Two confidence zapping words you should never use!

Have you ever planned an exciting party for your child (or yourself) and despite the fact that planning is going well, doubts start to creep in?  

What if no-one comes? What if it rains? What if people don’t have fun?

Then on the day of the party, people turn up, fun is had, guests were undeterred by the light rain showers and you all finish up with big smiles. “See?” you say to your child, “it all worked out, no need to have worried”.

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When my kids start with the “what if’s”, I say to them “what if your moustache was made of spinach?” This is so completely ridiculous it helps remind them of the futility of worrying about something that may never happen.

As adults, we’re guilty of the “what if’s” regularly in life and at work.

When we finally get our dream jobs, doubt can kick in. What if they realise I’m actually not that good? What if I stuff up? What if I don’t like the job as much as I thought I would? What if I don’t belong here?

These thoughts are normal and we all have them. But when we let them take hold, they zap our confidence and make us anxious. They get in the way of bravely exploring the possibilities in our new roles, and impede our chances of success. “What if’s” are just not useful.

The French philosopher Michel de Montaigne once summarised this truth when he quipped:

“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune, most of which never happened”

If you find the “what if’s?” undermining your confidence at work or in life, here’s what to do:

  1. Be your own cheerleader. Back yourself. Imagine things will go well. Allow enough time at work to do things well.

    At the end of the day take a minute to reflect on what went well and give yourself a high five.
     
  2. Bring your best self to each day. Get enough sleep, look after your health.

    Know your strengths and make sure you get the opportunity to use them every day. Make sure you can use your strengths in your job (Hint: if you don’t know what your strengths are, see a strengths-based coach!)
     
  3. Reflect on the worst-case scenario. If the “what if?” actually came to pass, what would you do? Write your answer down in this format: “If (insert the worst-case scenario), then I would (what you would do?)”.

    If you get derailed, knowing what your intentions are gives you the confidence that if need be - you’re capable of rising to the challenge and coping with the event. This diminishes the power the “what if” has over you.
     
  4. Change your perspective. Reframe your difficulties or even failures as an opportunity to learn something worthwhile. What you learn will help you set the right direction next time, and improve your performance in the future.

    In the end, you can only grow by moving towards challenges, not away from them.

We recommend you banish the confidence zapping, party pooping words that are“what if?” from your vocabulary! Those two words only rain on your parade, and chances are, they’ll never actually happen.

In the unlikely event they do happen, don’t let them undo you. Rather, be confident you’ll be able to cope and even grow from the challenge. And then you’ll succeed in at work or in life.

We’re in your corner

Debra and Kate

 

Help! Can I really do it?

Did you ever climb trees as a kid, feeling excited about the view you’d have from the top?  Do you remember that feeling of being half way up and then suddenly being hit by doubts? You’ve been making great progress but suddenly you’re paralysed, and you feel like you can’t even find the next foothold…..

In that frozen moment of no confidence it’s hard to imagine getting to the top isn’t it?

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Our journey to finding work we love, work that fulfils us and fits in with our family, can be a really tough climb.  Moreover, it’s often very specific fears that cause our crisis of confidence.

Women we coach say things like:

  • I'm going to fumble in the first interview!
  • I'm too scared to ask for the hours and conditions that I want!
  • I'm struggling with all the technology!
  • Is it even possible to find a rewarding flexible job?

These are real fears getting in the way of your achievement.  To succeed we have to push through confidence obstacles.

How can we push through a crisis of confidence?

First of all – Re-ignite your motivation!  Remember WHY you started climbing

To fire up your desire for change you can remind yourself of the details of your dreams.  What exactly have you been striving for? Think about how dissatisfied you’ve been feeling with your current situation.  What are the specific issues you’ve been wanting to fix?

If you’ve already written down your goals this is a great time to review them (or put them into writing now!).  As you look at your goals, imagine that you’ve achieved them – you’ve made it! How would that feel?

I know why I want to make change but it’s so hard!

Consider your choices!

