Today is International Women’s Day and this year the focus is on gender equality. In the UK we have made great progress but still have a way to go to achieve gender parity.
The World Economic Forum has ranked us 18th out of 145 countries in terms of the gender gap, which is an improvement on last year when we were 26th.
Looking back to when I was in my twenties I can see a big difference in the opportunities and expectations that women have now compared to then.
However there is much we can learn from those countries that are performing at the top of the World Economic Forum table.
Countries like Iceland, Finland and Norway have focused on supporting women in the workplace, education and retraining of women as well as recognising and rewarding those that show good practice in working to balance the gender gap.
With the majority of students now being women there is a great opportunity to ensure they have an equal chance at a career by offering flexible working, role models and keeping the issue of gender equality alive.
By passing on the message to our children that their goals are achievable whatever their sex, we all have the chance to reduce the timescale to when we achieve gender parity which is currently estimated at 117 years.
As a Confidence Coach I’m often asked what is self-esteem and how is it different from confidence?
Confidence is defined as a feeling of trust in your abilities, qualities and judgement
Whereas self-esteem relates to your self-worth and how you value yourself in the world.
Someone with low self-esteem would have an overall negative belief about themselves. They’d tend to focus on their weaker points and blame themselves for any difficulties or mistakes.
If your self-esteem is higher, you generally believe you’re okay and recognise your strengths. When there are tough times in your life you can cope with them without feeling a victim or taking all the responsibility.
If you’re not sure where you are on the self-esteem scale then look at these types of behaviours and decide which describe you the most, or perhaps you demonstrate both types of behaviour?
High self-esteem behaviours:
Have a balanced view of your positives and negatives
Take care of yourself physically and emotionally
Willing to trust others
Willing to take risks
Compassionate to yourself
Learn from your mistakes
Open-minded to others
Trusting yourself and your intuition
Take responsibility for your actions and not always blaming others
Low self-esteem behaviours:
Focused on your perceived negatives
Self-blame and criticism
Fear of taking risks
Avoid taking responsibility for actions
Fear of confrontation
Oversensitive to others comments
Comparing yourself to others
Needing to be right
Dependant on others for decisions
Your self-esteem can fluctuate with your current experiences in life and most of us are somewhere around the middle of the scale . To work on building a healthier self-esteem I suggest starting by getting a clear picture of your positives and strengths as well as your flaws.
Do you find yourself going over and over negative experiences that have happened or worrying about what could happen in the future?Perhaps you analyse everything you said or did in case you’ve upset somebody or in case others judge you for it?
This analysing of situations and ruminating on negative thoughts and feelings is generally more common in women than men.
Part of the reason for the gender difference is that women tend to be more emotionally connected to others and so worry more about what others think. We also have a higher emotional awareness due to both our genetics and to the messages we picked up from society as children about our role as a nurturer.
Jenny was a client of mine and her mind used to continuously buzz and whirr with her own overthinking. She would constantly focus on the past and the various wrongs she believed had been done to her as well as worrying about what that meant people thought of her.
This overthinking and analysing meant she found life incredibly difficult and exhausting and she often found it hard to make decisions or find solutions to her problems.
Together we worked out the situations and triggers causing her overthinking and developed some strategies to help her quieten her mind
“I still have negative thoughts, but I know how not to engage with them and let them go and as a result I’m feeling more relaxed and happy”
Here are some ideas to help you if you recognise yourself as an overthinker:
Accept that these negative thoughts will come and instead of engaging with them distract yourself with something that gives you a small positive emotion
If you’re already feeling down or negative you are more likely to overthink and get stressed. So if you feel like this try to avoid making decisions until your thinking is more positive.
Write it down, this will allow you get your thinking out and it’s also very helpful if you can write possible solutions.
Set aside time to overthink later in the day and park your concerns until then. When you get to that time some of your worries will already be resolved
Rather than analysing the detail of a situation, imagine yourself in a helicopter above the experience. Is your perception of it still the same?
