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Confident- how do you grow as a person?

What does it mean to be confident?  Would you call yourself confident?  Are you confident in a particular area of your life or field of expertise? When you step into unexplored roles or arenas, do you struggle with confidence?  Or are you confident in yourself and call upon your inner confidence to step into new roles, find new answers and gain new experiences?

The word confidence comes from the Latin, confidere, which means “to have full trust”.  Therefore, self-confidence is having full trust in yourself.  People strive for excellence in specific fields or areas in their lives.  They become experts in their specialised subject, and they are very confident in that arena.  Yet, take them out of that specialism, and suddenly their confidence has been pulled out from underneath them.  Like the rug has been pulled out from under their feet.  Their confidence gives way to not trusting themselves.

Character building Confidence

It is as if the hard work, perseverance and application to study, learn and grow in a given area have not been fully acknowledged or integrated into their larger life.  This person has not grown as a person.  They may have grown in knowledge, experience and skills, but this does not seem to impact on who they are.  How does being great at poetry make you a great man or woman?  What shift do you need to make in your thinking to turn someone who is great at science or sport or beekeeping into an individual with character?

In the poem “If”, Rudyard Kipling speaks of character, of the qualities I believe build confidence.  Not once does he speak about being a lawyer, accountant, teacher or any other profession.  Nor does he say you need to be rich, spiritual, religious or any other group to belong to.  He speaks to building the qualities in a person that evoke trust and belief in oneself.  That person will not be universally liked, or good at everything they turn their hand to.  Instead, the things this person learns to do will help to forge those qualities that build character.

Confidence is inherent and your birth-right

So, confidence is about learning to cultivate those qualities that I believe human beings have at birth.  They are inherent within us.  A child knows only trust and can only communicate openly, honestly and authentically.  Once we learn the need to mask that behaviour, in an attempt to conform and fit in, we begin to lose that confidence in who we are at our core.  The trust in ourselves begins to diminish and as a result our trust in the world around us.  Yet, that kernel of trust and inner truth is never far away.  We simply need to tap into that inherent wisdom.

Confidence is a superpower. That superhero within is always ready to serve

Think of a time when you were confident.  Perhaps it was playing sport or a musical instrument.  Maybe you felt convinced by an idea you believed in totally or discovered something you know to be true.  When you recall it, what does it feel like in your body?  What feels possible from this place? Allow yourself to be filled up with this feeling.

You have conjured a feeling of confidence, brought it alive in you in this moment.  Now think of the other achievements you have attained in your life.  How capable do you feel?  How do the current challenges in your life appear to you now? Is there possibility, confidence and a way forward for you now?

Confidence and Presence

In my workshops, I use Patsy Rodenburg’s concept of 3 energy circles to explore confidence and presence. Second circle is about being universally confident.  Rather than be confident in a particular situation, you develop confidence in yourself so that you have the belief you can do anything.  You may not know all the answers or know what to do, but you know you have SOMETHING about you that says you can do this.  Learning, trial and error, failure, reflection, integration and perseverance will all play a part in that process- beneath that lies a foundation of confidence in who you are and what you are capable of.

Any life situation can be used to develop confidence in you as a person.  It takes you to look at the situation slightly differently.  You are probably used to doing something really well like riding a bike, or having challenging conversations, or fixing things, or gardening or or or……… and you might say that you are confident at doing that thing.

Growing the whole person

I would like you to think of it differently.  Rather than this skill developing a part of you or an aspect of your character or skill set, think of it as growing all of you, developing the whole of you, making you stronger, more capable, competent, versatile.  The skill, situation or whatever it is, becomes the entry point to grow you as a whole person.  Like the leaves of a tree- they grow and go about their business to grow the whole tree, just as the roots draw water and nutrients for the whole.  Every action makes the tree larger, stronger and more resilient.

You grow in your character and your belief that “if I can learn to do this, then I can learn all sorts of things”.  Carol Dweck, in her book Mindset- How to Fulfil your Potential and TED talk The Power of Believing you can Improve, speaks about praising people for the hard work and effort they put into a piece of work.  This Growth Mindset leads to greater confidence because people believe they have the underlying ability to learn whatever they need to learn and do whatever they need to do to succeed.   There is a curiosity, inquisitive exploration and thirst to discover.  Your work grows you as a person.  You grow in confidence that you have what it takes.

Training and Coaching Confidence

Coaching and Mindful Movement workshops aim to grow the whole person.  They grow your character, confidence and presence.  As you grow in these qualities, you bring them into whatever situations you might face in life.  You will learn what you need, you will gain the experience, you will discover your resources and resilience.  It requires you to be open and willing to learn continually.  And it empowers you to bounce back again and again when setbacks and disappointments inevitably arise.

So, being confident is not about having all the answers or always being right.  Confidence is about trust.  Trust that you will remain engaged in the process of your growth and the growth of others.  That you will see something through to the end and stand by what you believe in.  Trust that you have the character to learn from others, lead with compassion and guide with insight and empathy.  Confidence does not mean you are perfect.  It means you are a great boss, a loving father or mother, a present partner and a life-loving member of humanity.

Over to you

Do you feel confident?  Are you confident in a particular area in your life, or do you feel you have a core foundation of confidence?  How would having that core self-confidence change things for you?  What are you going to do to build that core confidence?

On July 18th, 2019, I will be running the next Be the Best Boss workshop in Cambridge. We will be looking at confidence and presence and how that can have a positive impact on your business as a self-employed solopreneur and on your career as you work up the professional ladder of success in employment. Further details and tickets are available at the link.  Or, if you have further questions, get in touch.

Pass it on

If you know someone who would benefit from more confidence and presence, why not send them the link for the workshop.  They may also enjoy this blog?  I’d appreciate it if you spread the word and shared it with friends, family and colleagues.  Thank you.

Your significant relationship- how are you showing up?

This week marks 2019’s designated day of Love- February 14th, Valentine’s Day. You could spend your time right now reading about the commerciality this brings and the hollowness or shallowness of this dedicated day to romance. Or you could be reading about how to sweep your lover off their feet and thrill them in sexual desire.  Instead, I’d like to discuss a much broader topic that is central to a successful relationship……. how are YOU showing up in your significant partnership with lover, spouse or partner?

Who are you choosing to be?

There is no doubt there are challenges in all relationships. The key, I believe, is understanding where your responsibilities lie and who you are choosing to be in every moment. There is also an ambience to a relationship and what you bring to create, maintain and grow that ambience.

What do you put in?

There are a couple of really great metaphors I have been taught about successful relationships. The first is that a relationship is a container. It is as full as what you put into it. The kind of things you put into it determines it’s ambience.

For example, if all your energy is focused on your work, you put very little into the container. If all your focus is on the kids what are you putting into the relationship with your partner? It needs feeding. What are you feeding it with? You can hear more about that here:

What is the ambience of your relationship?

If you feed the container with abuse, control, cynicism, lies and indifference, what do you think the container is going to be like? Gestures of flowers, chocolates and a beautiful meal once a year is not going to do much to change the ambience of the over all relationship is it?  Also, you are going to be able to take very little from the relationship that is positive and nourishing.

If love, respect, honesty, curiosity, interest, empowerment and support are regularly poured into the container, the ambience will be empowering and nurturing. Another gesture on February 14th is only going to reinforce what you already know to be true about the relationship, right? Valentine’s Day is just another part of your Valentine’s Life that consistently fuels a beautiful relationship.  You will be able to draw positive and nourishing from the relationship whenever wanted or needed.

What you bring to the relationship creates that ambience. Once a year won’t do it. Choosing to be the supportive, romantic, funny, respectful and honest partner you want to be everyday is going to build the kind of relationship you really hope and long for. However you want to show up with your partner, choose it purposefully, consciously and intentionally and choose it everyday.  Honour your values and bring them alive in all you do…. and that includes your significant relationship.