When you’re actually climbing a tree you don’t have a lot of options – it’s really just up or down.

But when we’re striving to change our careers we could also choose to just stop – to decide that it’s all too hard and stick with the status quo.

But think what you’d be missing out on!!

To keep going towards your goals, your mindset becomes central!  We need to believe that we’re capable of learning and making the most of opportunities.

What can you learn that will help you make progress?

When we believe that we can develop our skills it feels easier to take a risk and try something new.  We’re able to recognise that it’s our effort and our attitude that most influences our success.

Try to remember times in the past when you’ve learnt new skills and coped well with a challenge.  Try to recall when you’ve felt most confident in recent times – what were the key factors that helped you in each situation?  By noticing what works for us and doing more of it we can create a circle of growing self-belief and confidence.

And now it’s time for action!

We encourage you to make a plan and get excited about renewed progress!  Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. What’s the first thing you need to do?
  2. What can you do TODAY that will help make some progress – is there a phone call you’ve been putting off?  A LinkedIn profile to start writing?
  3. What resources are available to you?
  4. Who can you reach out to for help?

Please be assured that you’re not alone!  We all get stuck and doubt ourselves. If a chat about some of these ideas would help you right now you can book a free coaching chat with us

We’re in your corner and very much want to see you do work that you love!

Best wishes,

Kate and Deb

 

Are you a dipper or a diver when you make plans? - Which is best?

I just spent a weekend away with my girlfriend who’s struggling with what so many working women wrestle with. The confidence to make change to do work she loves! She wants to try a new vocation but hasn’t done anything about it. Do you have any ideas, I ask? Yes, she smiles, and looks dreamy. What’s holding you back, my friend? I don’t know whether to trust my ideas or not, she says….how will I know?

The problem is she’s second guessing her ideas.  She knows she’s scared to dive straight into the deep unknown, but she’s losing ANY confidence to act!

In truth, her lack of confidence comes from two things.

  1. A lack of clarity about her values, priorities and deepest wishes for her life.
  2. She believes she needs to make big decisions right now.

I’m here to tell you my friend, the dive is indeed too scary. Just dip your toes in first, and feel the gentle current against your skin.

….dip your toes in first, and feel the gentle current against your skin

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Because, really, she just needs to figure out her very first step.  To do one thing. To just dip her toes in. This will help her feel if the current is taking her in the direction she wishes to travel, and to know that she can swim. For her, this might be getting some ideas out of her head and onto paper, starting to talk to people in the area she’s interested in, or doing some desktop research. Not so scary after all.

About confidence

From a confidence point of view, the best thing about taking smaller steps is that by breaking down your larger more intangible goal, you can start to see these as very possible to do. Once you think it’s doable, you imagine succeeding. You get a sudden boost of motivation and an urge to act. You take the next step towards your goal.

Scientifically proven - small acts boost your confidence:

  • They help you visualise what needs to happen and prime you to notice opportunities that move you towards your goal.
  • Smaller, (more tangible) goals are much more likely to be achieved.
  • The positive feelings of hope and optimism that come from succeeding enhance your problem-solving abilities, help you see more ways to achieve your goal, and give you the courage and motivation to keep going.

3 steps to dip your toes in

  1. Brainstorm OPTIONS. There are many pathways to your goal. What do you still need to know or find out?  This is a time to expand your options (not narrow them). That way, if one path reaches a dead end, all hope is not lost, you have other routes to follow.
  2. Write it down. Define the small steps you can take to make progress on each pathway. Your steps need to be “doable”! Then test them out.
  3. Celebrate. Acknowledging your small wins along the way will boost your self-belief and fuel your motivation to keep going.

I know my friend will take these steps and enjoy the journey. And, she doesn’t have to do this alone! She can tell someone what she’s working on, so they can follow her up. She can have coffee with people who can answer her questions. She can go to a professional and hire a coach!

As her goal of a career change takes shape, piece by piece she’ll feel more excited and confident. We wish this for you too!

Best wishes

Flourishing Mothers