Entries Tagged as Confidence

Loosen Up!

December 13, 2017 ·

The holiday season at the workplace adds a whole extra layer of stress to an already busy time of the year. How do you celebrate holidays without offending someone, snubbing someone, and still make a good impression? Whether it’s a secret Santa gift exchange, meeting colleagues’ significant others at a holiday party, or just how to be respectful towards others that may not celebrate the same holiday that you do. It can be a real minefield.

But the best thing about the holiday season, no matter what holidays you celebrate, is that it is meant to be a happy time. Celebrations are meant to be inclusive and full of delight. When we stress out, we’re not only ruining our own fun, but the fun of others as well.

In End the Struggle and Dance With Life, Susan used this aphorism to describe her approach to life:

An old woman, when asked why she was always cheerful, replied:
“Well, I wear this world just as a loose garment.”

To wear a loose garment is to be easy, flexible, comfortable, and free. Wouldn’t we all like to feel that way in December? Susan wrote, “Most of us, however, wear life like a girdle...tight, hard, rigid, uncomfortable and constricting.” This goes double for the holidays! We’d all love to be in the moment enjoying the festive atmosphere with our family and friends. Yet we find ourselves with To Do lists miles long, with end-of-year deadlines looming over us, and having to dance to the tune of the holiday edition of office politics.

What better time, then, to shake off that girdle and learn to lighten up? Susan recommended the following six tips to learn how to approach the holidays both lighter and freer:

  • Let go of your expectations and make something wonderful from what is
  • Stop trying to change other people, the only person you can change is yourself
  • Pick up the mirror and learn how to control your reactions
  • Focus on the abundance you have instead of the lack
  • Focus on the giving instead of the getting
  • Be patient with yourself…and with others

If you take these lessons to heart, you will be well on your way to not just “getting through” the holiday season, but to make the best holiday ever. 

Tags: Confidence

Let Yourself Be Inspired

July 14, 2017 ·

At SusanJeffers.com this month, we’re talking about Heroes. Not the kind in the skin-tight costumes that save the universe over and over again, but the kind that you pass in the street and don’t recognize because they look just like regular people. Because they are regular people.

Susan Jeffers wrote in her book, Embracing Uncertainty, about her own heroes. People she looked up to who gave her inspiration. Some of her heroes were leaders—Viktor Frankl and Ram Dass—while some were people she knew who had been through the worst life has to offer and still came out a winner. She kept a notebook filled with her heroes’ stories that she could refer to whenever she needed some inspiration.

She suggested that you do this too. In the business arena, there are a lot of inspiring CEOs to look to for inspiration—Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, or Richard Branson, just to name a few of the big ones. But it’s also important to look to unrecognized heroes.

Perhaps you can find a Hero in a former boss who was a mentor to you. Or maybe a coworker who always seems to go the extra mile and who had overcome some tragedy in his or her life. You could even find a hero in that nurse at your doctor’s office or the barista a at your favorite coffee shop may have lived an inspirational life that could serve as an example to you.

Heroes and inspiration are everywhere. When you’re feeling deflated or overwhelmed by work and need some encouragement to help you go forward, think about your heroes—both well-known and unsung—to give you boost of inspiration. 

Tags: Confidence · Personal Development

Challenging Your Comfort Zone

June 07, 2017 ·

“The only way to change your future is to step off the path and step into the forest.” Dan Rockwell, Leadership Freak

Comfort zones. We all have them. It’s how we make ourselves feel safe and secure. “For each one of us that zone of comfort is different, but whether we are aware of it or not, all of us—rich or poor, low or high on the totem pole, male or female—make decisions based on the confines of that comfortable space,” wrote Susan Jeffers in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.

While comfort zones, by their very definition, are comfortable. “Most of us operate within a zone that feels right, outside of which we are uncomfortable. For example, we might be willing to initiate friendships with people at the office who are at our level in the company, but would be uncomfortable doing so with one of the higher-ups. We might go to the local deli when eating alone, but would feel really uncomfortable in a luxurious restaurant all by ourselves. We might ask for a $5,000 raise, but $7,000 would make us cringe. We may charge $30 an hour for our services, but we don’t feel that we are worth $35. And so on.”

