It’s constantly in the press about the gender pay gap and how as women we’re making great achievements in our careers but not always being equally paid for it.
One of the reasons given for this is that as women we are less likely than men to put ourselves forward for promotions or negotiate for higher salaries.
So what is stopping us from being able to confidently ask for what we want and get it (most of the time)?
One of the explainations is down to our culture and upbringing; often women learn that to be self-serving isn’t ‘nice’ or ‘polite’ and therefore it feels very uncomfortable.
Another reason is for women it’s difficult to get the balance between being passive and aggressive, if you don’t negotiate you’re being too feminine and earn less and if you do negotiate, you’re too aggressive and maybe disliked.
When it comes to applying for promotions research has shown that women are biologically different from men in having the confidence to take a risk.
This was demonstrated when a group of volunteers were shown a job description for a role which would be a promotion and asked if they would apply. The men were confident to apply if they believed they could deliver 60% of the job description however for women they had to be nearly 100% sure before they would consider it.
Whether you want to influence your boss, convince an interviewer or your potential clients. Having the confidence to step out of your comfort zone and being able to confidently phrase your request is important.
People will interpret the way you communicate as a measure of your confidence and self-belief and use this to determine whether to agree to your request or not.
Here are some of my confidence tips to help you ask for more money or a promotion confidently:
Do your research – if you’re going to negotiate a pay rise or a starting salary, ensure you know your market value
Step out of your comfort zone – If you find it difficult to take a risk, build your confidence first with small challenges and remember, if you do nothing, nothing will change.
Use assertive language – this means sticking to the facts, using ‘I’ statements and asking clearly for what you would like. e.g. “There is a new role being advertised in marketing, I believe I’m ready to make that move and I would like your support to apply.”
Avoid apologizing and softening your request – Being polite is important but using phrases such as “if you don’t mind” or “would it be okay if I asked you…” dilute your request and your confidence
Don’t feel guilty – asking for something you want whilst still showing the other party respect is not selfish, instead it shows you value yourself
Get clarity on a negative response – if you don’t get the agreement you were looking for, rather than reacting negatively ask for some clarity. Using a phrase such as “I’d like to understand the reasons for your decision?” or “Can you give me some specific feedback on how I can become ready for that position?”
Good luck and do let me know how you get on!
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Earlier today I did a 25K bike ride in beautiful sunshine with my children aged 10 and 11. It was in aid of the local hospice and as my husband was off doing a tortuous bike ride in the Welsh hills I agreed to take them.
As we reached the finish, I was so proud of them completing it without any wingeing or moaning that I wished Mike was with me to share the moment.
Then I questioned myself, why wasn’t it enough that we had this great moment, did I really need to share it with someone else or post it on Facebook for it to be complete?
Sharing moments is great but appreciating the moment as it happens is surely more important. It’s almost as if , if we haven’t got a record of a passing moment, or shared it with others, then we haven’t really experienced it.
It started me thinking about how this feeling, that a moment is not enough, could affect our lives. It means we have/are:
A constant feeling that we should be doing more or being more. Which leaves us believing we’re not enough
Comparititis – the need to compare your moments with other people, especially on social media
An inability to relax. As there’s a constant feeling that there’s more to be done
Not being present when we’re eating. Instead feeling the need to catch up online, read emails or do work. So we don’t taste and savour our food, isn’t it enough just to focus on eating?
Missing out on really experiencing the great moments in our lives. Because we’re worrying about whether we’ve captured it, or if it’s quite right or if we’re appreciating it enough
A lack of purpose in our lives. As we don’t recognise all we have experienced and achieved already. Which leads to a feeling of not yet having done enough and not being enough
What if we were to really live in the present and accept that every moment, however brief, is enough exactly how it is?
Then we would be free to, as the saying goes, “Stop And Smell The Roses”. The definition of which, I found out, means – stop stressing out, overthinking or complaining, put your troubles in perspective and enjoy your short time on earth.
So what would be the benefits of living in the moment?
We have more clarity. We’re able to focus clearly on what is happening and not be distracted
We feel relaxed. As we’re not ruminating on the past or worrying about the future we will gain a calmness from being in the moment
Our emotions are more positive. As we aren’t focused as much on the negatives of the past or the future, we can fully enjoy the positives of the moment
I love this quote:
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.
To achieve that how do we start to work towards being more present in the moment?
Start small. Begin by making small changes to your routine, such as being mindful for 3mins a day, or switching off your phone during your lunch break (take a short lunch break, not at your desk, if you don’t already!)
Learn how to bring your mind back when it wanders. The practice of mindfulness is all about redirecting your mind back from your thoughts to the present moment or whatever you’re focusing on. Success isn’t about clearing your mind but being able to draw it back when it wanders, which it will. Focusing on your breathing or eating or a sensation in your body is helpful.
Notice the small things. This can be as simple as a child’s smile, listening to music or the taste of ice cream
Realise your thoughts aren’t real. The world we create from our thoughts especially when we’re worrying about the future isn’t real, even though it seems to be. So instead of creating lots of what if scenarios, try and focus on what actually is
Stop multitasking. Not only does this mean your not doing all the tasks effectively but it stops you really focusing on each one
Be kind to others. Giving compliments to others or acts of kindness will refocus your attention on what’s happening now
Be grateful. Appreciating the things in your life which you love and enjoy helps you keep in the moment
I’m still thinking about putting a photo of my kids with their medals on Facebook, but maybe instead I should accept that the moment has past and focus on whats happening now instead.
Let me know your thoughts and ideas on how to stay in the moment.
Wanting people to accept and approve of you is a normal human reaction as it makes us feel secure and part of the tribe.
I sometimes make decisions or choices to avoid criticism or disapproval, rather than because it’s the best thing for me. I also can avoid speaking up if I think other’s won’t agree with me.
If you are constantly people pleasing like this you maybe missing out on opportunities in life and not showing yourself there expect you deserve.
A need for approval tends to affect our lives in 3 different ways:
You procrastinate and avoid making difficult decisions, resulting in a feeling of anxiety and constant worry
You don’t say no to others and are rushing around working hard with no me time
You lack motivation and are stuck in a rut because you aren’t sure what is important to you and what makes you happy
So how can you let go of the need for approval?
Start being awareof when you are making decisions or taking actions based on others approval. Challenge yourself as to why you are doing this and whether you could do it differently
Develop self-approval. Record the achievements you make, the things you’re proud of and your positive strengths. Congratulate yourself when you show the confidence to keep to your beliefs
Develop self-awareness. Be curious about what drives you, makes you happy and you’re passionately interested in. It’s these core values that drive your decisions and behaviours and tell you when you’re being true to yourself
As I’m still working on my need for approval, I really hope you enjoyed my article! If you did please share it on the buttons below and make sure you sign up for more articles and my Top 10 Confidence Tips
People who lack confidence, and women in particular, are often living their life inside their own heads. This means that a lot of the things they believe is happening in their world, isn’t really.
A client of mine, we’ll call her Sue, was an expert at creating her own environment and as a result had lost confidence socially, at work and in relationships.
If she was out socially she’d be so focused on what other people were thinking about her, and how negatively they were judging her, that she’d become tongue-tied and unable to have a conversation.
At work she would stress about what would happen if she made a mistake or didn’t get work finished on time. In her head this would lead to disapproval, upset and eventually losing her job. Even though she’d had good feedback from bosses, in her mind she was just a small step from unemployment.
Sue has had relationships but because they failed she worried that she won’t find anyone. When she started a new relationship she constantly made assumptions about what her boyfriend was thinking or what his actions might mean. This caused her to waste a lot of time and energy and not to relax and be herself.
I worked with Sue on being aware of when she is creating her own world and making assumptions. From this she could then start to challenge whether her thoughts had any evidence or logic or whether they were actually just her negative thinking.
3 other tips that helped Sue are:
When you meet people stay focused on them rather than being absorbed in your own head. This means actively listening and really taking notice of what the other person is saying. Not being distracted by thinking about what you’re going to say or whether what you just said sounds stupid. Active listening also has the benefit of making the other person feel you’re interested in them and builds rapport
Accept that you can’t know what other people are thinking unless they tell you. So be comfortable with the unknown and choose to believe that most people make positive judgements
Practice Mindfulness, learning how to stay present in the moment rather than reliving the past or worrying about the future allows you to get out of your head
Over time Sue has learnt how to distract, challenge or not listen to herself when these thought storms start. This has enabled her to trust and believe in herself more and her increased confidence means she enjoys life far more.
Like me, many of my friends find the call of the 8pm wine glass very difficult to refuse. It’s that moment when the kids maybe in bed and you can at last start to relax for the evening.
Whether it’s the wine or chocolate o’clock that tempts you, the first sip or bite can feel fabulous, you notice yourself unwind and your mood lifts.
But is it really the wine or chocolate that is creating this mood change? What if the good feelings just came and weren’t actually linked to the treat you’ve given yourself?
As children whenever we feel sad, uncomfortable or unhappy we are comforted by our parents and the bad feelings are sent away. We learn that happy feelings are good but bad ones must be got rid of.
It’s no wonder then as adults, whenever we feel off we look for a way to make ourselves happier. This can be food, drink, drugs, love etc, rather than accepting that it’s okay and normal to feel down at times and that it will get better.
Relying on willpower to try and limit or stop your wine and chocolate habits is not sustainable in the long term. Willpower is a limited resource, it can be thought of as a muscle that with continuous use becomes tired. So it is difficult to keep on resisting temptation using willpower alone.
When you start to see that it’s okay to feel uncomfortable, sad or any other bad feeling and that you don’t need wine or chocolate to make you feel better, then the need for your treat is less important and it’s easier to use willpower to avoid it.
This may sound simple to do, however I know from personal experience that when you’re tempted, a glass of wine still can feel like the answer.
Remember that learning to be aware and accept your feelings, even when they aren’t easy, is part of growing as a person and builds your self-esteem and confidence.
Start with one small step at a time and don’t be hard on yourself if you slip.
Good luck and enjoy
PS. Have you seen my new online coaching course? Study and be coached by me, online to boost your confidence when and where you like.
Why Willpower Isn’t Enough To Break Your Wine Or Chocolate Habit
Even the word rejection feels hard and hurtful and it triggers in me thoughts about “not being good enough”.
Not being clever enough, pretty enough, thin enough, kind enough or funny enough, they all feel painful.
Being rejected can be a bad experience whether it’s personally or professionally as no one wants to be snubbed or told No.
These rejections are often part of our learning process and lead to a more suitable future opportunity. But when you’re suffering the hurt of a recent rejection, how can you cope and overcome your not good enough thoughts?
ONE – Don’t Overthink It
By reliving the experience and the uncomfortable feelings constantly you are keeping the memory alive in reality and will be unable to let it go. Analyse it to find any lessons you can learn then change your focus to more positive events.
TWO – Forgive Yourself
Blaming yourself and listening to your inner critic will only make you feel worse. So accept responsibility for anything you may have done wrong and then let it go
Three – Forgive The Other Person
This may sound very tricky but rejection is a natural process and you will have rejected people in your time. think back to those experiences and try to empathise with the other person. Remember that forgiving someone allows you to let go of your pain it doesn’t mean you always condone another’s behaviour
Four – It’s Not Always About You
You may never know the reason for your rejection however it is often not to do with you personally but about circumstances or the other person. So accept this and be comfortable with not knowing
Five – Have The Confidence To Try Again
You may think that there’s no point in trying again as you’ll only get the same outcome. However the quickest way to rebuild your confidence is to step out of your comfort zone again and show everyone that you trust and value yourself
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A recent study commissioned by Weight Watchers in the UK showed that 86% of women admit they could be kinder to themselves and 82% admitted they need a stronger relationship with themselves.
As women we are often told from an early age that we should put others before ourselves and be kind and polite. Our female role models, including our mothers may have also demonstrated this learned behaviour of putting themselves last and being a self-critic.
So despite all the steps forward women have made in becoming empowered, internally we still treat ourselves with less respect and kindness.
How can you start to be kinder to yourself?
Be Aware Of Your Self-Talk. Notice the way you speak to yourself and to others about yourself. Stop the negative talk immediately by distracting yourself or agreeing a no negative talk pact with your friends. Remember this quote
“If you spoke to your friends the way you speak to yourself, would they still be your friends?
2. Stop People Pleasing. Do you say yes to doing things for people or agree with them just to avoid upsetting anyone? Try putting boundaries in place which can be just as simple as saying no, or saying how you really feel. If you can speak honestly and with kindness, you will gain their respect.
3. Understand What You Really Think And Want. If you’ve spent years pleasing others or afraid to speak up you may find it difficult at first to know what you enjoy and what opinions you have. Take some time out by yourself to become aware of what is important to you
4. Be Realistic With Yourself. Do you set yourself really high standards then beat yourself up for not achieving them? Life isn’t a competition and if you can appreciate that mistakes help you grow as well as celebrating your successes, you are being much more realistic
5. Watch Who You Spend Time With. Being around negative people is very draining and can pull you down. Nobody is positive all the time but try to avoid those that encourage you into mutual negativity
If you can work on these 5 tips you’ll start to feel more compassionate towards yourself and realise that actually you’re pretty okay as you are!
When you’re having a bad day, doubting yourself, or your insecurities are rampaging, it can be difficult to take action or make decisions.
We all get these low feelings, which can knock our self-esteem, so how can you lift yourself back up and have the confidence to move forward?
Well here are 5 strategies I recommend to help you:
Accept That It’s Okay To NOT Be Okay Sometimes. Tough or unfair things do happen in life and there are times when we all feel grief, shame, guilt and failure. Accept that these are human emotions and that it’s okay to feel not okay, it’s okay to feel low and it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. Then treat yourself with compassion knowing that at some point these bad feelings will start to pass.
Take One Tiny Step Forward. You don’t have to make a huge change to start feeling more confident or to overcome your self-doubt, you just need to decide on one tiny positive step and that will begin the shift. Whether it’s writing down your positive achievements, deciding to stop talking negatively about yourself or asking for help. Just one small step at a time will build to a big change.
Keep Present In Today. Looking further ahead than the current moment can feel scary and overwhelming, when you’re mood is low. If you can focus on this day or this minute rather than what’s happened in the past or might happen in the future you will allow your worry to reduce and your mind to clear.
Be Okay With Not Knowing What Others Think. If your self-doubt is driven by worrying about how others maybe judging you or why they’ve said or behaved in a certain way, then you’re allowing others to control how you feel. Instead accept that you’ll never know exactly what anyone else is thinking and the confident thing to do is assume their thoughts are positive.
The Choice Is Yours. An estimated 40% of your confidence levels are down to your attitude and choice. So when you’re overcome by self-doubt give yourself the push to step a very small way out of your comfort zone. Not only will this lift your mood but if you celebrate the fact you had the confidence to try, you are also building your confidence for the future.
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5 Strategies For When You Lack Confidence
Comments Off on How To Stop Caring What Others Think
Do you find yourself worrying about whether your friends and family approve of your decisions or whether colleagues at work talk about you behind your back? Perhaps you even care about what strangers think about you and the way you look?
It’s a natural behaviour because as humans we all want to fit in and be accepted, it makes us feel secure. The problem comes when you let this need for approval or validation take over as it will knock your confidence, stop you taking action and limit your opportunities.
If this is you then there are 2 key facts that I’d like you to be aware of:
Most of the time most people aren’t thinking about you
Just as we spend most of our time focused on ourselves and our life so do other people. A study by the National Science Foundation claims people have on average 50,000 thoughts a day this means that unless you do something that directly has a major effect on them, people are unlikely to spend many of those thoughts on you.
2. You can’t please everyone
No matter how well you behave towards others there will always be people who judge you. This is because everyone seems the world through their own particular filter which has developed from their experiences of life. So whatever you do or say they will see it in a different way to you.
Even if someone does judge you, it’s most likely that you will never know it as generally people won’t tell you or react. So rather than assuming the worst just accept you can’t please everyone and you’ll won’t always know if you have
I hope these facts will help you to worry less about what others think and instead focus on living up to the values that are important to you.
If you’re a friend with me on social media then you’re probably fed up with me talking about being on Sky News this week, but there is a reason for me to mention it again today.
I was randomly called on Tuesday evening and asked to appear the following morning to discuss the findings of a study to be released that day. It was all an exciting rush and so didn’t give me much time to worry or talk myself out of it.
Taking a step out of your comfort zone can seem very scary, especially when you’re uncertain about what you might step into. We all have insecurities about being exposed in situations we aren’t used to, however doing it is a fantastic way to boost your confidence.
You may find yourself continually going over and over your worries about taking the step or thinking up lots of ‘what if’ scenarios. This will just cause you to procrastinate, so instead accept that worrying won’t help you find a solution or understand the issue better and have the courage to move forward.
When you can have the courage to take a leap into something new with the belief that whatever happens you will cope, not only are you building your confidence but also your resilience.
So my challenge to you for this week is to set yourself a goal that you feel uncertain about being able to achieve. It doesn’t have to be something very big or important as long as it takes you outside of your comfort zone. For example, speaking assertively to some one who has upset you, going to a social event alone, joining a new club or phoning an old friend you haven’t spoken to in years.
Remember the most important thing is to celebrate your success in having the confidence to take that step, whatever the outcome is.
Good luck and do let me know how you get on.
I Was On Sky News – What Are You Going To Do To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone?