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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 http://www.changegrowsucceed.com

From Frazzled to Free

frazzled 2 free

There’s no doubt the summer break is perceived as a time to re-boot and recharge but what to do if you’re exhausted and are facing into the last quarter of the year completely frazzled and drained? Having the mental ability to manage the existing pace, overcome challenges, create a vision and achieve results requires mental energy- is there something we could be doing more of to cultivate this?

Here are my tips to eliminate  the ‘frazzle’ and free yourself to reap the fruits of the months ahead:

  • Go Back to Basics

Self- care is not selfish, it’s necessary to sustain us both mentally and physically. Be mindful of the change in season ahead characterized by a change in routines and pace. Sleep has transformative power. It renews us.  Healthy eating and regular exercise are also essential. Our needs are individual and no ‘one- size fits all’ but do take a personal pit-stop and evaluate if you are getting what you need.

  • Beware the Smart phone

Steven Johnson (popular science author) in his TED talk asks us to think about what the internet is doing to our brains. The constant engagement of social media and our smart phones kills both creativity and contemplation. We can all be very consumerist so creating boundaries around our phone usage can help us feel more conscious and present.  What’s your relationship like with your smart phone? Do you take it on holiday? Consider turning off after work or charging your phone downstairs rather than in the bedroom at night. Perhaps, if you’re attending a meeting or on a night out with friends, leave it in your pocket/ a bag. Earlier this year, I made the conscious decision to remove email from my phone, preferring instead to access email at a time convenient for me. It has proved transformative.

  • Get busy doing nothing

The business ‘epidemic’ is rampant. Yet, given that we are human beings and not human doings- the danger is that by having no time to ‘switch off’ we are actually depriving ourselves of the art of thinking. In fact, the over stimulation of data robs our brain of the opportunity to innovate and reflect.  We fantasize about having ‘down time’ but how are we using the ad hoc pockets that come our way during the day? Smartphones? Facebook? We all whinge about how busy we are but give us the chance to do nothing and we baulk!! Interesting isn’t it? Lawton Urnsey said “Idleness isn’t a luxury but rather a necessity to keep you at your peak… “ The challenge? Let’s Unplug and Be Idle- it really will make us all more effective!

  • Get Creative

Prior to the internet, an unanswered question would be met with pause for thought: can I work it out? Where can I go to find the answers?  Albert Einstein said that “Imagination is more important that knowledge”. There are many benefits to ‘getting creative’ one of which is to boost your brain function!  When was the last time you were creative?  Consider challenging yourself to take 20- 30 mins a day to paint, write, bake, garden, take photos or play! What do you do for fun? I’ve taken inspiration from Julia Camerons “The Artists Way” by journaling first thing in the morning. While I did find it challenging to rise a little earlier initially, I am reaping the benefits of having a clear head as I start my day feeling light and free.

  • A Perfect Pause

Creating calm is about being able to identify what is causing stress in our life.  In the world of wellness, the first step is to take notice. Critical to this is pausing to notice how busy your mind is. Do this authentically, find what works for you. I try to incorporate breathing exercises into my working day. Anything from 30 seconds to 2 minutes can have an impact.  Sometimes, it can be hard to sit still so I will savour a walk. In fact, research suggests that when we walk we are engaging in a bilateral movement (eg moving our right leg, we stimulate the left side of our brain) which enables us to use all aspects of our thinking abilities. Being in the moment is hugely positive for our mental well being.

  • Forge Meaning in your Goals

September is an opportune time to embrace change. Know that you’re statistically more likely to achieve results if the change has meaning for you. You need to understand your ‘WHY’ . Equally, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your plans for the year and ask yourself if the path you’re taking is still relevant for you. Connect with your vision.

To finish…

The dawn of a new season can often feel like an opportune time to trial and embrace new routines and habits. I read recently, that “what we think, we become”- if that’s the case, this ‘busyness epidemic’ and our forensically focused days are preventing us from taking a leap or doing something differently. Slowing down can be challenging but is key to nourish and replenish yourself both mentally and physically for the months ahead. Remember, a busy mind is an unhappy mind. Aim to cultivate healthier habits – your mind will thank you!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For further information, go to www.changegrowsucceed.com

4 Reasons why you should ask yourself questions in 2015?

 

“Begin with the end in mind” in one of the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” according to Stephen R. Covey, so, it seems to be quite a fitting way to commence a blog in January!

The start of the year brings with it a sense of change and a general atmosphere of excitement and potential. We might pause to think about our new year’s resolutions, we might ask our friends and colleagues to share theirs. We might even go a step further and think about what we might achieve if we stick to “the plan”- a holiday? A 10K run? No more stress? A full time job?

Great results and accomplishments start with (great!) questions. As you’re reading this, have you asked yourself what you would like to get out of this year? Have you given thought to what you would like to do differently?  Having identified the changes we want, we should work back to determine the actions we need to take.

The most powerful questions are definitely the ones we ask of ourselves. Why? Asking ourselves carefully crafted questions will directly determine the path we follow and here are 4 reasons why:

  1. It effects change immediately (you’re already in the ‘open-to- change zone’)
  2. It engages (all of a sudden you’re examining what it is/ why it’s there/ how to change etc.)
  3. It’s directed at a positive outcome (e.g. ‘where do I want to go?’)
  4. It fosters ownership and action (you start looking at things you can do)

So, what do you want to get out of this year? What questions will you ask yourself to kick start the changes you wish to effect, so you can live the life you want?

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