29 Aug

Building confidence from the outside in

A friend of mine who works from home, tells me that she always makes sure to wear shoes when walking into her home office. Her wearing shoes, or how she was presented wouldn’t make a difference to anyone as no-one actually sees her in her office. However, as she pointed out to me, she felt more confident in her position when she wore shoes.

People use many different techniques to assist with building their confidence levels.  A lot of these techniques are based on how we think,  feel and process information. Most of these self-help, positive self-talk techniques you could say work from the “inside out”. Get your mind and/or your belief system right and your behaviour, mood and confidence levels start to shift.

Let’s flip things around though. What would happen if instead you worked from the outside in?

How often do your mood and energy levels change for the better after you’ve simply had a new hair cut or dressed in your best outfit?  Putting on your favourite pair of shoes and strutting your stuff can also provide the necessary confidence boost.

The last time you needed a lift in your confidence, how did you look and what were you wearing?  If you had changed your outfit, popped a bit of lipstick on, or wore your lucky tie, would that have made a difference?

Besides your personal presentation and attire, have a look at how you could change your environment to help re-inforce your confidence levels.

Take a look around you. Your environment should put you in a good “head space”. In order to be productive and confident you cannot  feel uncomfortable, irritated or annoyed by your surroundings.

Trying to think positively whilst feeling irritated and annoyed by a messy office, unorganised diary or dirty dishes in the sink can be extremely challenging and very distracting. Why make things harder for yourself?

So not only can you focus on building your self-confidence levels through positive thought (from the  “inside out”), but you can also focus on your environment and how you present yourself. Start thinking about building confidence from the outside in.

14 Aug

Do we ever stop learning?

Do we ever stop learning? Most people would agree that no, we don’t.

So if we believe that we should be continuously learning, should we not always be open to opportunities for growth and development? Unfortunately, so often that doesn’t seem to be the case. Why do we limit ourselves from being developed, or when we have the opportunity to learn we poo-poo the idea and make excuses to avoid it?

One of the biggest obstacles for many people’s personal growth and development is their unhealthy pre-occupation with work. The “job” becomes all-consuming, and unreasonable work obligations are allowed to take away from personal learning time.

I often hear things like “Ah, I would love to attend that talk or seminar, but I’ve got work to do” or “No, I haven’t managed to read that book, I needed to finish off a work report”. You could say that work has become the be-all and end-all, and anything outside of it is less important. Lack of work-life-balance comes to mind.

Is this trade-off due to our feeling of guilt if we pay more attention to something other than work? The feeling that we will be seen as a “slacker” by our peers, work colleagues or heaven forbid, our bosses?

If your answers to the following questions highlight that your personal development time is lacking due to work, what are you going to do to change it?

  • Do you allow your job to overshadow your opportunity to develop?
  • Do you put other people’s requests and demands before your own development opportunities?
  • Do you allocate time during your week or month for personal development and growth?
  • Do you discuss your personal development goals with your boss?
  • What would happen if you actively included personal development into your schedule?
06 Aug

Why aren’t we more compassionate?

Over the past few months I have been doing  extensive research on Emotional Intelligence. I find the subject matter fascinating and rich with so many lessons which, if you follow them, will grow and develop you in many areas of your life.

The TED talk below, by emotional intelligence guru Daniel Goleman, points out how little attention we pay to each other. How in our busy lives we become so absorbed with our own stuff that we block others out, against our own natural instincts.

We allow irrelevant tasks, shiny gadgets and our own self-importance to get the better of us. It pays to be mindful of how we interact with each other.