“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
Fear is one of the strongest emotions we feel. It often dictates the decisions we make, the options we choose or the next step we take.
The fear factor is often responsible for shutting down a new idea, tamping down a different perspective or halting an attempt at trying something new.
In some instances, like crossing a busy street or walking down a dark alley, fear instinctively shows up and warns us that danger may be imminent and that’s good because it causes us to look both ways before we cross the street or think twice before we walk down that dark alley. Much like “good trouble” that’s “good fear”
Fear doesn’t discriminate and it isn’t discerning. It shows up uninvited, especially when a new opportunity appears or we don’t see ourselves making fast progress on our goals. Wagging its finger in our face, fear reminds us of our past mistakes, our failures and the time we used poor judgement. It shows up like an imposter, sometimes posing as a mental bodyguard, reinforcing the need to stay safe within the boundaries and within your zone of comfort.
What can fear teach you that you may not already know? How can you manage fear so that it’s not managing you?
What I’ve learned is that fear is deeply connected to our stories. The stories we tell ourselves about what we’re good at and what we’re not so good at, where we belong and where we don’t and what we should and shouldn’t do.
Fear thrives in moments when we feel insecure, when we compare ourselves to others and when we hold on to expectations rather than follow our own path.
Fear has a default button that remains activated unless we intentionally turn it off.
When we challenge our fears by taking time to reflect and consider the positive outcomes, it helps us to see ourselves as resilient and capable. Leveraging fear can teach us that we’re much stronger than we thought and that things may not be as bad or as hard as we imagined.
Trust trumps fear. When you trust yourself, you open your mind to thinking differently and allow yourself to become curious. You open the door to what’s possible. You recognize that mistakes can teach you to take an alternate route that may have been unknown before and that failure leads you closer to success and that you can keep trying until you get it right.
The next time you feel fear approaching, ask yourself “is this a chance for me to grow?” and if so, politely acknowledge the fear, look straight ahead and keep going.
“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.”- Carlos Castaneda
The demands are growing, responsibilities deepening within the organization or your business and every day you still feel a sense of not knowing if you’re doing enough and trying vigilantly to stay ahead in multiple domains of your personal and professional life.
I work with women business leaders and I often see them struggle with distressful thoughts, feelings and behaviors – thinking they’re not good enough or that they should be doing more. A lot of women who come to me, know that on paper, they are not a failure, in fact, many of these women are highly accomplished and have worked their way up the corporate ladder and are running businesses and leading organizations. And yet, there’s an insidious sense of unfulfillment, self-doubt and disbelief that they are making the right decisions and moving in the right direction.
For women who are over-achievers and have accomplished quite a bit professionally, there seems to be a gap existing between the intersection of confidence, well-being and authenticity. This gap shows up when you feel stuck, dispassionate or begin doubting every move you make. It shows up when you find yourself struggling to make even the simplest decisions and when you find yourself procrastinating with every project because focusing on one thing is hard to do.
These feelings of inadequacy are strong and left unchecked, can derail your goals, your aspirations and the life you want to create for yourself. Here are a few steps I often share with my own clients to help bridge the gap:
Work towards something that is meaningful for you.
When you feel purposeful, momentum can move you through those moments of angst and doubt and help you to take the steps needed to accomplish your goal.
Invest in your future self.
Don’t be constrained by what’s possible in the moment. Think bigger. Recognize that everything is not in your control. Focus on the 50% that you can control and do your best there. Don’t waste cognitive energy trying to change something that you cannot.
Take time to reflect.
Sounds simple but it’s not easy. Build small moments into your day – 5 or 10 minutes max and ground yourself in the present moment. Remind yourself of who you want to be and what is important for you. Approach that part of yourself that thinks “I am not enough” with curiosity and compassion, and without judgment.
Sometimes you can make the shift on your own and if you can, go for it. But, if you feel that you are stuck with your current reality and the journey is too daunting, reach out and ask for support.
