Helen was a client of mine who was struggling at work, because she was being bullied by a colleague. When she came to see me she felt her confidence was very low and she wanted to leave her job. I quickly picked up that people pleasing was part of Helen’s issue.
In work, Helen was seen as very kind and thoughtful. She was always helping others with their work, she never complained or said “no”. This, unfortunately, meant not only was she exhausted from not looking after herself but she was also vulnerable to a mean and controlling colleague.
Bullies will pick on people pleasers, as they are less likely to fight back or complain. In Helen’s case, her colleague never did her share of the work, took advantage of Helen’s willingness to work long hours and was derogatory about Helen to her face and behind her back.
Helen’s reaction had been to be even more helpful and polite, as she thought it would keep the peace. Until she reached the point where she’d had enough, and if I couldn’t help she was going to quit her job.
I worked with Helen on her beliefs about herself and the world, and what had caused this need to please others. Her issue was a fear of rejection and as a child, she’d picked up the belief that:
“If I don’t do everything I can to make a person happy they might leave or stop caring for me.”
From this, she’d developed the habit of people pleasing and never putting her needs first.
Helen is still on the journey to building her self-worth and confidence, as it doesn’t change overnight. She is in a much happier place and is looking to change job, not because of the colleague, though, instead she wants to start fresh in a new environment.
I asked her what had made the biggest difference in our sessions? She believed it was starting to build her awareness of her behaviours and challenging her belief about being rejected.
As a result, she’s been able to think about what are her needs and wants, rather than just pleasing the other person.
If you recognise yourself in some of Helen’s story and would like to change, then I suggest you begin to take notice of when and in what situation you are people pleasing.
Also when you are doing something, are you doing it just to please someone else, or because you’re afraid of the consequences if you don’t?
If you have uncomfortable emotions after being with someone, is that because you’ve agreed to do something you didn’t want to or have you not spoken up out of fear of their reaction?
Where might these behaviours have come from?
Challenge yourself to make today the first day you recognise and change these habits. Remember you are not being selfish, instead, you’re respecting both your needs and those of the other person.
Good luck and do share with your friends please on Facebook and LinkedIn
“I want to be authentically confident”, is a common wish I hear from clients. But what does being authentic actually mean?
The Oxford Dictionary defines authentic as ‘not a copy; genuine’. To me, it means being yourself, and not an imitation of what you or others think you should be.
You are acting authentically when your behaviours match your beliefs and personality. It can be tricky, though to identify which are your beliefs, from those you may have picked up from your parent or partner.
In my younger years, I moulded my personality and beliefs to fit in with the people I cared about. This meant I traded my authentic self, to ensure I wasn’t judged and I fitted in.
Unfortunately, this can lead to feelings of frustration, anxiety and shame, as well as the need for others to give you the love and approval you can’t give yourself.
It wasn’t until I had the courage to authentically speak up for my opinions and feelings that I stopped the constant search for validation.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~E.E. Cummings
Being authentically confident requires courage, time and commitment, however, it is well worth the effort.
Here are a few simple steps to help you:
Identify your beliefs and values. These are your moral compass and guide you in the actions and decisions you make. You can identify them by thinking about times you were really happy and times you were very low, and identify what yours and others behaviours were that meant you felt good or bad.
Respect yourself. This sounds easy but can be difficult when other people disagree with your behaviour or opinions. The important thing is to speak up or act on your thoughts, wants and needs. It gives your self-worth such a boost to have trusted and respected yourself
Accept your weaknesses. If you can acknowledge and accept both your talents and your flaws, it empowers you to be authentic. The focus shouldn’t just be on what you want to improve, but also recognising and celebrating your successes
Have courage. Be bold enough to live your life according to what you believe is right, and not let fear stop you from doing the things you dream of. What is the worst case scenario if you were brave? Could you live with it?
Focus on yourself in the present moment. By eeping your thoughts on the moment you’re less concerned about what others think, and it liberates you to be authentically you.
Imagine the empowerment and feeling of freedom, from truly being yourself and listening to what you need and want. From treating yourself with the respect and approval you deserve.
It’s quite natural to want or desire something in our lives; whether that’s world peace or a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, isn’t important.
But why we think we want them, and what we believe they will give us, does matter.
The Oxford Dictionary defines the verb “want” as “to have a desire to possess or do something”. and the noun as “a lack or deficiency of something”.
That feeling of desiring or lacking something can have a profound effect on our happiness and confidence.
When I started to think about the things I wanted or wished for (after world peace obviously!). I realised there was quite a lot, and that wanting things quite often popped into my thoughts.
At the time of writing this blog I came up with my current top 6:
I want to book a family holiday
I wish I could have a cleaner every day
I want an All Saints top that appeared in my browser
I wish I was nearer my friend whose Dad has just died
I want to finish that open bag of Werthers sweets
I wish there was more time in a day
Some of my wants aren’t achievable, such as more time in the day. Others aren’t exactly a necessity, like a cleaner every day and some are just greed!
