Your values are what makes you, you. They're your inner moral compass and let you know what's right and what's wrong. They can be very powerful and when you go against them it can negatively affect both your mental and physical health.
What I find is that most people don't know what they're values are.
So if you're finding yourself conflicted in your work, life or struggling with stress related illness maybe it's time you make sure you're not fighting your inner moral compass on a daily basis.
A previous client of mine put it so elequently:
"I reached the top level of my industry by never compromising my values. Regardless of if that meant losing out on additional income or financial growth. For me success without integrity isn’t success at all, it’s sacrifice." Lisa Holroyd
Any business problem, especially for solopreneurs or small teams reflects a personal challenge. When you're not right, the business isn't right and how can you feel right when you don't know what's important to you?
Many of my previous clients have pinned their values up on their notice board at work or on their fridge at home as a constant reminder to follow what's important to them, they find it makes decision making a lot easier.
It's also helpful to know you values in priority order as this can help you make those really tough decisions. For example if making one decision answered one value but making the opposite choice matched another, eg tell the person the truth or hold on to the respect for a colleague. Tough choice but if you knew that truth was higher on your values list, you'd feel more confident to make that choice. So a priority values list can really help you in many areas of your life.
I have a really nifty way of finding out the priority order of your values using unconscious strength testing. Here's a picture of a group doing it at a workshop last year. It's great because your unconscious knows the truth and you don't have to force yourself to decide.
Your values are fundamental to your happiness and it's always really interesting when you suddenly realise how people with different values affect your interactions and relationships. I also teach you how to increase your confidence whilst also respecting other people's values. If you suffer with self-doubt or imposter syndrome, this can be a life changing revelation.
In summary your values are in integral part of who you are, if you feel hurt by someone else's comments, find it hard to let go of particular conversations or feel at loggerheads with yourself, your values will be to blame.
If you'd like to find out what your values are, in a prioritised top ten list and learn how to respect others whilst keeping your values intact apply for the Refreshed Minds Mindset programme.
Mindset Programme - Apply Here
For now, notice when something hurts, notice what you get on your soapbox about or what you can't stand in others. All of these are clues as to what really matter to you and therefore to the values which you hold dear.
Until next time
How come whenever we face something new we immediately jump to assessing the negatives eg what might go wrong, how hard its going to be or how many obstacles we will need to face? Today I'll be talking about why this happens and teaching you the art behind managing your mind so you can take back control and say yes to new challenges with confidence.
Why? because as busy entrepreneurs we have to step out of our comfort zones constantly, so these are pretty essential skills if you hope to do that without shaking, sweating, mumbling or potentially dreading something so much that you say 'no' when you really want to say 'yes'.
So there are two parts to the fear puzzle.
1) Our natural human instinct to watch out for danger
2) Our unconscious evidence (or lack of it)
Lets look at the each in turn:
1) Did you know that our brains have 5 times more negative receptors than positive? This is because we're a survival being so we naturally tend to air on the side of caution and watch out for danger. Which is pretty important, otherwise we would be stepping out in front of cars and jumping into hot water without first testing the temperature. This is why you're more likely to jump to what could go wrong and the obstacles you face.
2) The other part of the 'fear of the unknown puzzle' is your lack of mental evidence. Its reported that 80% of what we do is led by unconscious habit. If you’ve never done something before you have no evidence to tell you what it’s like, what to expect or if you are going to be any good at it. Add this to our survival instinct and you can see why it leads to feeling nerves, fear and trepidation.
But there are people who do new things all the time. They like to test themselves, they love the thrill of having a go. So what's different in their approach and how can we harness some of that to help us get out there more?
How to overcome your fear of the unknown
The wonderful Wayne Dyer once said, 'when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.'
People who say 'bring it on' when trying new things call it curiosity and adventure.
This is a very clever technique called reframing.
As I mentioned as business owners we’re constantly having to face the unknown so this is a really useful skill for you to adopt, practise and make part of your mental toolkit. For this reason I'm going to challenge you to start now and make some changes......STARTING NOW!!
Reframing the fear of the unknown
Pick something which you are going to have to face in the next month. One thing you would like to do but haven't done before. It can be big or small it doesn’t matter.
Grab a piece of paper and write how you currently feel about it. What do you say to yourself about it, what do you say when others ask you about it? Write it all down.
Next walk away and do something else.
When you come back, come back metaphorically wearing the hat of curiosity and adventure and rewrite how you'd feel about these two things from this new perspective.
Pick a few powerful statements relating to this new way of thinking as reminders that will also give you motivation every time you think about your 2 things going forwards.
If just knowing these statement in your mind isn't enough for you I’ve created a sheet of 4 'Reframing Cards' you can download for free. You can write out your statements boldly, one statement per card, and then display them or keep them close as a constant reminder of your reframe statements. Just click below and I'll send them straight to your Facebook Messenger.
Click 'get started' and then follow the prompts, if you joined my messenger before the download link will come straight up.
The more you can repeat your new statements the more the repetition creates a new habit and boosts the unconscious evidence of how you feel about it. This reinforces the positive receptors in our brains and helps us change the fear of the unknown into a curiosity for the new.
Let me know how you get on, I always love to hear how this technique is working for you.
Until next time.
We all know that dreaded feeling of fear, the niggling and creeping feelings of what may happen and how it's all going to go wrong or how you're not capable of doing something. Fear can hold us back from stepping up, stepping out and making our businesses what we truly feel we're capable of.
Today we're talking about how fear holds us back because self-awareness is the first step to making a change happen. I've created a 'Fear Analysis Exercise' which you can download. This will provide you with questions to help you to uncover your individual behaviours and beliefs about fear, because once you understand it, you have a better opportunity to change it.
Why we fear
Imagine for a moment a herd of zebras. They're on the move, looking for somewhere with plenty of food and water. Where is the most dangerous place in the herd to be?
Answer: On the outer edges or anywhere away from the pack.
This is the same for humans, we are naturally a pack mammal so stepping up and out makes us naturally feel we're in the most vulnerable and dangerous place. In modern life this manifests in our feelings of fear of public speaking, fear of success, fear of marketing to our fullest, fear of going to networking meetings, fear we're not good enough, fear of asking for finances etc.......
In business this is pretty much where we put ourselves constantly, out on the edge, standing out. We're pretty much always saying 'cooee, look at me!!' We're constantly creating new ideas, putting ourselves out there and thinking about how we can stand out.
Our mind's natural reaction is to say, 'what the hell are you doing'.......'sit down, shut up and get back within your pack i.e. your comfort zone.'
How fear manifests for business owners
If you're experiencing any of the following, you're experiencing feelings of fear:
- Deep down you feel you're capable of achieving more but you don't take action to make it happen.
- You're a magpie, constantly distracted by the lovely stuff rather than your to-do list.
- You don't put yourself out there because you feel you'll be judged.
- You procrastinate and those things on your priority list, never get to be an actual priority.
Fear plays a part in all of these behaviours.
I'd like to give you an opportunity to assess your individual behaviours and question whether these are done because of fear........once we understand ourselves we can then take steps to change it.
Fear Analysis Exercise
Today I challenge you, for the next week, to notice what you're doing, when you're procrastinating, avoiding, getting distracted etc and take a few moments to notice what your thinking/fearing at the time.
This can be so enlightening because so often our behaviours are habitual, unconscious and we don't actually take time to be self-aware.
To make this easier I've created a 'Fear Analysis Exercise' sheet which you can download and print. Use this to note down your findings and it gives you the really good questions to help you uncover the impact this fear is having on your decisions, actions and behaviours.
Enter your details below and I'll send it to your inbox so you can get started.
Need more help?
Sometimes we struggle to see our own thoughts and beliefs so if you need help with this exercise, get in touch. Often someone else guiding you and asking the right questions just makes everything flow more easily. I can also help you take the next step and work through the changes you'd like to make too.
Remember: Fear is our natural defence when we feel unsafe, anything you can do to make yourself feel more capable, strong and resourceful will minimise fear and even make it disappear.
Until next time
Why do so many people suffer from negative self talk, why does this happen and what can you do to change it? Just so you know I don't prescribe over crazy positivity like the world is amazing etc....I focus on the science.
Today I'll be sharing with you what shapes our self talk, the impact it has on our day-to-day lives, along with 3 simple techniques you can use to improve your mindset, energy and motivation.
The reality of self talk, a quick story....
I don't know about you but as a busy entrepreneur my self talk seems to never shut up. My head is constantly awash with a running to-do list and endless tasks.....then out of nowhere
A little voice says.....'Why are you bothering, you know you're no good at this.'
I try and ignore it, distract myself and crack on but not a moment later I hear......
'No, seriously...just close shop and get a job.........'
Before I know it my head is swimming in negativity (which I know is not good for me) and I feel like a failure....
Whilst this crazy inner dialogue continues I can also rationally think AT THE SAME TIME....that I'm being ridiculous and need to stop but it doesn't seem to make a difference.
Isn't being a human amazing!!!
Within about 5 minutes I can go from getting on with my day quite happily to a self-doubting, negative wreck.
Sound familiar? If so read on, I'm going to explain why this happens and then give you 3 tips you can use to change your self talk.
The science of self talk
I believe that a good understanding is the first pillar of building natural confidence. If you don't know what's happening how can you fix it?
PS. This is what most solutions lack in my opinion. They give you the tips but don't empower you with the understanding. When you know what's going on and why, you can implement the tips much more effectively.
These 'negative' thoughts emanate from our survival instinct, our basic need to keep ourselves safe. This is the fundamental role of your subconscious mind and in order of importance, keeping safe is above all else.
Our negative inner dialogue serves as a barometer reminding us of things which our unconscious believes we need to assess in order to be 'safe'. In the example I gave above the fear stems from feelings of insecurity eg I may look stupid, fail, lose or embarrass myself.
To keep you 'safe' your mind will throw anything it needs to at you to make sure you listen. And it's efficient, it knows what will have the biggest impact. It will not waste it's time with insignificance, it goes straight to the jugular. If you are majorly affected by what others think, guess what......your mind will play on that. If success is important to you it will say what if you fail etc.
Whats more, you are a survival mammal so you look for danger and threats more than you look for pleasure. Your brain is geared to highlight these 'negative' things, it's human nature. That doesn't mean those thoughts are true, it just mean's you're a human.
There isn't a single person on the planet who doesn't have inner self talk and we all have to keep it in check from this barometer of keeping us safe. You are certainly not alone!!!!
3 effective techniques for changing your self talk
If you're finding your self talk is overwhelming or having a negative impact on your motivation and energy try one or all of these techniques.
- Don't listen - often self talk is fuelled by our analytics. We don't just think the thought, we analyse it's meaning, which starts the snowball effect by giving it our focus our unconscious goes into overdrive. DON'T!!! It's just a thought, give it no power, no attention at all.
- Counteract it - Purposely force yourself to think about all the times the opposite has been true. Question the thoughts validity, don't just take it at face value. Often these thoughts are like verbal diarrhoea. They just tumble out and actually they lack honest sustinence.
- Lighten up - it's just a thought, that doesn't mean it's true. I call mine Mr Niggles, I give it a silly character, a mischievous personality. It's like a child who doesn't get it's way. I laugh at how awful it can be. Lightening it up can make you feel less drawn in by it.
I use all of these techniques both personally and with clients, they really work. The absolute key is noticing when you're doing it, when that inner self talk is happening. Only when you start noticing it can you actively choose to do something about it.
Notice it.....question it......minimise it........and then crack on...
I hope you find these practical techniques useful and I know they take a little practise so.....
If you'd like more mindset support book a place on my monthly Break Free, Find Clarity sessions. These give you an opportunity to learn even more simple mindset tricks and also connect with a like-minded community.
And if negative self talk is a real problem you'd like some one 2 one support with, book a free 30 minute Mindset Review and we'll have a chat and get to the bottom of it.
Until next time
Over 6 years ago I stumbled across a set of techniques which have ensured my sanity whilst running my own small business. It's called Hypnosis. Here I explain how Hypnosis works, how it can help and why I passionately teach it to all my clients.
They say running a successful business is 20% knowledge and 80% mindset, I happen to agree.
If you're fascinated by hypnosis and want to understand how it works, read on.......
What is hypnosis
When I say I'm a fully qualified hypnotherapist most people start backing away or say something like, 'Oh, don't look in her eyes'. Hypnosis has a reputation for mind control but actually the reality is something completely different and I'm pleased to say over the last few years people's perceptions are starting to change.
Hypnosis is actually something you do naturally every day. Have you ever.........
All of these are hypnosis.
So you probably enter the state of hypnosis 2-3 time every day, maybe even more!!
What's going on?
During your awake state your brain waves operate at a level which your conscious mind loves, it's firing on all cylinders but as you settle down and those brain waves slow down your conscious mind doesn't work so well. Instead your unconscious comes alive and starts processing and thinking. So during these times which I mentioned above you are thinking more with your unconscious mind and that type of thinking is very different.
In the 1950s they did some research and found out that your conscious brain can only handle 7 +/- 2 pieces of information so its capacity is very limited. In contrast your unconscious brain is like a library, storing all the things you've experienced, heard, seen etc. It's capacity is amazingly large and it's here where habits and unconscious actions are created and held. I read a quote somewhere saying your unconscious is 30,000 times more powerful than your conscious and I can well believe it.
Just a quick note on the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Hypnosis is the state which you're in. In the 4 situations mentioned above you are in a state of hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is then the action which is taken during the state of hypnosis. Effectively the therapy or changes or work which takes place. I hope that makes it easy to understand.
2 Benefits of Hypnosis for Solopreneurs
So what are the benefits of hypnosis to the Solopreneur? Well I've already alluded to one of them but I'd like to focus on two, which are:
1) Problem solving - sometimes you're looking at something so hard that the answers just become further away. You're ultimately using your limited conscious mind to find the solution and not tapping into the incredible resources held in your unconscious. By using hypnosis you can have more light bulb moments by having access to the unconscious library which has so much more resource at it's disposal.
2) Giving your head a break - we all know as Solopreneurs that we are constantly thinking about our businesses. Every waking moment is ticking over some element of your to do list, aims or issues. Hypnosis gives you time to take your head off for a little while. This is great for resetting the fight, flight and freeze instinct (more about your FFF Instinct here.) This calms your whole system and has huge long term benefits too. Great if you're feeling any anxiety, stress, pressure etc.
Hypnosis vs Meditation
So what's the difference between Hypnosis and Meditation?
None, they both reach the same state i.e. the state of hypnosis. Which is that daydreamy kind of state when you feel you're there but not really all there.
The difference is in hypnotherapy where something is worked on during the state of hypnosis. Where in meditation/hypnosis you're getting the value of being in that state rather than purposefully amending or assessing any files in the library while you're there.
Want to have a go?
If you would like to experience hypnosis I've created a 10 minute Rest and Refresh audio which you can download. It's designed to be listened to every day and includes affirmations to top up your good stuff, give you strength and refocus your mind and thoughts in the right direction.
If you would like my 10 minute audio you can download it here.
Hypnosis is an amazing set of tools which can really help you stay sane whilst also running a small business. We all need mental time away because it's not just a nice thing to have it's actually a powerful part of how your brain works. Hypnosis gives you access to the library and all it's resources, tapping into that can have amazing results for you and your business.
Until next time
Do you think you're going to get 'found out' or that you're only pretending to be the expert? Do feelings of not being good enough plague your day. Perhaps making you feel like you can't or shouldn't be doing whatever it is you do?
This is called 'Imposter Syndrome' and is extremely common. In this live video and blog post I discuss the causes of Imposter Syndrome so you can gain a better insight and understanding into what drives you to think and feel this way.
I believe that understanding why you do something is the first step to realising what options you have to change it. So keep reading or click the video and find out why Imposter Syndrome happens and some simple techniques you can start using today to overcome it.
Where does Imposter Syndrome come from?
This feeling of not being good enough or being 'found out' for not being as expert as you think comes from our primeval need to be safe and protected. By nature we are a pack mammal and deep within all of us is the idea that being on the edge or outside our pack means we're going to get eaten, starve and most likely die.
The very nature of having a business requires you to stand out, it requires you to stick your head above the pack and say look at me, look at what I can do and this makes us feel unsafe. This feeling of uncertainly is the route cause of your imposter syndrome.
Deep within our brain standing out sends alarm signals to say 'what are you doing', 'this isn't safe', 'you'd be better within the comfort zone', 'get back in the pack and shut up'. It does this by saying things which hurt. Whatever is going to get you to sit down and shut up the quickest, after all your mind's number 1 priority is to keep you safe.
So if you suffer with Imposter Syndrome, congratulations you qualify as a human!!
Why can I feel great doing my thing one day and then cower in a corner a dribbling mess another?
I know how you feel, on some days it's easy to stand up, feel confident and take on the world and others you question the very core of the simplest of actions and think you might as well just stay in bed. So why the difference?
It all comes down to thoughts.....ask yourself the following:
We work on balance and whatever gets the most attention wins. There's all sorts of things which impact on how we feel, from the weather and relationships to our experiences and daily routines.......some days are great, others are not but you do have a choice.
This is a great video by Todd Herman who coaches top atheletes to overcome their Imposter Syndrome. It's about making a choice over your thoughts and not just letting them have free reign. It's also about making yourself see that being on the outside of the pack isn't a danger but an opportunity and that you're strong enough, capable enough and will do perfectly well. The technique shared in this video puts you back in control.
I hope that you're starting to see that what you say and feel makes a difference and is completely within your choice. As I said before it's about balance and whatever gets the most attention wins.
I've found that achieving this balance requires a daily top up of your good stuff, so you can constantly readdress and choose to feel strong and capable. For me the ultimate solution lies in having a long term solution and a quick fix too.
With this in mind I created my 10 minute Rest and Refresh Audio, designed to be listened too every day and top up your good stuff, give you strength and refocus your mind and thoughts in the right direction.
If you would like my 10 minute audio you can download it here.
What are your experiences of Imposter Syndrome?
I love lightening up the pressures of life and bringing humour into the realities of being human, so what's the most ridiculous thing your brain has said to try and make you sit down and shut up? Please share them, share your experiences of Imposter Syndrome so we can all learn that it's a normal part of being human.
Mine........I'm just as bad as you, my 'Mr Niggles' sometimes goes on a right rampage and I think the most hurtful thing he can throw at me is 'nobody cares about what you do', or 'you don't make a difference so what's the point.' I'm getting better at nipping these thoughts it in the bud but I also appreciate it's part of being human.
I hope this helps
Until next time
Surprise!!! I'm human too. For years I've battled with a whole bunch of thoughts which make me feel I'm never good enough. What I've come to appreciate is that this is actually a very normal part of being a human being.
As humans, we have to look around us and take in information about our surroundings and understand expectations in order to know what and how to do things. We then naturally, inwardly compare ourselves against that to see how we measure up. How would you know what to do or what to learn so you can grow if you didn't do this?
But that natural human condition doesn't mean we have to be plagued by the outcome of 'I'm never good enough'.
I also think that culture has a lot to do with it. A stiff upper lip in England can make us feel like we're the only ones who feel this way and we must buckle up, stuff it down and crack on with it. In reality I don't know a single person who doesn't feel this way at some point, even really successful ones.
We also keep pushing, pushing and pushing to get better, quicker and the goalposts feel like they're constantly moving. Whether that's from ourselves or from our bosses or family. This cultural norm makes us lose sight of who we are and strips our ability to feel comfortable for what we already do.
You see, when you outwardly look, you're comparing yourself again someone else's highlight's reel. You've probably heard many times about the impact of social media and everyone putting out there, their best selves (sometimes it's even not true.) It's been proven time and time again that someone's inner world is a vastly different story. Don't compare someone else's highlights reel to your inner world, it's like comparing apples with oranges.
What do you do to stop it?
Over the years I've tried many tips and tricks but these simple steps have been the most effective for me.
I've found that in 99-100% of cases the verbal diarrhoea my mind comes up with is actually false when I've looked at it properly.
You see, most people let these thoughts just go without checking them or questioning their validity in any way.
So here's the steps I take whenever I feel I'm not good enough (and I still do sometimes!!)
Step 1: Notice it - the first step is becoming consciously aware of that thought or thoughts. At the moment you're unconsciously doing it, it just happens but when you start to notice these thoughts you give yourself an opportunity to think about it and perhaps even choose something different.
Step 2: Question it - where did it come from, what are you doing, is it true, where's the evidence.......asking yourself to question it has made me realise I'm being unfair, unrealistic or just down right unnecessarily mean to myself.
Step 3: Move on - once you have the new evidence, move on, distract yourself, or do something different. Let it go and move on.
In a real life example, this happened to me a good few months ago.
I wanted to create some new audios for people to download so I was searching the internet for inspiration. I came across this amazing website and the more I looked at it the more fearful and self-loathing I got. Within a few minutes I was ready to pack in my business because I'll never be as good as them, my brain went into overdrive and lashing after lashing I began to lose myself, my confidence and my clarity.
So what did I do?
I caught myself and asked what I was doing, where did that come from and was it true.
I re-looked at their website, looking at the 'about me' page and found out they'd been in business for 20 years!! 3 times as long as me at the time. I hope you agree, it's hardly fair to compare the work of 20 years to that of a business not even half that length of time.
I then shut my laptop, made myself a brew and came back to continue my task of creating amazing audios. Telling my mental 'Mr Niggles' to shut up.
Guess what.......It worked!!!
But I still have to do it over and over again. I can't get away from being human, sometimes these thoughts creep up on me, but I just do the same thing I did here.
Instead of thinking I have to be a shining super human who is always positive (PS that's not a real human) I give myself permission to realise these things happen, I've got the tools to handle it.
Want more help?
I love sharing these tips and tricks with you, I hope you find them beneficial and they help you put mind over matter and start to realise the power of what you're capable of when you put your mind to it.
That's it for now. Let me know how you get on with the techniques I shared. I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time
Today I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing Dorne McLoughlin, founder of Ribbit Media Solutions. In the interview Dorne shares how she came to me for guidance, as she wanted to “feel comfortable and confident” standing on stage and delivering a presentation of over 1,000 business women.
Dorne had all the knowledge to prepare an amazing presentation but what she didn’t take into consideration was how to prepare herself. In the interview Dorne shares how the programme not only helped her deliver this presentation, but gave her the tools for every presentation to come.
Dorne was a previous client of mine and I invited her along to the interview today so she could share the importance of preparing yourself to speak.
The first step to confident public speaking
Don't let nerves or fear hold you back, you can absolutely learn how to manage them. I love Dorne's attitude which means she's constantly stretching outside her comfort zone and reaching for the right people to support her to get there.
Dorne's Biggest Takeaway
The biggest takeaway for Dorne was trusting in the process and believing that it would happen
Here's Dorne, on stage delivering to over 1000 women......
The feedback from the audience was incredible and I'm sure Dorne is now equipped to do this again with even more confidence in her abilities.
Sometimes when we want to step outside our comfort zone the fear can be overwhelming but instead of saying no and holding yourself back, take Dorne's approach. Ask for a little help, learn some practical tools so you know you can do it comfortably, confidently and then you're much more likely to make that come true.
Until next time
Whether it's a new venture, a presentation, a job or a new hobby - our lives are full of new things, but nothing strikes fear into our minds like facing the unknown.
Today I wanted to explain why the unknown makes us nervous and share with you a few of my tips so you can have a Confidence Toolkit for those times when you're facing something new.
Why does my confidence wobble when faced with an unknown?
The reason why your confidence wobbles is because our unconscious mind needs the evidence to reference in order to determine our level of competence. It's only when you've practised something over and over do you have lots of evidence which supports how to do it. When it comes to facing something new there is no evidence to call upon and therefore your mind has to look elsewhere to determine our approach.
Your mind either searches internally for something similar or something it thinks is related which in some cases can make the situation feel even more confusing, or it looks outwardly for something to reference too. Effectively your antenna goes up and you start to notice other people doing it, or you're drawn to looking at books, videos etc looking for whats expected and how to do it......
Next it then depends on what your interpretation is of that reference. For most of us the outcome is 'I can't do this,' or 'I'll never be as good as them,' or 'I might as well not bother.' Which aren't very confidence boosting outcomes.
What do I do instead to boost my confidence?
I have a Confidence Toolkit which outlines the steps to take to stop the internal battles and readdress the confidence balance. I've put them into a little video which you can watch below.
The steps are:
1) A Powerful Stop
2) A few deep breaths
3) Change your language
4) Use distraction
5) Refocus the mind
And here's an example of how I would use these.
A few weekend's ago I was booked to go on a Segway Rally, I've never been on a Segway before. As I was walking to the start I started to feel my confidence wobble.....
What if I make a fool of myself......
Oh go what if I fall off.....
What if I break it and it costs me a fortune.
So I said a Powerful STOP. I took a few deep breaths. I changed my language to 'I'm looking forward to spending some time with my husband', 'I'm pretty sure we're going to have a fun.' I then distracted myself by admiring the beautiful grounds of the park as I walked. Finally I refocused my mind on the task once I arrived at the event start as there was a safety briefing to listen to.
Want more support to maximise your Confidence Toolkit?
I hope that's helped. Let me know how you get on with your new Confidence Toolkit.
Until next time
Today I'm talking about Fear. You know that thing which holds you back, that shaking, sweating, nervous, I can’t talk, get me out of here…...fear!! That moment when you wish you could shine but instead you’re a gibbering wreck. You’ve probably been told millions of time to take deep breaths and today I’m going to tell you why that’s not the best strategy and what to do instead.
Why do people tell you to take deep breaths?
OK so you’ve probably been told time and time again to take a few deep breaths. This is because it calms your central nervous system and send signals to your brain to calm down so it can be effective.
So why am I telling you it doesn’t work?
Well because it’s not the easiest strategy. Yes it can work but it’s not always big enough, it often just falls short.
Think about it. We all know that nerves and fear are our body revving us up for action. Imagine the difference between being revved up for action and feeling calm and at peace. That’s a pretty big difference and you’re asking your body to change that state quickly, and in a situation you’re apprehensive about……..the likelihood that this is going to be easy????
So I prescribe something which is easier, it’s a far better and more effective strategy and I’m going to teach it to you today.
So if you’ve ever been asked to do a presentation and suddenly lost your words, or if you’ve ever wanted to stand up in networking meetings but just blush and go to pieces, this is for you.
When does the fear first happen?
Think about when does the first nerves/fear kick in? That first thought that you’re not comfortable with it?.......
Probably days, weeks, maybe months before.
How many times since then have you had a thought or thoughts about how you don’t like it...don’t feel like you’re ready…...think you can’t do it…...might embarrass yourself…...etc. etc...etc……
Every time that’s happened you’ve instructed your brain that there’s something ‘dangerous’ going to happen and it better be prepared.
Each time you get a little more anxious, a little more revved up…...at bit more on edge and ‘ready’.
It’s not just that one moment as you stand or enter the room, that’s just the outcome of all the little things which have gone before. You’ve got yourself into that hyped up state of alert way before you actually arrived at the situation.
Trying to stop that reaction, at the end, in the moment is actually quite hard and although it can work it’s certainly not the most effective solution.
What do I try instead?
Ok so here’s what you do instead…..You create a reframe statement, something which is true but positive which you can say each time one of those thoughts creeps in. Here’s some examples you can use…..
The most important thing is that you don’t let that verbal diarrhea continue without question. Don’t let it creep in and ruminate. Stop it, replace it, time and time again.
Then when you get to the event, you’ll be in a much better position and then deep breathing has more of a potential to work because going from there to calm isn’t such a big step.
My passion is helping you understand yourself more, to understand how your mind works so you can then go out getting the best from yourself.
If you’d like more confidence and courage to go for what you want, to say yes to that situation, to step into that room, to stand and speak…...
If you would like some simple techniques to being a more Confident, self-assured YOU, techniques that will take you from lost and wobbly to feeling like you’re in control……..then join me at the monthly Break Free, Find Clarity meeting. Each meeting has a different topic, including:
I’ve loved sharing my simple techniques for helping you overcome your fear, I’m sure with your new found knowledge you’ll start understanding yourself and feeling more comfortable.
Until next time
Do you experience Public Speaking Nerves? If so you’re certainly not alone. It’s been documented that 75% of us get nervous and uncomfortable when having to stand up and talk in front of others.
I talk to you about WHY it’s very common to experience public speaking nerves and if you watch until the end I will share my 3 proven techniques that you can implement TODAY!
Does that sound good? Awesome!
Why do we shake, sweat and feel sick?
I created this 5 minute video to explain your 'FFF instinct' and why you shake, sweat and feel sick. I feel that knowledge is the first step to taking back control as once you understand it:
a) It doesn't seem so scary
b) It gives you a different perspective
c) It allows you to choose techniques which will work.
My 3 Techniques for minimising your nerves:
Here are my 3 tried and tested techniques you can implement today to minimise your nerves. These techniques can be used before, during and even after the speaking event.
Want to learn more?
My passion is helping people to understand themselves better so they can get the best from themselves and others so I've created a FREE 3 part video series which explains more about why you do what you do.
If you'd like to delve deeper into Confidence and Fear you can register for the FREE Video Series here.
Please also SHARE this post with anyone that you feel would benefit from what I have shared with you today.
When is it most beneficial for someone to seek help rather than having to deal with their issues by themselves?
So many people stuggle along in silence, reaching out for every self-help solution they can find. Some people find their answers in self-help solutions whilst others still struggle along afraid to ask for help. So how do you know when to tackle an issue yourself and when to seek help? I have a little analogy for you today which will make that decision a little easier.......
When do you know you need to call a plumber?
It's usually when you have a leak and you can't or don't have the expertise to fix it. You could go for a DIY solution, get the parts you need and read up about what you need to do. For some this fixes the issue and if you do all the steps right it works out fine. Or you might just decide it's beyond your capability and you're better to just let the expert do it. I guess it depends on the size of the leak and what your experience of dealing with leaks is......
In my opinion the same principle applies to your mind. There are loads of self-help books out there, and many people overcome, 'fix' and deal with things perfectly well themselves. Others decide for many reasons to get an expert in.
Expert vs Self-Help solutions
I often describe myself as having a massive treasure trove of tried and tested tools and techniques. I've learnt over the years what works and what doesn't so I can probably support you, or your team to achieve your outcomes quicker but I also appreciate the benefits of self-help solutions because these can give you bite sized information as and when you need it. For me, the most important part of this debate is always getting you to your outcome. The solution may even include a bit of both......with self help and expert support.
Personally, I really don't understand why people feel embarrassed or somehow broken when it comes to their mind, just like the plumbing you just don't have the expertise to use it. If you had an issue with anything else you'd say, 'I don't know how to do that, lets get the expert in' in my opinion your mind is no different.
Often when working with clients I see so many light bulb moments, there's lots of benefits to working things through out load. Often thoughts sound different and give you insights which you hadn't achieved on your own. I find talking and guided quiet reflection are such powerful parts of learning.
When I set up Refreshed Minds I created 4 pillers which represent how every person I support will be treated I think the first pillar - Positive Regard really highlights this point. (if you want to know all 4 you can do so here) I believe that everyone is doing the best they know how to do, you're not stupid or useless..........just doing your best with a tool you were probably never taught how to use. I always start with that perspective. I just know lots of stuff which can help and I'm happy to share it with you.
Does it matter which you choose?
Whether you choose a DIY approach or you decide to call in the expert it really doesn't matter so long as that solution gets you, or your team, to the outcome you want. If you ever feel it's beyond your expertise get in touch, I have loads of tools and techniques which can help and I'm always happy to share them.
If you would like some more free self-help support I share lots of free articles on the website packed with tips and hints you can try.
Lets stop debating how you do it, deep down you know if your self-help approach is enough or if you'd get further and quicker with the support of an expert. For me the decision really is as simple as deciding to call in the plumber.
Until next time
Why do so many people suffer from confidence issues and as a result, hold themselves back from living to their full potential?
The 2 reasons people hold themselves back
1) The outward reason.
2) The inward one.
I'll start with the latter, the Internal Reason:
We have an internal world which is made up of our experiences, learnings, beliefs etc. By design we are survival beings so we'll tend to tell ourselves all the reasons why we can't, shouldn't and aren't able to do things which either contradict or threaten that internal world of experiences, learning and beliefs because that keeps us 'safe'. Examples may be........
Whatever has gone before shapes our perceptions of anything which happens now. We look to our internal understandings to gain reason which helps us decide how to interpret the world. Everything is learnt and that shapes who we are and what we do.
Then we have the Outward Reason:
Lets talk about the outward reason...as a human being we naturally compare ourselves to our outside world, this gives us a measure to work out how we rate against that comparison e.g. if you wanted to get fit and were interested in body building. You may start by watching the body building competitions.
Or if you want to do well in meetings you'll start paying attention to how others conduct themselves in similar meeting situations.
This gives you an understanding of the comparison, what it looks/feels like so you can assess how you measure up.
How do these two reasons create a lack of confidence?
Depending on how you internally assess how you measure up to that outward comparison creates the feeling of how confident or not confident you feel. Let me give you an example:
Imagine you've just been asked to take the lead in a project at work........go on....just take a minute to imagine that right now........Ok how do you feel? Whats your head telling you??...At lightening speed you'll have already evaluated that outward world expectation 'to lead a project' and internalised yourself against that comparison based on your experiences, learnings and beliefs.
As an additional side note now-a-days there's so much information at our fingertips sometimes when people research the outward comparison that task alone can feel overwhelming and make our confidence wobble because we get so much input information it becomes confusing.
So what holds us back from living life to our full potential?
What holds us back is a combination of the outward comparison and the internal interpretation of that comparison.
- If we compare ourselves favourably and/or find that comparison motivating we will no doubt describe ourselves as having and feeling confident. In the example above if we deem ourselves ready to lead a project or capable of doing a good job we'll more than likely feel confident to say yes.
- Equally if we compare ourselves and we feel we fall short or will never be able to reach that goal or even that our experiences, learnings and beliefs are different we will ultimately describe ourselves as being not confident. Using the example above if we deem we're too shy, have no experience of leading or see someone else who you feel does it better, we'll feel a confidence wobble and probably struggle.
In my experience people tend to do more of the latter.
The first step to improving your confidence is to notice your thoughts. Currently your mind performs this outward/inward evaluation unconsciously. Whenever you notice your confidence struggle, stop and ask yourself, what did I just do? How did I evaluated the outward and inward elements of this particular situation?
Once you notice what you did, you then have the opportunity to decide if it was helpful or not. It's so much easier to change something once you're consciously aware of what you're doing.
A final note: Remember you are a learning being and you can improve, move and shape your mind (its called Neuroplasticity), just because you experience things one way now doesn't mean you can't learn another.
Have a great week.
P.S. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and helping people understand themselves better, there's nothing quite like the atmosphere at my confidence workshops where we're all learning together. If you would like more support the details of the next workshop can be found here.
Did you know we have 5 times more negative receptors in our brains than positive ones? This is by design and there's nothing you can do about that. We are a survival animal.......and for that we need those 'negative' receptors to guide us and keep us safe.
But you may be thinking 'what the hell has that got to do with me feeling not good enough?'
Good question, stick with me this will all make sense.......
Lets take the world of social media where most people display our greatest moments of happiness and demonstrate to the outside world how exciting our lives are.
This gives your brain something to compare your life to.......so after seeing that you'll immediately assess your world against the comparison. Our negative receptors aren't going to naturally pick up on the good stuff now are they. No.........we notice all the gaps e.g. where our lives don't measure up, or how our world differs........we compare our lives to theirs and because of those receptors the outcome is usually 'negative'. Even if it's positive there's usually an underlining uncertainty or uncomfortableness which comes back and haunts you later.
This is exactly the same in a team meeting where you compare your world to what everyone else is doing, or when you're in a friendship group or social gathering......it even happens when we're out shopping or even watching TV.
As humans we naturally strive to be our best, we strive to be happy. So these comparisons make us constantly assess ourselves which can make our confidence and self-esteem wobble.
(There are lots of other factors which can come into play but this gives you a basic introduction which can help you to make progress and overcome that negative bias.)
So what do I do about it?
First you need to understand that this is human nature. You're not mean, unsympathetic or broken....it's just you being human by design.
Next.....now you know that you can keep yourself in check. Just because this is the way you are by design doesn't mean you are at liberty to it. You have those positive receptors too, you just need to give them more punch to make them win. The positives have to be times'd by 5 in order to have the same effect. So......
How often do you top up your good stuff?
If your head is swimming with the negatives and you're constantly feeding that with more negatives, topping up your good stuff allows you to change your focus and finally let that positive balance win. You have to have 5 times more positive things to have even the same impact as 1 negative.
3 ways to top up your good stuff
Here's my 3 ways which you can use today to top up your good stuff:
1) I'm taking part in the #100happydays challenge, the idea is to force you to notice each day things which make you happy and take a photo of them. Those things are there, you just don't naturally look for them. Why don't you join in?
2) Say nice things to yourself. It doesn't have to be massive, self-indulgent stuff, just little things which you've done well, trust me it will make a massive difference. Give it a go!!
3) Have a treat and allow yourself to actually enjoy it. No guilt, no shame....just do something you enjoy and really take time to soak up that good feeling.
If all else fails, or you just want someone to do it for you download one of my Pick Me Ups. These are packed full of the good stuff all you have to do is listen.
Remember: Feeling and thinking these things is normal, but that doesn't mean you're at their liberty. Top up your good stuff often and you'll soon feel a change.
Want more Am I Normal articles?
This article is the last in my 'Am I Normal' series. I've covered 4 more topics in this series so if you'd like more tips, support and advice here's the links:
What Is Normal
The Little Known Side Effect of Chasing your Dreams and How to Avoid it
Does Everyone Have These Different 'Parts' Battling Inside their Heads?
Gratitude, am I doing it right and should I even care
I hope this series has allowed you to breath a sign of relief and realise you're more normal than you think you are.
Until next time
Does everyone have voices in their heads?
YES......and it's completely normal!!!! Even more than that it's an important part of how we function.
Everybody has these internal battles with themselves and sometimes it's not just two 'parts' of you involved in the debate but 3 or 4. And yes these parts can be nasty, very nasty in fact........often they say things which you would never say out loud. (I think we've all had one or two of those kinds of thoughts.......)
Even the nasty ones?
These nasty thoughts are also normal!!! Your subconscious does not work with the same logic or reason that your conscious mind does. Your subconscious is often much more creative and imaginative. Equally that doesn't mean that the thoughts are like cartoons, sometimes they can feel very real.
I often find that people who are gifted with an amazing creative and/or visual ability have the power to conjure up some amazing things but thats not to say we don't all have the capability....we do, but some people just have talents which mean they can be amazingly good at it.
Why do we do it?
In my experience there's three reasons.
1) Gathering of evidence - Whenever we do something our subconscious gathers the evidence about that thing to help us make our decisions. It doesn't just gather some of the evidence, it gathers all of it. If you're weighing something up it will pull evidence not only from your life experience, but also what you've seen, heard and been told. It doesn't sieve out the good and bad, it just starts debating all of it.
2) Creative play - So much of our time is spent towing the line, being logical and doing as we're told our minds like to break free, be creative and be allowed to use it's amazing powers. This doesn't mean those thoughts are true, far from it....It's actually an amazing way of dealing with the pressure of life by breaking free for a while. Is also a great way of learning, sometimes throwing random things together helps us create a new answer. We do this naturally as kids. This creative play is us doing the same as an adult.
3) The feeling of safety - Our subconscious mind's number 1 purpose is to keep us 'safe'. That safety is derived from whatever your life evidence has built up. Our evidence tells us what we deem as 'safe' and our subconscious will help us adhere to that using it's very best of abilities. If you are a creative thinker chances are it will come up with lots of creative images which will absolutely make you never want to do 'whatever it is' again. Congratulations, it has effectively kept you 'safe'. Hoorah!!
But what happens when you want these thoughts to go away?.........
My top tips for stopping unwanted inner battles.
There are a few different things you can do but first you must understand this....
These thoughts are not real, they're just conjured up from our wealth of experience and wonderful imagination.
Once you truly accept the premise in bold above these top tips become a whole lot easier. Here's two of the ways you can stop these inner battles:
- Thought stopping - Next time a thought pops into your head, catch yourself doing it, say STOP and redirect your thinking to something else, then fully immerse yourself in the new thing. You may be surprised at how quickly your mind moves on.
- Accept and laugh - Sometimes it's good to let your head free and be intrigued about the wonderful, amazing, creative rubbish it creates. Once you become detached from it you can actually laugh at how unbelievably detailed and extreme it can be. I wrote a whole blog on this called Mr Niggles and the Daily Insults.
There are other ways you can handle these inner battles too but these are a great way to get you started. If these don't work for you and you'd like more help get in touch.
I hope that's helped and remember, you are an amazingly, gifted and talented being. Stop being scared about how amazing your mind can be, step back and you may even start to enjoy it.
Until next time
Do you battle with the ifs, should and aughts in your life? How does what you believe shape your life?Do you believe you will be less fit as you grow older, or you're no good at being creative for example...........my question today is what is normal and is it possible to change what you think is normal??
If you're anything like many of my clients you'll think that somehow you're broken or wrong or not as good as them. I'm wondering today whether the battle you're facing right now is with that same challenge? Are you asking yourself if what you're doing (or want to do) is right? Are you wondering whether how you think/feel and behave is normal?
Well today I want to share with you the understanding I've gained from my experience. This is the same explanation I share with my clients........ and it always seems to help. Here's my first question to you........
Is normal the same for everyone?
Ok so you'll probably read that and say of course not!!! Because everyone is different, right? Next question.......
Where does your understanding of what is 'normal' come from?
What you perceive as normal comes from your evidence. The experiences, knowledge and understanding you've gained throughout your life. All this evidence is stored in your unconscious and underpins the very fabric of your being. It's this evidence which drives what each person perceives as 'normal' and since each of us experience different things in our lives, each person's perception will be different.
Why do I feel I'm not normal?
Often we start questioning ourselves when something is outside of our comfort zone, when we're trying to do something which isn't currently within our evidence. Here's some examples to highlight what I mean, maybe you can relate:
- You want to do something different from what your parents taught you, it feels hard to do.
- You compare yourself to someone else and begin to wonder if we're right or wrong.
- You see something which someone else does and want to do it too but doubt if you can.
- You feel different in comparison to your environment (somehow you feel you don't fit.)
There are many more, these just give you an idea. Ultimately we start to have a wobble when there's a mismatch between what we perceive as our 'normal' (in our head) and the thing we are wanting to do/achieve.
The truth is......exactly what you answered to the 'is normal the same for everyone' question above. Everyone has different evidence so whats normal to one person is not normal to someone else.
Who is right?
I think one of the best solutions to letting go of the pressure and stress you feel is to try to let go of the idea of 'normal'. The concept is not real and nobody's normal is any more right than anyone elses.
The question isn't whether you are normal or not, the question you're asking yourself is either one of the following:
1) Do other people feel/see/act the same as me? - The answer to that is always yes. Nobody suffers alone. There are plenty of people out there going through the same as you, thinking the same as you, feeling the same as you. You are not alone!!!
2) Is it possible for me to do what someone else does? - The answer is always yes, it's possible...but don't expect to do it naturally, you'll have to learn how to do it, especially if it's not currently something which is part of your evidence. That doesn't mean you can't, it just means you'll have to learn how.
- The concept of 'normal' is a false one which creates unnecessary pressure and anguish.
- You are normal - your normal is created from your evidence, experience and life, everyone's will be different.
- Nobody's normal is more right or wrong when compared to yours, its just different.
Want more evidence to challenge your normal?
Have a look at the Refreshed Minds Facebook page where I often share posts which highlight what happens when you stop believing in the concept 'normal'.....people running triathlons in their 80s, people who were once told they weren't any good having amazing success, people taking on challenges for charity. It's amazing what you can achieve when you stop asking the question 'am I normal' and start being free to be your best self.
Until next time
Oh, who are you kidding you're no good at that!!!! Screamed my brain because I decided to try something different.......followed by, 'you're going to make yourself look like an idiot'......'what will your friends think' and 'don't kid yourself, you'd be best just giving up now.' Does any of this sound familiar??
Good, cause this is me.....and pretty much every human being at some point. We humans are terrible for it and some of us could be Olympic champions. Ever had just one thought and bam 2 minutes later you're useless, not good enough, a waste of space with a massive confidence issue who might as well drown yourself in chocolate, alcohol and self-pity. Pass me the blanket and a soppy girlie movie!!!
STOP!!!!!! What?????? Have you actually ever questioned ANY of these statements whizzing around your head??..........
- Who says you're no good........you haven't even tried it yet so how could you know you're no good at it?
- Who says looking like an idiot is necessarily a bad thing or that others are even going to care enough to be watching.
- And go on..........actually WHAT will your friends think??? Probably 'good on you' if you actually asked them.
- And which kid did you ever know who fell over umpteen times and said, nah this walking thing isn't for me???? To master anything takes practise.
Our heads are terrible at spouting verbal rubbish and we never question it. We just take it as gospel and crawl back under our duvets too ashamed to come out, thinking we have a massive self-confidence issue.
How to Squash that Self-Doubt
The answer to overcoming self-doubt is to never let those thoughts go unchecked. Ask yourself, is that true or say the statement out loud - if it sounds ridiculous that's because it is!!! Think 'would I say this about a friend?' If not what right do you have to say it about you?........Do something, anything to show yourself that what your brain is saying is just verbal rubbish. Nothing more, nothing less.
The seriousness of Self-Doubt
Really???? When did everything get so serious!!! The challenge, as I see it, is that people take this rubbish too seriously and the trick is to lighten up. Laugh at how creatively appalling your mind can be, how mischievous and cheeky. It's like a small child trying to get your attention and seeing how far it can go.
The problem is your mind knows you better than you know yourself.....it knows exactly what will hurt, what will play on your biggest insecurities and it uses them to its best advantage......THAT DOESN"T MEAN IT'S TRUE!!!! Don't believe me......phone a friend.
A trusted friend knows you best
Sometimes you just can't see the wood for the trees and you need someone to give your self-doubt a little perspective. A trusted friend can help so give them a call or go for a coffee. They can see you better than you can see yourself. WARNING: They'll probably laugh and say......really!? You're kidding right. Do not be alarmed, they are actually telling you the truth.
What you see about yourself is often completely different to what other people see. If you could see yourself through someone else's eyes you wouldn't worry half as much.
If you are suffering from terrible self-doubt:
1) Question those inner statements, don't let them go unchecked.
2) Lighten it up - everyone has those moments and it's refreshing to marvel at how creatively mischievous your mind can be.
3) Ask a friend - they know you best
And finally, move on.........there is such a thing as too much time on our hands, if we have too much time to think our brains work some amazingly appalling magic. Find a hobby, get out of the house.....switch your attention, just don't give it time to think so much.
I hope this helps you feel better and gives you some practical ways to squash that self-doubt. If you'd like more help understanding how your brain works watch my free video series there's even more support for you there.
Remember: Feeling self-doubt is a normal part of being human, the question is 'is what you're telling yourself actually the truth?'
If you have a way of conquering self-doubt which has worked for you, why not share it so others can benefit. I always love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time
Does your imagination impact your feelings? Are your fears real or imagined? Today I discuss the power of your imagination and ask.....do you (like so many others) use it to create evil or to generate good? And, how can you use it better??
I've always been fascinated by the mind and like to learn more about how and why we do things. My friend gave me a book by Helen Graham (The Magic Shop) which talks about Imagination and Healing. It's been a real fascinating read and my treatment rooms I've often been surprised by the amazing impact people's imaginations can have. I really think we don't give our imagination enough credit in western society.
Many people I speak too see their imagination as childish and something which they were told to grow out of and were told over and over to 'grow up'. Some of my other friends are artistic, creative types who love nothing more than diving into their imagination and harnessing the best it can create.......but what impact does our imagination have on our confidence?
Does your Imagination have an Impact on Your Confidence?
Your imagination can really be your best friend or your worst enemy. The roots of self-doubt and niggling feelings of worthlessness often stem from fear, which is your imagination's perception of what could/may happen.
The result of this imaginative process is often the phrase, 'I can't do it!!'. But really it's just your interpretation of the situation. Let me explain......I'm sure you've experienced this.......within two seconds your brain goes from calm to 'oh my what if this, this or that happens,' with each thought adding another layer of terror. Each one taking you further until your a jittery, feeling low, 'oh my I can't do this' mess. Sound familiar??
I haven't met a single person yet who doesn't do this, its part of being human!!!! But those thoughts are a product of your imagination, of you thinking up things. And this kind of negative use of your imagination can really tear stripes off your confidence.
But there is another way and it's so powerful when I teach this technique to my clients, so that's exactly what I'm going to do for you today......read on.....you may be surprised at how simple it actually is!!!
How to harness the power of imagination for good.
If you can use your imagination for creating such vivid examples of what could and might go wrong (just like I mentioned above), you can equally use that same imagination to create what could go right. It would use the same process and be just as powerful, the only difference is where you put your focus.
So if you feel yourself slipping down that negative slope of doom say 'STOP' and ask yourself, 'what is it I do want in this situation' ask yourself that question over and over until your mind gets the idea and begins to flow in the right direction.
This may take practise, it's probably not something you've done before. You've spent years with those negative imaginative thought processes whizzing round your head. So every time a thought creeps in which isn't helpful say 'STOP' and refocus on what it is you do want.
After a while this will start a new much more beneficial habit and really support your confidence.
Here's some examples.......
1) I can't do it - STOP - what do I need to be able to do it?
2) I'm such a failure - STOP - tell me about all the times I've done well.
3) I might as well give up - STOP - I need a break, I'm being too hard on myself
4) She/he does it so much better than me - STOP - what can I learn to improve what I do.
I'm sure you think of a whole lot more than these!! It can sometimes be helpful to get a piece of paper, write out your thoughts and think about how you could change them similar to the ones above.
The negative process will never stop entirely!!! As humans we are designed with this instinctive negative bias so your brain won't stop weighing up the 'what ifs' of any situation but that doesn't mean you are at the mercy of your brain........you can decide and switch the focus.
The more often you do this switching exercise the easier it becomes but this is about mind management. You need to learn when this type of thinking is helpful and when it's eroding your confidence. And when it's the latter use this simple technique to refocus. I've been doing this for 5 years and although I am much better at spotting and switching these thoughts it still sometimes catches me out, you can't get away from human nature but you can manage it better.
Start now.....I promise this good habit will serve you well.
Until next time
PS. If you'd like more understanding of how your brain works have a watch of my free video series.
PPS. I'm always happy to help, if you'd like to share your experiences or ask me questions please comment in the box below.
The truth is most people who suffer from low self-confidence and a lack of self-esteem don't have much trust in themselves. They find it hard to trust in their abilities, trust that they'll do something well, trust that they can work it out...........and without that trust there will always be fear.
That fear often manifests itself in a lack of confidence and a mindset focused on an inability to cope.
How do you build trust in yourself?
From my experience trust comes from learning about yourself and finally having the answers to why you do what you do or why you were hurt by something which was said. With this understanding suddenly it's no longer a guessing game, you understand yourself well enough to know why you made that choice and acted the way you did.
Once you have this you can begin to trust yourself again.
I approach every situation with this philosophy: People always do what they think is best given the information, resources and experience they had at that time. With this in mind you never make a wrong decision just a mis-informed one.
Learning your values and how you think is the key to unlocking your understanding. I've included these exercises/explanations in my free video series. Click the link here for those who want to have a watch.
Mistakes aren't always bad
OK so this may be easy to say and it doesn't change that horrible feeling you get when you've made one but it is absolutely true. Often our biggest learnings come from our biggest mistakes.
By making mistakes we help our brains refine how to do something well. Although mistakes feel tough, without them you wouldn't learn. No baby went from being carried to walking without falling down many times.
So stop trying so hard to not make mistakes, you're getting rid of your biggest learning tool. The secret is learning how to roll with them and I'll go into that next.
How do you manage your mindset whilst making mistakes?
So if mistakes aren't bad and we need them to grow, how do we continue to make them without the confidence demolishing side effects?
It's not what happens to you that matters, it's how you handle it that makes the biggest impact.
By using a technique called Reframing you can change the way you perceive any situation. A reframe is a language pattern designed which is an effective way of experiencing situations in a different way. Have a go..........Instead of saying, 'oh I'm rubbish' or 'I always get it wrong' or something along those lines.......reframe it to 'It's ok I'm learning' or 'I know enough about yourself I know why I did that'
By using reframing to change your language you take away the guilt, the disappointment and it's those that eat away at your confidence and trust in yourself.
Hope that helps. Let me know how you get on.
So today I'm going to share with you my one free, easy and most effective technique to take back control when anxiety strikes.
Don't let that title put you off, I pride myself on bringing simple sense to complex things and I'm no neuroscientist so I'll write this in a way which makes sense to you and me.
But I hear yourself asking, why the hell do I need to know about neuroscience, just give me the technique...............understanding this is important........here's why:
Because once you understand it, it's not scary any more and when I share with you my technique it will then make complete sense as to why it works and why it's so effective. Understanding squashes fear, and fear fuels anxiety. Without the fear, anxiety doesn't exist.
OK so here we go............in its simplest form we feel an emotion/thought and it triggers our brain. Signals are then sent via hormones and chemicals to tell our bodies what it needs to do. Those signals are sent to your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which is responsible for regulating your organs and it switches certain things on (Sympathetic Nervous System) and other things off (Parasympathetic Nervous System).
We all absorb the world through our senses so when we see/hear/feel something as being a 'danger' our brain and body automatically responds. It prepares us to fight, flight or freeze. Here's just some of the symptoms of that preparation:
These are just a few examples, you can read more in this blog I wrote about Anxiety because there are lots more.
When this process is triggered in a situation which is not really what it's designed for we call it Anxiety.
Your body is preparing you to fight/flight/freeze from a tiger and you're sat in a chair, stood on a pavement or in a crowd or waiting to give a speech.
So what's my one, amazing, easy and free technique??
Here's my free easy and effective Anxiety technique.
The next time you feel your heart start to race. Right at the beginning when your head starts to swarm and you feel a little sweaty do this.........
A few tips to make it even better
- You can keep your eyes open or closed, it doesn't matter.
- Use all your senses, whatever you like to make that breath the best it can be, you might like colours, temperatures, shapes, soothing feelings. If it helps, great.......do that!!!
- Do it for as long as you need but often even just a few of these breaths can restore calm.
Why does this work?
Breathing like this balances your ANS (Autonomic Nervous System) and takes back control of all of those organs. Once you do that the hormones and chemicals stop getting pumped out and your brain can return to it's normal state. This technique also takes your focus completely away from being anxious. Anxiety starts in the head, this changes your focus to being in your body and doing something productive rather than letting the thoughts and feelings escalate.
Many of my clients have found that this techinque gives them back control and instead of Anxiety controlling them, they finally get control over it. Give it a try.
Interested in knowing more about how your brain works and more techniques for overcoming Anxiety I've put together these free videos to give you more help, watch them here.
You are not broken!!! Anxiety is normal
So throw away your thoughts that you are somehow broken or stupid. Your body and brain is doing what it's designed to do, just not doing it very effectively. Try this easy, free and effective technique and start taking back control.
Let me know how you get on in the comments below.
Until next time
Where does Anxiety come from?
For some people the cause of their anxiety is something known e.g. the stress of moving house, having surgery or going through a particular difficult time. For others it appears to come out of the blue and happen randomly. I'll explain later why that happens.
It's all to do with your fight or flight response which is a series of bodily functions designed to keep you safe. Once upon a time this system was perfect for dealing with tigers and other predators but these days we use the same system for what we 'perceive' as danger.
Whilst this system is perfect for dealing with tigers it's not so great for dealing with deadlines, money worries and difficult conversations (just some of the 'dangers' of modern day life.)
Think about it.....your body is preparing you to fight a tiger but your sat on a train, in the office or stood talking to someone.......your body is filling you with adrenaline, your heart is pumping faster but you can't run or fight.
Anxiety is a perfectly good system being used in the wrong way at the wrong time.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Symptoms can include (taken from Anxiety UK):
Some of the most common psychological symptoms (the thoughts or altered perceptions we have) of anxiety are:
How come I can feel Anxious but don't know the cause?
For some people the cause of their Anxiety is unknown or it can come on suddenly for no apparent reason. Here's why:
Think about yourself like a cup. You put some water in and its fine, you put in more and it's ok, you put in more and it starts to get hard to carry, you put in some more and it overflows.
This analogy is just like a human, sometimes the last thing is just the element which tips the water over the edge. You could be doing something quite small and insignificant but your mind/body has had enough and anxiety flows out as the cup can't take any more water.
Your brain is much more cleverer than you think. Sometimes it will choose a time to overflow because you are around people who love you, or because its a particular place which plays on your biggest fear or when you can't escape so you can't get distracted. It knows what you need and whether you like it or not it will make you deal with that overflowing cup so you can get back to living life.
And anxiety takes a lot of energy too, so afterwards you often feel exhausted.
Can you overcome Anxiety?
Absolutely yes!!! There are lots of tools and techniques which can help you overcome anxiety. Just knowing that your Anxiety is normal and you are functioning normally will start to make it feel much better.
I hope this helps, until next time
PS. If you're looking for more help with Anxiety have a watch of my free video series, it explains how your brain works in much more detail. Click the green box at the top to have a watch.
PPS. Here's what a lovely client said about the videos because I don't expect you to take my word for it.
"Thank you for the free videos, I had no idea that they would help me as much as they have done so far! I've been suffering with anxiety for a few years now. I now understand why I've been thinking about the things that have been on my mind and I'm working on how I can change it." JD
Nothing gets my passion firing like someone who has lost faith in their own self. I just want to stand them back up, dust them off and point them in the right direction so if you need a little pick me up, need a little inspiration to help you ditch the self-doubt or just need a smile today.......read on!!