Staying in our comfort zones means taking no risks and meeting no challenges. It means that what you have today will be it. Comfort zones feels secure, but the security is really a false comfort.

You have a decent job for a good company and you can see it going on this way for years. But what if the market collapses, or funding dries up, or management decides to go in a new direction, or the company goes bankrupt? Then that “security” you were relying on is not so sheltering as you thought it would be.

So what if you kept yourself prepared by constantly enlarging your comfort zone? What if you stepped off the safety of the path and headed into the uncharted? Who knows? Great things are waiting for you if you leave the protection of your comfort zone. There might also be some scary things there too. But unless you branch out, you will never know!

Tags: Confidence · Overcome Fear

Turn It Over

March 07, 2017 ·

Sometimes things don’t happen just as we want. In fact, that probably happens more often than not. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen for a reason. It means that we aren’t privy to the ‘why.’ However hard we work, no matter how much time and effort we put into a project, no matter how much time we put into our jobs, we ultimately have very little control over the outcome.

Yet we do have the choice in how we react to that outcome. And we have the choice to trust that what happened was for the best.

Maybe there is a job you’re hoping to get and some someone else not as qualified as you got the job. That seems so unfair. You find yourself angry and not a little worried about what that means for your future success. The negative chatterbox in your mind is telling you tales of gloom and doom about how the world is ending and other tall tales.

When you are in the throes of negative thinking it can be hard to remember that you do have a choice. You can let the episode destroy your peace of mind and weigh you down or you turn it over to the wisdom within.

Susan Jeffers wrote in End the Struggle and Dance With Life, “When I say, ‘Turn it over,’ I mean TURN IT OVER. And when I say ‘Trust,’ I mean TRUST! My own experiences in life have convinced me that things happen in our lives for very good reasons. Our very limited minds may not understand it all, but the Spiritual part of who we are understands perfectly. So when doubt comes creeping in, as it always will, it serves our peace of mind to keep repeating to ourselves over and over again that wonderful affirmation... It’s all happening perfectly!”

None of us can ever know the answer to all of our questions, but we need to remember that there are answers we will never be privy too … and that’s OK! If you focus on learning and growing instead of the anger and fear you will feel yourself lighten up as the heavy weight negativity goes away. The way events unfold is just a process of living. Like breathing or blinking, there is only so much we can do. Turning over the need to control and depressed feelings is one thing you can do. And you’ll feel so much better.

So remember, “With the enormous peace of mind that the thought ‘it’s all happening perfectly’ gives you, you move forward with the assurance that there is a meaning and purpose to it all.”

Tags: Confidence · Overcome Fear · Personal Development

"Feeling the Fear and Being Our Powerful Selves" by Philippa Linane

March 30, 2016 ·

When I run my Feel the fear and do it anyway workshops or give talks on the subject I encourage the use of the following affirmations from the book Feel the fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers: “I am powerful and I am loving”, “I am powerful and I am loved” and “I am powerful and I love it” I ask everyone “who likes or is comfortable with the word ‘power’?” and very few, if any of the attendees raise their hands out of a mostly female audience. I ask the class to repeat each affirmation five times, it starts as a mumble or a whisper and the uncomfortable feeling around the room is highly evident. After the fourth repetition I ask them to say it like they mean it. By the time we get to “I am powerful and I love it” and especially by the fifth repetition the energy in the room has shifted and people are smiling and laughing, people are starting to realise it is only a word and noticing the positive effect it has on them. These affirmations helped me enormously in changing my life for the better, enabled me be able to sit here now and type this and if I am brave enough to publish it, to be my authentic self, to express myself and I encourage everyone to have a go and use them, no one need know, you just affirm them to yourself regularly and see what happens.

