24 May

Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

I have the privilege of coaching some amazingly talented individuals. From all walks of life, cultures, ages and skill sets. Everyone’s goal is unique and every coaching session is different. You never go into a session knowing how it will end, it is always an interesting journey of discovery.
It’s a beautiful experience to be invited into their space of vulnerability, curiosity and exploration. I always feel very honoured to bear witness to some amazing transformations.
As much as everyone is unique in their ways there is one common thread I see quite often in coaching sessions. Something that affects both men and women, but in my experience, an issue which predominately affects women. That is Imposter Syndrome. The feeling of not being good enough and that one day someone will “catch you out” for not being the person you say you are. It doesn’t matter how talented or brilliant the individual is, they still believe that their career advancements and accolades came from pure luck or being in the right place at the right time.
As a coach, I have pondered this issue many times and what I’ve deduced is that one of the main reasons why people suffer from this syndrome is because they believe they need to be perfect. They strive everyday to achieve this unattainable goal of becoming the “perfect person”. When they have failed they seem to fall deeper into the idea of being an imposter.
The reasons behind this could come from many sources. However in coaching we look at the present and build new habits and strategies to help us move forward. Here are a few techniques you could look at implementing into your life, should you be someone who suffers from Imposter Syndrome.
1) Environment
Who you spend your time with and the people you surround yourself with everyday is a key influencer to how you see yourself. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t want people pandering to your every whim or agreeing with everything you say. You want people in your corner who will add value, who will help you grow, positively challenge you and support you. People who genuinely believe in you and your goals.  Are you keeping good company?

2) Acknowledge and accept your weaknesses

We all have weaknesses, whether we like them or not, they are part of who we are and make us unique. By ignoring our weaknesses and sweeping them under the carpet we prevent ourselves from accepting who we are. We  create a very distorted picture of ourselves, believing we are perfect. Acknowledging our whole being, our faults as well as our strengths allows us to create a realistic picture of ourselves. No filters, lies or stories. By facing our weaknesses we are not only able to start improving ourselves, but we can comfortably accept that we are not perfect and challenge the idea of being an imposter.
3) Celebrate your successes
We strive to achieve our goals everyday and when we do achieve them, we either ignore them, glance over them or challenge their credibility. Why? Stop it! Get into the habit of celebrating your successes everyday and every week, even the smallest ones. A win is a win and should always be celebrated. By acknowledging your successes you are re-enforcing the fact that you are not “winging it”. You are debunking the idea that your successes came from pure luck.
4) Partner with a coach or a mentor
Sometimes we need a sounding board, an objective voice who is not a family member, friend or colleague. An independent person who will provide you with that safe space where you can unload, question yourself and develop good strong habits.
Asking for help or guidance shows strength and is another way for you to shift your mindset out of thinking you are an imposter. It’s okay to not be able to do it on your own.
If you suffer from Imposter Syndrome, make the decision today to start taking control of your future. You get to decide on who you want to be, nobody else.
01 Sep

Is work-life balance achievable?

Last weekend was a productive one for me, decluttering my kitchen cupboards. In our home we are avid followers of Marie Kondo’s philosophy of “If it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it.” Whilst decluttering and celebrating our new found space, I thought about her mantra and realised that one could apply the same philosophy to life itself, and specifically to work-life balance.

Finding work-life balance in our modern busy lives often feels like searching for the holy grail, completely impossible. However, unlike the holy grail, work-life balance can be found. It is achievable. You just have to know where to look.

Instead of trying to cram so much into our work and personal lives, and desperately trying to “make it work”, think about what you can remove. Ask yourself this question, “How is this task/job/action serving me?” If the answer comes back negative, then why are you still doing it?

How can you remove the task/job/action from your life? Do you need to delegate the task, apply for another job or stop performing a certain action? Whatever it is, if it is not working for you, if it is doing you a disservice, then find a way to remove it.

By removing “stuff” from our lives we start to create some breathing space. We start to create a balance. Making a choice to keep something in our lives also reminds us of its importance. We cherish it more.

Now here comes the trick. Once you have eliminated and decluttered unnecessary things from your life, be incredibly mindful of adding any new things.

When embarking on a new project or task ask yourself these questions:

  1. What joy will I get out of taking on this new task?
  2. Will this new task fit into my existing lifestyle and work-style?
  3. What have I removed from my life to make space for this new item?

Trying to achieve work-life balance is ongoing. It is not a quick fix, but something we are continuously managing in our lives. Remember you are in control of what comes into your life, so if it doesn’t serve you, get rid of it.

