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 in the workplace is it stopping their ideas from being heard and acted on?
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
To invest in yourself is one of the best returns on investments you can have.
Whether it’s investing in learning a new skill, developing yourself personally or professionally, tapping into your creativity or hiring a coach, you need to give to yourself first before you can give to others.
Investing in yourself is also an example of self-respect and self-love and the only person that can do that is you.
Why is investing in yourself so powerful?
When you spend time or money on yourself it sends a powerful message to you and the world. The message is:
I am of value and potential, and that is important enough to me that I’m going to give myself the energy, space and time to grow and create results.
When you’re willing to say yes, take that leap of faith and invest in yourself, you will feel empowered and gain many other amazing rewards.
I would like to share some incredible ways that you can invest in yourself. The great news is they don’t all require money.
Invest in building your confidence. People who know their value, have something to say and others will listen. You can invest in yourself by developing an understanding of the value that you possess and offer others.
Take care of your health. Eat right each day, fueling your body with nutrients. When you focus on eating healthier choices, you will feel better and have more energy. I know that the unhealthy burger or chocolate bar gives us instant gratification, but if you’re like me, you regret it later, because you feel guilty afterwards. Do something every day to get moving and get your heart rate up, even, if it’s just walking the dog. Moving gives you the energy to take on the day with confidence because of how it makes you look and feel.
Invest time in your creativity. Our creativity doesn’t have to diminish as we get older. In fact, it is believed that the peak of creativity in most people is around 30-40 years old. (Lindaur, 1998, Marisiske &Willis, 1998) Creativity inspires us to have fun and appreciate the beauty in the world
Invest in a coach. A coach can assist you in putting all of these strategies into action. A coach is your partner in success. It is their job to assist you in creating and implementing your success plan, so you can become the best that you can be.
I can promise you this: When you invest in yourself, a world of opportunities will open up for you. And, if you have a career/business where you sell your services, you must know that no one will invest in you until you invest in yourself first.
Investing in yourself emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially, will allow you to become the best version of yourself.
According to research, people generally make a judgement on you in less than 7 seconds.
For the majority of interactions you may not care what they think, but with certain individuals, making a good impression is very important.
So how do you ensure that you get the most out of those 7 seconds?
Well here are my top tips for building rapport with strangers:
Get the basics right. Smile and make eye contact. 48% of people feel that a smile is the most memorable feature after meeting someone.
Use confident body language. Your body language should be open and taking up as much space as possible. Looking confident even if you don’t feel it inside, tricks your mind into feeling confident
Be positive. You might be feeling nervous or having a tough time but if you pass that negative feeling onto others they can be drained and form a negative impression. Every situation has a learning opportunity and having an upbeat attitude really helps rapport
Listen actively and be present. Too often we think we’re listening and focusing on the other person but actually, we’re away in our own heads. Keep your focus on the other person, stay present in the moment and really listen
Mirror or match. This is a way of nonverbally saying “I have something in common with you”. Use your body language to copy what the other person is doing e.g. cross legs or folding arms (matching). Or do the opposite (mirroring) e.g. they put their left hand under their chin and you do your right hand. Make sure you do it subtly not overtly.
Whether a 1st impression can be changed or not is something disputed by researchers. However, it has been shown that the more important a relationship is to us, the more open we are to gradually reform our 1st impression.
So even if you missed your chance in the first 7 seconds. If it’s important to you, you’ll have many more seconds to try again.
As you’re reading this you probably think you’re a people pleaser. From my own experience and the women, I’ve coached I’ve noticed some common signs, which you might recognise:
You find yourself wearing a mask to cover up your true feelings and get anxious as you try to work out what the other person would like to hear.
You feel resentful to other people who can take advantage of your people pleasing behaviours
You feel out of balance with yourself as you’re not respecting your real feelings
You’re worried that others are picking up your discomfort and tension when you don’t say what you really feel
If this sounds like you then don’t worry. I’ve helped lots of wonderful women, alter their behaviours to value and speak up for themselves, without losing friendships or upsetting colleagues.
Here’re 3 of my strategies you can use to break the habit:
You can’t please everyone – No matter what you say or do there will be some people you can’t please. It could be they’re having a bad day or they’ve had a past experience that’s affected them, whatever it’s not about you. Also, remember that you aren’t the most important person to them and their head is full of their own thoughts and worries. They will quickly move on from whatever you say or do.
Practise saying No – If you’re not used to saying it then this can feel uncomfortable, but I find these tips helped me-
Start with saying thank you that they thought of you or asked you. This softens your No
Say why you’re saying No, but keep it concise and you don’t need to apologise
Add how you feel as it can help with understanding and make it harder to argue with e.g. I’m feeling overwhelmed or unwell
Make a suggestion as to who or what else they could try
Feeling guilt after saying No is natural but don’t act on it instead remember why it’s important
Put boundaries in place. Work out what boundaries are important to you and stick to them e.g. Working hours, family time at the weekend, volunteering for one cause at a time, socialising once during the week
Challenge yourself to make today the first day you recognise and change these habits. Remember that you’re not being selfish instead, you’re respecting both your needs and those of the other person
“When you say “yes” to others, make sure you aren’t saying “no” to yourself.” Paulo Coehlo
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Why are some people more confident and courageous than others?
This is a question I regularly get asked and the answer is a combination of biology, upbringing, society and choice.
The choice element is the biggest influence on courage and confidence. Whether you choose to be positive and take risks or to stay in your comfort zone.
You can choose to build your confidence by challenging yourself, but you can also become more courageous by avoiding certain behaviours.
These are my top 6 behaviours that confident and courageous people don’t do:
They don’t try to please everyone all the time. Being kind and thoughtful is obviously important. But ignoring your own wants and needs to keep others happy will only knock your self-esteem and confidence
They don’t worry about things that are out of their control. Rather than ‘what if’ worrying about the future or being anxious about experiences in the past, which they can’t change. Confident and courageous people focus on the present and on things which are within their circle of influence
They don’t avoid new and challenging opportunities. This doesn’t mean they don’t have self-doubts or feel nervous. But they have the courage to know whatever happens they can deal with it
They don’t get stuck on self-pity. Like all of us, they do sometimes feel sorry for themselves. however, even when life feels unfair they are able to move forward
They don’t spend time with negative people. They realise how draining these people can be that constantly complain or see the negative side of life. Instead, they surround themselves with friends and colleagues who leave them feeling positive and energised
They don’t need others approval. We all like to receive positive feedback sometimes, but confident and courageous people have enough self-belief and trust to make their own decisions and stand by them
How confident and courageous are feeling today?
Choose one of the behaviours from above that you recognise and challenge yourself to let it go this week. You’ll be surprised at the positive effect it will have.
Have you ever had that overwhelming feeling that you’re not being your best, whether at work, as a wife, friend or mother?
That’s such a common stick that as women we use to beat ourselves. Expecting to achieve high standards in every area of our lives, all at the same time.
Logically we know that no one can be superwoman, but why do others seem to be better at it than us?
The solution, we’re told is getting a good ‘work-life balance’ But does such a thing actually exist?
I like to think of it more as making work and life choices.
These choices can vary from one month or day to the next. You may choose, on a week when you’ve got an important project at work, to prioritise work. But the next week to give more time and energy to your family or yourself.
We need to accept that it’s okay to prioritise our lifestyle or our work at different times and that achieving ‘good enough’ really is enough.
If you’re struggling to make choices then here are a few tips:
Put boundaries in place – whichever area of your life it is, decide what the boundaries are that you won’t allow yourself or others to step over. This could be not reading work emails at weekends, saying no to going out with friends to avoid upsetting them or putting an hour of ‘me time’ in a couple of times a week
You don’t have to be a martyr – Do you ever hear yourself thinking ” I have to do everything around here” or “I might as well just do it, I’ll do it quicker or better”. Then you’re falling into the I’m indispensable trap. Let others support you and trying asking for help.
Change ‘I should” to “I could” – do you really have to work extra hours to get your report perfect rather than 80%? Would it be a disaster if the family had a microwaved meal rather than a home cooked meal? Challenge your rules on what you ‘should’ do
Don’t engage in worrying – getting caught up in a worry spiral takes up on average two and a quarter hours a day. Just think what else you could do with that time!
Speak up – if your workload is too much, take responsibility for speaking up to your boss. If you need more help at home, discuss it with your family
Recognise when you’re struggling – it’s important for your wellbeing that you don’t push yourself, as it can have a negative effect on your mental health. Exercise, socialising and hobbies, have been proven to help with stress
By focusing on these tips you will be able to make make the right work/life choices for you.