Caring what others think, is a natural behaviour not a problem. It helps us to be accepted and feel secure in the tribe. Worrying what others think, however, is a problem.
The difference is when you care what others think, you take on board and respect their opinion, but you don’t let it determine your decision or affect your self-worth.
Whereas when you’re worrying what others think, you allow their judgement to define what you think about yourself.
Many of my clients tell me, they regularly worry about what their boss and colleagues at work think. Whether it’s about what they say in meetings, the decisions they make or how they compare. it can lead to a paralysis in your life. You may become stuck in a rut and unable to trust yourself to make decisions or take actions.
This can lead to self-doubts and stop you from speaking up or making decisions. You may then become stuck in a rut and unable to trust yourself to go for new opportunities or take on extra responsibilities.
With some clients, this has led to them ignoring their wants and needs and instead, they become totally focused on getting approval from others. (See my earlier blog on Helen the People Pleaser). This really kills your confidence and knocks your self-esteem.
Fortunately, it is possible to reduce your worrying and care more about your own needs, beliefs and desires.
A couple of quick tips to help you are:
Start being aware of 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
Being in a bad mood is a natural part of the rollercoaster of a human experience.
However, when you have those feelings of anger, sadness, hurt or irritability it can feel like you’re in the middle of a storm.
Well, you are. You’re actually in the middle of a thought storm.
Your thinking, at that moment, is like a low-pressure front moving across a weather map. You can’t do anything to control it, but you can manage your reaction. You also need to remember, that like all weather storms it will pass and fresh weather will be along shortly.
So how can you cope with those turbulent feelings of a bad mood?
Separate yourself from those inner voices. If you look back to when your mood changed, you’ll probably realise that it was when your thoughts started telling you negative things about what was happening. So it’s not just the circumstances that are causing your bad mood, but the story your inner voice is telling you about them. If you can, separate yourself from those thoughts by ignoring them, not engaging with them and not believing them. Then the feelings they cause will dampen down.
Try not to take it personally. If your bad mood is the result of someone else’s behaviour or words. Then try to take yourself out of the situation and think about how the other person must be struggling. For them to be behaving this way, their thinking must be very stormy and uncomfortable. If you can respond to them neutrally or with compassion, it will help your mood.
Slow down. A bad mood is generally very energetic, your mind is whirling and overthinking. Slowing down will help you to see any problems with more clarity. You could try breathing exercises, Mindfulness or Meditation to help.
Exercise. It’s common knowledge, that regular exercise releases endorphins, which boost your mood. But, you don’t have to be a gym bunny, any form of gentle exercise will help.
Do something you enjoy. This sounds obvious, but a lot of people when they’re in a bad mood will sit and stew on it. Instead watch a nature programme, phone a friend etc. Even if you don’t think it’ll help, once you’ve started, you’ll probably notice the bad thoughts have passed.
Before writing this blog I was feeling irritable about not achieving much today. It wasn’t until I was nearly finished that I even realised that those feelings had gone.
Don’t sit and analyse and feed your bad mood, get on with life, until the storm has passed.
I realise that happiness means very different things to different people, however when I recently read a blog about the path to happiness I was quite shocked.
The writer suggested that in order to be happy we need to build a picture of our perfect life and list the things we need to be happy. They could be an Aston Martin, a high-flying career, weight loss or children.
Now I’m all in favour of setting goals and having a vision or direction in life, but as I’m sure you’re aware, happiness doesn’t come from a relationship, a job or a car, but from inside us.
You may be thinking, that’s easy for me to say, but how do I actually achieve it?
The answer is to focus on 3 things – thoughts, feelings and your attitude to life.
Thoughts – We have tens of thousands of thoughts a day, that pop into our heads. some are positive, some are negative and some are “what shall I have for tea’. We don’t have control over those, but we can choose not to engage in the negative ones
Feelings – Our feelings are the result of our thoughts. In the same way as thoughts, they will pass and be replaced by a different feeling. So if at anytime you are feeling uncomfortable, sit with it and remember this will pass and you are still okay.
Attitude to life – This is about having the courage and confidence to go for life and take risks even when you feel insecure
When you work on all of these, you’ll find a greater contentment and happiness. Then you can still aim for that Aston Martin!
In today’s age of social media, selfies and celebrity worship, it scares me that our daughters are under such pressure to get everything right. It feels really important to me to be a confident role model, but how can I achieve that when I’ve got so many things wrong?
Then it occurred to me, that as young women are being bombarded with pictures of success and perfect looks. Having someone who’s happy and loves them but still has faults and flaws would be a great antidote.
This led me to really think about what messages about confidence, we could share with our daughters and how to model those behaviours, to give them the most impact.
I came up with these 6 ideas:
Share your failures as well as your successes. We have a society that isn’t open to sharing our vulnerabilities and as a result, we rarely talk about our failures. It’s important that we show young women that it’s not only okay but necessary, to fail sometimes
Talk about your role models. There are so many fantastic female role models, in almost every area of interest. Identify your role models and share their stories with your daughters to inspire them
Speak confidently. Show young women by example, that you can speak up for your opinions and ideas, and you don’t have to apologise or soften your words. Using phrases such as “I think this might be the answer…” or “Sorry, but would you mind if I….” just undermines your message
Take a risk. Let them see you take a step out of your comfort zone and hear you share the uncomfortable feelings you have. Tell them about the situation, and how the feeling does pass, to be replaced by pride in what you’ve achieved.
You can own and talk about your successes, and still be ‘nice’. We’re often taught in childhood that ‘blowing your own trumpet’ isn’t polite or nice, which means we don’t celebrate and talk about our achievements. By demonstrating that you can accept the credit, you are showing respect not only to yourself but to the other person.
Focus on being a role model. By changing your behaviours to give a positive influence to young women’s confidence, you will also be reinforcing your own self-esteem.
Do let me know if you agree with these ideas and have any more of your own.
I’m passionate about supporting young women to be confident and authentic, so please click the share button to pass the message on.
Apparently, an average Briton worries for 2 hours and 15mins every day. This adds up to 61/2 years in a lifetime and for women, worry levels are generally higher.
So what are we worrying about and does it help?
Further studies showed that 85% of the things we worry about never happen. For those that do, 79% of them weren’t as tricky as we thought. Which means that 95% of what you worry over is just exaggeration or misunderstanding of your thoughts.
Worry does have a negative image, but it’s actually a natural and normal part of everyday life and does have some benefits, such as:
It can signal to us that there’s a possible threat to our safety (emotional or physical)
Getting anxious can motivate us to take a positive action, or help us to plan for a worst-case scenario.
Worrying only becomes a problem if:
You have one worry that goes round and round
You can’t disengage or turn off your worrying
You constantly worry about small things
I’ve worked with a lot of clients who overthink their worry or have high anxiety levels. and these tips have helped them be calmer and focused on the present.
Is the worry helpful? Take a logical look at your worry and decide if focusing on it will give you any benefit. Will you be able to put plans in place to avoid the worst-case? Will anything change as a result of your worrying? If not, don’t engage with the thought and it will pass
Do you have any control over the worry? We often have ‘what if’ worries about things in the future over which we have no control. Do you worry about what others may think or the outcome of Brexit? These are outside of your circle of influence so let the thoughts go
Get comfortable with uncertainty. Not knowing what may happen in the future can make you feel uncomfortable. Stay with that feeling, by accepting the uncertainty and being cautiously excited you will be happier in the present.
Plan a time for worry. A study in the Netherlands found that if you schedule in a specific time when you will think about your worries, it actually reduces the amount of worry. Park your worries until that time and you’ll find that some have gone and others you can find a solution for.
Stay in the present. How often does your mind drift off to past experiences or future ‘what ifs’? By keeping your focus on this moment and what’s happening around you, you’ll be able to reduce your anxiety. Mindfulness exercises can help train your brain to stay present.
Do try out these tips and let me know if you have any of your own that work.
Please share this article with your friends and good luck for a calm and worry free week.
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?