Are you familiar with that sickly feeling of anxiety when you’ve got a long list of urgent things to do and you don’t know where to start, so overwhelm and stress kick in?
It hit me like a wave yesterday afternoon as I was sat at my computer with a list of actions to complete. All of which seemed urgent and important and none of which could be done quickly.
The panicky feeling set in and I froze unable to decide what to turn my attention to first. Eventually, I gave up and got rid of my uncomfortable feelings temporarily with some chocolate (not a coping method I’d recommend!)
It did at least give me a break to think about how I could manage my overwhelm and stress more effectively.
If I was coaching you I’d recommend trying these 6 ways.
Don’t fight your anxiety – Has fighting your feelings of overwhelm and stress ever helped you? It’s unlikely, you’d probably just boost your feelings instead. Try taking a moment to stop and be still. It may feel counterintuitive but it allows you to ride out the wave of anxiety instead.
Take a physical break – Just as I did, remove yourself briefly from the physical situation your in. This will break your pattern of stressful thoughts and allow fresh thinking to come in
Don’t multitask – You might think you’re doing well at writing an email while talking on the phone or catching up on your favourite tv show whilst writing a report. But it just means you’re brain is flitting from one task to another, draining your energy and doing both things badly.
One bite at a time – I find it easier to break an overwhelming task down to just the first step (or bite). It then feels manageable and having achieved it I feel calmer and positive
Focus on the bigger picture – This is a specific busy period but it will pass and will it really be that awful if you don’t complete your to-do list?
If you’re finding yourself regularly in this feeling of overwhelm and stress particularly at work. Then I’d love to tell you about some of my other free resources. Just book a free chat with me at www.speakwithjo.com
When you imagine yourself as a really confident person, what does that look like? Does it mean your loud, gregarious, independent and self-contained? Or could it be quiet, calm, authentic and comfortable with asking for help?
For some reason asking for help in our society has become a sign of weakness. Why is it that we would rather struggle on with a feeling of overwhelm or stress, rather than turn to a friend or colleague to help us out?
One of the reasons, I believe, is that we like to give the impression to others that we have everything under control and don’t like to show our vulnerabilities.
One of my favourite guru’s is Brene Brown, a research psychologist in America who has studied shame and vulnerability. If you haven’t seen her Ted talk then I really recommend it The Power Of Vulnerability
I know in the past I have wanted to multitask and ‘do it all’. I’d rather play the martyr, working really hard to juggle everything and building resentment against others for not realising I needed help. When all I had to do was ask.
Now I realise that people love to help, it gives them a warm feeling and I acknowledge that I am worthy of receiving support.
It did feel scary at first as I found it uncomfortable to relinquish control. But by letting go and allowing others in to help you, gives some surprising benefits. I found that it strengthened my relationships and that colleagues found me less intimidating.
I highly recommend you dare to implement asking for help into your life. You can start by changing your mindset around what a confident person looks like. I believe that knowing when to ask for help and why you need it is a strong sign of confidence.
What you’ll also notice is then your priorities start to change, with less focus on being in control and more on you and what you need or want.
With that in mind, I’d really appreciate your help in sharing these thoughts with others. If you could share this article on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin I’d appreciate it.
What help are you going to ask for today?
P.S. If you’d like my help with your confidence, I’d love to have a quick 2omins chat with you. I’ll share at least one technique that you can use to boost your confidence immediately. Just email me here
Do you ever wonder why it is that some people love parties and others get anxious at the idea of them? Or why your partner loves an organised and tidy house, but you are okay with a bit of mess? Well, you can find out ‘why you behave like you do’ using a simple test.
The Meyers-Briggs test is a well-known personality test that’s used by a lot of corporate companies. It’s based on Carl Jung’s Four Colour Energies and was developed by the mother and daughter partnership of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs-Meyer
I use the test with a lot of my clients
It not only helps you understand more about ‘why you behave like you do’ and your personality the way you behave but is helpful in understanding others too.
On the test, I came out as an ‘Entertainer’ ESFP and after reading the description I could definitely see some of my character traits. Things like; being people and feelings focused and not planning past the now and short-term pleasures.
Then there were other bits I couldn’t totally see in myself though, such as; being utterly social and all the world is my stage??!!
So it’s worth acknowledging that we all have the different elements in our personality and that some are stronger than others.
The use of 4 letters can be confusing, so here’s a simple explanation of the 4 types of preferences
People and things (Extraversion or “E”), or ideas and information (Introversion or “I”).
Facts and reality (Sensing or “S”), or possibilities and potential (Intuition or “N”).
Logic and truth (Thinking or “T”), or values and relationships (Feeling or “F”).
A lifestyle that is well-structured (Judgment or “J”), or one that goes with the flow (Perception or “P”).
the natural result of low confidence is inaction. When women don’t act, when we hesitate because we aren’t sure, we hold ourselves back. But when we do act, even if it’s because we’re forced to, we perform just as well as men do’.
My question for you is what are you going to do today to narrow the confidence gap?
Does the word conflict make you feel immediately uncomfortable?
Would you do anything to shut down or change a conversation if there was a disagreement?
That’s a normal reaction because fighting isn’t fun. It’s stressful and it can affect your important relationships.
However, in many situations at work or with friends it can be a healthy way to express your feelings and to have your thoughts and opinions heard.
What stops us speaking up when we disagree?
There’s a lot of different reasons and I’ve picked out here some of the common ones my clients mention:
A deep fear of upsetting the other person, being disapproved of or causing other negative emotions
An experience of bad arguments in your childhood or adulthood
A childhood where there was never conflict and disagreements weren’t discussed
Conditioning by society, school or parents to behave like a ‘nice’ girl
How do I build my conflict resolution skills?
Step 1 – is this issue important enough to me to speak up? You don’t have to confront every situation but if it’s happened before, you are having conversations in your head about it or it breaches your personal boundaries, then go for it
Step 2 – speak assertively. This means talking about the facts of the situation and using ‘I’ statement. Then you won’t be blaming the other person and they’re less likely to be defensive
Step 3 – Listen and question. I like to think about Stephen Covey’s famous quote “Seek first to understand, then to be understood“
Step 4 – what is the real issue behind the conflict? The issue for the other person might not be actually what you’re disagreeing about. For example, a heated family discussion about who has the parents for Xmas might actually be about feelings of jealousy or being left out. When you know the real meaning it’s easier to be compassionate
Step 5 – winning isn’t always the right outcome. Having a set outcome in mind is important, such as an apology or change of opinion. But sometimes just speaking up for yourself is enough. It gives a great boost to your self-respect and also might build the other person’s respect for you.
When I ask clients how they would describe a confident person, they generally say an extrovert, highly gregarious and quite loud, rather than quietly confident. However, confidence isn’t about being bold or brash or the centre of attention. True confidence is quieter and comes from an internal belief in your abilities, skills and value.
From working with confident people and supporting hundreds of clients to build their confidence I realised there are some signs that a woman whose quietly confident will demonstrate.
Here are my 8 signs that you’re quietly confident:
A willingness to share their opinion and to be wrong. A quietly confident person will speak up for what they believe is right but they’re also prepared to accept that sometimes they get it wrong.
An avoidance of comparing themselves to others. Quietly confident people have accepted their strengths and weaknesses and know they’re okay. So they don’t feel the need for comparisons to boost their self-esteem
An acceptance of mistakes. Taking responsibility for mistakes and admitting them to others is a sign of someone who is comfortable with their self-worth. As a result, they are kind and nurturing in the way they talk to and about themselves
An ability to speak up for their wants and needs. As they value themselves and their opinions the quietly confident person is comfortable to ask for their wants or needs. Even if they don’t get them
An openness to taking risks. Without knowing if they are 100% able to achieve a goal, a quietly confident person is willing to take a risk, because they are confident in the knowledge that whatever the outcome is they can cope.
A belief in their self-worth. This allows a quietly confident person to give themselves praise and positive feedback and as a result to need less validation from others.
An acceptance of their vulnerabilities. Having accepted their weaknesses a quietly confident person is happy to ask for help when appropriate, without feeling embarrassed
An ability to actively listen. This means focusing on the other person with a mind clear of distractions so that they feel understood. Quietly confident people will listen more than they speak and so have great relationships
How do you develop these signs?
This person does sound perfect and I wouldn’t like you to use the 8 signs as a way to give yourself a hard time.
Instead, think of them as a wishlist you’re working towards. Having a growth mindset means you know you’re always learning and that’s exactly how to apply these ideas.
I suggest you choose one and think about how you could develop towards it one step at a time
I’d love to have a chat with you about your confidence challenges and help you to move forward. You can book a FREE call with me below.
P.S. Don’t forget to listen to my fabulous free webinar on boosting your impact at work – to get the pay rise or promotion you deserve REGISTER HERE
In Sheryl Sanberg’s book ‘Lean In’ she compares figures for the average number of hours employed mums and home mums spend on primary childcare, versus 1975.
My reason for sharing these figures is not to make anyone feel guilty but to highlight the change in expectations
In 1975 an employed mum spent 6 hours a week in child nurturing behaviours, which means; reading, focused playing, helping with homework and having conversations. Whereas a mum at home, such as my mum, spent 11 hours on these activities per week.
In our current society, an average mum at home will spend 17 hours child nurturing per week and an employed mum 11 hours.
So mums that go out to work currently spend as much time doing things with their children as my mum, who didn’t go out to work, did with me in 1975. I think that’s really surprising.
What does this have to do with confidence?
Well, it’s the expectations we put on ourselves that can hold us back from being confident.
In 1975 my mum was always available to me, but she wasn’t constantly next to me, checking homework or giving me her attention. My brothers and I were left to entertain and develop ourselves
You can see from this that our expectations on how much ‘quality’ time we should be spending with our children have gone up 150% in the last 40 years. Psychologists call this intensive mothering/fathering and it’s driven by societies pressure that we should have it all.
If you find this surprising too, then it’s helpful to ask yourself some questions.