This week I've compiled 10 quotes from around the internet to give you a little boost and show you it's ok to be you. These images are not mine and I take no credit, I just liked what they said and felt you should hear it. I hope they make you feel good.........
What's your favourite? Mine is the Umbrella one, it had me in stitches for a while.
Do you want more than quotes? If quotes alone are just not hitting the spot and you'd like more structured and practical tools to boost your confidence, check out my free video series. I designed these 3 free videos to help you understand more about how and why you think the way you do and share some practical tips and tools to help you feel good. Just my way of giving back and offering something of value.
If you've enjoyed these quotes and want more head over to my It's Ok To Be You and Confidence and Fear Tips Pinterest boards.
Until next time.
These tips have been tried and tested by many of my clients over 5 years and also by me personally (cause sometimes we all have a wobble). Sometimes the simplest things can make all the difference.
Here's my 10 Proven ways to conquer those nerves:
1) Choose your networking group - With so many different ones available you don't have to throw yourself in the deep end. Go to a small or informal group to get started. Some you don't even do a 60 seconds, just grab a drink and say hi to someone.....which leads me to my next point...........
2) Everyone is on your side - Every single person in that room was once a newbie so they know exactly how you feel. Everyone is there for the same reason and actually people are expecting you to randomly say hi to someone, its Networking thats what everyone does.
3) Start the conversation by talking about them - Take the pressure off you, start the conversation by asking about them but the trick here is to really listen to the answer and start a real conversation.
4) The run up - It's important to get the run up right, if you focus on how awful an experience it will be that's exactly what you'll experience. Turn your thoughts to the good things, the opportunity to chat to interesting people, a delicious lunch ;) Maybe visit the venue so you know where you're going. Do everything you can to make the run up calm, exciting and you're more likely to feel calmer and more excited.
5) Breath - If you feel your pulse start to race take some deep relaxing breaths and focus on just breathing. That's it, just your breathing, in and out. This sends a message to your brain to say you're calm and will bring your pulse under control.
6) Prepare - If you do need to say something to introduce your business, prepare what you're going to say. Think about what you'd like to know about someone else's business and that's the info you need to say about yours (or maybe take a friend and introduce each other, its far easier to introduce someone else!!)
7) Find out the details - Ask the organiser for details, how many people usually come, how does the format work, what are you expected to wear, what do people usually talk about etc. There's nothing worse than walking in and being the odd one out. Finding out the details can help you prepare and feel comfortable that you know what to expect.
8) It takes time - My first networking meeting was far from perfect, I didn't say everything I wanted to say, it takes time. I've been perfecting my patter at networking meetings for years now, it sounds awesome and natural but it didn't start that way!!!!! Very few people in that room did. It takes practise you have to do it over and over and over.
9) Mistakes are ok - I haven't been to a networking meeting yet where someone new has been laughed at, or called out because they messed up, NEVER......not even once. Everyone is so supportive and right behind you every step of the way so if you mess up it's absolutely ok, take a breath, smile and carry on!!!!
10) Go for it - Often the idea is much worse than the reality. Our brains can create monsters where there aren't any. Sometimes we're better off not thinking, not wondering, just book one and go for it.
I hope you find these useful, give them a go and see how you do. If you'd like some more support download my free video series, it will give you an even better understanding of how your brain works and how to help it do what you want. Access it by clicking on the green box on the right.
If you have some tips which I haven't included here, feel free to share them in the comments box below I'd love to hear them.
Until next time
After all my years of learning, researching and teaching people about confidence and fear you may have thought that I have an abundance of techniques so that I never feel not-confident again……..sorry to burst that bubble....... but I am but human just like you.
Maybe you think that I would instantly leap into some amazingly powerful solution……..wrong again……..so what did I do??.......I went to bed!! I pulled the duvet over my head and just for a moment let myself believe that the world didn’t exist.
But I can't help but be influenced by what I've learnt over these years of study so what I have learnt is that it's often in these quiet times when your head does amazing things.....if you let it. So I just led there quietly for a while, I decided to put the mental flogging stick down and just listen. Here’s what happened…..
The phrase, ‘you are a machine’ popped into my head and it caused quite a realisation. What followed was.....how can I expect to feel good when over the last few months you’ve eaten like a pig, done very little exercise, not been out on my motorbike (a hobby I love) and generally vegged in front of the telly? You can only get out what you put in.
Boom!!! It’s no wonder I feel low in energy and my mind feels sluggish and incapable!!!
So I put a plan into place. On Monday morning I went for a run. I decided not to berate myself for the lack of achievement but just to enjoy it. I bought loads of fruit and have been eating it as part of my breakfast, dinner and tea. On Tuesday I went out on my motorbike (despite it being cold and the occasional hailstone shower) and I’ve been listening to daily affirmations (because what you put in your mind is also what you get out!) I went for a run again on Thursday and I've allowed myself a lie in this morning as a treat for all my hard work.
So what have been my results?
Today (after my lie in) my head said bring it on!!! I got out of bed with a smile on my face and I generally feel brighter, clearer and more full of energy.
My lesson from this revelation was…..we are a machine. If you want to be firing on all cylinders you have to manage all aspects not just the one which seems to be a problem.
So if you are lacking confidence and feeling down take a good look at the whole you. What is your diet like, what is your exercise like, when was the last time you did something which you love, do you feed your brain with good stuff regularly? Have you treated yourself lately for all your hard work? Start to readdress the balance and look after the whole you not just get annoyed because you feel you lack confidence.
And this isn’t just for generally feeling confident but can help for specifics too. If you want to feel confident on stage, eating good and healthy food will give you the energy to shine. If you want to get on a plane but feel scared, exercise will release endorphins which are the happy hormone and ease the fear.
Don’t just focus your efforts on the ‘issue’ assess the whole machine. Making changes in this way will make the affects happen quicker, deeper and last longer too!!
I hope this helps. I’m off to buy more grapes ;)
Hears to keeping that confidence topped up.
Your body is well equipped to deal with stress, our ‘stress response system’ or ‘FFF (Fight, Flight, Freeze) instinct’ is always on the look out for danger and is designed to deal with it well.
Think what would happen if you came across a tiger? Your brain sees the danger and immediately prepares your bodies to react. This is what I call your FFF instinct. It makes your heart pump harder, sending more blood to our arms and legs to give you energy to run. It makes you sweat to keep your body cool. It gives you clear thinking so you can find that escape route. It switches of digestion because you don’t need to waste energy on last night’s meal right now. It prepares you very well to deal with the imminent danger of the tiger.
Once the situation is over our brain sends a signal to switch off the FFF instinct and return to ‘normal’.
However, these days we don’t have tigers to deal with, but this system hasn’t changed. Our FFF instinct prepares us for anything we perceive as a danger and nowadays it’s more likely to be money worries, deadlines, kids, targets, people and relationships……potentially your short term FFF instinct may never actually be switched off (this is where it starts causing health problems, which you can read more about in Why Zebra's Don't Get Ulcers if you're interested).
Where does fear come into this??
Well us wonderful intelligent human beings have the power of anticipation. We have the ability to analyse the what, ifs, buts and maybes in order to anticipate what might happen and be able to prepare ourselves.
And here’s the sting in the tail……
Your mind cannot tell the difference between what’s imagined and what’s real.
Fear is when we prepare ourselves for an anticipated danger as if it’s actually real.
And where our FFF Instinct is perfect for dealing with tigers, it’s not such a great system when preparing for a speech, or difficult conversation.
What can you do about it?
There’s absolutely loads of options. You need to find a way of showing your head that whatever ‘danger’ you are perceiving isn’t a danger at all. You could….
That’s just three I can think of off the top of my head, feel free to share your ideas in the comments, so others can benefit.
Do stressed out people feel more fear?
The simple answer is yes. One of the effects of the FFF instinct is hyperawareness. When you are in a stressed state it’s as if your antenna’s are up hunting out anything which may impact your situation.
Small things suddenly feel very important.
Those small details, all the ifs, buts and maybes add fuel to the fear and make the fear feel worse.
The best thing you can do is relax. Get some fresh air. Switch off for a while……….let your body return to ‘normal’ and it will help you to feel stronger.
Are you interested in learning more about how your mind works? I've created a free video series which takes this a lot further. Click here to watch and learn even more about how to overcome fear.
I hope that’s been interesting and helpful for you.
PS. If you're interested in the books I mentioned in this blog here's the links for you: Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers, Robert M Sapolsky. The Magic Shop, Helen Graham.