“Authenticity requires a certain measure of vulnerability, transparency and integrity.” ~ Janet Louise Stephenson
Dee wanted more than anything to be a leader at work. She read every personal development book and took night courses to improve her speaking ability. She took weekend seminars to learn coaching techniques. She even did online NLP training, because she knew it would give her a competitive edge. As a team leader, she had all the right moves, but they were too practiced, too polished, too mechanical. In all of her training, she never acquired enough self-confidence to let her own personality shine through, to be vulnerable enough so people could see who she really was. As a result, she wasn’t able to connect with her team. She just hadn’t learned the knack of being genuine.
You and I both know that there’s a huge difference between someone acting like they’re interested and truly being interested. Putting on a show, going through the motions feels manipulative and off-putting. Leaders are far more effective when they are being genuine and can inspire trust and respect through their every-day actions.
If you tend to be defensive or guarded because of past hurts, being genuine can be a real challenge. But you have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Take a look at some of the ways being genuine will enhance the quality of your life…
Being genuine means you realize not everyone will like or agree with you and that’s okay. Being popular and getting praise isn’t your motivation — doing your best is!
Being genuine means you know your values and ethics. You’re kind and willing to let others live as they want to live, but they’re not going to shake your convictions.
Being genuine means you have the strength to make unpopular decisions. You trust your gut even when the majority are on a different path.
Being genuine means you’re approachable. People can sense that you’re truly interested in them.
Being genuine means you walk your own path, not someone else’s. You don’t have to pretend to be someone that you’re not, just to please others.
Being genuine means you recognize the good in others and see their strengths. You don’t have to hog the limelight, but you support and give generously of your knowledge and resources so they can excel at what they do best.
Being genuine means you treat everyone with respect no matter who they are. It’s important for you to dignify each person you meet, whether it’s family, friends, co-workers, or the stranger in line in front of you who’s taking “hours” to make their coffee selection at your local coffee shop.
Being genuine means you’re living in harmony with your purpose. This grounds you so you’re not swayed by the latest fad or craze.
Being genuine means keeping your word. You don’t tell people what you think they want to hear. Nor do you promise something, knowing full well you never intend on following through.
Being genuine means you see things for what they are. You don’t sensationalize comments or actions, adding meanings where none were intended. You don’t imagine slights where there are none. You give people the benefit of the doubt. And you positively look to learn from any feedback you receive.
Being genuine means you improve yourself, not try to “fix” someone else. You realize you are the only one who can change you; you’re not waiting for someone else to improve a situation.
Being genuine means you don’t hide or hold back. You’re not afraid of intimacy or connecting deeply with people. Yes, some people might disappoint you. But your life is richer for the good connections that you do make. It’s okay for people to see your vulnerabilities.
Being genuine takes a great deal of self-awareness and self-acceptance. I’ve found that a practice of mindfulness really helps. It leads to confidence that can’t be shaken. And it helps you excel at your chosen endeavors. It grounds you in reality. It lets you enjoy life to the full. It speaks to others and draws them to you.
Sometimes we can’t see ourselves clearly. We can either under-value or over-estimate ourselves. If you’d like some impartial and extremely helpful feedback, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to help you discover hidden strengths you can build upon to achieve the life you desire and deserve.
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~ The Buddha
I believe that the phrase, “You are what you eat,” could be replaced with, “You are what you think.” When you feed your mind full of positive, grateful thoughts, you leave no room for self-doubt or negativity. You make better choices. You can’t help but become more productive, cheerful and enjoyable to be around. This in turn, makes people want to work with you and for you. Yes, you can erase self-doubt! But it will take time and effort. Determination is the key to success!
Are you determined to succeed in your quest to conquer self-doubt? Remember the fairytale The Little Engine That Could? He started the long trek up the mountain with a strong burst of energy and the self-talk, “I-think-I-can, I-think-I-can, I-think-I-can,” streaming through his mind. No one else thought he could. But his determination – the mental strength to try and not give up – was key to his success!
As a way to reinforce this same kind of mental strength and determination in you, here are some key ways to invite positive, self-nurturing thoughts to flow your way…
1. Always look for the positive. There is a world full of good things out there! Be determined to practice gratitude and feel blessed. Look for and appreciating the good that is present or that can eventually arise, from each situation. Greet each challenge as a blessing, because it will spark the growth you need to become more successful.
