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Blog posts : "Confidence"

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

We all have our comfort zone, a world where we feel comfortable and safe. We are at ease in our routine surroundings, job, community, and relationships.  But here’s the catch - in our ever-changing world, life inside our comfort zone will still be tossed and turned. If we are not prepared to change with the pace of our world, we will find ourselves stuck, or worse, left behind.

Here’s a good example. Depending on your age, you have had to make changes to the way you listen to music: records, 8-tracks, cassettes, CD’s, MP-3’s. Or what about the phone you have: rotary, push button, remote, cell, and who knows what is next?

 

Confident people know that the world is constantly changing – perhaps faster than most of us desire. So, to be comfortable moving forward, we can engage in some simple habits that prepare us to think and live outside our comfort zone – even if just a little bit at a time.

 

1.   Ask these questions:

a.   What would you do if you could do anything?

b.   What would you like to learn about?

c.   What small changes would you like to make to your life?

2.   Change your routine everyday:

a.   A new restaurant or menu item

b.   A new route to work or school

c.   Morning or evening rituals

3.   Experience something different on a weekly basis:

a.   Visit a museum, art store, antique mall, etc.

b.   Go to a kid’s soccer, baseball, or hockey game.

c.   Explore a new walking trail or park.

 

These simple exercises can help you to stretch your comfort zone. And as we get out of our routine and try on new attitudes, behaviors and perspectives, our thinking grows, our experiences grow, and life grows too.

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How To Be a Risk Taker Even When You're Scared

Don’t you admire risk takers – especially when they win or give a thrilling performance? There’s something exciting about someone who takes a chance - the person who has courage to start a business in a down economy, a football team that goes for the two point conversion to win the game, or those that put it all on the line to get what they want. These folks seem fearless.

 

How about you? What was the last risk you took? What risk did you not take? Fear is one of the biggest culprits that holds us back from achieving our wildest (or not so wild) dreams. If this is true for you, then you might want to understand fear better.

 

Fear is often described by the acronym False-Evidence-Appearing-Real. Think of it this way -  in our mind, we have conjured up some evidence that we label as real. We might believe that we will fail, that we will be embarrassed, that we will lose everything, that we will be rejected, or worst of all, that we will feel ashamed.

 

Dale Carnegie warned that, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear.” If that’s the case, then action breeds confidence and courageTake these steps to overcome fear and take action:

·    Get real about the potential outcomes – What’s the best that can happen? What’s the worst that can happen? What is likely to happen?

·    Take a small, safe step - Research your dream; gather more information; make a plan.

·    See yourself successful.

 

Begin today by shining the light on the false evidence that appears real in your life. When you do, you will become more realistic about potential outcomes. Your confidence will get a boost and you will be more prepared to take a risk.

 

 

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Signs You're Faking it Not Making it

The old adage, “Fake it till you make it,” has helped many people get through very challenging situations. Walking into new situations such as starting a new job, mingling with strangers or facilitating a workshop can cause us to feel insecure. In an attempt to neutralize our nervous energy, we portray a persona of confidence. This kind of “faking it” can be a valuable tool and helps us to cope in uncertain situations.

But, here’s the thing we have to watch out for. Sometimes when we are feeling stressed, our nervous behaviors can suddenly show up as if they are on steroids. Here’s an example: A person who is extroverted may be perceived as loud and boisterous when in a stressful and unfamiliar situation. Others may get the impression that this person is arrogant or not authentic.  This may be completely untrue, but if we don’t manage ourselves during these types of situations, we could give the wrong impression. 
 

Here are 3 common missteps that people make when they are feeling self-conscious or nervous:


Making fun of yourself. Although it's common to poke fun at ourselves, use this kind of humor sparingly. If you constantly downplay who you are, people will perceive you in the same way you represent yourself.  So always speak approvingly of yourself and others.   

Bragging or dominating the spotlight. When speaking with others, do not dominate the conversation. Confident people share the spotlight by showing interest in other people.

Gossiping. There's an easy trick for breaking the gossip habit. The next time you're tempted to say something derogatory about someone, imagine the person standing next to you.  How would your words make that person feel? How would you feel? Your mother was right – if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.

 

Next time you feel nervous and less than confident, pay special attention to your “behaviors on steroids.” And, if you catch yourself committing any of the mistakes above, take a breath and reconnect with your authentic self – not your fake self.