Need some assistance with finding your work-life balance? Why not take on the service of a coach to help you? Contact Nicole at nicole@tikumu.co.nz to set up a free consultation.

18 Aug

Choices

There was once an alcoholic man who had two sons. When the sons grew up, one become an alcoholic just like his father and the other became a teetotaller. When the sons were asked why they had chosen those specific paths they both answered. “You know my father was an alcoholic, isn’t my life path choice obvious?” 

I love this story, as it shows how we all interpret life so differently.

These two sons show me that life can be one of two things to us:

Firstly, we can have the mindset that life has already been mapped out for us, and we have to graciously accept the lot we are given, like the alcoholic son. His father was an alcoholic, so it meant he would be one as well.

Or, secondly we can chose to see life as a blank canvas, and what we make of it will define our success and happiness, whatever that means to us.

In life we have choices. No-one controls you, no-one tells you how to live your life, run your business or raise your children. There are lots of experts out there with great advice, but when all is said and done and the experts have gotten back into their boxes to preach another day, you stand alone with a decision to make.

You choose what’s best for you. Just you and no one else. How do you choose?

20 Jul

5 steps to dealing with limiting beliefs

Put your hand up if you’ve ever doubted your abilities, considered yourself a fraud or an imposter? Have you ever thought you were operating on borrowed time waiting for someone to catch you out, and expose you for the fake you believe you are? These thoughts are what we calling self-limiting beliefs.  Welcome to the club, everybody experiences limiting beliefs at different stages and ages in their lives and careers, it is normal.

The trick here is learning how to keep the nasty little voices in your head at bay and to learn how to manage and control them.

  1. Don’t ignore them

    Trying to ignore these thoughts and push them under the carpet might hold them back for a short period, but they are still under the carpet. Ignoring your limiting beliefs  doesn’t miraculously get rid of the beliefs, it just delays the inevitable, causes a lot of undue stress and creates a tripping hazard in your life. So when you least expect it, you could stumble over the limiting  belief hump which lies buried under the carpet.

  2. Acknowledge and name them

    So often we turn away from these limiting beliefs because we see them as weaknesses and perhaps character flaws. Because we find it painful to deal with them and shamefully believe that these little voices are confirming a truth. The more we turn away from these negative beliefs or ignore them they tend to grow.  They become larger, more hurtful and more controlling. So instead of ignoring them, acknowledge them. Face them head on. Acknowledge their existence and name them. By doing this you are able to start the journey of learning how to manage and control them on your own terms.

  3. Get curious

    Start by taking some time out of your schedule and get really curious about why these limiting beliefs seem to appear in your life. Where do these thoughts originate from? What experience is supporting these beliefs? What triggers these feelings and beliefs? How am I benefiting from holding onto these thoughts? Was there a time were I didn’t have these beliefs and why is there a change?

    Dig deep and question everything. Pull your thoughts apart. Challenge!

  4. Make a plan

    Once you’ve dissected the belief and examined every side of it, warts and all, come up with a plan for how you will deal with it. Depending on what you discover, you may need to work on positive affirmations, learn a new skill, seek professional guidance or work on changing a behaviour, which is not serving you. There are many ways, but it is essential that you find the alternative. This will allow you to take charge. To take control.

  5. Let it go

    Once you’ve started implementing your plan, your habits will start to change for the better. There is no place to store your old limiting beliefs, they just get in the way. Make the decision and learn to let them go.

I am aware that this is easier said than done. It’s damn hard work to wrestle your negative thoughts into submission and sometimes we don’t always get it right. But, ask yourself this. “If you don’t change your limiting beliefs, what will happen?” If you are not satisfied with your answer then go back to point 1 of this article and start taking control of your limiting beliefs.

Need some help with taking charge of your limiting beliefs? Need a coach? Contact Nicole @ nicole@tikumu.co.nz

02 Feb

To Delegate or not to delegate? 5 things to keep in mind

Delegation can be a wonderful thing or it can land up being your worst nightmare. Your feelings about delegation may depend on past positive or negative experiences, your personality type, how you view control and how confident you are to relinquish control  to someone else.

However, we know that if we don’t delegate and try to do everything ourselves we limit ourselves and our business growth.

To get it right and to avoid the nightmare of everything going wrong, here are a few ideas you can keep in mind when delegating to your colleagues, team members and suppliers.

1. They are not you

The sooner you come to terms with the fact that the person you are delegating to is not you, and therefore will not execute the plan in precisely the same way as you, the better it is for everyone concerned. Yes, you may have better attention to detail, but they may work better under pressure. Everyone brings their own strengths to the table and everyone will complete a task in their own unique way. Just remember, their manner is not wrong if the  performance standards have been met along the way and the goal has been achieved.