So much is attached to a word, people often think of power as negative, as someone being stronger than another or having power over others. The definition of power according to Thesaurus is ability, competence, dynamism, effectiveness, gift, potential, skill, talent. According to the Oxford English Dictionary it means the ability to or capacity to do something, or act in a particular way, to direct or influence the behaviour of others.

How about we change our thinking for a moment and think about being powerful within ourselves? Who would not want to be these things, to have potential, to be competent, to be influential over our own choices and decisions and how we react to situations, to create joy, satisfaction and love in our lives and to do what is necessary for our own self growth. Why is it then so difficult to think and believe in ourselves as being powerful individuals?

When raising children we largely, or at least I believe we should be encouraging children to be able to handle situations, to be their best, competent, skilful, talented, gifted selves, we want them to have potential and we are proud of them if they turn out to be influential in making a positive difference and create joy and satisfaction in their lives. Why then do we not want this for ourselves?

It is my experience that men are more at ease with the word power than women, so I am urging all of us women “On this International Women’s day to stand up, leave comparisons aside and be your most authentic powerful self, show off your skills, your talents, your abilities, your dynamism, how competent you are, and stand tall in your own unique and individual way. It is absolutely safe and okay to be you.”

So Feel the fear and decide to brave, courageous and brilliant at being powerful and loving, being powerful and loved and being powerful and loving it!!

And let me know how you get on…

To see more from Philippa, visit www.decisionhappy.com.

Tags: Confidence · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Personal Development

Dancing Your Own Dance

February 24, 2016 ·

In End the Struggle and Dance with Life, Susan Jeffers makes a strong point for being true to yourself. So much of what makes life difficult is when we try to be a person we are not. This is especially true of a working environment where individual identity is suppressed for the betterment of the company.

“Everyone has his or her own dance to dance...literally and figuratively.  Some of us want to spread our arms wide to new adventures.  Some of us want to open the curtain just a little bit for the time being.  Some of us want to light a huge bonfire.  Some of us want just a little flame to radiate our own special light into the world.  Never worry if you are doing it wrong.  There is no wrong. It's your dance.  And every day it's a new dance for all of us.  It is important to trust your own rhythm, your own movement.” 

Susan wrote this about everyday life, but when it applies to the workplace it becomes a powerful reminder that everyone is different and will approach work in a different capacity. Requiring everyone to do the same work in the same way is a good way to kill morale in a workplace. Companies need to recognize their employees as individuals with unique talents and strengths. But as employees, we also need to recognize that in our supervisors, our colleagues, and in ourselves.

Here are some examples exploring how recognizing individuals can make a work environment more productive and more welcoming.

Jim was habitually late to work in the morning. He’d drag himself in late, bleary-eyed. His supervisors spoke to him about it, but to no avail. Jim’s excuse was that he wasn’t a morning person. Jim was well on his way to unemployment until the department manager suggested that instead of working an 8 to 5 shift, Jim worked 9 to 6. The change was miraculous. Not only was Jim able to make it to work on time, his productivity soared. This led the company to offer more flexible hours to all their employees allowing them to choose the time they came in, between 7 and 10.

Carol and Sarah were assigned to work on a project together with a few other coworkers. The project was going nowhere as the two women were at loggerheads. The reason behind the holdup is that both women, dedicated to their work, had vastly different ideas on how to make the project succeed. It wasn’t until another person in their working group suggested divvying the responsibilities that things started to move forward. Carol, who is deadline oriented and who likes agendas and timelines, took on the parts of the project that were more straightforward. Sarah, who approaches her work in a less structured, more dynamic way, took on the aspects of the project that required more creativity. By coming to terms with the fact that they worked in different ways, they were then able to “dance their own dance” in a way that made the project’s outcome a success.

Tags: Confidence · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Genuinely Contributing to the Workplace

November 23, 2015 ·

“If we are constantly expecting, we will spend a great deal of our lives disappointed that the world isn’t treating us right.” - Susan Jeffers

We all go to work each day with the basic expectation that we will be compensated for our efforts. Yet how many of us go to work each day and expect praise or acknowledgement, attention, or returned favors? We get in the habit, whether we like our job or not, to expect that when we contribute to the company or business we will get a return above and beyond compensation. We aren’t giving because it is the right thing to do. We are giving from a mentality of “what’s in it for me?”

This is a fearful way to approach a work environment. Always looking at how your actions will benefit yourself is an act of fear. People who feel this way will never be able to genuinely contribute, to their jobs or their personal lives. They are filled with a sense of scarcity, as if there isn’t enough to go around and if they share what they have, they fell they will be left with nothing. The fear is that there is not enough love, not enough money, not enough praise, not enough attention—simply not enough.

As Susan Jeffers wrote, “Usually fear in one area of our lives generalizes, and we become closed down and protective in many areas of our lives. Fearful people can be visualized as crouched and hugging themselves.”

This fearfulness can manifest in the workplace as:

  • Successful business people needing their boss’s approval
  • Coworkers that seem to be competing with everyone
  • Company executives who make harmful, irresponsible decisions
  • Persons who have to control everything down to the tiny details
  • Coworkers who always expect the “favor” to be returned

These people are all operating, in some way, out of a sense of fear for their own survival. As Susan said, “They all are, in effect, crouched and withholding inside.”

She wrote, “If you recognize yourself in this description, join the rest of us. There are few in our society who have actually been taught the secrets of growing up and giving. We have been taught the illusion of giving, but not the actuality of giving. As we have been taught to be careful in terms of our physical safety, we have also been taught not to let anyone con us or take advantage of us. As a result, unless we get something back, we feel used.”

But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you feel as if you are doing extra to contribute in order to get “paid back” in some way, then you need to step away and think about why. What need are trying to fulfill? When you address that part of you, you will be able to turn off the negative mind-set of “what’s in it for me?” and become a person who acts on “what can I do to help?”

Learning to give genuinely is a lesson easily learned but hard to put into practice. Yet it is a reachable goal. One that is very much worth reaching for. 

Tags: Confidence · Corporate Training · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Leadership Development · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Living in the Now

November 04, 2015 ·

“If you see your tasks in life as drudgery, then they are drudgery. On the other hand, if you see them as an opportunity, then your tasks in life will take on brighter meaning.” - Susan Jeffers

A few months ago on this blog, we talked about the “When…Then” type of life. As Susan Jeffers described it in End the Struggle and Dance With Life, “we get in the habit, from a very early age, of looking forward to the big events in our lives…We expect to find happiness only in these brief, but exciting, events. We tell ourselves that when we go on vacation then we’ll be happy. Or when we retire then we’ll pursue those hobbies we’ve always wanted to do.”

The way to counteract the “When…Then” lifestyle is to be mindful of what is going on around you every second of the day. Rather than watching the clock tick away until “quitting time,” think about how you can make each moment count by giving it your full attention.

To follow-up, we wanted to give you a practical example of how this approach worked for one person. Tracy was working at a job in marketing for a non-profit company. It was not a job that she wanted, she had aspirations in a different industry, but she had taken it because she needed a job and an acquaintance, one of the managers, desperately needed staff. After nearly a year at the job, she was miserable. Her misery isolated her, keeping her from making friends with her colleagues or even noticing that there might be a friend among them. For their part, her colleagues kept their distance, everybody too busy to try and befriend someone with a miserable personality.

Then, getting tired of being unhappy, Tracy signed up for a self-improvement course. She shortly discovered that it wasn’t her job that was making her miserable, it was her own attitude towards it. Tricia vowed to make changes in her life and over the next few months really worked to change her attitude.

The job she had wasn’t the one she wanted, but it was a good job nonetheless. Tracy found that the part of her job that she liked—event planning—was similar to the career she really wanted. She put her best effort into learning all she could about that part of her job, while making an effort to participate more in meetings and in casual conversation with her colleagues.