Stephen Covey touched on something really significant when he wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People back in 1989. Habit # 2, Begin With the End in Mind is the most meaningful one for me and it’s the one I spend the most time thinking about.
The message is a powerful lesson in personal growth and change.
No matter who you are or where you are in this moment, the Universe just threw us a massive curve ball and knocked us straight off the status-quo podium.
And while we all are figuring out new ways of getting back up and finding some assemblance of normalcy, by no means should we abandon our run towards the finish line. In fact, we now have an immense opportunity to learn more about ourselves, each other and the world we live in.
Research has found that highly resilient people pay attention to how they can learn and grow from difficult and life-changing situations.
How do we move forward with the end in mind?
Focus time and energy on things you can control. Your mindset is everything right now – in fact, it’s your North Star. Understanding that you have the power to create your experience is essential. Your thoughts lead to your actions which then lead to your results.
If your goal is to find a new job, change careers, start a new business or scale your existing business, there’s no better time than now to stay on track. The biggest opportunities often become available during times of adversity.
Focus your mind on seeking out those opportunities and you will find them.
Playwright, George Bernard Shaw reminds us that,
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”
Don’t abandon your goals, instead manage your mind so that you can be more, do more and accomplish more.
Habit #2, is based on the vision that you create for yourself that you may not be able to see in the present moment. Begin With the End in Mind means to begin each day, task or project with clarity on your desired direction and destination and then keep moving forward by flexing your proactive muscles so you can keep going and make things happen.
If you want support to help you stay on track and keep moving forward toward your end goal, schedule a call and let’s talk. Working with someone who can help you challenge your thoughts, keep you accountable and help you gain peace of mind can make a huge difference.
In support of your success,
In times of uncertainty, your habits can ground you. Whenever there is a big change in your environment, there will be a big change in your behavior. James Clear has published hundreds of free articles on building new habits and breaking bad ones. You can go here to check out links to those articles.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Our belief systems define “what’s possible”
Recently I listened to a podcast where the host was discussing a compelling concept or idea around belief ceilings, which are sets of beliefs we have, that very much sound like facts but hold us back from achieving our true potential.
These belief ceilings are incredibly difficult to recognize because they are so ingrained in our hearts and minds, that we don’t think to challenge them and most of us are unwilling to challenge them because it may mean that we would have to change our thinking or even admit that what we may have been thinking isn’t true.
For example, a belief ceiling for me is that achieving a high level of success means hard work and no fun. I associate success with sacrifice and struggle, and my belief ceiling is that the fun part comes after (and not during) the hard work. I’ve subconsciously made this my reality until I began to challenge my way of thinking. I realized that if I shifted my attitude and opened myself up to a new perspective, I could enjoy my work and create more fun on my journey to success.
You may have a belief ceiling around how much weight you can lose, or how much money you can earn, or maybe you’re belief ceiling is keeping you back from starting your own business because you don’t have enough money or experience, or you believe you’re not smart enough, or too old to do the thing you want to do.
We don’t recognize these belief ceilings as optional. We recognize them as reality and therefore they go unchallenged.
These beliefs systems that lead to belief ceilings can grow from sneaky thoughts led by our inner critic that creep into our heads and keep us stuck in place and hold us back from possibility.
The best antidote to belief ceilings is to recognize them, write them down and challenge them. Our brains love certainty, so when we start messing around with assumptions that we’ve held for long periods of time and gaining new perspectives it will feel uncomfortable and confrontational.
Sometimes it’s best to understand what you have a belief ceiling around and just sit with it and figure out how it’s affected you. When you look at your life and think about your future and what you could be capable of your belief ceilings will inevitably come into play. And you will recognize it because they will seem like very valid and legitimate reasons for why you haven’t created the success you want.
But keep in mind, 80% of our success is mindset and 20% is strategy.
What belief ceilings may be present in your life that may be keeping you from reaching or exceeding your potential?
If you want to explore this topic and go a bit deeper for yourself you can schedule a call with me or you can attend my upcoming workshop “Women In Motion 2019” click here for more details.
