Entries Tagged as Confidence

The Chatterbox vs. Affirmations

July 21, 2015 ·

Our inner voices often seem to have an agenda of their own, and often they can be downright pessimistic. Susan Jeffers called this discouraging inner voice “the Chatterbox.”

Susan explained: “The Chatterbox is the little voice inside, the voice that tries to drive you crazy— and often succeeds! I’ll bet some of you don’t even know it’s there, but I promise you it holds the key to all your fears. It’s the voice that heralds doom, lack, and losing. We’re so used to its presence we often don’t even notice it is talking to us.”

The Chatterbox can be especially devastating in our working lives. The Chatterbox picks up on all the tiny disappointments, slights, and fears we face and amplifies them tenfold. When we feel passed over, when a colleague is disrespectful, when we feel as if our workload will never get finished, all of these things and more feed the Chatterbox—which then plays all those things back to us, repeatedly, until it informs our state of mind.

But, you can beat the Chatterbox! You can push that inner voice far enough back so that it can’t forecast doom and gloom. Susan’ prescription is to outtalk your negativity.

Certainly, it is a challenge and a big one at that, but it can be done. In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan described a number of tools to outtalk your Chatterbox. The number one tool she always supported was using affirmations.

An affirmation is a positive statement that something is already happening. It’s not happening tomorrow or in the future, but right now. An affirmation is self-talk in its highest form. It’s one of your greatest tools, and the easiest and cheapest to use.

An affirmation can be anything—a positive statement, a quote that inspires you, even “feel the fear and do it anyway”—as long as it is meaningful to you. Choose one or several, use the same ones every day or change them with your mood. What do you do with all these inspiring words? Repeat them. Repeat them often. Write them down and put them around your workspace. Use these positive statements to help outtalk the Chatterbox. When you realize that you are getting mired in the gloom of the Chatterbox, drown it out with your affirmations.

It will take time to retrain your mind, but you will find yourself better able to tackle each work day since nothing, not even your own Chatterbox, can get you down.

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

Letting Go of the End Product in Favor of the Process, Part 2

April 15, 2015 ·

In our last blog we talked about the goal-heavy duties of our jobs. Sure it would be nice to not only look to the outcomes of our work goals, but how can we possibly do that?

Susan Jeffers recommended two things to do to help break our habit of working towards outcomes. She said that we should create a rich life and that we should center ourselves in the present.

To create a rich life we must give equal time to all aspects of our life. Work, home, family, hobbies, friends, fitness, education, and so many more. When you pay equal attention to all parts of your life you will find that it is easier to feel a balance among all the parts, then you can feel centered. If you are giving everything you have to work, then when you suffer a set-back, of course it will feel devastating. Like all your work was for nothing. If you are giving equal energy to the other parts of your life that you value, then if you suffer a set-back, in any one of them, you will be upset but not in a profound way. You will understand that it is a small part of your bigger picture.  That is what creating a rich, centered life means.

When we let go of the outcomes, cultivating a rich, balanced life, Susan wrote in End the Struggle and Dance with Life:

  • We become bigger than we thought we were as we learn that we are more than our goals, our outcomes, our honors.
  • We aren't wiped out if something doesn't turn out the way we wanted it to turn out. 
  • We begin to acknowledge the incredible richness of our life. 
  • We realize there is so much for which to be grateful. 
  • Most importantly, we realize that our goals are simply part of playing with life, but they are not our life.

Working only towards our work goals and expectations means that we aren’t working on all the other things that matter to us in life. Change that. As the ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi wrote many centuries ago, “Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”

Tags: Confidence · Individual Training · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Redefining Success

January 28, 2015 ·

From a very young age, most of us are taught that we need to be successful, we need to be “Somebody”—somebody with money, good looks, power, status. Being successful by this definition means that our identities are based on external influences, on outside forces. This is never more true than in the workplace. In the office much of what a person is judged on are benchmarks and goals—items checked off a list by the HR department. A person is rarely judged based on his or her interaction with others, hard work independent of the goal, or ability to be an anchor or support for a team.

In today’s work world, we are meant to do three things:

1. Focus on the end product.
2. Focus on competition.
3. Focus on external gain.

As Susan Jeffers talked about in her book, End the Struggle and Dance With Life, the workplace is structured in a way that almost guarantees that we will struggle. When nearly all the rewards we are promised in choosing a position or career are money, status, and power, we are never going to be truly fulfilled. We step onto the treadmill of More-Better-Best and, often, we find that it goes faster than most of us are comfortable with. Susan said:

“On some level, we know that something is terribly wrong with this model. No matter how much unhappiness our present day definition of success brings us, we keep following society’s rules of more-better-best; we continue to believe that competition is the only way to go; we keep looking "outside" for all of our joy and satisfaction. We keep going around on that same treadmill, not exploring other possibilities.”