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Confidence and You

Think of a recent social or business gathering you attended. Who were the people that projected confidence? You probably remember them well because confident people radiate a warmth and enthusiasm that draws people toward them. They approach these occasions as opportunities to meet, greet and grow. Less confident people, however, generally hide in the background or stick closely to people they know.

 

We all yearn to have confidence – to feel as if we belong. Here are a few tips to help you feel confident no matter what you're doing or whom you're with:

 

Smile. Confident people smile - they smile with their mouth and their eyes. Their energy is positive. Even when they’re nervous inside, they don’t show it on their face.

Breathe. If you feel a little anxious around people or situations that are unfamiliar to you, take a few deep breaths to relax. Slow, mindful inhales and exhales lower anxiety and nervousness immediately. 

Show Interest.  Take the focus off yourself and put it on others by asking thoughtful questions and listening with interest. People with confidence care about others. So always ask, listen and learn. 

Use Positive Self Talk.  Give yourself positive messages, reminding yourself of your strengths, talents and successes.  Recite a simple mantra for when you are feeling anxious or uncertain.

 

New situations can make anyone feel a bit anxious and uncertain.  By applying these simple tips, you will feel less nervous, more empowered, and more confident.

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Moving From Doubt to Getting It Done

People who get things done don't let anxiety and worry hold them back. They are too busy moving forward to get side-tracked by doubt. They approach new opportunities with a perspective of hope and possibility which inspires them to focus on what they want and take action.

 

Doubters, on the other hand, come from a place of worry and a perspective of challenges and limitations. When we're doubtful about being able to achieve what we want, we open our minds to negative thoughts. And, as you can imagine, the more negative thoughts we have, the less likely we are to get started. Doubt can be paralyzing. Even skilled snow skiers sometimes stand too long on the edge of a ski slope, looking down. The longer they look over the tips of their skis, the steeper the mountain appears, the higher the moguls, the further the fall. Doubt creeps in and sometimes the thrill of a lifetime is abandoned for something safer.

 

What about you?  Are you standing on the edge doubting if you should take the next step?  Next time you find that your doubts are holding you back from your dreams, take these 4 simple, yet powerful, steps:

1.   Take a deep breath.

2.   Remember the skills you have that support you to move forward.

3.   Determine your first safe step.

4.   And just do it!

 

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Three Small Steps For Big Wins

Have you ever noticed that when your confidence is low, you downplay your strengths and overemphasize your flaws? Or, that when you feel small, you act small, or not at all? When this happens your self-esteem and confidence plummets and the cycle sends you spiraling downward until you feel as if you are a loser – a lost cause.

That simply is not true. You have gifts, attributes, and skills that are uniquely yours. And if you look back over your life, you will find that you have experienced many successes, and positively impacted others’ lives.   

If you ever feel yourself minimizing your positive traits and maximizing your flaws, then take these steps for reversing the cycle and getting back into the winner circle.

 

Step 1 – Celebrate your wins. By recognizing your successes, whether it’s making a difficult phone call or cooking a juicy turkey, giving yourself a pat on the back for successes – large and small – will boost your confidence. When you win, make the time to stop, celebrate and savor. 
 

 Step 2 – Learn from your mistakes, We all stumble and make mistakes, especially when learning or trying something new. Mistakes indicate that we have movement, we are making an effort and moving forward, even if there is a detour. The more we try something new, the more mistakes (learning opportunities) we have.

 

People who do not make mistakes are standing still in safe territory, or their comfortable routines. And, when you think about it, isn’t that a mistake? 

 

Step 3 – Keep trying. People who achieve their goals don't stop until they've reached the finish line. When we want to win big, we must be willing to miss, learn and try again. With persistent and determined action, we're guaranteed an eventual win. So, be prepared to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and get going again.

 

So, the next time you feel your confidence slipping,  remember to celebrate, learn, and keep at it. You will be glad you did.

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Calm Down and Carry On

Do you ever feel so overwhelmed or stressed that you can’t think straight?  Do you have days when your mind feels so cluttered that you can't fit in another chore, project or appointment even if you wanted to?

When our minds are filled with worry, stress and overwhelm, we operate from an emotional part of our mind that prevents us from making decisions or taking actions that serve our best interest.

It is easy to lose confidence during stressful times. We just don’t know which way to turn.

Experiences of stress and overwhelm happen in all of our lives. It serves us well to take steps to calm ourselves during these times.

Here are some useful tips:

  1. Stop and take stock.  Even though you may be having a bad day or even a bad week, you can think of many people and things you are grateful for. Focusing on those we love and what is good in our lives is a powerful way of controlling our body's response to stress and keeping things in check.
  2. Breathe deeply and slowly with focus. This ancient practice instantly reduces stress and allows us to tap into our creative energy.  And from our creative resources, we can find the solutions we need.

3.   Know what you can and cannot control. Make of list of the things that overwhelm you. After you do, put a check by the things you can control or influence. Review the other things on your list and acknowledge that you cannot control these items. When you do that, commit to letting them go.

 

By making a conscious effort to calm your mind when life is spinning out of control, you will arm yourself with the positive and resourceful energy you need.     

 

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Kick Some "Buts" Along the Journey

Are you a dreamer, a doer, or both? Is your head in the clouds, full of ideas, are you able to plant your feet on the ground and take action?  Confident people let their imagination soar with possibilities and have the courage to take action.

 

If you find yourself dreaming big but acting small, you might need to kick some “buts” that hold you back.

 

Test yourself. Think of a dream, big or small. Do you have any “buts” holding you back?

·    “But I don’t have enough time…”

·    “But there’s not enough money…”

·    “But I need more education....” 

 

 

Here’s a confident approach:

·    Examine the “buts” to see if they are really true – or if they are just excuses.

·    Turn your “buts” into truths

  •  I have as much time as anyone in the world. I choose how to spend it every day.
  •  I will make smart decisions around money so I can achieve my dreams.
  •  I can get all the education I want and need if I am willing to take the necessary steps.

·    Take a first step today. Small steps can make big goals seem attainable.

 

If you want to look for a better job, quit smoking, learn to skydive, or build a house, don’t let your “buts” hold you back. Kick them out of your way by honestly addressing them, developing a plan, and taking action.

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Just Who Do You Think You Are?

 

Have you ever had an idea, a dream, or a sudden burst of confidence to try something new, only to be reeled in by your internal voice that says, “Who do you think you are?”?  All of a sudden we find ourselves in a tug-of-war between our confident, forward moving self and the other self – the one who holds us back by causing us to question our ability. You’ve heard those voices say things like:

You always start a new project and never finish it.

You tried something like this before and failed. Why do you think it will be different this time?

You didn’t grow up in a family that did things like this.

Don’t be so full of yourself.

What makes you think you can do this?

 

 

Over the course of a lifetime, we’ve been conditioned by real and imaginary voices. Chances are, we’ve internalized more negative than positive messages, leaving us with a very vocal inner critic.

 

In order to turn off the inner critic, you might want to try these ideas:

·    Shift your inner critic messages to messages of accomplishment – whenever your negative voices show up, remind yourself of the positive qualities you possess.

·    Evaluate the critical message.  Is it true? Is there a bit of truth? Or is it a lie?

·    Look yourself in a mirror and say, “Yes, this may be true about me, AND this is also true.” For example: “Yes, sometimes I do procrastinate and I am really productive when I put my mind to it.”

 

Just remember, when you hear the critical voice asking “Just who do you think you are?” you have the power to turn the volume up, down, or better yet, turn it off. Replace that negative voice with a supportive, positive one that speaks power into who you are.

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The Power of Optimism

Being optimistic is more than seeing the world through rose colored glasses. Optimism shows itself through your attitude, belief and actions. When we are optimistic everything in life is different.

 

Optimistic people:

1.   Set more goals and put more effort into attaining their goals.

2.   Stay more engaged when challenges arise.

3.   Cope better during stressful times.

5.   Feel better about themselves and the world around them.

6.   Get more done.

 

In fact, it turns out that optimism is a predictor of work performance. The higher the optimism, the better your performance in all areas of life.

 

Here are some tips to become more optimistic:

1.   Expect favorable outcomes. This actually primes your brain to be on the lookout for and recognize possibilities.

2.   Make a list of the good things in your career or life. Scan your day for three good things that happened that day.

3.   Journal about positive experiences.

4.   Make positive comments about the world and people around you.

 

And just in case doubt and negativity might be clouding your thinking right now, trust me, this information has been scientifically proven.  And doesn’t that just make you a little more optimistic!

 

 

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