Comments Off on 4 Ways To Leave Things Behind And Move Forward
We all have situations in life that don’t turn out the way we think they could or should. Whether it’s an unsuccessful job interview, a failed relationship or a holiday that doesn’t live up to your expectations.
However disappointed or hurt you may feel, in order to move forward you will need (at the right time) to leave the experience behind you.
It can be difficult to let go of a negative experience especially if you find yourself going over and over the scenario in your head. Thinking about how you should have behaved or what you could have said makes no difference to the situation now and can only trap you in the past.
If you’ve made the definite decision that you want to leave the issue behind and move forward here are four tips to help you achieve it:
Stop making excuses. Identify your role in the situation and accept responsibility for any mistakes you made. Making excuses and defending yourself only prevents you from accepting the reality and then being ready to let go.
Forgive yourself. Whatever mistakes you made you can learn from them and move forward. You are human and sometimes we don’t make the best choices, however remember you are still a ‘good enough’ person.
It’s okay to not feel okay! When life is difficult and you’ve gone through a tough time you will feel like your not okay and that in itself is okay and normal. You will start to feel flashes of being okay again so be compassionate to yourself in the meantime.
Avoid ruminating. Going over and over the problem or analysing the situation will only extend your suffering and won’t provide you with answers or solutions. Take any learnings from your experience and don’t punish yourself by reliving it.
By keeping your focus on the present and the opportunities for the future you will find it much easier to leave things behind and move forward.
Society today celebrates loud, bold and sociable behaviour, so it can feel uncomfortable to admit to others that you’re an introvert. If you think about social media, reality tv shows or corporate environments, the focus and approval often seems to be on those people with extrovert behaviour.
Researchers estimate that 16 to 50% of the population (not a very precise figure) are introverts and these include Oprah and Barack Obama. Despite the stigma that introverts are shy, don’t like people and lack confidence; the truth is that they are warm and likeable and have a confidence level unrelated to their introvert nature.
How do you know if you are an introvert or not?
Well here are some common signs you’re an introvert:
You work better on you own rather than in a team – it doesn’t mean you can’t be a team player just that others can be distracting for you
You enjoy having time to yourself
You’re less likely to volunteer your opinion in a group situation
You like time to reflect and work a problem out for yourself
You’re happy to listen and observe in a social situation
You form friendships with only a few people but in a deep and close way
If you think you have an introvert somewhere inside you then be proud of it and ignore the pressure by society to be more outgoing. There are some great advantages to being an introvert:
You’re less likely to be bored as you’re stimulated by your own company
As you are introspective, you are more likely to think through and deal with your problems
Being an observer of behaviour you may have a greater understanding of people and good rapport skills, therefore being vey likeable
Being happy in your own company means you are comfortable to do things alone, such as travelling
At work you don’t need constant reassurance from your boss and are a self-starter
Next time you wish you had the extrovert, confident and outgoing style of a friend or colleague remember that your style of confidence is just as effective and what you bring to a group just as important.
Good lucking building your confidence and do sign up for my Top 10 Confidence Tips HERE
Last week I lost my mobile on a girls night out and despite ‘find my iPhone’ and calls and visits to everywhere I’d been, there was no sign of it. Having spoken to my mobile server and insurance company, my mind then went straight into fast forward to imagine the worst…..
Whoever found my phone would post all my pictures on social media, then they’d find my passwords and bank details and wipe out my savings account etc, etc! The wave of negative worrying was carrying me forward to one catastrophe after another. Logically I should have realised that this couldn’t happen but once you’ve gone down the negative thinking route it can be hard to change direction.
Catastrophising is having an irrational belief that something is worse than it actually is and there are two main types;
The first is taking a current situation and putting a negative ‘spin’ on it. For example making a mistake at work and believing you’ll get fired as a result
The second type is looking into the future and anticipating all the things that could go wrong and then believing them as your reality. For example, not applying for a job because “I’m rubbish at interviews, I won’t know what to say and they won’t be interested in me”.