Yet there is a way to get out of the More-Better-Best rut. Susan recommended redefining the definition of success as:

SUCCESS is living a full and balanced life in partnership with others to create a joyful feeling of love, contribution, appreciation and abundance, despite how our endeavors may turn out.

A “Somebody” under this definition is centered, flexible, and connected to the world both professionally and personally. Instead of focusing on the end product, the focus is about the process. Instead of focusing on competing, the focus is about moving away from the alienation of competition to work in partnership. Instead of focusing on external gain, the focus is on inner values that reflect the love and power we have inside.

Start measuring your own success by this new definition and see if you don’t find that your day-to-day experience at work and at home vastly improves.

Tags: Confidence · Individual Training · Personal Development

Having a Choice: Part 2

November 25, 2014 ·

Continuing from our last post about choosing to be happy or unhappy in our professional lives, this week we look into the responsibility we have to make positive choices when it comes to work.

Knowing that you always have a choice at every moment in your life also means that you are taking responsibility for yourself. If you are fed-up with your job, but don’t take any steps to remedy the situation, you are allowing yourself to be the victim. You are not being an active participant in your own life. To really be happy in our work, we must all choose to take responsibility for our own actions, as well as our response to the things that happen to us.

For example, “Sam” is a mid-level employee for a government office who would really like to be promoted. He gets excellent employee reviews and often gets compliments from his superiors. Yet, when he is up for promotion, he is passed over with the reason being that he is so good at his job that they’ll never find anyone to replace him. Sam likes his job well enough, but he has been doing it for a long time and wants to try something new. Due to a non-compete clause, he can’t immediately work in the private sector. He could make a lateral move to another agency, but that would require moving his family. So he stays at a job that he is tired of, and he remains unhappy.

Susan Jeffers would have had a field day with Sam. Here is someone who is obviously talented and who could have incredible prospects, but chooses to be the victim of other people’s choices. Susan said it best: “Most of us do not ‘sculpt’ our lives. We accept what comes our way . . . then we gripe about it. Many of us spend our lives waiting for the perfect things to come along. There is no need to wait for anyone to give you anything in your life. You have the power to create what you need.”

In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan wrote about the definitions of responsibility. Each of these “rules,” when applied to our own lives, can give us considerable insight into how we are allowing outside forces to determine what happens to us.

Taking responsibility means:

  • never blaming anyone else for anything you are being, doing, having, or feeling;
  • not blaming yourself;
  • being aware of where and when you are NOT taking responsibility, so that you can eventually change;
  • being aware of payoffs that keep you stuck;
  • figuring out what you want in life and acting on it;
  • being aware of the multitude of choices you have in any given situation.

In the case of Sam, he could do with at least four of these rules of responsibility, as he is clearly choosing lemons over lemonade. He even knows that there are other options available to him, but by not acting on them, he is choosing his own unhappiness over the opportunities available to him.

Hopefully, you aren’t in Sam’s situation, but perhaps you can see some similarities in your life. Are you going to choose job stagnation and unhappiness? Or are you going to choose a path that could lead to change and fulfillment?

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

Having a Choice: Part 1

November 14, 2014 ·

We spend so many of our waking hours at work that our jobs are as important (and sometimes more) than our life away from the job. This is why it is essential that we feel good about what we do. At the end of the day, we want to feel fulfilled and satisfied, not drained and depressed.

Even when we like our jobs, we can often become stuck or hit a wall. And, when we don’t like what we do, the problems feel even larger. The feeling that you are doing the same thing over and over, that what you do makes no difference, that you are just spinning your wheels and getting nowhere—these feelings can consume you and lead to an unhappy life.

But, you do have a choice. We all have a choice. There are two basic choices available to: you can choose to be happy or unhappy. It is as simple as that.

Susan Jeffers wrote in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, “As you go through each day, it is important to realize that at every moment you are choosing the way you feel. When a difficult situation comes into your life, it is possible to tune in to your mind and say, ‘Okay, choose.’ Are you going to make yourself miserable or content? The choice is definitely yours. Pick the one that contributes most to your aliveness and growth.”

If you are feeling stuck and miserable in your present position, there are steps that you can take to either make your job more to your liking or to find another position or company. Maybe you have become so comfortable in your job or have been doing it for so long that you are fearful that you won’t be eligible for a promotion or won’t be able to find a better position. Maybe your benefits are too good, and your family depends on your great paycheck. Maybe you just don’t trust your own judgment about your own misery because on paper the job is perfect.

Whatever it is that is making you feel stuck, there are other options. If you feel you don’t have the skills for a better job, then start taking evening classes. If you are too dependent on a high paycheck, start taking steps to save more money, and research jobs with similar pay packages. If you don’t trust yourself, well, you know the answer to that one already.