Are your expectations of yourself as an employed or home mum too much? You can also apply this to other areas of your life such as; working hours, socialising or money
Can you drop some of the burdens of guilt that these expectations cause? Instead you could feel positive about what you’re actually achieving?
Because our children will be fine, I seem to have turned out okay???
P.S. My Webinar – 6 Steps To Double Your Impact At Work (and get the pay rise and promotion you deserve) is available again for a limited time register here
If you really listen to other women in conversation you’ll probably notice how polite, kind and ‘nice’ they are to each other.
This is certainly not a bad thing, but is it stopping them from saying what they mean, authentically?
Most women feel a pressure to conform to the feminine stereotype of being flexible, conciliatory and ‘nice’. This pressure can be subconscious and is usually as a result of conditioning from family, school and society.
As a result, you’ll notice a number of little differences between male and females speech patterns. These differences are women’s way of saying something, whilst making sure the other person is okay with it.
This isn’t a problem unless the woman is trying to make an important point or convey a strong message because then they can make you sound tentative or lacking confidence.
3 of the top undermining speech habits you may hear women use are:
‘Just’ – I used to put this into a lot of my emails “I just wanted to ask you….” or “I just wondered if….”. I thought it would soften a stronger message or be an apology for bothering them. But really it was me justifying what I had to say and resulted in a weaker message and an impression that I lacked confidence. So I suggest you do as I did and leave it off.
Disclaimers such as ‘just off the top of my head…’ or ‘I could be wrong but…’ explain to others we haven’t fully formed an idea but instead diminish both you and your ideas. Use ‘here are some of my thoughts…’ instead, which is more direct and positive
‘Does that make sense?’ – this is used to check that the other person has understood what we said. However, it suggests that you feel you haven’t expressed it well. Instead, try using ‘Do you have any questions or thoughts?’
You might feel that without these and other speech softeners people are going to think you’re too direct and not empathetic.
However, if you convey warmth in your body language and voice (which make up 93% of a messages communication) you can come across as confident as well as good-natured and trustworthy
If you’d like to find out more about the undermining speech habits we use and how to communicate powerfully, then book a chat with me at www.speakwithjo.com
Every September I get these cravings to buy new pens, paper and pencil case.
My love of stationary is part of the reason, but it’s also about the feeling from school days that September is the start of a brand new year. Or as a business friend of mine said, “September is the new January”.
Even if your well passed your school years, this time of year is a great opportunity to refocus or refresh on any goals you have.
Perhaps you’re hoping for:
an improved work/life balance
the confidence to go for a new job or pay rise
a healthier lifestyle
to let go of anxiety
What ever the changes are you’d like to make, try asking yourself these question to get the motivation to move forward:
If I wasn’t afraid of the outcome what would I do right now?
If I could wave a magic wand which, took me to the outcome I want, what would it really look like?
What do I believe about myself or the world that is holding me back? Are these really true?
What strengths do I have that will help me achieve this?
What support could I use to help me achieve this?
If I knew I would achieve my goal, what is the first step I’d take?
Take some time out for yourself to explore these questions. Many of my clients find it helpful to write down their thoughts.
Once you’ve got ideas flowing, you’ll hopefully start to feel excited and reinvigorated again. Ready to take your first step to build your confidence and achieve your goals.
But if not, you can always go out and buy some new stationary!
P.S. If you’d like to have a chat with me about your confidence goals, then just book a free call using my online calendar here www.speakwithjo.com
“I am”, these two very simple words have the power to impact on you and your confidence.
Whenever you use the words “I am..” or ‘I’m not…” you are labelling yourself. We love to label ourselves, others and things as it gives us clarity in a confusing world.
Be careful though, that by defining yourself with these two words you’re not limiting your reality and your potential.
For example, due to my regular accidents with cars, phones and wine glasses. I will tend to say about myself “I am clumsy”. But am I really? Or do I lack concentration in certain situations?
By labelling myself as clumsy I avoid doing certain tasks and restrict my abilities.
It can be very hard to differentiate between what you say about yourself and what is true.
To avoid this you need to be able to differentiate between conditional and unconditional labels.
These are truths about us that are unconditionally true. Such as “I am a mother” or “I am a teacher”. They define us and are helpful to use.
They can sometimes feel uncomfortable when used to describe a positive.
To some people saying “I am an entrepreneur” or “I am a writer” is difficult, as they’re not sure they’re worthy of it. But it’s important to accept and acknowledge your identity as a step to a strong self-worth.
These are labels we put on ourselves that aren’t always true, like my “I am clumsy”. They’re usually negative labels and are often driven by our insecurities. For example “I am fat” or “I am unhappy’ or “I am lazy”.
They may have some truth in them, but they are a state you’re in at a particular time rather than a definition of you.
Instead, try using “I’m feeling unhappy at the moment” or “Today I’m too lazy to do it”. It’s a small difference in words but a huge difference in the effect on your mindset.
My advice is to use unconditional “I am” more frequently and to be aware of and avoid the conditional “I am”. You’ll be surprised what a difference it can make to your confidence.
P.S. If you’d like to have a chat with me about this and other confidence issues, you can book a call at www.speakwithjo.com