Is there balance?

A co- dependent relationship is like two cards leaning on each other. One will fall if the other leaves. Independent and inter- dependent relationships are fair healthier and resilient.

This does not mean all your attention is in your relationship. That is not healthy and balanced. If you did, what other parts of your life suffer as a result? This would only put strain on your relationship and make you dependant in each other. This is known as co- dependency.

This brings us to the second metaphor. Co- dependency is like when two cards lean against one another. Take one card away and the other card crashes to the floor. This is not a healthy open relationship.

Instead, learn independence. Cultivate your own life, interests and friendships. Be an interesting person to yourself and your partner. Be excited about ALL your life.

Including your partner. Be curious about him/ her. Delve deep into them. Discover their fears and their strengths. Listen to their longing and their dreams. Let them surprise you. Allow yourself to be in awe. And be awesome.

Learn to stand beside them.  Two cards side by side.  Neither one reliant on the other.  Each supporting one another.  Creating space, freedom and openness in the relationship to be individual, independent wholes.  Offer support, love and understanding when needed, in the knowledge that your partner is naturally creative, resourceful and whole. Allow them to do the same with you. Be open, transparent and vulnerable.  This makes the relationship greater than the sum of the parts.  An inter- dependent system that serves more than the two- it serves all the rich communities of which you are both a part.

Taking responsibility

You don’t need each other. You choose to be together. Don’t blame them. You are at choice.  Take responsibility and choose to be in the relationship or not. If you choose to stay, be all you can be to serve you, your partner AND the relationship.

If it is really not serving you and you have tried everything you can or if you feel you are not being met by your partner, perhaps it is time for an honest conversation. To ask for what you want from the relationship and your partner. You don’t HAVE to put up with any crap……. you CAN choose to, for the sake of so many other benefits that may get as well. It is up to you.

As Valentine’s Day 2019 looms and passes, think about what you and your partner bring to the container that is your relationship. If something is missing I challenge you to speak to them about it….. lovingly, kindly and respectfully. Take ownership of your responsibility and allow them to take ownership of their’s. Discuss it, craft it and design a relationship of which you are proud.

One night of romance can be beautiful. Celebrate it on February 14th or not. It is the little drops of beauty and kindness that fall into the container of your partnership, the fierce love that holds responsibility and accountability to both of you that make it strong.

Don’t allow the hum- drum of life to dull your Light. Shine bright in your work, friendships, parenting, passions and significant relationship.

Love hard, love fiercely and above all love daily and create a container full of jewels that makes your relationship priceless.

Over to you

Do you have a Valentine’s Day or a Valentine’s Life? Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day once a year or throughout the year? Are you consistent in your responsibility for your relationship? Do you nurture your relationship as much as you can? Could you improve in your nurturing? Who do you bring to your significant relationship? Are you happy with what you bring? What would you do differently? Who would you be instead? What’s getting in the way? What are you getting right? What do you want more of?

Pass it on

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below or on social media posts. I’d live to hear from you and get a conversation going about this topic. Also, please pass it on to anyone you know who would be interested to read the blog. I’d appreciate it. Thank you.

A Magic Carpet Ride- case study

Stuck in Overwhelm

A few months ago, Philipa (not her real name) approached me to see if coaching could help her overcome her feeling of overwhelm by the demands of her work and life.

She said that she had an internal dialogue going on that caused her to sabotage whatever she tried to do.  She was sick of it and weary of not being able to make any progress.

Lightening Up

The first thing we did was go on a Magic Carpet ride

We agreed to start working together and the first thing we did was take Phillipa on a magic carpet ride! She experienced what it felt like to have fun, feel supported, be full of energy and in a place where the destination was less important than enjoying what she was doing.

Philipa practiced this over the next couple of weeks, and this changed her feeling of being overwhelmed. It broke the belief that she needed to grind through and struggle to get anything done and freed her to hold lightly the things she had committed to.  Rather than diminish her resolve to complete them, this made her commit to them more. She was quite literally, enjoying the journey.

Because things weren’t such a grind, Philipa was being much more effective and an added benefit was that she had more time to spend with her family – something she desperately needed and wanted.

Enjoying the Journey

Philipa’s move from thinking about the destination and more about enjoying the journey was a pivotal moment.  It allowed her to think more about her relationships and enjoy the process as it unfolded.

However, this exposed a powerful sense of loneliness.

This was a tough area for Philipa to explore but she fought through it. The rewards were clarity, strength, resolve and confidence.

It’s quite typical that when someone starts coaching, they start by focusing on a small area of their lives.  Very soon, as Philipa’s journey demonstrates, it opens up into so much more. This in turn brings about broader and deeper fulfillment and a sense that life has greater meaning and purpose.

If you’d like to discuss how coaching could help you with issues that are causing you concern and would like to create your own magic carpet ride, give me a call!

Intention and Expectation

Do you feel that things should go a certain way?  Does your intention involve detailed steps that lead to frustration if things do not happen as you plan?  Is there an expectation that your life should look a particular way? Does your life live up to your expectations?

The Power of Expectation

Expectation is a powerful thing. It can drive you to great success and it can lead to disappointment, judgment and regret. In my own life and the lives of friends, family and clients I notice how people paint pictures in their minds about how things are going to work out. Rarely if ever, do things work out how you imagine. If they do, you didn’t get there the way you expected. Expectation is a flight of fancy, a fantasy or dream. When life does not measure up to those expectations, you might feel disillusioned about your skills, abilities and talents and doubt whether you have what it takes to succeed in the way you want.

In my experience, the disparity between expectation and reality is a real one- common, realistic and to be expected. The disappointment comes when you have unrealistic expectations that things will develop as you imagine they will. The truth is they almost definitely won’t. Expectation is a rigid plan, based upon your current knowledge of the way things evolve and past experience. However, this situation is new or at least not identical to the past. Therefore things will evolve in new and unexpected ways.

A Need to Control

Isn’t that the way things go? Doesn’t that match your life experience? If so, why are you surprised when things do not develop as you imagine they will? The answer I think is because you want to be in control. That is certainly true for me. I want to know what is going to happen- the when, the how and the why. I focus on the minute details and start to worry (even panic) when things deviate from the plan. Is that true for you too?

It is convenient to imagine you are in control. I think the ego likes to think it knows how things will be. It gives you certainty, confidence and assurance that things will work out. It might give you the confidence to start something and take the first few steps.   Alternatively, it might tell you that you shouldn’t try. That your experience in the past has met with failure, so why bother trying to do it again.

Once you start, very soon, things begin to change. Depending on how hard you grasp onto the projected reality of your expectations, these changes might plunge you into doubt, anxiety and concern. You begin to expend energy trying to control what cannot be controlled. You end up at the final destination exhausted, anxious and in fear. This is not conducive to a mindset that makes the most of where you are and move forward in a positive way.

Rather, you are far from receptive to opportunity and the potential that might unfold from the situation. If you arrive where you are in a mindset of openness and receptivity, not only did you experience the journey in a more peaceful manner, you are also ready to take full advantage of the opportunities unfolding in front of you.

Expectation and Intention

I would invite you to exchange expectation with intention. If you view intention as a light focus on the journey and the outcome rather than a rigid and prescriptive path to the end result, you can more easily let go of the fine detail of how you get there. Instead, you can let things unfold- trusting in the knowledge that things evolve as they will.

What is the mechanism by which this works? If tight control has to give way to light focus, how can you make any plans or strive towards your hopes and dreams? There is something powerful about making plans. It gives energy to your path and direction and empowers you to take action.

There are many factors that contribute to any action. All you can do is take responsibility for your action. In taking action you are setting wheels in motion that send energy out into the world and influence things far beyond anything you can possibility imagine. Therefore you have to let go of control a little. Rather than focus on the minute details, take a broader view and look out for the opportunities that come your way. They may not come from the sources you predict or expect. Some may come from left field that really surprise and support you.

My Personal Journey with Intention

Let me give you an example. In 2015 I took a long hard look at my business and the legacy I want to leave behind. I realised that I had a lot to offer and contribute in the area of health, wellness and confidence. Therefore, I had to look at the way I marketed my business and my client perception as well as the manner of delivering my products. I also had to live my life differently. Rather than living in fear and doubt, I wanted to live with a more positive and trusting mindset. This was, if you like, my Intention. I had expectations about what I wanted it to look like, but not how it was going to happen.

Very quickly, the first step along the way revealed itself. I started a public speaking MeetUp to overcome my fear of talking to groups and began to devise content for courses and workshops that have become the Mindful Movement courses. I also joined and then headed up a Networking group that has brought me tremendous business mentoring and contacts.

My relationship with money needed to be improved and I was offered a free ticket to a money management course that transformed my financial situation and my perception about money. I have been introduced to all kinds of people that continue to support me emotionally and spiritually as I develop personally and professionally. As well as on- going life coaching that has helped me in all areas of my life I have had the good fortune to receive excellent training about marketing and training which has transformed my business visibility and reach.

Holding the Intention Lightly

Each step along the way was revealed to me in an opportunity, a hunch (“gut feeling”, “intuitive leap”, “felt guided to” are all ways of saying this) or a stroke of luck. By keeping my gaze on an open horizon rather than focused at my feet, I noticed the opportunities which took me closer to my goals. Did I miss stuff? Probably, but it seems this is not a one chance lucky dip. Opportunities keep coming. All of this allows me to live free of pressure and anxiety and that makes all the difference in the world. This doesn’t mean I live free of pressure and anxiety.   I realise it is self- imposed and that I need to do what I can and at the same time allow life to do its thing as well.

Co- creation is the Key

If I had tried to plot that course back in 2015, I would not have expected to be here and taken the journey I have. In my imagination it looked a lot different- not nearly as effective nor as much fun. It seems that the Universe has had my back all along. To allow that I have had to surrender control of the parts that are truly beyond my control. You have to be a willing participant in the process and co- create the life you want. It doesn’t happen without your active participation. My experience is that I play a very different role than perhaps I realise.

You do not achieve anything in isolation. Your journey depends on so many factors, such as people, timing, synchronicity and luck as well as intention, persistence and tenacity. There is only so much you can control. The rest you have to let go of and trust that things will either work out or they will not. When you speak to successful people, they all say how lucky they have been. They have been willing to go out there and make it happen and they have been blessed with good fortune. Mechanisms seem to happen in the background and the plan comes to fruition in time.

Satellite Navigation System

Satellite Navigation System in the centre of the dashboard of a car.

There is a Universal Satellite Navigation system. Just like your own Sat Nav in the car, once you put in the address, it plots your route.

Mike Dooley speaks about the Universal Satellite Navigation system. Just like your own Sat Nav in the car, once you put in the address, it plots your route.   Until you arrive at the destination, you have no idea that you are taking the correct route. You trust the computer software to get you there. The same is true for life it seems. Perhaps we give up too soon. Perhaps we take a wrong turn. As long as we keep going we will arrive at our destination. All we have to do is start the engine, decide the end location and put the car in gear. The rest unfolds one step at a time.

Over to you

That has been my experience. What is your experience? How have your plans and dreams unfolded? Have you tried to bully life into making things happen your way? Did you surrender control and trust that things would work out for the best? I’d love to hear your comments, so please do put your comments at the foot of the page or interact with me on social media.

Pass it on

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