Her transformation was amazing. She became an integral part of the company’s team and she began to really enjoy the work she was doing to support the company. Work was no longer eight hours of drudgery, but an experience of growth. When an opportunity came along in the field she had originally wanted, she had more than enough experience to go for it, and when she left the company, she did so knowing she had contributed positively.

Tags: Confidence · Corporate Training · Leadership Development · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Knocking on the Door of Opportunity

October 26, 2015 ·

There are so many aphorisms about opportunity—how easy it is to miss it, how hard it can be to recognize…and there is a lot of truth in those sayings. “Opportunity is where you find it” is one of the most basic and important ones. Opportunities arise every day, but how often do you notice? How many of us forget to look out for it? How many of us are waiting for it to come knocking on our door?

Opportunities are a set of circumstances that make new things, new breakthroughs possible. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to advance our careers or move forward in life. If we put in the hours and effort, we are sure to one day get that big opportunity for advancement. But what if while we are working so hard we can’t see the opportunity for what it is? As Mark Twain said, “I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.”

We all do this—get comfortable in our expectations. Yet when we do, we can miss valuable chances to expand and grow. Susan Jeffers expressed it this way in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: “If you are focused on ‘the way it’s supposed to be,’ you might miss the opportunity to enjoy the way it is or to have it be wonderful in a totally different way from what you imagined.”

Take a look at your own goals and routine to evaluate if you have gotten “too comfortable.” Maybe it’s time to shake things up, such as taking a class, volunteering outside the workplace, or volunteering for a project that you would normally shy away from. Anything you can do to open up your worldview will help you to be open to new opportunities and to have an attitude that is welcoming to change. As Susan wrote:

The world is a place for opportunity, and I look forward to the opportunities for learning and growing that it gives me.

Tags: Confidence · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Leadership Development · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Winning at the Indecision Game

September 30, 2015 ·

You’ve got a decision to make. It might be as insignificant as choosing which pens to keep in the company supply closet. Or it could be very important, like choosing a software to help your company stay competitive in its field. We all face decisions every day—thousands of small and large choices to make. With all the responsibility and stress involved, it is no wonder that we can sometimes become indecisive. One of the biggest things that can keep us from moving ahead with our lives is the fear involved in making decisions.

It can take a lot out of us when we are indecisive. The worrying and fretting, the negative chatter going on in our heads. This is incredibly detrimental to our well-being and can negatively affect our work. Susan Jeffers, in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, called it the No-Win model of thinking. In this line of thinking, when you stand at the “Choice Point” of making a decision, “You feel somewhat paralyzed as you think about the consequences in life-and-death terms. You look at the unknown and try to predict the future; you try to take control of outside forces. Both are impossible. At this point you might notice that you are driving yourself crazy.” If you choose Path A or Path B both are going to be the wrong choice because you will constantly be reassessing the situation hoping that you didn’t make a mistake.

Susan recommends approaching decision making using the No-Lose Model of decision making. The No-Lose model reminds us that whatever we decide, it will be OK. Even if the decision we make doesn’t work out exactly as we wanted, it is still the RIGHT decision. It works this way, when you find yourself at the “Choice Point” and you have two or more options to choose from, look at the unique opportunities that are available in both choices. Know that there is no such thing as a “wrong” choice. Every opportunity offers its own set of benefits and learning experiences. It comes down to how you look at it.

That is not to say that you should blindfold yourself and choose one path at random. When you are faced with a decision there are five steps you should take before deciding anything:

  1. Focus on the opportunities
  2. Do your homework and research
  3. Establish your priorities
  4. Trust your impulses
  5. Lighten up!

Then, once you have made your decision, make sure you:

  1. Throw away your picture of what you think the outcome should look like
  2. Accept total responsibility for your decisions
  3. Don’t protect the decision, make corrections to it as needed.

Susan said, “Remember that underlying our indecision is a lack of trust in ourselves.” So trust yourself and the decisions you make and know that there are opportunities available to you no matter what you decide. 

Tags: Confidence · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Leadership Development · Overcome Fear · Susan Jeffers