passion. Re-align to your dream. WHY do you want to do this? Re-ignite the flame burning deep within you. You CAN do this but ONLY if you REALLY WANT to. Take time to re-connect and renew your energy. Get giddy about your intention!

3. Get out of your own way. Recognise the voices in your head as naysayers who are not real! Change your thinking because it will change your results. Check the quality of your inner dialogue and only allow space for positive language. Create goal cards or affirmation statements to re-focus your attention. Use the problem as raw materials for the solution. Instead of asking: Can I really do this? Ask “How can I do this?”

4. Be disciplined. An idea will ALWAYS remain just an idea unless you create systems and habits that enable you to take deliberate action. Plan your next step and take conscious step by step action to make it happen. Create systems to help you show up and be 100% present and committed.

5. Get some help. Having a coach as a sounding board and mirror to reflect back your behaviour really helps you to blast through any roadblocks and challenges. Having someone on your side makes ALL the difference and stops you feeling isolated and alone.

The grief that I was going through wasn’t a mistake I was on the verge of huge transformation. Grief, silence, emptiness is a gift AND it’s the hardest thing to go through, especially when you just want to run away. I was working through my deepest fear – Loss.

What I realised was that there is NO GETTING OUT, I had to walk DEEPER IN. Loss wasn’t the enemy I was being broken open for transformation. I felt vulnerable and uncomfortable but getting out wasn’t an option. Grief has a way of peeling back the bullshit and getting you closer to the core of who you are. As you let go and things fall away a new deeper level emerges.

Grow into your challenges by Going Deeper into the uncertainly and the unknown. The solutions for success are waiting to be found as you to connect deeper to your authentic self.

It’s okay to do things badly at first…

By , February 29, 2012 5:53 pm

“Anything worth doing well is worth doing badly in the beginning.”

Marshall Thurber, Business Consultant.

Sometimes when we’re learning something new we feel awkward, very conscious and uncomfortable. We want to be perfect straight away. We might give up (or not even begin!) because we’re not willing to pay the price of putting extra time in to break through the awkwardness.

Success is all about persistence, practice, discipline and sacrifice.

My Dad taught me how to drive. I got my provisional driving license on my 17th Birthday. The day after, I had my first driving lesson.

The first time I sat behind the wheel of a car was an amazing experience. It was a dark January evening and I was so excited. Although I’d never driven before, I’d eagerly watched my Dad drive and learned the theory of driving from the passenger seat.

That night I drove almost perfectly, changing gears with confidence as if I’d been driving for a while. It was amazing! When we arrived home my Dad proudly told my Mum that he thought I was a ‘natural’ and I’d easily pass my test!

After this lesson I thought that driving would be easy.

The next time I got in the car I was crap! For the next month my driving sucked! I was nervous, grinded the gears, mounted the curb and my confidence was soon reduced to zero. Learning to drive was overwhelming it seemed that there was so much to think about and do all at the same time.

I’d NEVER pass my test… I dreaded my lessons.

I was so frustrated. I’d driven well before, WHY couldn’t I just do it again?

I was frightened of making mistakes and compare myself to THAT first lesson when I drove really well – I didn’t want to learn how to drive anymore! The memory of that experience started to destroy my confidence.

Here’s what this experience taught me about learning:

1. Give yourself permission to feel awkward – In order to learn something you have to give yourself permission to do things badly, screw up and be imperfect. Understand in advance that this is an essential part of learning and accept that this will happen sometimes as part of your learning journey. Let go of trying to be perfect and let yourself feel awkward. It’s okay! There’s a kind of innocence about it.

2. Competence = Confidence = Control – You have to pass through the feeling awkward stage before you start to develop some competence. Practice, patience and persistence help you to develop your competence. Competence allows you to feel more confident and feeling confident ultimately allows you to feel in control of the situation. You have to work through all three stages of this cycle and as you continue to learn, these elements become stronger. 

3. Create Momentum – You have to be willing to show up on a bad day as well as a good day. You have to keep going despite looking silly or feeling very conscious of how stupid you feel. After a while competence kicks in and the awkwardness falls away. Persistence is the key!

Allow yourself permission to feel awkward…

It can be quite liberating!

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