Curiosity is my favourite behaviour at the moment because focusing on curiosity creates confidence.
It allows me to see things from the other person’s perspective and to question why they interpret comments and situations in a different way.
By depersonalising the situation it means I don’t go down the “it must be all about me” thinking route, which can knock your confidence levels.
I recently worked with my client Jane* on using curiosity to help with her work relationships.
Jane was worried about her colleague’s behaviour towards her. She felt intimidated and undermined by them. Whatever friendly or professional approaches Jane made to her colleague the response was abrupt and sometimes rude. That left Jane with self-doubts and worrying about what she was doing wrong.
As part of our work, I suggested Jane replace her spiral of worrying with curiosity about her colleague’s mindset instead.
Jane can never know what her colleague is thinking, but several possible scenarios occurred to her:
Was the fact that Jane had recently joined the team triggering her colleague’s own insecurities?
Did her colleague feel more important having worked there longer and resented having to bring another team member up to speed?
Was she worried about relationships within the team changing?
Did she have issues outside of work that could be affecting her behaviour?
Now that Jane has accepted she can’t change her colleague’s behaviour, she’s chosen to believe it’s not about her. That has allowed her to break free from the self-doubts and become a confident member of the team.
If you struggle with managing your relationships at work, then try being curious about the other person, rather than giving yourself a hard time.
Worrying what others think can really hold you back at work and in life, if it’s affecting you then do read my latest free download. Click the link below.
When you reach the end of the day and realise you haven’t achieved the things you wanted to. You’ve got a hectic day tomorrow, which means you’ll be too stressed to get them done, and now you feel full of self-doubt and anxiety.
Wouldn’t it be great to wake up the next day feeling fresh, positive and confident instead?
When you’re rushing around and unprepared in the morning, it makes you vulnerable to engaging with negative thinking. However, if you develop your own Confidence Boosting Morning Routine, even for just a few minutes, you can feel confident and alert.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Make sure your alarm is soothing or motivating. I know when I wake up to loud music or an irritating voice (that’s my husband!) That it will put me in a low mood
Drink a glass of water slowly. Not only does this rehydrate you from the night to clear your mind. It also slows you down and keeps you focused on the present
Avoid thinking about your to-do list for the day. This can make you feel anxious and stressed. Distract yourself by focusing on your breathing or creating some order, such as making your bed
Visualise yourself being confident and motivated. If you run a film in your mind of leaving the house and going about your day positively, your mind assumes it’s real and it lifts your mood
Look for positives in the mirror. As women, we often focus on negatives in our reflection rather than the things we like about ourselves, such as eye colour or our smile
Eat breakfast mindfully. When I eat breakfast I tend to be distracted by the family or by multitasking. Take the time to sit down properly and notice the smell, taste and texture of your food as you eat it. This keeps you present and has also been shown to reduce the amount you eat.
Do you have any other ideas on how to start the day confidently? Let me know so I can try them out in my routine.
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.
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
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.
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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