No matter how stuck you think you are, there are always steps you can take to become unstuck. The change won’t be instantaneous, but if you are working to improve your work situation, you will begin to feel better. Susan recommended that you be aware of all the options available to you during the course of a day. “When you are confronted with a difficult situation, sit down and write in a notebook all the possible ways you can act and feel about it. Picture yourself happy about it, then sad about it, then laughing about it, then heavy, then light, and so on. You will begin to see how easy it is to change your point of view—hence, your feelings. You are in control.”

So rather than sit miserably at your desk every day, choose to be happy. Don’t give into misery and begin to take steps towards changing your work situation for the better.

Susan said it best, “Each time you are upset, be conscious of the alternatives available to you. In no way should you put yourself down for being upset. It’s a great clue as to where you need to begin taking responsibility.”

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

Course Correction

October 28, 2014 ·

For many of us, the idea of making the right choices and sticking to them is extremely important and ingrained in our psyche. So much so that we often cannot see that sometimes these “right” choices don’t end up being the best decisions in the long run, and we are scared to course correct or change our mind. This can be especially tough in a workplace position where we may not have the flexibility or freedom to be able to backtrack or change our minds. The idea of veering from the course that we set out is viewed as negative and wishy-washy.

Susan Jeffers talked about this in her book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, saying:

“Many of us are so invested in making the “right” decision that even if we find we don’t like the path we have chosen, we hang in there for dear life. To my way of thinking, this is the height of craziness.”

There is tremendous value in learning what doesn’t work for you, even if it is contrary to your “right” decision. All you have to do is reset your course. This may not be an easy undertaking, but it is an important one. For example, Jill finally got the promotion she had worked for many years to get, but a few months into the job she found that it wasn’t as fulfilling as she thought it would be. Her “right” decision did not seem so right then. It can be scary to admit that and take action on it, but in the long run, course correcting will ultimately be the “right” decision.

You may have faced this situation or something similar—questioning yourself and your choices. But how do you know for sure? Which course is the right course? Susan wrote:

“There are many inner clues that help you know when it is time to correct. The two most obvious are confusion and dissatisfaction. Ironically, these are considered negatives, instead of positives. I know it is hard to accept, but an upset in your life is beneficial in that it tells you that you are off course in some way and you need to find your way back to your particular path.”

This idea can be equated to the experience of physical pain. It can feel horrible for us, but it is actually beneficial because it tells you that something is wrong with your body, and alerts you to take action to fix it. Mental pain can be beneficial in just the same way. It tells you that something is wrong with the way you are living your live, and it is time to contemplate course correction.

To get back on course, you should explore all the resources and options at your disposal. Susan suggested reaching out through books, workshops, friends, a counselor, or whatever seems right for you. In your workplace, it might be helpful to reach out to your supervisor or a colleague to discuss what your options may be. The course correction might be as simple as delegating some of your work or as drastic as changing positions. But a change must be made.

There is nothing wrong with finding yourself dissatisfied with your original course. In fact, it can be a tremendous learning experience. As Susan wrote, “We see that the trick in life is not to worry about making a wrong decision, it’s learning when to correct!”

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

Being Wrong Has Never Felt So Right

August 27, 2014 ·

No one likes to be wrong, but being wrong and making mistakes offer us life lessons that improve the way we think and act. We learn much more from making mistakes and being wrong than we do from having to be right or allowing no other opinions to be true but our own.

Needing to be right all the time is really about fear, lack of self-esteem, need for control, and unhappiness. Always being right is an impossibility, and really, who needs that kind of pressure?

If you always feel the need to be right, it is likely that you are living with deep fears. The idea of making a mistake or being wrong in our opinions makes us feel like we are losing control, which can be very scary, especially for those who gain self-worth from feeling in charge of their lives. But, when we feel we have to be right, we miss out on the learning experiences that being wrong brings us. As Susan Jeffers wrote in her lessons on fear, “For some reason we feel we should be perfect, and forget that we learn through our mistakes. Our need to be perfect and our need to control the outcome of events work together to keep us petrified when we think about making a change or attempting a new challenge.”

Being able to see when you are wrong and make adjustments is a lot harder than adopting the attitude that you are always right. It means you have to think about situations differently and consider other people’s opinions, which in turn helps you grow as a person and become a better employee or employer. Allowing ourselves to make mistakes and be wrong, gives us the flexibility to compromise. It allows us to listen and interact. When we must always be right, we have no room for compromise, and we start to build up a wall around us. A “my word as law” boss doesn’t know how to connect with his or her employees and won’t understand their needs and fears. And a coworker who isn’t a team player will only contribute if they are in control or if they can make the decisions.

