I remember back in my school days (and yes it was a few decades ago!) That I was told to work hard, to push myself to achieve higher results. The expectation seemed to be that I would always score highly in exams and that of course, I wouldn’t let my, teachers and parents, down.
Then I’d be rewarded with praise and validation, which made me want to achieve even more.
What I didn’t know at the time, was that having those high expectations. Whether they were my standards or expectations that I assumed others had of me, they were setting me up to fail.
Nobody can achieve perfect results or even extremely high expectations all the time. We are only human. That means at some point I would fail and experience my own and others disappointment. Something, I wasn’t used to or prepared for.
That doesn’t mean you should stop striving for goals or growing and learning.
It does mean, that the expectations you set yourself need to have a reality check.
It was thought that being a perfectionist drives you to deliver great work and achieve career success up to a certain level. At that point, visibility and confidence are more important and the procrastination and long delivery timescales can hold you back.
Studies have now shown that in fact, perfectionism doesn’t help you in your career at all.
Non-perfectionists can deliver at the same high standard as their detail focused colleagues. In fact, they also do it more productively as they’re not held back by procrastination, a fear of failure or spending extra time crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s.
That means that while you as a perfectionist spend time with your head down at your desk, worrying whether your work is good enough. Colleagues are building relationships, sharing successes and being visible. All the important elements for career progression.
I suggest you start to consider your expectations
Are they realistic, would you expect them of others and do they hold you back?
Ask yourself, what expectations a colleague or boss would have of your job role? Do they need your level of delivery or do you push yourself to that standard to feel secure and validated?
Instead, try setting more realistic goals for yourself, then if you exceed them it’s a bonus. That will give you time and energy to focus on self-promotion and relationship building.
Perfectionism is one of the subjects I cover in my book GOOD ENOUGH – A Career Woman’s Guide To Confidence, Courage and Credibility. It’s available for pre-ordering for the next 21 days only!
Use This Personality Test For Ideas On Careers, Relationships And Friends
I use a personality test with many of my clients when we are building their self-awareness.
I’ve found it helps them understand more about ‘why they behave like they do’ and gives suggestions of potential careers that would suit them.
The Meyers-Briggs test is a well-known personality test that’s used by a lot of corporate companies. It’s based on Carl Jung’s Four Colour Energies and was developed by the mother and daughter partnership of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs-Meyer.
Like every test the results aren’t completely accurate and you’ll find there are parts of the description that you’ll disagree with.
There are 16 different personality types based on 4 pairs of descriptions and the test aligns you to one of the descriptions in each pair. Making the final description 4 letters long
For example I came out as an ‘Entertainer’ ESFP and after reading the description I could definitely see some of my character traits. Things like; being people and feelings focused and not planning past the now and short-term pleasures.
Then there were other bits I couldn’t totally see in myself though, such as; being utterly social and all the world is my stage??!!
Here’s a simple explanation of the 4 pairs of preferences
People and things (Extraversion or “E”), or ideas and information (Introversion or “I”).
Facts and reality (Sensing or “S”), or possibilities and potential (Intuition or “N”).
Logic and truth (Thinking or “T”), or values and relationships (Feeling or “F”).
A lifestyle that is well-structured (Judgment or “J”), or one that goes with the flow (Perception or “P”).
I’m sure we can all think of someone we know who just seems to ooze confidence. Who seems comfortable in all situations and doesn’t appear to be nervous or self-doubting.
What is it that determines how confident a person is?
Confidence is multifactorial. The biggest influencers on your confidence levels are; your genetics, your upbringing and experiences, and the choices you make.
That means if you choose to take steps out of your comfort zone, if you challenge yourself and see life as a learning process you CAN build your confidence levels.
In the 10+ years I’ve been researching and studying successful and confident women I’ve been able to identify specific behaviours they avoid.
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. It might feel easier and quicker to say yes but tune into your intuition and identify what you want, feel or need.
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. Next time you’re in a worry spiral ask yourself can I do anything helpful about this? If not let it go.
They don’t avoid new and challenging opportunities. This doesn’t mean they don’t have self-doubts or feel nervous, everyone does at times. They have the courage though to know whatever happens they can deal with it. Be curious about new opportunities that come up and be brave enough to say yes.
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 don’t get stuck in victim mode and keep looking for who or what they can blame. Instead they take responsibility for discovering how they can move forward. Do you feel that life is unfair and it’s not your fault? You might be absolutely right at this moment but don’t let that stop you from looking forward optimistically
They don’t spend time with negative people. Confident women realise how draining these people can be that constantly complain or see the negative side of life. They surround themselves with friends and colleagues who leave them feeling positive and energised. Take the time to reflect on the people you interact with regularly. Are any of them drains rather than radiators? Consider how you can reduce the time you spend around them.
They don’t need others approval. We all like to receive positive feedback sometimes, but confident women have enough self-belief and trust to make their own decisions and stand by them. Ask yourself is your need for approval meaning you put others needs before yours?
That’s a lot to take in and might feel overwhelming so, choose one behaviour you’re going to change and plan one action you can make to help you.
If you’d like to fast track boosting your career confidence ready for 2019 then I have an amazing Career Strategy Intensive Day that is perfect for you.
Work with me for an intensive day and the month following it to transform your career so you feel recognised, valued and rewarded.
What’s your childhood experience of taking criticism?
Think back, do any of these sound like situations you were criticised in?
Shouted at for breaking something or making a mess
Laughed at for not ‘being cool’ or not achieving at school
Labelled on your school report as lazy or disruptive
Undermined for your ideas and dreams
These first experiences of negative feedback can really affect how we take criticism in the future.
I remember my older brother (by 5 years) being really told off several times by my Dad. That memory was enough to make me desperately want to avoid being shouted at by him and to not take criticism well all my life.
We often interpret criticism as being a rejection of us as a person rather than a criticism of a particular behaviour or action.
Or we may think we’re being personally labelled rather than being given feedback on our behaviour. For example; being criticised for not delivering on time comes over as ‘you’re not good enough and you’re disorganised’ rather than what you did was not good enough and disorganised.
How do you react to criticism?
Get angry and defensively argue back, do you feel the need to be right or to get your own back?
Think it’s unfair and that you’re always being blamed, but rather than arguing back, act as if you’ve taken it on board? Then later subtly let your anger out in little comments and barbs
Agree that you’re at fault and apologise profusely, whilst feeling you can’t help it if you’re not good enough
You may use some or all of these approaches and the key thing to notice is that in all of them the person doesn’t appear to have really listened and clarified what the criticism is really about.
4 Secrets to Taking Criticism Confidently
Listen carefully to determine whether you believe the criticism is fair and true,. Ask clarifying questions if necessary.to make your decision
Agree with the criticism, for example; “yes I did make a mess of that piece of work”. But try, to avoid over apologising or promising to radically change. Instead, think about how you could together negotiate a change. “I agree that I should have spoken up for you in that meeting, how could we ensure I feel comfortable to do it next time?”
When the criticism is untrue it becomes more tricky as there’re our memories of when we were a child and couldn’t speak up reinforcing our feelings. Plus if you’ve left criticism unchallenged in other situations then that is there too. Again the first step is to listen and clarify what is being said
If you feel unfairly criticised then it’s important to speak up rather than accept the criticism and feel resentful. You can do this with phrases like:
I really must disagree with you, that wasn’t my responsibility, so lets discuss where the problems came from
I’m really surprised you think that, can you explain how you got that impression?
Even if the criticism you receive is badly given, unjustified or given with a negative intention. You can still respond in an effective way, which allows you to speak up for yourself and maintain your relationship with the other person.
Criticism is a sensitive subject for most people and if you struggle to assert yourself when you receive it, do contact me for some support. You can book a free call at www.speakwithjo.
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When a client says “I need help with being more assertive” I’m always interested to find out about their current communication style.
Because what I’ve found is that we generally fall into one of four different communication behaviours.
I’ve given each communication style a descriptive name – which one/s do you resonate with?
She’s highly competitive and needs to prove her superiority
She over reacts verbally and possibly physically
She doesn’t realise how intimidating she is as people resent her but don’t usually speak up to her
She’s very passive and rather than speak up will opt out, avoid or run away when she’s uncomfortable
She has a victim mindset blaming others and situations rather than taking responsibility for her choices and decisions
She puts herself down and can be draining to others
She doesn’t speak up but is aggressive indirectly
She needs to control others and plays on their guilt to avoid rejection
She seems very nice but you can soon feel uncomfortable around her
She respects both herself and others
She accepts her strengths and weaknesses and takes responsibility for her actions
She’s not reliant on others approval so responds authentically
Do you recognise yourself and others in these descriptions?
To demonstrate how the different personalities might behave in a situation here’s an example:
Imagine you’ve come home late from a long day at work. Everyone’s at home, your husbands on the sofa watching tv and your kids are absorbed in various devices. The kitchen’s a mess and the tea hasn’t been started yet. How would you react?
Aggressive Amy – would blow her top shouting about how unfair it is and how lazy they are. She’d refuse to make tea and everyone would be upset and angry
Doormat Dawn – wouldn’t say anything but would mutter to herself about how they always take her for granted. Then she’d clear up and make the tea feeling like a martyr and swallowing her resentment
Manipulative Mary – also wouldn’t speak up but would show her anger indirectly through body language and slamming things. She’d clear up and make tea, either very simply or very late
Assertive Amy – would speak up calmly and firmly about how she felt and ask specifically for the help that she needed from them all
Can you see how the first three caused conflict and resentment but also didn’t actually ask for any help?
Amy’s assertive response, however, was to say how she felt, without blaming and to give specific details of what she’d like to happen.
It’s quite normal to move from one style to another in different situations. However, the Assertive Amy communication style is the most likely to avoid conflict and resentment and maintain a good relationship.
If you’d like to find out more about being assertive and communicating with confidence. Then just reply to this email or book a free Discovery Call with me at www.speakwithjo.com
Live confidently and courageously,
Background credit to Anne Dickson ‘A Woman In Her Own Right’
I work with both career women and entrepreneurs and almost all of them tell me they have a fear of failure.
The source of the fear does vary such as “I might appear stupid” or “I’m not good enough”. But for both groups of women, the feeling can be paralysing and cause procrastination.
That can then lead to us playing small, not moving out of our comfort zones and not taking up new opportunities.
If you’d like to conquer your fear of failure then I have 4 proven secrets to share with you.
Stop running films in your head.
This type of thinking is known as ‘what if’ thinking. When we play films in our mind about the possible catastrophes that could happen. The mind doesn’t distinguish between reality and our thinking.
The mind doesn’t distinguish between reality and our thinking. Instead, decide if there is anything you can do to prevent the worst possibilities. If not then let go of the film because it’s out of your control. Distract yourself or focus on what are the positives that could happen.
Surprisingly the students asked to be positive about the week had less energy and achieved less during the week than the control group.
This demonstrates that just thinking positively isn’t enough to achieve the outcomes we want. Research has shown that the best outcomes are created when we balance positive thinking with visualising the future obstacles and struggles we will encounter.
Have a go at visualising a situation in which you are afraid of failure. Imagine yourself now hitting an obstacle, allow yourself to feel the fear, and then see yourself carrying on anyway. Finally think about how you could overcome these obstacles, then see yourself succeeding despite these obstacles.
Separate Yourself From The Failure
When you’ve failed in the past, did you make it about you or the situation? It’s important to take responsibility for our actions, but that doesn’t mean we are the failure. It’s much healthier if you can separate you and your beliefs about yourself from what actually happened.
For example, making a mistake in a project doesn’t mean you’re stupid or not good enough. It just means you made a mistake and can learn from the mistake next time.
Feel The Fear (And Do It AnyWay!)
Even if you use the 2 secrets above you may still have the feeling of fear and because we don’t like to feel uncomfortable it can stop us moving forward.
Rather than doing something to get rid of the feeling, try sitting quietly with the sensations and deep breathing. Or imagine you’re sitting outside yourself observing what you’re doing. Then you’ll find the feeling dissipates by itself and the bodies natural calm returns.
Having realised that the fear is transitory you’ll feel more confident to take action next time.
Only 7% of any message we want to communicate comes from our words, so we need to make sure that we sound more confident at work.
Regardless of your role, having great communication skills only improves your ability to lead. It helps you better motivate your team, create a culture of open and honest feedback, and keep people organised and on the right track.
As someone who coaches women to make a confident impact in the workplace; communication and language are key to me. I spend a significant amount of time supporting clients to learn the most effective ways to convey messages.
I’ve noticed some of the bad habits people adopt in the workplace, and the impact that changing these habits has on both the outcomes of conversations and leaders’ credibility and confidence.
Here are three you can fix today to be a stronger leader at work:
1. Use “Don’t” Instead of “Can’t” When Turning People Down
For many people, saying “no” can be one of the most difficult skills to master—and yet the most important. How you say it is almost as crucial as saying it at all.
Most people often use can’t or don’t when turning opportunities down, but one of the two is far more successful than the other.
When people say they can’t do something, it shows limitations to their abilities. By using don’t, it expresses power in the choice.
For example, if you’re asked to take on a new responsibility that really doesn’t suit your talents or have any benefit to your career, instead of saying, “I appreciate the opportunity, but I can’t take on the extra work now,” say, “I appreciate the opportunity, but I don’t have the available time at the moment due to my other priorities.
By phrasing your response to sound more confident, you reinforce the value of both yourself and your work.
2. Stop Writing “Sorry for not replying earlier” in Emails
In 2016, journalist Marissa Miller tweeted, “Adulthood is emailing ‘sorry for the delayed response!’ back and forth until one of you dies.”
Since then, tens of thousands have liked, retweeted, and shared her post across other social media platforms. To say it resonated would be an understatement.
Why are we so eager to apologise for being a reasonable communicator? It ultimately makes people sound weak and undermines their authority.
Let’s ban the phrase. Instead of writing, “Sorry for not replying earlier” say, “Thank you for your patience.” Or include more detail such as: “Thank you for your patience while I gathered the information required to provide you with clear next steps.”
This one small change will enhance your perception as a competent, confident leader.
3. Tell People You’re “Focused” Instead of “Busy”
How often do you hear colleagues talk about their busy days?
While that’s unlikely to change, we can improve the way we describe our activities.
When people say they’re busy, it sounds like their lives are out of control and they don’t know how to manage their time.
Instead of saying you’re busy, clearly, state your priorities. That means “I’m so busy” or “Work is crazy right now” becomes “I’m travelling for an event” or “I’m focused on developing two new client proposals.”
People often don’t realize how the seemingly trivial things we say can significantly impact the way others perceive us. Making these small changes to sound more confident, will increase your capacity to effectively lead others as well as work alongside them.
If you’d like to discuss other ways to communicate in a confident and impactful way, do book a free call with me at www.speakwithjo.com
When we see other people’s successes, it can be tempting to believe that it came easily to them. Or that it was our bad luck that meant we weren’t successful too.
But the truth is that at the heart of almost every successful business, career or relationship there has been some form of failure.
You’ve probably heard the stories of famous people who talk about all the failures that they had before their fabulous successes. For example, the author J.K Rowling says:
“Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I suspected.”
As uncomfortable as it feels, failure is essential to our self-development and to build our confidence.
I have had my own experience of failures. Such as; when I’ve developed new coaching programmes or tried new marketing methods, which came to nothing.
However, from these setbacks, I have become confident about what I do and resilient if things don’t go well.