It did make me think, though, about how these thoughts might be affecting my self-esteem and happiness. Also, do I really want those things, or am I just being manipulated by marketing?
When I started to reflect on these questions, I realised that wanting things was often my natural reaction to a situation. For example:
Feeling overwhelmed – I want a holiday or a cleaner
Need to earn more money – I want a quick fix marketing programme
A friend buys a new outfit – I wish I could have a new outfit too
Feeling sad or guilty – I want to do something to help others
Feeling bored – I want that bag of sweets
not all wanting is a bad thing, but perhaps rather than just wanting a distraction, a quick fix or to feel better. I could focus on my emotions and real needs in that moment, which is far more likely to boost my confidence and self-esteem than reaching for a credit card.
My tips for you would therefore be:
Take some time to think about the things you’re wanting. Question yourself, why you want them and what they are really trying to solve. Is there a different way you could meet that need?
I found it an interesting exercise, although it hasn’t stopped me lusting for those Jimmy Choos!!
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When I worked in the corporate world I remember the pressure I felt under to get promoted and be successful.
I’m not sure if that was driven by my own beliefs, by peer pressure or the culture in the company. But I do know it affected my confidence to go for career success.
One of the reasons that women hold back from going for a promotion, is that we are less likely to believe in our abilities and to take a risk in applying
To help you I’m sharing with you ‘My Top 10 Tips To Get A Promotion’. I’m sure you’ll find them helpful to set you on the journey to career success.
Research the role. Get clarity on what is required, the skills and behaviours necessary and ensure it’s actually a job you would like to do. You don’t always have to move up the career ladder, it might suit you to do a sideways move to a different ladder instead.
Identify and accept your strengths and weaknesses. Being aware of your weaknesses and celebrating your strengths is key to demonstrating confidence. As well as being useful for interviews!
Identify why you’re putting off going for a new role. Is your inner critical voice sabotaging your confidence? Perhaps it’s saying things like ‘I’m not clever enough”, “I’m not good enough” or “everyone else will be better than me”. These negative beliefs are false and shouldn’t be listened to. What would be a more realistic belief instead?
Don’t overthink it. As women we are in general, quite bad at overanalyzing or going over and over a decision. Make the decision and then go for it. If it doesn’t go the way you want it to then you can just make another decision to change.
Don’t let fear of failure put you off. Failure to one person is a learning experience to another so change your perspective and only focus on the things you can control
If you get negative feedback clarify it. Make sure you get a detailed response so you have something to work on. Then make your own decision whether the feedback is correct and worthwhile
Avoid all or nothing thinking. For example, either I get the job or that’s it I’ll be out on the street.
Focus on small steps. Going for a promotion may mean you have to achieve many things in preparation. Instead of being overwhelmed, make a plan and take it one step at a time
What is the worst that could happen? If you don’t get the role, will it really be a disaster? Or will you just have had a useful experience to help next time?
What would you say to a colleague your situation? Would you tell them to go for it? What advice would you offer?
Do you feel more confident to put yourself out there?
With the start of a new year, it’s natural to reflect on how you’re going to be happier, more effective or achieve more in the coming year.
To be successful in business, women need their confidence to be at least equal to their competence.
With my clients who struggle with confidence, I commonly see these 4 confidence traps that they can fall into. The result is increasing amounts of self-doubt, and missing out on valuable opportunities.
Trap 1 : Fear of Failure
We would all like to succeed in our work, but is a fear of failure stopping you from taking on new projects or putting yourself out there?
It’s worth being curious about what it is you fear will actually happen if things go wrong, and what the effect would be on you.
Are you actually just scared about how bad you’ll feel? Then remember thoughts and feelings are only transitory and that they will soon pass.
Trap 2: Lack of fulfillment
If you feel dissatisfied at work, and that your talents and skills aren’t being used. It can lead to you disengaging from your work and lacking confidence.
If this is you, then focus on the successes you are having at work rather than the things that you find boring. Keep a record of the achievements you’ve made to maintain your positivity and engagement in your business.
If this doesn’t work then it might be the right time to look for something new
Trap 3: Negative, unpleasant or intimidating colleagues
I’m sure we’ve all come across some of these in our careers and they can really knock your confidence.
It’s not possible to change another person, but you can change yourself, which may alter the dynamic between the two of you.
Take an honest look at your behaviours and assumptions when you’re around them. Is there anything you could change for the positive?
If the situation still doesn’t change then I suggest you remember that it’s about them and not you personally, and if it’s a real problem you can take action.
Trap 4: Listening to you inner critic
Women who are particularly high achievers can suffer the most with perfectionism or have a loud and hurtful inner critic.
This inner voice with its disruptive comments about your abilities or what others think of you, can do the greatest damage to your confidence.
Realise that this voice is just thoughts popping into your mind and that mainly they’re untrue. So it is possible to ignore them or distract yourself.
One method is to ‘get out of your head’ and actively focus on other people. This means you’re listening to your critical voice less and are really present for others or your work.
Good luck for a confident 2017 and please share my article to help other women have one too.
I’m someone who is inclined to overthink and worry if I allow myself.
So with the start of the New Year, I think it’s important to let go of those things that added emotional stress in the last year.
To give you some idea of what I’m suggesting, I’ve copied this list of 12 things to let go of from an article by American writers Marc and Angel.
1. Let go of cheating on your future with your past. It’s time to move on and tell a new story.
2. Let go of feeling guilty for making yourself a priority.
3. Let go of all thoughts that don’t make you feel empowered and strong.
4. Let go of your fear of the unknown; take one small step and watch what uncovers itself. And remember that you don’t need to know it all first. We learn the way on the way.
5. Let go of worrying; worrying is like asking for what you don’t want.
6. Let go of blaming anyone for anything; be accountable for your own life. If you don’t like something, you have two choices, accept it or change it.
7. Let go of regrets; at one point in your life, that “whatever” was exactly what you wanted.
8. Let go of anger toward ex lovers and ex friends. We all deserve happiness and love; just because it is over doesn’t mean the love was wrong. It’s what you needed at the time to learn and grow. 9. Let go of trying to save or change people. Everyone has her own path, and the best thing you can do is work on yourself and set a great example.
10. Let go of thinking you are damaged and flawed; you matter, and the world needs you just as you are. You are not the shape of your body or the number on some scale. Your uniqueness is what makes you outstanding.
11. Let go of thinking everyone else is happier, more successful or better off than you. Your journey is unfolding with the real and present opportunity to make the best of it.
12. Let go of thinking you are not where you should be. You are right where you need to be to get to where you want to go, so start asking yourself where you want to go.
I hope you find them thought provoking. Will you try to let go of any of them?
In the years I’ve been working with clients to build their confidence, I’ve noticed one particular characteristic that they often have. They don’t take risks.
People with low confidence don’t have belief in their abilities or their intuition. Their self-doubts stop them from stepping out of their comfort zones and doing things differently.
In contrast people with higher confidence levels take risks knowing they will be okay, whatever the outcome.
In a world that’s changing so quickly, you’re guaranteed to fail if you don’t take risks”
Here’s 3 risks that confident people take, will you take them too?
They risk being hurt. Life teaches us that there will be times when we get let down, have our hearts broken or lose people we love. It’s not possible to live without being hurt. However it has it’s rewards, by risking being hurt you will also be loved, laugh and live life to the full
They risk being responsible. It’s easier to blame other people or circumstances for your life not being as you’d like it. But that puts you into the role of a victim and gives away your power and positivity. Instead take responsibility for your decisions and outcomes, you will still be okay.
They risk letting go. If you live in the past and let those situations affect the present, you become disempowered. Rather than going over and over past negative experiences, let them go and take a risk to be open to new ones instead.
Well done if these are risks you are taking. If you’re struggling with any of them, that’s natural and why not contact me for a free chat.
Some of the clients I see appear to have a great life, and have achieved all the things they ‘should’ have according to society.
But behind the perfect window dressing of social media, the way they feel is often imperfect and unhappy.
We see marketing messages all around us that reinforce the myth that happiness comes when you achieve, or have, certain things in your life.
This myth has us continually striving for more, bigger and better, rather than looking at why we don’t feel happy.
If you are in a good place in your life, perhaps you have a house, a loving family and good job, but still feel unsettled and that something’s not quite right. Then this is the time to look at your mindset and start to make some changes.
Feeling emotional ups and downs is a normal part of life, however if you are feeling that it’s more than that, then the good news is that it is possible to change.
By admitting to some of the ways you sabotage your happiness you can begin that process. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Focusing on the wrong things. If you spend time focusing on negative or irrelevant dramas in your life, you miss the opportunity to focus on the more important elements that boost your happiness
Let go of your expectations for the day. If you have a picture in your head of how every day should look and be, you are likely to be disappointed. Be open to the day and let go of what you think ‘should’ happen
‘What if’ worrying. This means you are constantly worrying about negative outcomes and what could happen. Generally it’s a waste of your time and energy. Try to keep your mind focused on the present moment instead and enjoy what’s happening now
Living in the past. Is another worry that pulls you away from the present moment. You can’t change it, and going over it again robs you of any current joy.
Don’t always believe your thinking. We don’t have control over the thoughts that come into our heads, but that doesn’t mean they are always true. It does however, mean we can choose how we respond to them. Letting the negative ones go and not engaging with them will lift your mood
Making the safe and easy choice. You may believe that this keeps you safe from being hurt. However it also stops you trying new things, making changes and growing mentally. Challenge yourself at times to step out of your comfort zone
Have a very happy day and please send this onto anyone you think maybe struggling with their happiness.