Allow them to take control of the project or task. Let them take ownership. Give them authority.

2. Know the capabilities of the person you are delegating to

For you the task may be simple and something you could achieve with your eyes closed. This may not be the case for the person you are delegating to. Before you hand over the task, put yourself in that person’s shoes. Try to see the task from their perspective. It may be a breeze, but it also may be quite overwhelming, stressful and a real stretch for them. By understanding their capabilities and limits you can work with them. Remember they are not you, so go into the delegation process with your eyes wide open.

3. It’s not over till its over

To delegate successfully you need to understand that you still play a part in the project execution, your role however has just shifted from “doer” to “observer”. You are sadly mistaken if you think that you can completely wash your hands of the task after giving out instructions.

Depending on the length of time it will take to complete the task as well as how complicated the task is, it is always a good idea to install a few safety nets. Decide prior to the start of execution together with the person who is performing the task how often they will be checking in with you and reporting back on how the task is progressing.  No safety nets can result in disastrous outcomes.

4. Have realistic expectations

As we have already established this person who you are delegating to is not you. Therefore your personal  abilities with regards to achievable time frames, required resources and skill set is not necessarily theirs. Prior to pushing the go button on the project, be very clear what both parties expectations are.

Agree and sign off on method of execution, time frames, resources, additional training or assistance. Making things transparent from the beginning will save huge amounts of time, energy and money and less headaches.

5. To delegate or not to delegate?
Yes, there are tasks and projects that you cannot and shouldn’t delegate. This would be based on your job function and level of responsibility. The general always has the final say on the attack strategy, the CEO will always have final sign off on a new business initiative and IT manager will always be the keeper of the master passwords.
Think about what your speciality is. Why are you in the business? What is your area of expertise? Why would you want to delegate these tasks or projects out? You may just delegate yourself out of a job. If that is the plan and you wish to move on or shift roles in the business, then go ahead and implement a succession plan. But if not, hold onto the reason why you are there and the unique value that you add.
Need assistance and want to utilise the services of a business coach? contact Nicole at nicole@tikumu.co.nz
23 Oct

Taking back control

Many years ago someone taught me that of the 4 key management functions of planning, organising, leading and control, the weakest function was in fact control.

Apparently we are on average very good at planning, organising and leading, but we fall short at keeping it all together. We fail at controlling and following through on our plans.

You might have witnessed this in your business or in your personal life. So how do you overcome this weakness?

Here are some suggestions:

Tip #1 – Ensure there is a direct motivator.
In Shane Parish’s article The Reasons we Work he features the book Primed to Perform: How to Build the Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation. Authors Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor say that there are six reasons why we do anything. There are three direct motivators and three indirect motivators. By questioning and then ensuring that your motivators are direct, you are confirming that you enjoy your work, that you find purpose in carrying it out and that the outcomes align to your value and belief system.  Direct motivators or intrinsic motivators help you to maintain the desire to continue. Besides the end result, engaging in the actual work is a motivating factor.
Tip # 2 – Ensure your goals are realistic.
The planning and organising phases can be extremely exciting and you can conjure up the most dynamic and elaborate plans, which in the moment seem very practical and doable. However, once the brainstorming dust has settled you may be left with a complicated and senseless plan. This plan then lands up in the bin and you are back at square one or, you start working the plan but give up after a short period due to frustration. So, always ask yourself if your plan is realistic. Does it key into your original vision?
Tip # 3 – Ensure your plan is part of your daily/weekly routine 
This is done by breaking up your plan into easy to manage pieces and scheduling daily and weekly actions for yourself. Essentially you are creating short term goals. Depending on your workload you can keep the actions down to 2 or 3 for the day or week. Always ask yourself, “Can I comfortably complete these tasks in one day or in one week?”  
By incorporating your new actions into your daily and weekly schedule it will become part of your workload and not seem like “something extra to complete”.
Tip # 4  – Ensure key players are part of the planning process
By involving all relevant parties in the planning and organising exercise you build more buy-in. A deeper connection and need to achieve is created. It moves from “the plan” to “our plan”.
If you have a team of employees, bear this in mind. By including your team in the planning and organising process they start to take ownership and feel more accountable for the results. Rather have the team players wanting to achieve the end results, vs. having to achieve because they were given a plan to implement and drive.
I have no doubt there are many other tips and techniques of how to take back the control. I would be interested in hearing yours.