If you get hooked into this type of thinking , you may think it’s preventing you from being hurt or avoiding failure but actually it’s limiting your opportunities in life, work and relationships instead.
To put a stop to this disempowering behaviour try these steps:
Become aware of when you are doing it. Record the situation and how you felt at the time. Over time you will see a pattern developing of when you are drawn into catastrophising.
When you are aware of thinking that way, just notice the thought, focus on your breathing and let the thought go.
Challenge your thinking either by looking for evidence that contradicts it in your past or by talking it through with a logical friend you trust
When you then return to reality you will find it easier to solve the problem or take the first step towards the opportunity.
Three days after I lost my phone a taxi driver knocked at my door and returned it to me, he’d found it in his cab. Not only had I wasted lots of time worrying but the positive outcome that an honest person might return it, hadn’t occurred to me.
This quote is a great reminder:
“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
“Life isn’t fair” is a well known phrase that I’m sure you’ve heard thousands of times, but a lot of us still have the unrealistic expectation that it should be. You may believe that there is some overriding form of justice that if you’ve worked hard, you deserve that promotion or if you’ve waited long enough you deserve to find the love of your life.
The danger of this sense of entitlement is that you sit back and wait for the positives to happen rather than taking action to make things different.
Rather than just expecting that life will be fair and you’ll get what you want because you deserve it, take control and believe that you are in charge of your own success.
What other unrealistic expectations do you have?
Do you believe that everyone should like you? Again this is a commonly held expectation as we find it hard to believe that anyone could have a reason not to. But all of us have had different experiences and see the world through different lenses. If for some reason a person doesn’t like you then that will be about their own perspective and life experience. Accept that wanting everyone to like you is only setting you up to fail and to get hurt, and then you will feel the weight of your own expectations lift.
Or when I achieve …… I will be happy? Whether it’s losing weight, getting a promotion, a bigger house or finding Mr Right, none of these are going to give you long term happiness. They may make life easier in the short term but to stay happy you need to feel good about yourself at this moment and if you don’t, find a way to fix it.
Perhaps you think that you should be treated the way you treat others? Another well used phrase “treat others as you expect to be treated”, unfortunately everyone’s expectation of how to behave is different. Just because you were there for a friend in bad times doesn’t mean you can expect them to be there for you. We never know exactly what’s happening in others lives and instead of having expectations about the way they ‘should’ behave take anything they offer as a bonus.
Or that anyone should keep a secret you share with them? The danger of this is that the importance others put on your secret won’t be nearly as high as the importance you put on it. If you’d be hurt by the secreting getting out, then don’t risk sharing with anyone.
These are just a few of the unrealistic expectations that my clients have uncovered and have made their lives difficult, do you have any to add to the list?
If you can let go of these expectations you’ll find that you are more often pleasantly surprised by others behaviour rather than being disappointed and that you’re progress to your goals is much smoother.
My colleague Life Coach Carol Ann Rice has put together 12 great points to explain it to you.
12 Things You Never Knew About Life Coaches;
We don’t give advice. We coach people to find their own answers in a way that feels right for them.
We don’t wave our magic wands to make your life better. We come from the position that you have your own powerful wand and we help show you how to use it. Ping!
We look at all areas of your life as each factor of our beings is connected. For example if a client wanted support because they lucked out on promotion again we would look at what they feel is the issue as well as check out confidence, self esteem, health, diet, social life/home life, fitness levels, communication skills and their beliefs – all areas relate in some way to how a client is “being”.
Coaches are not counsellors nor therapists. We don’t spend hours hawking over the past to find out where all the pain is and where it came from. We work with the client in the here and right now and then together co-create an exciting, compelling future for the individual. We form a strategy to get them to that specific goal and look at who you would have to be and what might need to change to get there.
We can be a hand to hold as you take the baby steps or challenging cheerleaders always there to teleport you out of the comfort zone.
