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7 Habits to cultivate confidence in 2021

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Confidence is often viewed as the holy grail of success and happiness but what if we feel we don’t have enough of it? Moreover, to what degree must we ‘fake it to make it’ or is confidence a skill we can learn and if so, how?

Our belief in our own capacity to ‘push through’ has never been as important; perhaps you

  • have been furloughed due to the pandemic and are feeling shaky and uncertain or
  • yearn for a change of direction but don’t know where to start or
  • are returning to work after extended leave and find yourself in a role that appears barely recognisable

It is your belief and confidence in yourself that will be the key catalyst in instigating and accomplishing positive changes.

As a psychology student 15 years ago, I first came across the term ‘Self- efficacy’ coined by Canadian Albert Bandura. Fundamental to this concept is the notion of ‘trial’, of giving something a go – to try something even if you don’t know what you are doing. It is from this point that confidence can be cultivated. Confidence is a skill that can be learned, as long as you are willing to give it a go.

At Change Grow Succeed, we believe that learning and doing are key cornerstones in building confidence and we advocate the following 7 Habits to cultivate or strengthen yours:

  1. Numb the Negative Narrative – Do you tell yourself that you need more confidence? Maybe you spend more time talking about the negative aspects of yourself? Pay attention to the impact of your personal narrative. Some beliefs can be expired or self- sabotaging and certainly keep you stuck. Try telling yourself a different story. Become intentional about sharing what went well or progress that you made.
  2. LifeLong Learning – Regardless of what you want to become more confident at, any learning has a spin – off effect. Instead of dwelling on a lack of confidence, take a course on something that interests you. The combination of pursing a passion and engaging your brain will shift your energy and your confidence will spill over and be noticed by you and those around you!
  3. What’s your why? If you are not connecting with what is important to you and why – how will you know if you’re on the right track? Our ability to pause and evaluate is an essential activity to engage with, particularly, if you need to rebuild yourself after a knock- back. Your ability to focus on your ‘why’ is your motivation for accomplishing whatever it is that you yearn for, as well as ensuring focus and discipline and pursuing what you believe in will give you confidence. If you’re at a loss as to where or how to start this process, reach out to a coach for industry – led tools and tips to support you.
  4. Pause perfectionism – do you find yourself thinking about ‘worse case scenarios’? To what degree does this habit foster self- doubt or caution and reduces your capacity for self- belief? Often, the focus of perfectionists is ‘what could go wrong’ which fosters a negative mindset . When actively seeking to improve your confidence, seek to reframe risk with opportunity and pursue the bigger picture!
  5. Tribe therapy – In the last year, my observation through my work is that some individuals have lost confidence as they have lost connection with themselves and with each other.Our relationships have the ability to lift us up, they can also tear us apart. Evaluate who is in your network. Cherish those connections who support and empower you and consider disengaging from those who bring you down. Seek out those role- models who embody the confidence that you respect and identify what is it about them that resonates with you. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!
  6. Ditch thinking for Doing Our brain is hard wired to protect us. It responds well to comfort zones. Research shows that people who perceive their confidence as ‘low’ are plagued by rumination or ‘analysis -paralysis’. Getting out of our own head is a must here. Stop thinking and start doing. Remember, confidence is an active process. Small acts of bravery can shift your energy. Trial something new today!
  7. Power Pose – In her excellent TedTalk,Amy Cuddy shares that power posing (embracing more expansive body language) ignites physiological changes in our bodies. She tells us that two minutes of opening up and stretching our arms out fires us up with testosterone, boosting our confidence. If you think about it, most of us spend our days hunched over a laptop or phone (making ourselves small) so if you were to be intentional about opening up your posture on a daily basis -to what degree would this shift you into a more positive mindset? Try it and see!

Which new habit would make the most difference to your confidence? Trial something new today – get comfortable being uncomfortable and note the shift in your own energy and confidence!

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based life coach and experienced speaker and facilitator. For more information, go to

Feeling Grateful

Gratitude is part of my well-being toolkit and I’m feeling very grateful to have received this lovely card and humbling testimonial following a coaching engagement with a client recently. I took time to re- read the lovely words this morning as I settle myself into a busy week. It re- focuses my ‘why’ and I consider myself very fortunate to work in an area that I am passionate about.

The personal touch of a ‘thank you’ card reminds me of our capacity to positively impact the days of those people whom we interact with. The message inside was lovely and the clients’ more ‘formal’ testimonial reads as follows:

“Gillian is a fantastic coach. While the process is challenging and can be uncomfortable, the benefits I have observed from our short time together include:

  • A greater level of self awareness
  • A greater focus on meaningful work;
  • I feel empowered and enthusiastic about my contribution to supporting both my own personal and organisational goals

The first step (and the step after that!) can be daunting but I’m so glad that I pushed myself and that Gillian was there to support me every step of the way. A heartfelt Thank You Gillian.” – J.C. Engineering Manager (Science & Tech)

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based master trainer, public speaker and life and leadership coach. For more information, contact her on

5 Questions to help you reclaim your mojo in this disruptive year

“We should just put up our Christmas Trees’ and be done with 2020!”

I must admit, I have heard this more than once over the past few weeks. 2020 has been beyond tough; the collective ungrounding ‘gifted’ to us by the Covid-19 pandemic was unlike anything we have ever (and continue to) live through. Routines that gave our days and weeks’ meaning and structure have grinded to a halt and we are forced to pause, stay apart and watch the maelstrom that is unfolding. It doesn’t surprise me that people want out and want out now.

However, we are not yet at the end of the year- there are 3 months left! While we can’t control the outside world, we can seek to examine the path we are on and evaluate if our energies and activities are supporting us. Autumn is a season of transition, a “second spring” and therefore an opportune time to reflect, reset and course correct (if necessary).

Great results start with great questions and often the most challenging questions are the ones we ask of ourselves. At Change Grow Succeed we have devised 5 Killer Coaching questions to provoke your thoughts and help you to reclaim your ‘mojo’ for the remainder of 2020!

Question 1: What gives your life meaning?

This may sound like an obvious question but bringing conscious awareness to what puts meaning into our lives is crucial in determining our priorities. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that our priorities can change quickly. Indeed, the impact of the global pandemic on our own lives and the lives of others can alter our view of the world (as does the arrival of children, a bereavement or general life experience). Taking time to understand what’s important to us ‘in this moment’ helps us to gauge whether we are on the right path or not and prioritise our energies appropriately.

Question 2: Review the year so far, what has gone well?

Before you baulk at this question, take stock. Autumn is traditionally associated with harvest so take the time to evaluate and appreciate your achievements in 2020 noting that survival is every bit as valid as achievement for the year that’s in it! Perhaps you adapted well to remote working or did some voluntary work or. Maybe you survived the home- schooling or were able to blend work and life. Recognise your achievements. Thank Yourself.

Question 3: What are you like when you’re at your best? What are you doing?

How often do you engage with activities that you love doing?  How could you access these more often? In coaching, I often task clients in transition to “reflect on the last time they had fire in their belly” and invite them to note what they were doing. This process prompts us to identify and label those activities that bring us joy. You will have greater clarity and feel more energised and confident as a result.

Question 4: What’s the best thing that could happen to you next year?

This question invites us to think about 2021 and encourages us to engage in some ‘blue sky thinking’ to consider what we might want to achieve or complete. In her excellent TedTalk, Laura Vanderkam invites us to complete this retrospectively; she directs us to place ourselves at the end of 2021 and to imagine that it has been a fantastic year both personally and professionally. She encourages us to note the reasons why and then explore how we might set about achieve them. This is another great approach to considering possibilities for the future, possibilities that we could be proud of and get excited about!

Question 5: How will you champion yourself?

There’s no denying the disruption that impacted all of our lives in 2020, but how do we speak to ourselves when things don’t go our way or when we feel afraid? Are you kind to yourself or do you criticize yourself harshly? Do you hear from your inner coach or inner critic? Self kindness is life changing and science backs this up. We are often told to “Be kind to yourself” yet so many of us are resistant or don’t know how. We are stuck in old habits. From her research, Kirsten Neff (author of “Self- Compassion” and Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas) shares that self – compassion makes you “more likely to take responsibility for yourself, trial new things and dare to fail”. So, locate your inner coach, back yourself and show gratitude to yourself!

At Change Grow Succeed, these are the 5 killer coaching questions we have identified to help re-wire your thinking and reclaim your mojo this Autumn. No longer distracted by the summers’ long evenings we can actually commit to a chosen path and go for it. Good Luck!

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach, Public Speaker and Facilitator. For more information, or to reach out to Gillian directly, go to

Thank You

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At Change Grow Succeed we also support clients privately in crafting a vision for what’s next in their lives both personally and professionally. As a coach, meeting my clients where they’re at and seeing the world through their eyes is a prerequisite in enabling objective support. It was a privilege to work with Emma and I am so grateful for the thought and effort she put into describing her experience of our time together:

“I wanted to make a change and to do work that made me jump out of bed everyday. Gillian motivated me to pivot my career. She listened to my worries, my fears, and my self confessed “imposter syndrome” and let me re-frame it as excitement and an opportunity to work on how I communicate about what I do. After taking Gillian’s advice and doing some research, I am about to relaunch myself, identify my brand and work in a niche area I enjoy working in. I am excited to be proactive about my career rather than reactive. Gillian has been the plot twist in my career story. ”

Emma, August 2020

Positive customer experience!


Supporting our clients in achieving results that are meaningful and of value to them is at the core of our Change Grow Succeed and we were delighted to receive the following testimonial from our clients at CoreHR:

“CoreHR has engaged Gillian McGrath from Change Grow Succeed for the past three years to bring our leaders through a year-long Leadership Development Program. We would highly recommend Gillian to any organisation looking to develop and transform their management teams at all levels, into high-performing, effective and responsible leaders.

When Covid-19 struck we were halfway through the delivery of the program and faced with postponing our classroom-based delivery. Gillian pivoted from classroom facilitation and coaching and meticulously planned the remaining modules to a virtual offering, utilizing a broad range of online tools and applications to ensure high interaction and participation. Times of crisis and rapid change require strong leaders who can set direction, drive business continuity and motivate their teams. A true test of any leadership development program is the leaders ability to put theory into action!”

#leadershipDevelopment #agility #businesstransformation

My Freedom from Fear

We are coming to the end of Mental Health awareness week. While any opportunity to place a spotlight on our Mental health is important, I believe that it’s a habit we must cultivate ALL year around. At Change Grow Succeed, we focus on intentional behavioural change as a means to achieve results and in this blog (which I wrote 3 years ago), I share the behaviours and outlooks that I leverage from my own ‘mental health toolkit’ in times of need.

“Fear is born of a story we tell ourselves, so I chose to tell myself a different story. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave.” Eckhart Tolle


I was reminded of what fear is at the start of the summer. You know, that knot in your stomach? That sinking feeling often accompanied by pure dread? I discovered that I would need surgery. I found a lump on my neck and was terrified. Following a battery of diagnostic assessments spanning 8 weeks (scans, biopsies, consults etc), it was decided that removal of half of my thyroid was unavoidable. I was terrified, not so much by the surgery but by what they might “find”. I knew I was handing myself over to the medical professionals fit and well and equally that I was signing up to enforced time out for an indefinite period of time, rendering me vulnerable and dare I say, ‘in need’. I am an active working mother of 3 children. I should also add that I also had major surgery less than 3 years ago which was challenging to recover from. I could feel panic setting in.

Ekhart Tolle, who wrote The Power of Now (and whom I cited in the opening quote) tells us that fear stems from our mind creating an anxiety gap around something that MIGHT happen, as distinct from something that is happening right now. Fear feeds off our mind living in the future!  He argues that we can cope in the present moment but that it’s difficult to cope with something that is a mere mind projection!

Thankfully, my ‘inner coach’ knew that I was not about to spend the whole summer mentally torturing myself about what might happen. I couldn’t change my situation so I actively decided to focus on what I could do to support myself and a healthy mindset! I decided to challenge myself by seeking pleasure in and participating in the Now! Before I share what worked for me, I must add that there were blips and melt downs along the way- but being able to get myself back on track was the real win.

  • Distraction– Yes! A little project directed my focus from the surgery. I decided on changing our bedroom and invested lots of time scouring through websites for ideas and inspiration.
  • Connect with people that ground me – I consider myself lucky to have some wonderful people in my life. I was so grateful for time with my children, for the evening walks with friends and the chats over coffee
  • Create comfort in my home e.g. consciously lighting a candle or popping flowers in a vase
  • Indulge in my favourite things e.g. using my favourite tea cup or spending time at the sea
  • Perspective & Gratitude – there are a lot of people who endure far worse with less. Zoning in on what I am grateful for was and is hugely transformative. And lastly,
  • Have faith & Decide to be ok!

The operation went to plan and thankfully I’m on the right side of recovery and enjoying the new perspective my enforced time out has provided me with! Finally, I love this quote by Robert Tew and wanted to share it with you:

 “Trust yourself. You’ve survived a lot and you’ll survive whatever is coming”

If you’re struggling with something, I truly hope you feel better soon.


Gillian McGrath is a Cork Based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For further information, contact her directly at

Are you an Imposter?


“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it”

                                                                                                                 JM Barrie, PETER PAN

Do you ever feel like a fraud? Ever think it’s just a matter of time before you’re ‘found out’? Ever feel that your success in work has been based on ‘being in the right place at the right time’ rather than on your merit? If so, you may be a sufferer of Imposter Syndrome.

I was prompted to explore ‘Imposter Syndrome’ late last year following several (female) clients who were all well accomplished in their careers but who were distressed and anxious about “not feeling good enough”.…They felt like frauds.

Through research, I learned that the term “Imposter Syndrome” is largely a female phenomenon.  It’s a term used to describe women who experience ’imposter feelings’ and worry incessantly that they will “found out . Often, despite evidence of an abundance of workplace skills and achievements, sufferers live in fear that their peers and superiors will realize that they’re not “as good” as they had initially thought.

At this point, you would be correct to think “we all experience feelings of self- doubt or low confidence from time to time” but to help qualify this issue, it’s important to examine frequency and impact.  For example, if you are living under a constant veil of worry and self-doubt, the impact for some women is anxiety, stress, low self-confidence and even depression. Lack of confidence becomes self- sabotaging and FEAR steps in. Sufferers are afraid to explore new experiences. These talented ladies are pressing the ‘PAUSE’ button.

So how can we banish these thoughts?

Quite simply, if you want to stop feeling like an imposter, you have to stop thinking like an imposter. As Imposter sufferers tend to live in their heads, the challenge is to foster different thinking habits! Here are my tips for taking some control back over those thoughts!

  • Label those thoughts as they trickle in. Acknowledge them and create a distance. Detach yourself.


  • Understand the root cause: Eg. In a presentation, you might think a colleague looks so confident and get swept away with thoughts such as “I could never do that! I wish I could be like her!” When you have no idea what’s going on for that individual. It’s therefore possible that you’re making unfair comparisons i.e. you’re comparing your inside with their outside!


  • Reframe. Substitute “Oh My God, I have NO idea what I’m doing here” with “this is going to be a great opportunity for me to learn something new- I’ve got this” or replace “I’d say they are sending me on this business trip to test me ” with “I’m looking forward to bringing something different to the table!”


  • Focus on the external value or service you are contributing instead of your internal thoughts! Think about yourself less!


  • Journal. Identify your accomplishments to date, skills, qualifications, projects etc. Label what you’re grateful for. Over time, this will become a habit a foster a more positive and confident mindset.


  • The scariest strategy at all- envisage the worst case scenario! Make a mistake. Get feedback that you were incorrect! Remember being wrong doesn’t make you a ‘fraud’. It makes you human.


In summary, none of us chose to feel like an imposter. We all want to feel confident but unless we actively tackle our thoughts on this, progress will be limited. Know there will be good and bad days ahead but as long as you remain focused and disciplined on the thoughts you wish to change, getting yourself back on track will be easier. Over time, this will become your new way of being! Make a change. Grow. Succeed.


Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For more information, contact her directly at

Empowering Women

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Change Grow Succeed are delighted to partner with the Cork Chamber Skillnet to facilitate an “Empowering Women” series of workshops. This unique series will focus on themes such as Personal Leadership, Thought Leadership and Results Leadership.

In addition to establishing a strong peer support network, attendees can expect an insightful and impactful experience that is both pragmatic and empowering. Attendees will also benefit from an introduction to leading edge experts on leadership. Finally, those in attendance can choose to avail of 1:1 coaching to boost their transfer of learning.

Full details can be found here.

About Gillian McGrath

Gillian is an experienced Coach and Facilitator. With 18 years’ experience in Training, Coaching and People Development across the private and public sectors and with qualifications in psychology, training and development, coaching and psychometric assessment, Gillian founded Change Grow Succeed in 2015.

Passionate about supporting her clients in effecting positive change, Gillian offers a strengths based approach – an experience that leaves clients feeling empowered, energised and looking forward. Her facilitation & coaching style is personable, authentic & hugely impactful. She also delivers bespoke high impact programmes to individuals, teams & managers and is skilled at creating environments which enable people to learn.


5 Remedies to cure your Disease to Please!

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Are you a people pleaser? Do you find it hard to say ‘No’?

Prompted by several clients who are self- confessed ‘People Pleasers’ and who have a desire to change but are not sure how, I set about researching the topic in more detail.

People pleasers are essentially lovely people who go out of their way to make other people happy. They have a bias towards collaboration and consideration for others. They tend to have highly tuned empathy and find it easy to adapt. The impact? They tend to say ‘yes’, when what they really want to say is ‘no’.  People pleasing may have served them in the past but when it becomes a default mode of being, it can be challenging to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Why not just say no? Fundamentally, it’s a mindset that works against them; some fear conflict, some don’t like to disappoint others or appear to be less than capable. Some feel that ‘ignoring the needs of others’ appears wrong and even rude!  Yet, by and large they report feeling overworked and resentful at saying “yes” to tasks that serve the agenda of others. Moreover, they feel frustrated at their lack of power and control over their own schedule, not to mention their anger at seemingly ‘getting nothing done’.

In a world where work is becoming infinite (just think about your ‘inbox’!) Having the ability to say “No” requires us to cultivate a mindset in which this is ‘ok’. The following 5 tips serve to remind us all how:

  1. Connect

Getting in touch with who you are, your values and beliefs is critical in getting started. Take the time to pause and reflect. Ask yourself ‘how am I responding to this?’ Look at your current behaviours and remember that it is in making the teaspoon size changes that can have the biggest impact.


  1. Set Boundaries

Be clear about your limits. Reset and revise your own boundaries if necessary. In setting these, remember, your responsibility is to yourself. If you don’t respect your needs, others won’t. If the receiver is unhappy, coin a mantra or ask a question such as ‘is there another way to look at this?’ Place the focus on something productive.


  1. Own your choices

Don’t feel the need to buy into some-one else’s chaos. Consider, if you say ‘yes’, consider what are you saying ‘no’ to? Remember to yield– research tells us that we are most susceptible to saying ‘yes’ in the minutes after a request. Yielding offers us valuable time to position our response!


  1. Be assertive

Assertive communication is about directing dialogue to what IS possible. If a situation is not working for you, say it and follow it with “can we put our heads together to figure this out”. Engage the asker! Focus on the substance of your objection over any ‘mud- slinging’.


  1. Say NO

Grasp that saying ‘no’ is not selfish and is vital to sustain healthy and functional relationships. In her book “Who’s pulling Your Strings?” Harriet B Braiker says “Conflict can and should be handled constructively. When it is, relationships benefit. Conflict avoidance is *not* the hallmark of a good relationship. On the contrary, it is a symptom of serious problems and of poor communication”. Remember that being nice, is not the same as being helpful.


Courage can transform us into the best version of ourselves positively impacting self- esteem and happiness. The good news is that bravery is a skill we can all learn (or re learn). It is an active process so it does need practise. Thus, if you want to be the hero of your own story, practise small acts of bravery and watch life open up before you! And I’ll bet that you will feel a whole lot better and may even have some extra time to devote to something that YOU actually enjoy!


Gillian McGrath is a Cork based life and business coach and master trainer. For more information, you can contact her directly on

Managing Millennials


The millennial generation has become a media phenomenon that is difficult to escape from. In an era of multigenerational workforces, it’s paramount that today’s leaders consider tactics that will empower and embrace the unique needs of this age bracket.

So, who are the Millennials? Broadly speaking, if you were born in the 1980’s or 1990’s- you fit into this category. While it is important not to over- generalise, millennials as a generation do possess certain traits and behaviours that differ significantly from previous generations such as, they are tech savvy, highly educated, extremely efficient, hardworking and adapt well to change. They also value authenticity and meaningful work, they want to make an impact in what they do. There is also a negative stereotype that surrounds this generation such as, they’re lazy (the ‘armchair activist’!) have a sense of entitlement, can be narcissistic, have a distrust of bureaucracy but most commonly, that they are extremely difficult to manage in the workplace.

Given that there are an estimated 82 million millennials in the workforce today, developing this generation is something that requires investment and a considerable shift in mind set to empower them in their roles. Business leaders play an important role in the process of adapting and supporting this dynamic group and have an opportunity to flex their own style driving growth and development for their staff. Recently, I spoke at an event whereby I shared my tips for managing millennials in the workplace, using the acronym ENGAGE as follows:

E is for Empathy

In order to support this generation, we need to get to understand what drives them. This starts with empathy. Simon Sinek talks about the importance of understanding the environment they grew up in relative to two key points; technology and parenting. While technology has transformed the way we work, it has also transformed the way we connect with each other and our ability to form meaningful relationships and cope with stress has been negatively impacted. Technology has fostered an environment for immediacy reducing our patience and ‘will’ to persevere.

Relative to parenting, the majority of this generation has been in receipt of empowering messages such as ‘you can be whatever you want’ which has contributed to a sense of entitlement that does not transfer to the workplace. In fact, employers report that while this generation will see the ‘summit’, they don’t see the ‘mountain’ and invariably, the millennials ability to innovate and persevere greatly decreases. They can disengage and in some cases, hand in their notice.

N is for New Leaders

According to, by 2025, the millennial generation will occupy 75% of the overall workforce. As such, one of the primary responsibilities of today’s leaders is to create a leadership pipeline. While this generation are highly educated, they lack in the areas of soft skill development. Supporting them in the ‘Human Skills’ such as Personal Impact, Influencing, Communication, Situational Leadership and Managing Stress is critical in the development of a  leadership skillset. Bespoke leadership programs add immense value in this space.

G is for Grow Relationship

‘Be a mentor, not a boss’. There is an opportunity for business leaders to evaluate their own role in building relationships with their teams and ask questions of themselves such as, how am I currently communicating? What works well? What’s not working? How can I flex my own style?

Aim to foster engagement with inverse mentoring tactics. This can lead to a more reciprocal relationship and openness when heading advice and guidance from senior team members.

A is for Action

We know that this generation are hardworking and favour results. Leverage from this, provide structure and/or process around achieving short- term goals. Offer them flexibility (where possible) in the manner in which to complete tasks. It is important however, to be mindful of the fact that this generation are characterised by impatience so, they will need support in having patience and perseverance in dealing with any obstacles.

G is for Give Feedback

Research suggests that the annual review model does not empower the millennial generation and that a more dynamic feedback model is favoured. There are some high impact feedback models in existence that we, in Change Grow Succeed support businesses in implementing. The coaching model is also high impact. Not only does coaching inspire action and focuses on results but it is a highly individualised form of learning. Supporting leaders in their coaching skills can often yield high results and allow for richer communication within teams.

In addition, share how their role fits into the overall strategic plan or process, knowing how and where they fit in relative to their role is important to them (indeed, to us all!)

E is for embrace

And enjoy! The arrival of this generation is an opportunity to learn about ourselves and also the world in which we live. So, do take ownership of your role in this process and aim to do one small thing differently to effect positive change within your team and your own leadership style. This generation are here to stay- let’s make the most of it!


Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. She regularly coaches and supports businesses with intergenerational workforces. For more information, contact her directly on