The most common phrase I hear. Self doubt.

Do you have moments wondering “What on earth am I doing?” or observing a serious lack of trust in yourself? If there’s one term I’ve heard in abundance lately it’s “I have self-doubt”. Whether I’m networking, working with clients or chatting with friends it seems we all have moments of self-doubt running parallel with a case of the speed wobbles. Many of us become paralysed by it, leaving us running round in circles.

Self-doubt is defined as a lack of confidence in one’s self and ones abilities. So why is it self-doubt is making such an appearance at a time when we have content galore to help grow our confidence, positive mentoring a phone call away and app’s at our fingertips to solve every problem?

And oh the irony. I have been sitting on completing this blog for a good few weeks. Then it hit me. I had doubt around my abilities and experience to write about this topic. I finally had the realisation that much of this inner chit chat had no substance. So I did some research, delved into what I know from hours of coaching and here’s what I learned.

Self-doubt comes in all shapes and sizes. I’m not sure I’m smart enough to get ahead at work. I’m not good at maintaining friendships. I’ll never be able to reach my goal weight. But what it all boils down to the old chestnut, belief and fear of I’m not good enough. You are good enough of course but right at this minute you are very much not buying that story and instead choosing to not back yourself.

person-on-cliff-meditating

Imposter syndrome is a classic phrase closely linked with self-doubt. I feel like I’m completely winging it and one day everyone will find out I’m a fake. Wow, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that cracker! The ultimate in doubting ourselves at work, not trusting or believing in our abilities. Sure, there are folks out there who are totally winging it but for most of us we have the knowledge, experience and practical know how to be in a role. So why put energy into believing we’ll be caught out? Well, my friends it’s been noted that this doubting business also appears to function exceptionally well as a phenomenal excuse card for not stepping up, pushing harder or going further.

Is there a quick fix for self-doubt? Not exactly as it often stems from stories from our past that we’re holding onto. Whether they be real or imagined, if we’re holding onto resentment, guilt, shame for mistakes of the past they will all lead to self-doubt. Often many people fear they will repeat their own past mistakes or from something a parent has done. And as we know the more we focus on this fears the more likely it is to come to fruition.

In order to overcome self-doubt we need to consistently practice self-forgiveness and self-compassion. As well as doing ourselves a big favour – drop the judgement. How harshly we judge others is a direct reflection of how harshly we are judging ourselves. The same goes for those of us with perfectionist tendencies.

According to a special report Loving You in the spring edition of Wellbeing Australia , if you doubt yourself you are settling for less. To move away from this they suggest we put our attention towards self-empowerment. Acknowledge you create your world and own your choices – no need for external approval or apologies required.  We would also want to focus on self-expression – how open are you with your communication style? Do you let have a creative outlet? How authentic is it?

doubtThe way our minds are wired for survival we will always find a bit of self-doubt popping up but how much power will you give it?

It’s your choice.

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It’s all about the story.

Controversially, I’m not starting off this year discussing the craft of goal setting or how to be super focused for 2016. Rather I wanted to share some thinking around stories and the important role they play in shaping our reality. If you find yourself asking a rugby sized team for their opinion on a challenge you have or wonder why you keep receiving the same results over and over this may present some enlightening insights into how you can change your story to positively impact your internal and external world.

Personal branding is the latest in a slew of buzz phrases in personal development land. And it’s certainly worth a thought. In marketing we talk about positioning, leverage, engagement and targeting however a large chunk of a product or service’s success is the consistent story which is being told internally and externally. Our personal brand or story is no different.

As we are all very aware our thoughts and actions create our reality. If we’re not happy with the results we’re getting in one area of life, the answer is simple. Change the thoughts and the consequential actions. And as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog the story you are telling your audience is also the story you are telling yourself – only you are the person hearing multiple times over.

story

When we are ‘high on life’ from the potential of a new relationship, exciting career opportunity or weight loss achievement for example our flurry of positive energy is infectious. The majority of folk are drawn to our stories like bees to a honey pot and as Jon Gordon writes in The Energy Bus, those who are not are quickly dismissed as we float or fly between groups spreading gently or loudly our tales of success feeling confident, enthused and full of momentum.

However as we know life isn’t always like that. There are times when we might miss out on a promotion at work, a family member hurts us with unkind words or despite efforts our health goals are just not happening. We tell one colleague, we share it at home, next we tell a concerned family member and with some friends over brunch. Before we know it, we have a team of experts giving their opinion on our situation and we’ve given this story so much energy it’s has its own TV show.  This wasn’t our intention of course. We were simply after some insights.  But now the aftermath results in multiple phone calls to see if we’ve taken the advice, our instinct is clouded with judgement of others and we are becoming the starring role in our increasingly dramatic story.  It feels heavy, confusing and weighs negatively on our minds.

 

When our stories are having a negative impact we have a choice. We can choose a different script. Rather than buying into the story, we can choose not to give it as much energy.  We can decide to confide in the person who knows us best. Ourselves! Check in and query what is this actually about? If a person displays an attribute we don’t like, is this something we don’t like about ourselves? Are we sabotaging results by playing the lead role and what are we getting out of it?  If we want to air our thoughts and bounce ideas, choose only a couple of key people who aren’t going to turn it into an episode of Home & Away whether that’s a trusted friend, mentor or coach. And a final note own your story. Be wary of becoming a dumper, someone who offloads dramas onto others leaving them in the wake of our problems.

Let me be clear. This isn’t about being inauthentic and fabricating picture perfect stories of our worlds. Nor is it about suffering silently when we feel hurt by a situation and need help dealing with it. It is simply suggesting we become conscious of the daily scripts we are running, own them and be prepared to change course when they are no longer useful.

Some questions for you:

  • What is the main story you are running with right now?
  • How much negativity vs positivity is there?
  • Is it going to move you towards the life you want and make 2016 your best year yet?
  • Do you need to understand your story further and consider how it might need to be tweaked in order to move you forward?  laptop

As Rebecca Campbell wrote in Light is The New Black “She left the old story behind her and stepped into a new once upon a time”.

#11 inspiring views, reads & listens for the holidays.

Happy holiday season and if you’re down under hello summer! I’ve pulled together a holiday reading, viewing and listening list for when you’re relaxing poolside, on a lonnnng roadie or needing some inspirational viewing after eating far too much & need to get yourself up off that couch.

powerofhabit#1 Read: The Power Of Habit. My current read. Fascinating. Find out how the habit of brushing our teeth was formed and why fruit and vege are at the start of the supermarket.
#2 Listen: The Wake Up Project- Jono Fisher has several enlightening conversations with high profile Australian men about masculinity on 2015 and what it means to them. Nigel Marsh and Cameron Clyne were two of my favourites.

#3 View: The Skill of Self Confidence by Dr Ivan Joseph a varsity soccer coach who claims repetition, repetition, repetition is one key to building your confidence.

 

 

#girlboss#4 Read: #girlboss by Sophia Amoruso. A gritty millennial version of Lean In according to reviews. Santa is bringing me this one.

 

 

 

#5 Listen: – Ted Talk Radio on disruptive leadership features Sheryl Sandberg & Drew Dudley (the lollipop guy).

#6 View: 8 Ted Talks curated by Bono – there’s bound to be one in here to get you inspired for 2016. Ken Robinson’s talk about school killing creativity is thought provoking.

Bigmagic#7 Read: Inspired after watching her interview with Marie Forleo recently the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is on my summer reading list to gain insights into not being afraid to explore my creative side – stop worrying about what people think!

 

#8 Video: The fringe benefits of failure by JK Rowling. I can’t believe I haven’t seen this before. Inspiring.

#9 Podcast: The James Altucher Show interviews Mick Ebeling renowned entrepreneur solving big world problems – also check out Mick’s his book “Not impossible the art and joy of doing what couldn’t be done”. When does this guy have time to sleep?

#10 Video: In Oprah’s Harvard Commencement Speech 2013 she quotes one of my favourite sayings “this too shall pass”. Oprah suggests we build a resume about who you want to be and asks what is your story that will get you out of your low state. If you love O, you’ll love this.

the-power-of-intention#11 Read: The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer. Definitely for those very much into personal development literature. I’ll be reading this to expand my horizons around his philosophy of “You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are”.

 

I’d love to hear what you’re reading, viewing or listening to over the holidays – let me know what has rocked your world this year. Thank you to everyone who made suggestions for my summer list. Happy holidays!

Get your connector self on this summer.

Schmooze, hobnob, mingle, rub elbows with are all synonyms for networking. No wonder many of us avoid anything with the word network like the plague. But isn’t it simply about making purposeful connections with people? As we enter the festive season and our opportunity to connect increases five-fold I wanted to offer some useful pointers on how to make growing your network an enjoyable experience.

Network

Recently I found myself falling back to old habits at a launch of a new network in Sydney. On arrival, I took a quick panoramic scan of the room & noted many millennial ‘mover & shaker’ types. I then observed myself lurking behind a palm tree, obsessively checking my emails, accosting the waiter for hors d’eovres and ultimately appearing far too busy to start a conversation. Now, before you scoff I know for a fact I am not the only one who can fall into this trap. I certainly have extroverted acquaintances who bounce into a room with a ‘who will I play with?’ approach however I am constantly receiving feedback from colleagues and clients about how uncomfortable putting yourself out there can be. Susan Cain, the acclaimed introvert expert wrote in her blog on networking “I’ve come to realize that the problem with “networking” is not talking to strangers but rather making small talk with strangers—a subtle but crucial difference”. Universally we don’t enjoy the small talk however once we’ve made a connection the conversation becomes so much easier.

So here’s some tips to make networking or my preferred term connecting, a much less painful experience and ultimately very useful skill.

Before an event.

  • Your personal brand. Who are you being? A quick 1 minute check in pep talk to ensure your inner critic isn’t running riot & producing a million reasons why you shouldn’t approach new people. Do you feel confident? If not, recognise your inner critic at play and use the Thanks mind, but I’ve got this covered tactic.
  • Consider your wardrobe. What story does it tell about you? You may want to wear one memorable, albeit suitable piece of clothing.
  • Prepare your chat and do your research on your potential audience. Also having a unique spin on a topic is useful when entering new conversations. Listen to relevant podcasts or read an article which you can contribute to small talk where appropriate.

At the event. 

  • On arrival approach people on their own or groups of 3 – interrupting two people can be uncomfortable. In this video the speaker goes further to suggest open groups of three with at least one women are ideal as generally they are more inclusive.
  • Always obtain a new connection’s business card – dishing our your card is beneficial however you want to be in control of the follow up.
  • Use the exchange of business cards as a way to move on from a conversation which only needs to be five minutes.
  • Shyness can occasionally be interpreted by other people as a lack of professional confidence or experience – if all else fails, keep eye contact, keep your head high and posture confident even if you aren’t feeling it.
  • Obviously body language is important for everyone with research suggesting up to 55% of all communication comes from body language, 38% from tone and 7% from literal words.  How are you holding yourself? Are you open or closed off?
  • Approach each conversation without attachment – don’t put pressure on it to ‘be’ a life changing conversation but still be an investigator – you’ll either learn something about a new person or yourself.
  • Be present and an active listener. Refrain from thinking of how you’ll contribute when they stop speaking. Listen intently. Your connection will be stronger.
  • Authenticity is paramount. People can sniff out in-authenticity very quickly. Be confident, humble and focused without coming across as a ‘that’ pushy salesperson.
  • Be mindful of your story. When you’re on your energy bus, passionate and open the reaction from new connections is completely different to when your story is all about how business is slow or you’re out of control with too much on.

Post an event.

Connecting promptly after an event is essential however refrain from requesting a standard half hour coffee catch up. Show you respect your contact’s time. Be specific about what you would like to speak with them about, how long it will take & what you want to get from the conversation. A phone call within a week of meeting may be enough.

Building your network.

Connecting smarter is just as much about developing a network over time as it is attending events.

Be strategic about who you network with. Rather than a spray and prey approach, be mindful and seek out the key connectors and influencers in your area of interest.

Thank you

  • If you’re after an introduction find a link through someone you already know as an alternative to going direct.
  • Your current network is invaluable. How can you reward those who have provided referrals or linked you to key contacts?

A big thank you to my key connectors Andy Lark, Alice Moros, Mark MacSmith and Nikki Gravning for sharing your top tips on connecting smartly.  

Can you high five yourself?

When the All Blacks win the next rugby world cup  the Kiwis will have no problem celebrating.  When your friend, colleague, child or even pet has a success you have no issue applauding.  But giving ourselves a high five when we make it to a milestone & shouting “Good on me” from the rooftops? It seems to feel a little squeamish.

As The You Project turns one this week and LinkedIn’s constant alerts signal more excitement about the anniversary than me I questioned why is it that I felt so uncomfortable celebrating.  Particularly outwardly. Down-under we like to think we have a ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’  criticising any sign of a self-promoter however Tony Robbins who has worked with millions of people worldwide assures us we are not that special, this is a worldwide phenomenon –  we just have a good name for it.

Most of us were brought up not to brag about achievements and those kids that did were certainly frowned on. But why do we accept someone being proud of their achievement as bad?   Is it possible to re-frame our beliefs around this in order for us to display pride more freely?

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One of the most common barriers to acknowledging success is worrying about what people will think. But as Marie Forleo reminded clients in a recent vlog there are always going to be people who judge you. Key question:  Who are you living your life for? Are you trying to live your whole life not judged by anyone? Because we know that is actually not possible and attempting it is going to be very unfulfilling.  Draw a line in the sand & leave the naysayers who judge where they are – they’re not likely to be crucial to your success anyway.

Setting very high standards and the ‘I’m not enough’ syndrome also hold us back from celebrating success. “Once I have reached 1,000 clients or when I get the promotion then I’ll celebrate”. But this is a moving goal post. If you work like this, there will always be another goal to achieve and you’ll also miss out on the awesome dopamine which comes from acknowledging an awesome outcome.

How to say “good on ya” and reap the rewards:

  • Enjoying your success builds confidence, self-worth and creates a positive energy around you which people find infectious and want to get on board with.
  • Acknowledging your achievement inwardly by meditating, journalling or pondering as you exercise recalling HOW you got to where you are today. The lessons, the wins and the challenges you overcame along the way.
  • It’s not ALL about you.  Celebrate your achievements with those key players who helped you get there & spread the good vibes by asking them what they have done lately they are proud of?
  • Celebrating doesn’t have to be a big night on the ‘turps’ or a $500 day spa package. Come up with a list of small treats, activities or moments.
  • YOU are the key pillar to the success in your life. If you can’t say good job to yourself why should anyone else?

The YOU Project is still very much in its infancy. No bids for takeovers just yet. It’s been an exhilarating roller coaster ride of self-discovery, intensive networking and dealing with an HR manager, marketing and finance departments with different agendas has had it’s moments. However while there is so much still to accomplish I have made it to a year.  Every day I still feel so excited to work with my awesome clients and help move them to more fulfilling places. I get to learn and develop new inspiring content, create workshops and have some awesome projects in the pipeline.  A massive part of my year has also been reaffirming what incredible support I have from my network of mentors, clients, family & friends which has given me so many rewarding opportunities.