“There’s no greater gift than to honor your lifes calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive.” – Oprah
It’s one thing to know you’re doing a good job, but you won’t succeed if you’re not clear on the value you bring to your organization.
Knowing your strengths will put you over the top.
Can you name 5 of your top talents off the top of your head? Do you know the 3 most valuable traits you bring to your company?
Let me let you in on a secret.
Most people don’t know what they’re good at or they may have an idea but have a difficult time articulating it.
It’s much easier to focus on what we’re not good at and try to fix it.
Being unclear on what our strengths are, is part of the reason, why so many smart professional women find it challenging to advocate for themselves, ask for higher compensation or pursue top level opportunities.
When we are intentional about knowing our values and strengths, we create an awareness of who we are which helps us to become more confident in ourselves and appreciate what we bring to the table.
Last year, a client of mine, who is a high achiever and an effective leader for a multinational corporation, told me about how she had taken the Strengthfinder assessment, during a particularly volatile time in her organization.
When we began our coaching work together, her goals included creating an inspiring & bold agenda for the work she wanted to do and being deliberate about moving outside her comfort zone.
What followed for her was a sequence of epiphanies that led to motivation, action and momentum in her life.
Knowing her strengths and leveraging what she was good at, opened her up to consider key possibilities and think about a different approach to her leadership opportunities. Since then, the organization has created a new role, positioning her as a sought after global leader.
Despite the major changes that were going on in her organization, she remained steadfast in her belief that if she continued doing more of the things she excelled at, she would stay engaged, be passionate about her work, and continue to reinvent her career.
So what about you?
Whether you’re an executive looking to advance your career, own your own business or are reinventing what you do professionally, I invite you to learn more about what you do RIGHT. Taking the assessment will help you identify your own natural strengths and talents.
Here are 3 reasons why knowing your strengths will help you level up professionally.
1. You will know how you stand out competitively.
2. Your confidence will increase with the clarity that comes from a greater appreciation of the value you bring to your organization.
3. You’ll have the language to communicate with others about what you do well, your projects, goals and the impact you’re making, which will make it less difficult for you to advocate for yourself.
If you want to take the Strengthfinders assessment, and learn how to leverage your strengths to advance professionally, schedule a call with me today, at yourcorporateally
Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another. -John C. Maxwell
Good leaders can get people to achieve, but influential leaders get people to want to achieve.
Last week, I had the pleasure of facilitating a workshop with a super group of talented women who traveled from all over the country to learn more about influencing strategies, so they could effectively develop their program, communicate more confidently with their clients and establish themselves as experts in their space.
These women are high achievers and are part of a learning community. They openly shared with me their challenges with getting their messages across when clients showed up with a blend of attitudes and views.
Here are 3 influence strategies that I shared with this leadership team, and that I think you will find to be very effective.
#1. Empowerment – Making others feel valued by involving them in decision making and giving them recognition.
When we respect someone, we are more inclined to cooperate and more willing to be influenced by them.
Look for solutions that will benefit everyone involved.
#2. Having a common vision – Presenting ideas by linking them to an aspiring vision of what is possible and show people how their work is important to the broader goals of the organization.
Use meetings and other gatherings to build a sense of pride and ownership in the team.
#3. Relationship building – Taking the time to connect with others and getting to know them personally. You want to cultivate relationships so that others will be inclined to support your ideas in the future.
And that starts with you being present and being able to build rapport.
Additionally, a growing body of research suggests that the way to influence—and to lead—is to begin with warmth.
Warmth is the conduit of influence: It facilitates trust and the communication and absorption of ideas.
We can all think back to someone who had a big influence on us in our lives, and for me, it was my father. As far back as I can remember, he enforced the idea that I should think for myself and never do something just because others were doing it.
Every organization has unique dynamics and having the ability to know how to influence others is a golden key.
We all need to know how to use influence, when we’re in an interview and we want to nail the opportunity, or when we want to shift someone’s perspective or we’re looking to win others over.
Which one of these 3 strategies have you found to be most effective for you?