2. Zap negative thoughts. Just as a bug zapper “bzzzzts” and stops pesky annoying bugs, be determined to turn on your Negative Thought Zapper and stop them from taking hold and spiraling out of control. When you catch a negative pattern, assess it for truth, and then consciously re-phrase it to a pattern that oozes opportunity and possibility.
3. Speak positivity. I cannot stress enough the importance of being mindful of how you speak out loud and to yourself. When you start down the road of criticism, complaining, sarcasm, and abusive speech, STOP! Be determined to retrain yourself to seek ways to commend and build up yourself and others instead.
4. Shift your focus from getting to giving. When you become more other-centered – caring more for everyone else – you will be taking power away from the need to reach your quota, achieve a certain status, earn X amount of dollars, etc. When you become a person who serves from a state of compassion, people will respond and reward you with their business, with their cooperation, and with their respect.
5. When you doubt yourself, prove yourself wrong! If you haven’t tried, you’re lying to yourself when you say, “I can’t!” Nothing is accomplished by quitting before you even begin. Once you act in harmony with your intention to succeed, new avenue often open up before you, so you accomplish a task you never thought you could. And if, for some reason you “fail”, you’ll find a better path. No matter what happens, your self-confidence is lifted because you TRIED!
6. Envision the outcome you desire. It’s easy to let the disaster reel play like a movie in your mind, imagining everything that could go wrong. Be determined to replace it with a success reel. Play the “happy movie” of how everything turns out better than you dreamed of.
7. Take baby steps. Keep the big picture in the back of your mind, but only actively concentrate on what you can do right now, today, to move yourself forward just a little. It would be unrealistic to expect perfection. Rest when you need to, but never stop. Even taking a detour to learn a new skill is a step forward toward reaching your dreams of success.
Of course, there will be times when you feel down, hurt or fearful. Allow yourself to experience those emotions, but do so mindfully and with the clear purpose of identifying where that feeling comes from and what it’s teaching you. Train yourself to get back up and believe more strongly in who you are and what you want.
Adopting these new thought patterns will take gentle, but firm work on your part. Your success depends on your determination to change your life to one that fulfills and satisfies you. As Channing Pollock put it so well…
“The only good luck many great men ever had was being born with the ability and determination to overcome bad luck.”
Do you “think-you-can” succeed? Do have that kind of determination? If so, I-know-you-can! I invite you to join us at our annual Women: Wisdom, Presence, and Flow! Retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. (FLOW stands for Fierce Leaders Organizing Worldwide!) We’ll help you turn your “I-think-I-can” to “I-know-I-can” to “I-did-it!” Determination IS the key to success!
“Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control.” ~ Richard Kline
On the scale of timid to self-confident to arrogant, where do you usual show up? Do you wish you spoke up for yourself more? Have you ever fallen into the trap of putting others down so you feel better about yourself? Since we live in a very connected world, it’s important to know how to build confidence in yourself and others in a way that encourages rather than tears down.
How we feel about ourselves and how we treat others is all about constantly adjusting our “dials”. Turning this up; toning that down. Every new situation brings an opportunity to fine tune our “dials” until we become the person we aspire to be. Ultimately, you arrive at the balance of loving and respecting yourself and others. That balance produces self-confidence.
How can you achieve that balance? Here are my top 10 tips on how to build confidence in yourself and others…
1. Take care of yourself. No one will respect you, if you don’t respect yourself. For example, the way you dress, exercise, eat, drink, and speak tells whether you love yourself and others. Loving yourself doesn’t mean pampering yourself. It means doing all you can to improve your life.
2. Know your values and be true to yourself. Your decisions and your actions form your character. Practice being the best version of yourself. When you do something that’s really hard, you’ll be proud of yourself. At the same time, you won’t feel the need to control others. You’ll be able to allow them to grow at their own rate.
3. Believe in yourself. Don’t let the Debbie Downers stop you. Especially is this so, if one of those critical voices is in your own mind. Believe in what you’re trying to accomplish; believe in you. And then pay it forward by encouraging others to follow their dreams.
4. Cultivate a fearless mindset. Build a fire in your soul for developing the attitudes and habits that make you fearless. View everything you do as worthwhile. No matter what the job is, do it cheerfully. Appreciate “failures” as an opportunity to hone your strengths. When you feel like you can’t go on, gather your last ounce of courage and keep going. What you’re trying to accomplish is more important than the fear you feel. This mindset will keep you from judging or condemning others when they falter.
5. Keep your word. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. You’ll respect yourself and so will others. Action gives your words meaning. You’ll accomplish your goals and reinforce your self-worth. And others come to trust you.
6. Don’t worry what others think. While feedback is helpful, don’t let it define who you are. Thinking you’re smart or stupid just because someone says so isn’t real. Feedback is meant to be examined for nuggets of wisdom that apply to your life. If you think something can be done, then you will find a way to make it happen. In the process, strive to give helpful feedback to others.
7. Finish what you start. Life is full of distractions and procrastinations. Your self-confidence will sky-rocket each time you can say, “Done!” Others will be confident that they can depend on you.
8. Track your accomplishments. Too often, we forget what we’ve accomplished over the course of a year. Make a physical record of your achievements, no matter how small, so you can review them. This will really boost your self-confidence. And be quick to acknowledge and compliment others for everything they do. I love this quote from David Storey…
“Self-confidence is the memory of success.”
9. Learn new skills. Whether it’s for business, fitness, or recreation, learning and becoming good at something new is a great moral booster. Each time I put together a new program, push myself further at CrossFit or score in archery, I can feel my self-confidence growing. And I love inviting others to join me. We accomplish more together than I ever could by myself. Remember, you’ll accomplish big things if you take one baby step at a time.
10. Think future benefits, not instant gratification. Self-denial is part of life. We can’t have and do it all. You can’t go days without sleep and eating junk food and expect to be brilliant. Be strong enough to make the tough decisions and stick to the choices that get you closer to your dreams. Welcome immediate discomfort, by keeping your mind’s eye focused on the long-term gain for yourself and others.
Life is short. The more time you spend doing something you love, the less time you’ll have for stress and anxiety. Why not contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Together, we can formulate a plan that enriches every day of your life.
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”– Arnold Schwarzenegger
Are you one of the mentally strong people? I think you are, because you’re interested in improving your life. That’s a sure sign of mental strength. Most people want to keep the status quo. Change takes too much effort. It’s too scary.
That doesn’t mean mentally strong people are superhuman. Mental strength isn’t about false bravado, acting tough, hiding feelings, or being inflexible. Mentally strong people aren’t afraid to be vulnerable. They know they’re strong enough to handle it, if people reject them or try to exploit them. Because what other people do is their responsibility. Your responsibility is how you choose to relate to events and people.
No matter how strong you are today, if you don’t use your mental strengths you will lose them. This applies to muscle as well as character. As you read the following list, why not take note of what strengths you’d like to work on next…
- Mentally strong people are comfortable in their own skin. While you want your loved ones to be happy, you won’t sacrifice your truth and lose your identity. Other people’s opinions will not keep you from what’s important for you.
- Mentally strong people give generously. It may seem counterintuitive, but the more you give, the more you get. But getting back is not your motivation for giving. Instead, you’re creating the world you want to live in. The more you give the better your world becomes.
- Mentally strong people say ‘no’ easily. We live in a world that preys on our fear of scarcity. Yet you’ve reasoned out what will serve you now and what will clutter up your life with unwanted commitments, unpaid credit debt, unused products, or dust-collecting items in your house.
- Mentally strong people are kind. Reciprocity is behind many acts of “kindness” – she invited me to dinner, so now I have to invite her to dinner. It takes strength to break out of that mold and become the one who goes beyond what’s expected and initiates kind acts, without expecting a certain outcome. It takes courage and self-confidence to put yourself out there and risk being rebuffed or unappreciated. But you do it anyway because that’s the kind of person you want to be.
- Mentally strong people think for themselves. As you gather more information, you may even change your mind dramatically. That doesn’t mean you’re wishy washy or easily influenced. Instead, it indicates you’re open to growth.
- Mentally strong people use weakness as opportunity. Weaknesses aren’t excuses for inactivity or for putting yourself down. They are springboards for taking positive action that corrects a situation, either through learning a new skill or delegating it to another, so you stay within your zone of genius.
- Mentally strong people are patient with themselves and others. Instead of demanding instant results or gratification, you know it takes time to create something you can be proud of, like reaching optimal wellness. Each new day is your friend. You hold onto your vision and keep working toward it, little by little.
- Mentally strong people don’t go it alone. Surround yourself with a community of people who support you all the way.
- Mentally strong people challenge themselves. Welcome it when something doesn’t work the first time. It’s an opportunity to grow outside your comfort zone.
- Mentally strong people regulate their emotions. Mindfully peel back the layers to identify your emotions and what causes them. If a situation makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t judge yourself – invite that emotion to a Tea Time Exercise. If an emotional response no longer serves you, do the internal work to let it go. You’ll be able to behave in a productive manner, even when you’re upset.
- Mentally strong people keep their cool. Even under provocation, hold your tongue. Retaliation may be your first impulse, but it can create irreparable damage to your relationship, so you choose to forgive, let it go or wait for things to calm down before discussing it.
- Mentally strong people know when to stay or walk away. The key is not trying to win, but making it work. You have to be strong to work through the discomfort. Yet, when the other person refuses to work with you, act in harmony with your truth and be strong enough to leave, whether it’s an argument with a coworker or a toxic relationship.
There were probably some strengths that you feel you’ve mastered and others that could use some work. That’s okay because there’s always room for improvement. I’d love to partner with you in your quest for excellence. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).
“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” ~ Ray Kroc
Whether you call it leadership presence, executive presence, professional presence or boardroom presence, what you’re talking about is how others perceive and accept you. But the process of developing a leadership presence starts long before you actually take a leadership position. In order for others to see you as a leader, you must first see yourself as a leader.
Keep in mind that a leadership presence focuses on connecting and engaging with others authentically. Of course, you may feel unsure at times and doubt yourself. Everyone does. The authenticity comes from your motivation to bring something positive, inspiring, and valuable to your organization, team, or clients. When you take the focus off of yourself solely, you’ll be more at ease, which in turn puts others at ease and makes them more receptive to your leadership.
What are the most important steps for developing your leadership presence? As you go through the following list, you’ll see that each skill will add to your self-confidence initially, which translates into a greater leadership presence for all to see.
Physical presentation. The quality of your voice, your vocabulary, and the athletic fitness of your body are important aspects of developing your leadership presence. The more you train in each of these areas, the more control you’ll gain in all aspects of life.
Dress and grooming. Even if you work from home, dress the part. First impressions do matter. Hire a stylist, so you’re not wasting money on clothes that don’t fit the image you want to portray. You’re worth it!
Being well-read. When you’re interested in a lot of different topics, within your area of expertise and beyond, you’ll be able to engage with anyone you meet. Stay up with current events and watch the trends. That will give you a cutting-edge advantage.
Charismatic personality. With the right training, you can change any inherent trait or quality, so don’t settle by saying, “This is how I was born. I can’t help it.” You can master emotional competencies that leaders need, i.e., composure, courage, tenacity, or optimism.
Humility and vulnerability. These are must-have qualities, because people want to work with someone they can relate to. Being vulnerable is a sign of strength and is the quickest pathway to trust. As a caveat – leaders acquire a great amount of power, and it can be tempting to misuse it. If your focus is on helping others to shine, and you’re willing to show your humanity, then people will willingly follow you.
Relationship-building communication. Learn to speak in a way that makes people want to listen. The ability to deliver a clear, convincing and appealing message has extreme value. You can take voice lessons and presentation training to improve your voice quality. Not to be overlooked – active listening is a critical element to communication. Ask questions and listen attentively to understand and learn. Lean forward. Let people sense your interest in them as a person.
Deliver outcomes. As a leader, you are in charge and you have to make sure the right things happen at the right time. It takes strong decision-making skills, plus flexibility and energy to get others to deliver. You’ll need to give helpful and detailed feedback so your team knows what is expected of them.
What challenges you the most in your quest for a leadership presence? Please come over to my Facebook page and share your thoughts. Also, in September, my colleague Louise Santiago and I are hosting “Women, Wisdom & Presence – Evolving our presence in the world” in Mindo, Ecuador. Together, we’ll explore how to recognize, name, and support the leader within. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.