My client needed to find a new job as she had been made redundant. But she had lost her confidence. It was really holding her back. In her previous job she felt she couldn’t make her own decisions or act autonomously. And she didn’t know how to be more assertive. She’d got into the habit of falling back, staying quiet.
So she was hesitant about applying for new jobs. Although she had a good idea want she wanted to move on to, she didn’t know if she’d be able to sell herself. And she was scared of ending up in the same situation, with an overbearing manager, micro-managing her every move and criticising her.
This resulted in her going for jobs which didn’t match up to her level of experience or pay expectations. She felt that staying small would make things easier for her. But then she felt huge frustration. She knew she was better than this, that she could go for roles that were bigger and better, where she could showcase her skills and experience. And she had financial goals, such as travelling and one day buying a house.
My client worked with me on improving her confidence, which meant shifting the way she saw herself and reflecting on what she had achieved. She listed times she had acted assertively or confidently. She considered other areas of her life apart from work where she was a confident person.
The aim was to shake off the skin of her previous job; let that be in the past. Her new plan was to take bold steps forward: contacting people she wouldn’t have dared of before, writing, making herself more visible.
Ultimately she found a new job where she felt she had a voice and was encouraged to use it. She had worked out what she wanted from a company and her next role, and what she could bring to it. And her she was. She knew that she could do good work and move on confidently.
If you’d like to book a coaching session with me, contact me at LinkedIn or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week I was introduced to a poem. It was a reminder to slow down, and it felt like a massive hug:
In the bleak and uncertainty, in the mundane and in the worry, in the misplacing of days and the miscommunication of rules, in the pasta for breakfast and in the cereal for tea, be soft and be gentle, let yourself impress yourself with how slow you can be. – Charly Cox
I love any excuse to be reminded to just sit quietly, read, have a cup of tea. Do things slowly. Isn’t it amazing that we need a reminder?
And even more important perhaps, a reminder to be gentle with ourselves.
How often do we actually do what’s best for us rather than what we think we should be doing? Do we ever listen to our intuition?
Coincidentally the same morning I listened to an interview with the writer Elizabeth Gilbert. Her message was pretty similar, that you have to be able to be nice to yourself before you’re able to have compassion for the rest of the world. Show yourself mercy. We’re so relentless and merciless on ourselves. We beat ourselves up.
And we should listen to our intuition. As she points out, your body knows what you need, but we’ve got used to listening to our rational minds over our bodies. We think we should do this, we tell ourselves we have to do that, so we do it. Then we maybe regret it, because we weren’t listening to what we truly needed.
I think it’s something we could all practice more. It’s not always easy. But maybe we can just aim to sneak a bit of intuitive thinking in?
Sometimes it’s as simple as listening to our bodies and having a rest when we’re tired. An actual rest, not just scrolling through whatever online for a hit. A real ‘I need to lie down and close my eyes for a moment’ proper rest.
I did this the other evening. When I finished work my eyes were tired from staring at a screen all day. What I really wanted was to just lie down and close my eyes for a bit. Which I did, and nearly fell asleep.
Then I felt I had the energy to lie on the sofa and watch a bit of tv. Which I did and it felt so good, with not a scrap of guilt that I could be doing something more productive. I felt refreshed afterwards and took myself off to start cooking.
So simple, so obvious, but so often we push ourselves to do the more ‘noble’ thing, the more sensible thing, the more productive thing. But, particularly during this period of the pandemic, I do think the best thing we can do for ourselves is be kind, be gentle, be slow.
If you’d like to have a life coaching session with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at email@example.com.
If you are thinking about working with a life coach but aren’t sure if it’s what you need, or if this is the right time, this is for you.
I spoke to someone recently about coaching. She was considering whether or not coaching would be a good idea.
She had left a really good job working for a big corporation around 6 or 7 years ago, pregnant with her first child, and ready to stay at home to look after her baby.
Since then, having had two children in total, the youngest has now started school, and she’s seriously considering what to do next. She wants to do something, she’s just not sure what. She’s totally overwhelmed, totally blocked, and feeling stuck. She’s lost her confidence, and she feels lost.
We decided that working together wasn’t the right thing for her, for now. Why?
Because coaching isn’t what she needs right now.
She has issues with self-esteem, of self-worth. She’s not yet ready to move forward. She knows that there are things from her past that have affected her, that are holding her back. Things that have been lying dormant for years. Things she has to deal with.
What she needs is counselling or therapy. Uncovering things from her past to find a way to move forward in the future.
Coaching is about looking forwards.
And coaching is not about looking back, working out why something happened and why it affected you. It’s not about events that took place during your childhood or adolescence.
It’s also not about someone giving you all the answers, telling you what to do, giving you a fool-proof step-by-step guide to sorting out your life.
Coaching is about looking forwards, planning and taking action. And the ideas all come from YOU. A coach helps you to unearth ideas, passions, opportunities and the next step that’s right for you.
You’re ready to work with a life coach when you’re determined and excited to make changes. Maybe you feel nervous, apprehensive, scared. You might be stressed, burnt out, worried. You might not be sure exactly in which direction you want to head.
But you know that you have to do something to help yourself move forwards. Maybe there’s a little glimpse of excitement when you dare to imagine yourself in a different situation.
And you are ready to do the work.
You are ready to ask for help, to share what’s going on, and to be open to new ideas. You’re ready to really examine what you want from life, and how you can go about getting there. You need support and someone to push you along.
You’re willing to move out of your comfort zone, knowing that in doing so you’ll make big leaps towards something new.
You’ve got to be all in, ready to put lots into it and take action.
Are you ready? Sounds like you? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll have a chat about coaching and what you hope to achieve.
Sometimes I see other women out there, often way younger than me, and I wonder how they got so confident, how they have such a strong voice. How do you build confidence?
Maybe some of us are born confident, maybe not. But my guess is that for a lot of people out there who appear super-confident, it’s that they’ve learned it.
They’ve had a series of small successes, and built on them.
One person listened to them and showed appreciation in what they had to say, then another, and another, and so their voice has grown louder and more confident over time.
They’ve succeeded in voicing their opinion, using a skill, dealing with a situation, whatever it is; they’ve then done it again, and again, and again.
So perhaps a way to build confidence for yourself is to recognise when you have a small success, and then keep going, trying to build on it.
Maybe you’ve broken out of your comfort zone by succeeding in doing something. It’s well documented that if you get out of your comfort zone regularly, you’ll build confidence. It’s like building a habit. You have to keep repeating until it becomes normal. So carry on breaking out of your comfort zone as often as you can.
Easier said than done right? When you’re lacking in confidence, everything seems too much. But the key is – start small.
When I started writing blogposts, I was nervous about what to do with them. I knew they couldn’t just sit on my website, unseen.
But I wasn’t used to sharing my work. I’d never really posted on social media before. I had all kinds of doubts about my writing and about ‘putting it out there’.
However I’d previously done an interview with Careershifters, and when it was published on their website I shared the link with some close friends and family. I got such good feedback, and a few people told me it had inspired them.
So when I wrote my first few blogposts, I shared the links privately again, and got positive feedback again. That gave me the confidence to send my first tweet with a link to a blogpost. The world didn’t end. The next week I did the same. Then again. Sometimes I’d get a reaction, sometimes not.
After a while I realised it’s not so scary – those who are interested will have a read, those who aren’t, won’t. I became confident in sharing stuff on Twitter, then the next step was LinkedIn. Even scarier – I have lots of contacts on LinkedIn, a big network of people I’ve worked with over the years. Lots of people could potentially see (or criticise) my work.
But same again, I started small with one post, then another; they either got positive feedback or where ignored! Over time, it’s become easier, less of a big deal. I still don’t always find it easy – I’m not always sure if people will be interested in what I’m sharing. But I’m learning to care less, if it helps or interests someone then great, if not, nevermind.
As well as starting small with things you are scared to do, another confidence boost is to keep a little store of nice things people have said about you. Sounds ridiculous but keeping a little of lovely comments, where you’ve helped someone, or inspired them, or they’ve appreciated something you’ve done or your work, is the ultimate proof that sometimes you get things right. It’s a reminder of what you’ve achieved so far. You can take a look whenever you need a boost.
Do you want to improve your confidence? What small step can you take – something you really want to do that scares you a little…write it down. Set yourself a challenge to do it in the next few days. Then pick the next thing, and keep going.
I’ve written about the barrierswe put in place to stop ourselves from trying something new (and how to get around that mindset). Things like not having the time, not having the experience, not being quite ready to get started. Know the feeling? It’s led me to think more about the idea of ‘start before you’re ready‘.
In the books I read and podcasts I listen to about entrepreneurship successful people always advise that in order to achieve something big you just need to get started. Even if you don’t feel 100% ready.
It’s something I’ve been trying for a while now, and I still have to psych myself up each time. But I’ve learned how thrilling it can feel to start before you’re ready. And it’s addictive. Here I’ll share a recent example and why it’s worth it.
What ‘start before you’re ready’ looks like
I signed up to do an online challenge. The challenge was to create a free downloadable guide to offer to people who visit my website. Something I’d never done before. It could be on whatever subject I wanted.
What do I know about and find easy, that someone else could learn from?
A post I’d written on LinkedIn about my love of morning routines had generated a few comments from people who genuinely struggle with setting up a good routine of their own. Maybe I could create a guide for that?
Part of me thought – is this really going to be useful to anyone? Are people going to thing it’s silly?
Then I remembered that most people coming to my website are looking for guidance and want to improve certain aspects of their lives. Perhaps establishing good habits and a decent morning routine would be of use.
Just do it
I kept having to remind myself – just do it. Create the guide without stressing over it, follow the steps to getting it out there. Don’t spend hours procrastinating and worrying about all the details. Done is better than perfect.
It’s hard. It felt daring (putting my stuff ‘out there’). It made me feel vulnerable.
But – it’s undeniably thrilling to do something you’re a bit scared of or daunted by. Taking a step into the unknown, being brave. And I realise the result is unlikely to kill me (or cause public humiliation).
When people visit my website, they can now download a guide which might help them, it might even be just what they are looking for! It feels like a step forward.
Even if no one clicks to download it, I’ve gone through the motions, I’ve learned how to do it. I can try again. It’s no longer so scary. Actually, it feels exciting.
Have you started?
This is what start before you’re ready is all about. It’s about not letting fear stop you, it’s jumping over the fear and ending up two steps ahead.
What can you start today that you don’t feel 100% ready for (but really want to do)? Won’t taking one little step towards it make you feel amazing?
You can access my free guide to creating a morning routine you love, just click the download button below. Let me know what you think, send me a message at email@example.com.