Neither of these “always right” types are good in a successful business operation. There is no one “right” opinion—no one way to do anything. When we always have to be right, we undermine our own good business practices and the company itself. So if you always feel the need to be right, if you crave that extra little bit of control, look deep inside and see where those needs are coming from. It is quite possible that they stem from a fear of losing your job, a fear of not being useful, a fear that you aren’t contributing enough... Take a step back and look at why you want to be right, and realize that there is so much more to learn from accepting the fact that you may be wrong and that it’s okay to make mistakes.

Being wrong will start to feel so right.

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

Avoiding the Traps of the Workaholic

August 19, 2014 ·

Susan Jeffers defined workaholism as the addictive, obsessive need to be busy at the expense of a rich and balanced life. A workaholic lets this obsessive need override the importance of intimacy with family and friends, personal growth, quiet times and the pleasure of play.

Yet, workaholism has been called a "positive addiction," and is something people tend to boast about. People often feel that working constantly is necessary in order to be successful. However, Susan Jeffers’ disagreed:

“Workaholism is a fix. It is an escape. It allows us to turn the other way so that we don't have to come face to face with our inner pain, or our intense sense of emptiness, or our lack of self-worth, or our need for an identity, or our inability to have meaningful relationships, or our fear of not having enough or being enough.”

Often, what drives workaholics is the fact that when they are not absorbed in their work, they are forced to look at themselves and their lives, and they are too frightened to explore who they really are. Susan grappled with this herself and noted that when all focus is on work, “we never get a chance to behold the magic and wonder and vastness of the "unused" parts of ourselves.”

To combat work addiction, Susan recommended 12-step programs and exploring spiritual practices. However, there are some practical steps that workaholics can take starting today.

Learn How To Say “No”

At first, it can be really scary to say “no” to tasks that come across your desk, but you will soon realize that there are many tasks that you take on that are less about the tasks and more about making yourself feel important. Break the self-destructive habit of taking on more than you can comfortably handle.

Learn How To Delegate

Workaholics tend to think that there is only way to do things—their way. And letting go of that control is not easy. However, delegating allows you to focus on the core of your job, have more time with your family and friends, dedicate time to creating a richer life, and be less emotionally dependent on your job.

Moving past any addiction can be frightening and difficult, but it is crucial to release the grip on work and being busy and in control so that you can fully experience your life. As Susan said: “Remember that a balanced life—one that is filled with the riches of play, intimacy with family and friends, alone time, personal growth and so on—helps us feel abundant. When we feel abundant, our addiction to work falls by the wayside...which is where it belongs!”

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

Finding True Confidence in Yourself in the Workplace

May 05, 2014 · 1 Comment

It is undeniable that to be successful in your career you must be confident in yourself. But where does self-confidence come from? Especially under the pressure of a fast-paced work environment, fears are more likely to grow than confidence. More often than not, we are more likely to be concerned with getting the job done, closing the deal, or making lightning-fast decisions than thinking about our confidence levels. A large part of doing our daily work is getting relaxed in our comfort zone—we know our job so well and can do it so easily that we tell ourselves we are confident.

Yet when we are faced with a daunting new challenge, that type of confidence often evaporates.

Real confidence comes from trusting yourself and trusting that you will make the right choices when the time comes. All of us want to excel in our jobs and achieve success in our careers. Yet as the marketing guru Seth Godin said in one of his recent blog posts, “It's not really useful to require yourself to be successful before you're able to become confident.”

In the workplace there are so many things that can cause us to doubt our own judgment—an intimidating new project, a client that is overly demanding, a team member who isn’t holding their own, or even a past mistake that we let color our attitude. There are a lot of outside forces and internal doubts that create mistrust in our own abilities.

Much of the distrust in ourselves is caused by fears of what could happen. A new project—what if you can’t do it? A coworker had a great idea—what if your boss thinks you’re not contributing enough? That time you accidentally deleted the wrong file—what if it happens again? These are all valid worries, but by allowing yourself to concentrate on the fear, you are not seeing the opportunities.

By approaching a challenge—something that is outside your comfort zone and seemingly scary—as an opportunity instead of something fearful, you build trust in yourself. When that new project lands on your desk or a new client walks through your door, what is your first reaction? If it is dread, you probably need to work on trusting yourself. New projects and new clients are wonderful opportunities and with each project well-done and client well-pleased your trust in yourself will only grow. And so will your confidence.

One of Susan Jeffers’ favorite affirmations was “Whatever happens, I can handle it.” Remind yourself that you, too, can handle it! Trust yourself and trust the decisions that you make. Susan recommended repeating an affirmation to yourself at least ten times a day, so that it would really sink into your subconscious. Affirmations also help to shut out the inner “chatterbox” of fear and doubt. Susan’s website provides daily inspiration and affirmation to support you in this effort.

Learning to trust yourself and being able to know that you will be able to handle anything you may face is extremely empowering. That empowerment leads to confidence, and your first step towards success.

1 CommentTags: Confidence · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers