Is a lack of confidence sabotaging your dreams?

Whether it’s starting a business, meeting the person of your dreams or accelerating your career, you first need to believe that this is possible.

I have heard people blame social media, magazines, their partners, parents or bosses for their lack of confidence, however there’s no one more to blame, than ourselves.

The Collins dictionary defines self-doubt as “a lack of confidence in yourself and your abilities”. When we lack confidence, we are in fact just listening to our own negative, internal dialogue that we are incapable of doing what we have planned to do.

A simple technique to help you regain confidence in your abilities, is to:

    Think about a time, when you managed a situation extremely well.
    Describe, how you felt in this situation?
    Did you stand differently?
    Did you breathe differently?
    And, try to remember your frame of mind at the time.

Recalling this information as vividly as you can, can serve to remind you how it feels to be successful at any time, and ensure that you have positive, mental tools to visualise a repeat performance at any point in the future.

Remember that ‘when there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm’ (African proverb).

If you would like to improve your confidence, please contact me.

Is procrastination standing between you and success!?

This picture reminded me that our negative internal dialogue often paralyses us so much, that we fear taking even the first step in any new venture.

Research I completed last year, highlights that many individuals procrastinate because they fear that their work will not be good enough.

I often need to remind my clients that improvement and change happens in stages and with practice. Like training for a marathon, we run a little every day until we are fit enough to run the marathon. We just need to put on our running shoes, and go for that first short jog.

Take the first step. I dare you!

For more information about our transformative programmes, please send me an email.

What can we learn from our ‘baggage’?

How often have you heard someone refer to their past experiences, as ‘baggage’, e.g. an ex-spouse, partner, redundancy, debt, etc?

We can’t change the past, but we can change the way we deal with similar situations in future.

Becoming self-aware helps us to understand and break through our beliefs about past experiences, helping us to learn and grow.

Asking ourselves questions like ‘What happened?’ and ‘How could I have done things differently?’ is a simple way to start an internal dialogue.

I like to think of my past in a positive light. I wouldn’t be the person I am today, if it weren’t for all of my experiences; the good, the bad and the ugly. I have chosen to forgive and forget those things that do me a disservice and I use all of the experiences that serve me well.

What can you learn from your past?

Why, what is how

Have you ever done something really awful and asked yourself ‘Why?’

Have you ever been asked ‘Why did you do that?’ and felt attacked by the question, making it difficult for you to answer?

I was part of the ‘why tribe’. Awake at 3am, asking myself, why I’d messed up in a meeting? Why I had, or hadn’t said something? Beating myself up and getting nowhere with answering the question, other than further down a rabbit hole…which at 3am, is a very dark space.

Asking yourself ‘why’, can force you on an emotional rollercoaster, as you can come up with a million subjective answers.

Asking someone else ‘why’, can feel like a personal attack or criticism; putting them on the defensive.

So how can we do things differently?

Slow your brain, take a mental step back and ask ‘What’ happened?

Keep to the facts! We learn best when we feel safe.

Think about who said, or did ‘what’. ‘What’ was said; who was there, etc?

Once you’ve gathered the facts, ask, ‘How’ you could have done things differently? Not better, because this too is subjective. Better in whose eyes.

Once we have answered ‘What and How’, we may even be capable of answering, ‘Why’.

New behaviours, which lead to a positive result, are learned quickly by the brain, so the next time you are in a similar situation, you will know what you should do differently to achieve a different result.

Helen Martin has an MSc in Coaching and Behavioural change and focuses on developing self-awareness and reflection with her clients.

The pros and cons of intergenerational teams

An article about the advantages of developing an intergenerational workplace, prompted me to share this personal story.

My aunt was a prominent figure in the Insurance sector and had a traditional, yet successful career. Nearing retirement, (at 59 years old) she was approached by a forward-thinking, new firm in the market, offering her ‘many times her annual salary’, (in permanent employment) to grow their business and to share her knowledge and coach the younger generation in their firm.

Ten years later, the same insurance company became an active shareholder in my aunt’s first commercial venture, whereby they still received ongoing advice from her (as a consultant) and she had the financial backing she needed to take a step, she had never thought possible.

According to Birkman’s paper, ‘How Generational Differences Impact Organizations & Teams’, Baby Boomers tend to be optimistic, ambitious, competitive, and focus on their personal accomplishments. However, nobody’s perfect and the paper deals with the many issues that organisations can experience with inter generational teams. ‘The good news is that common ground exists among members of different generations. Differences exist on all teams regardless of generation and can be successfully addressed through training, and coaching. Other differences, such as work and communication styles, are an outcome of changes in the workforce that can be addressed in a variety of ways.’

Whilst knowledge may be perceived to some as power, sharing that knowledge is worth its weight in gold. It’s how organisations use the knowledge of individuals in their ‘golden years’, re-training these individuals to advise, mentor, coach and train, that makes these organisations more successful than those that choose to make these ‘senior citizens’ redundant.

Companies who want advice may also wish to read:

Helen Martin is a leadership coach and can be contacted for more information.

How important is self-awareness?

Having researched ‘how to change behaviour in 3-months’ as the basis for an MSc in Coaching and Behavioural change, I was surprised to note that 70% of my coachees lacked self-awareness i.e. low to very low.

This was confirmed by an HBR article which states than between 85 and 90% of individuals they surveyed lacked self-awareness.

Self-awareness is at the foundation of emotional intelligence; without it, it becomes hard to develop meaningful (business) relationships and since building relationships are vital for business growth, it’s a skill that shouldn’t be underestimated.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that emotional intelligence can be learned. Psychometrics and Emotional Intelligence models are invaluable to help you understand what can help and hinder you in business, and coaching, can be valuable to unlearn bad habits.

Contact me if you would like to find out more.

Fight, Flight or Freeze?

I love change; whether it’s moving to another country, managing a challenging project, or learning a foreign language; but, when I was made redundant, I abandoned all sense of reason and froze.

Many experts have written about the amygdala and how it is responsible for emotions and survival instincts, and triggers our ‘fight, flight or freeze mechanism’. No matter how much individuals love change; myself included; they may react differently to change which is imposed upon them, than to change which they have planned.

To put this into context, we use the ventral striatum and the amygdala for judgment and decision making, calculating the reward or degree of threat of a situation. The prefrontal cortex, contains the historical context of a situation and regulates the response of the amygdala and ventral striatum, depending on the context of a situation.

Individuals often ‘freeze’ and find it difficult to make decisions, when they are faced with a situation for which they have no point of reference, so they may have no idea of how to react.

Having come through imposed change unscathed, and having coached many others through the same situation, I understand why my clients often fear change. They fear a distant memory of what has yet to come. So, whether an individual chooses ‘fight, flight, or freeze’, the emotions experienced during change can be traumatic and cannot be ignored.

Fortunately, our brains plasticity means that we have the ability to rewrite how we choose to remember past memories, which helps us to unlearn bad habits, discard our limiting beliefs and, focus on realising positive future outcomes.

To find out more about my practice, please visit: www.helenmartincoaching.com, send me a note, or click the Home tab.