Unlike family and friends we don’t have an agenda. Our job is to get you to where you want to be on your terms.
It’s usual for people to find that for the first time they can speak their truth and find their own life purpose working with a coach. It can be hugely liberating and exciting to find that clarity at last.
Well-trained coaches have walked the talk and have lived, experienced and worked through the entire core coaching principles themselves in order to coach with authenticity, integrity and excellence.
We are committed to helping you grow your self-awareness, reach your potential and thus giving yourself options in life. No more excuses, fear or procrastination to deal with.
Life coaches seriously improve your life on all levels. But beware as your self esteem grows so does your confidence. Doors open, opportunity knocks. No more people pleasing and user/abuser pals suddenly seem like bad company you no longer have time for. Life, at last, feels and looks good.
Clients feel equipped to deal with many things they previously hid from.
Many clients who see the limitless potential of the coaching profession choose to become a coach themselves
If you think a Life Coach could help you then please contact me for a free 30mins consultation.
Do you want to change job but have no idea what to do? Perhaps you have lots of ideas for a new career, but which one is right? Are you scared of starting over a new career only for it to fail?
The start of a new year is an appropriate time to reflect on whether you’re career is right for you or whether you’d like to be somewhere different by next year.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to change there are some key questions to ask yourself:
Question 1 – What do I enjoy doing most in my life?
Whether it’s at work or outside of it when do you feel the most alive? What experiences do you enjoy the most and which feel the most meaningful?
Question 2 – What is important to me?
What would you like friends and colleagues to be saying about you at your funeral? Is it that you worked hard, that you were a good listener or that you were creative?
Question 3 – Where do I want be?
Do you want to be part of a team, working outdoors or online from home?
Question 4 – Who do I want to be with?
What sort of people and culture do you want to be working with? Think back to previous jobs, what was it about the people and culture that you did or didn’t like?
Question 5 – What does success mean to me?
Is it responsibility, financial success, position, work/life balance, a meaningful career, creativity?
Spend some time brainstorming your ideas on each question, then revisit your list, at least 24hours later and add and amend to your ideas if appropriate.
Investing time and effort in getting clarity on your next career move is important. Remember any move is a stepping stone to a more fulfilling career.
Every year at this time there are articles and blogs about New Years resolutions. Whether you should have them or not, how many is too many and how easy it is to fail at them.
Like many other people I enjoy the idea of the fresh possibilities a new year brings, however this tends to fade as I get to mid January. The short days, credit card bills and cold weather mean my great plans to; cutdown on wine, shout less at the children and declutter the bedrooms, feel just that bit too difficult.
So this year I’ve decided to look at these resolutions in a new way. Instead of focusing on the goals I want to achieve, I’m going to focus on what I can let go of and see if that’s any easier.
I’m going to let go of the word ‘Should’ and instead replace it with the word ‘Could’. I believe it’s a softer word and it feels full of choices. For example; I should stop drinking during the week, sounds harsh and difficult to achieve. Whereas I could cut down my drinking to feel healthier, have more energy and money, feels like I have choices and I’m talking to myself as an adult.
I’m also going to let go of producing the disaster movies that I sometimes run in my mind. This is my ‘what if’ thinking and if I allow it I can imagine the most outlandish endings to a situation. For example I’m running a Confidence and Nutrition Workshop in January and if I start to worry and ‘what if’ think about it, I can imagine only a couple of people arriving, forgetting my words, attendees complaining etc etc. By the end of it I would be a nervous wreck. So instead in 2016 I’m going to stop myself going down that spiral and avoid extra anxiety and stress
Being my own worst critic is another behaviour I’m going to let go of. Going over my past mistakes or my perceived current shortcomings is tiring and has no purpose except to make me feel worse. So I’m going to give myself a break and accept that I’m uniquely imperfect.
Finally I’m going to let go of my age. For those that know me, they will have heard me moan about creeping nearer to 50. So instead I’m going to let go of the number and my perception of what it means. Then I can just enjoy the year and the partying!