If you feel like a fear of failure is holding you back then here’re 5 reasons not to:
You learn more from failure than success. A study at the University Of Colorado has shown that knowledge picked up from successes is easily forgotten. Whereas knowledge from failures tends to stick with us for years
It teaches you how to get up again and be resilient. The more you fail the more your resilience builds and although you may not want to fail, you’ll lose that fear of failure
You get better at taking risks. Those people who are the most confident and successful have a history of taking risks. Learning to step out of your comfort zone and taking even a small risk is essential to building confidence
It reminds you that every phase of life is temporary. What was a big issue at the time when you failed, often becomes less significant as time passes
You can use it to review what is important to you. If you fail to get a promotion or to achieve your goals it can remind you of what is more important in your life
If there’s a goal you want to achieve or an opportunity you’d like to take, but you’re scared you might fail. Then remember that whatever the outcome is, it doesn’t affect who you are or your value to the world.
If you’d like to talk about your goals, your fear of failure or the confidence challenges you have then you can book a call with me at www.speakwithjo.com
We’re running up to the final few days of 2017 now, where did it go! However your 2017 went I’m sure you’re looking forward to a confident new year.
For some people, it’s been a really tough year, but for most of us, there will have been some wonderful and positive moments, along with possible setbacks and sadness.
Year’s end is neither an end or a beginning, but a going on with all the wisdom that experience can install in us.
Before you launch into your New Year resolutions it’s worth thinking about what this year had to teach you.
To help you with this I have 3 powerful questions:
What one thing did you do this year that you are most proud of?
It doesn’t matter how big or small this achievement is. Just remember to acknowledge your efforts and success, as that will boost your confidence for next year
Think about a mistake you made this year and what was the lesson you learnt from it?
Again the size of the mistake isn’t important, it’s about the changes you can take into 2018 as a result
Which belief about yourself are you going to let go of before 2018?
This means the story or belief you have about yourself. For example; “I can’t do presentations” or “There’s no point in me trying to make new friends, I never meet anyone new”
Challenge these stories and let the beliefs go. Then step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the results
See this as an opportunity for self-compassion (being kind to yourself) rather than using it to replay uncomfortable situations or to set high expectations for yourself.
I believe that setting yourself goals can be a great way to motivate and focus your energy as long as you don’t attach your self-esteem and approval to the outcome.
If you decide that your new belief for 2018 is to spend more time on self-care and self-compassion. Then why not start off by spending a day focusing on your goals for the year and learning new techniques to manage your worries and negative thoughts?
I’m holding a 1-day retreat on Saturday 20th Jan 2018, where you can join a maximum of 8 other women for a day of personal development and fun all in the gorgeous surrounding of Down Hall Hotel, Essex
When you imagine yourself as a really confident person, what does that look like? Does it mean your loud, gregarious, independent and self-contained? Or could it be quiet, calm, authentic and comfortable with asking for help?
For some reason asking for help in our society has become a sign of weakness. Why is it that we would rather struggle on with a feeling of overwhelm or stress, rather than turn to a friend or colleague to help us out?
One of the reasons, I believe, is that we like to give the impression to others that we have everything under control and don’t like to show our vulnerabilities.
One of my favourite guru’s is Brene Brown, a research psychologist in America who has studied shame and vulnerability. If you haven’t seen her Ted talk then I really recommend it The Power Of Vulnerability
I know in the past I have wanted to multitask and ‘do it all’. I’d rather play the martyr, working really hard to juggle everything and building resentment against others for not realising I needed help. When all I had to do was ask.
Now I realise that people love to help, it gives them a warm feeling and I acknowledge that I am worthy of receiving support.
It did feel scary at first as I found it uncomfortable to relinquish control. But by letting go and allowing others in to help you, gives some surprising benefits. I found that it strengthened my relationships and that colleagues found me less intimidating.
I highly recommend you dare to implement asking for help into your life. You can start by changing your mindset around what a confident person looks like. I believe that knowing when to ask for help and why you need it is a strong sign of confidence.
What you’ll also notice is then your priorities start to change, with less focus on being in control and more on you and what you need or want.
With that in mind, I’d really appreciate your help in sharing these thoughts with others. If you could share this article on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin I’d appreciate it.
What help are you going to ask for today?
P.S. If you’d like my help with your confidence, I’d love to have a quick 2omins chat with you. I’ll share at least one technique that you can use to boost your confidence immediately. Just email me here