So I’m going to toot my horn this week. Toot toot.  I’m proud The YOU Project has turned one. I’m not worried if people judge me for feeling a bit of goodness. That is their choice. I’m walking the walk of what I spend my days encouraging my clients to do – take a moment to go “Yes, actually Bec, good work, keep it up”.

So what latest achievement are you proud of? Your task for this week is ASK 3 people what they are most proud of at the moment then share yours – a little self promo never hurt anyone. I want to hear about it!

2Finally, a massive thank you to all the awesome clients, mentors, family and friends who have been so incredibly supportive to me these past twelve months. I look forward to celebrating with you all soon.

The un-packing of self-acceptance

packI’ve noticed a lot of unpacking going on lately. Not the kind my Poppa knew –  the unpacking of his caravan and setting up of the campsite which invariably took a good day by the time he’d set up the awning, toaster, Nana’s gin cabinet and his beer fridge. Rather unpacking in the sense of demystifying a term, breaking down a concept or explaining an over inflated thought.

A mentor recently asked me to unpack my concept of self-belief, there was more unpacking at The Happiness & Its Causes conference than I could shake a stick at and I can only imagine the amount of unpacking going down at my old haunts of ad agencies,  telco and financial institutions.

So while I chuckled to myself about all the unpacking, I noticed it had sneakily weaved its way into my vocabulary. And I must confess I love a good process and unpacking has pillars and steps a-plenty!  So today I’m getting on board with the jargon & I’m unpacking SELF-ACCEPTANCE.

 

 

The Self-Acceptance Formula.

  1. Self-acceptance is an acceptance of your  self in it’s entirety (the good, the bad and the awesome) or Nathaniel Braden explains in The Six Pillars of Self Esteem “my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship with myself.”
  2. The Latin for the word “accept” is “acceptare,” which means “to receive, willingly.” Simple question – do you accept yourself as you are? Here are the steps to check if you do.
  3.  Do you know the difference between your ego and your unconditioned self? Your ego developed during your childhood to help cope with demands of being in a family, going to school etc and you learnt you needed to behave in a certain way to receive approval from your parents. Your unconditioned self is who you are without all the labels from the outside world.  To practice acceptance you must get to know and love your unconditioned self and not cater to the ego which will constantly be trying to be ‘fixed’.
  4.  How critical are you? We are usually our own worst critic (often misinterpreted as high standards) translating into you are not good enough which tells a very bad story for your self esteem. How judgmental are you? The amount of judgement we place towards others is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves.   Practice forgiveness and compassion towards yourself and others.  We all make mistakes and have parts of ourselves which at times cause us to feel shame but we are just human and to live a life where you never accept, learn and move on from these perceived weaknesses will keep you stuck in the brenepast.
  5.  Do you accept all of your strengths?  Most of us struggle to ‘shine’ at what we’re really great at because we’re afraid of who we might need to bare all. But accepting our talents be they a brilliance for logic, excellence for listening or being unafraid of vulnerability is an essential step for self-acceptance and will allow you to see limitations as opportunities rather than as obstacles.
  6.   “True self-acceptance is the realization that you are what you seek” Robert Holden. Make a conscious effort to put it practice TSAF (had to make up an acronym!)  & see the results. Right now acknowledge 3 strengths you have which have contributed to something awesome you have done in the last month. And equally practice a conscious acceptance of a choice or action which you haven’t always loved about yourself but you know is part of who you are. Note down 5 ways you are not being very kind to yourself at the moment and counter balance that with 5 ways which you can be.   Remind yourself “I will not criticise myself today” and “Happiness is where I am”.

If this all sounds far too flufforama for you that’s  o.k. but why not spend a day observing your internal dialogue & seeing how nice and kind you are to yourself. If you are that is awesome! If not, perhaps something to consider.

I’m running The Direction Momentum workshop again where we get a bit  more in depth on our good  self. It’s on Tuesday 28th of July down in Bondi.