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People need to feel more connected to you

Do you find yourself talking about a matter perhaps quite close to you and somehow people don’t seem to quite understand? You might for example be talking and there’s a non-reaction in your audience, like there’s no energy in the room, and people looked switched off, and perhaps bored and distracted. It’s likely that they’re disengaged. So how do you get them so they’re more connected to you and what you’re saying?

Today people need to get from you how it really is. Which sounds good, except that often you don’t know how to convey it, at least not in a way that people really get it. This can be about moving from your facade to how it really feels.

Talking from your facade can be quite easy. It might be habitual. Your facade might be what you present to the world, what you think works with others, behind which you can operate quite safely. Jung called it the “persona”. That way you can keep people from getting uncomfortably close, especially those that haven’t passed the entry test yet.

A clue can be in that you talk “about” something. You might use words like “it is” rather than “I think” or “I feel”. “It” is further away, at the level of the facade. It’s not that you’re being false necessarily, and then you might be, but just that you’re keeping it “out there”, not close in “here”. “Aboutism” is how we talk about what’s going on in a detached, not so emotional way, as if we’re describing something that tells the listener “about” the matter, without bringing them in close to how you really feel about it, what it does for you, and how really plugs into your emotions.

To move to how it really feels is to make it more personal, like what lights you up about it, what it has to do with your life and with your passions, and how it really matters to you in some way. People then feel they can connect with you, resonate with you, feel like they are more at one with you, like it could be their journey too but it’s your’s that you are talking about.

Some people I think seemingly do this a lot, although even this apparent self-disclosure, tears, warts and all cannot necessarily take you close to them. It’s about how you authentically feel. People can put on a good emotional act. One test is how you feel around them.

Thus, to be able to let people in so that they get you authentically, you may well need to do your own journey to get what your authentic self really is. People often don’t know that and you may not know that either! Also you may need to cross the self confidence and self belief threshold about speaking about yourself in front of others. That can involve letting go of the fear and feeling good about you around others. The two can often go together. Then when you’re clear about that, you can trust to let go and be yourself with others, and truly bring people into your world and know that space truly for maybe the first time.

Knowing who you really are, and being yourself, also involves letting others in. Then it comes full circle and we then really know ourselves completely. For it is also through others that we can come to know ourselves. It’s a paradox.

This is why the journey to being authentic is not just about helping others to really get you, but also to finally help you to fully get you.

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Belief in yourself is often the key to what you really want from life

As a coach I get a lot from watching talent shows – well at least one or two of them! – and see what it takes for participants to learn and grow. Watching the Voice recently (wasn’t Leah great!)  I’ve noticed how much a common theme has been about belief in yourself . It struck me because I so often encounter this area in coaching people. It is often core to their success in pushing past their barriers and getting the results they want.

It’s so palpable, the uncertainty in their eyes, their body language and in what they say in their pre-performance coaching sessions. If you contrast this with one who is grounded, centred and strong in how they talk and come across. Of course this needs to be authentic and one who has manufactured this probably wouldn’t carry conviction and get engagement. We can feel a connection with those that are struggling and we probably share in their efforts to succeed. It’s almost as though their struggle is also our struggle, such can be the process of identification. It might even be worth asking yourself whether you find yourself feeling more for the loser in the result than in the joy of the winner at each knock-out stage.

One area that has also stood out has been those who had already made up their mind that they weren’t going through to the next stage, as they admitted, and it left me thinking about the part that our prior thoughts can play on how we perform. If we believe we won’t be able to do something, that’s a pretty strong set-up for not getting there. Our thoughts and our beliefs in particular play a hugely important part in our outcomes. Remember Mohammad Ali’s famous saying, “I am the greatest”, even when he hadn’t won yet, and he became the greatest, for that time.

Learning to believe in yourself is for many of us perhaps the most important journey we can undertake. Depending on where you are at, it can be about identifying and then challenging those limiting beliefs we hold on to, especially the repeat ones, the ones we default to under pressure. It can also be about learning to connect with the part of you that does believe in you. That part does exist, although we might very well not know it. There is a Self inside that is whole, strong, at peace, centred, knowing, certain. Often we’ve disconnected from It at some stage in our early growth. Sometimes, it shows itself briefly, when things just seem to work just right and we feel at one. Then we feel we can do anything, and that anything is possible, and all is right with us and with the world. And it disappears again and we’re left with that self that is, let’s say, anxious, uncertain, worrying, doubting, frustrated, lacking in focus and direction, and not on purpose. Then when we’re in situations where it’s challenging, we may duck out, not quite fulfill what is possible for us. Until, that is, we learn how to connect with that much greater Self inside, who we really are.

You can learn more about our program to support this learning here.

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To value yourself gives you your well-spring for action

As any who has battled with self esteem will tell you, a powerful impulse for action comes from a sense of inner knowing of your self-worth, when you value yourself. We’ll use different words for it and will often refer to things like self belief, valuing ourselves, knowing we are OK, that we’re worth it. We can often limit our actions, and the strategies we choose, and even the insights we come up with on which we make plans, by how we’re feeling inside about us ourselves.

It’s like, what’s the flavour of the moment today? If I’m not feeling so good, a bit down, I might not go out and see someone. If I need to maybe be looking for a new job, if I’m not so sure of myself today, I’ll not take any action or I’ll not be so adventurous or creative in the ideas I come up with for what I might go for. I might not dress myself so attractively to as to be seen in a positive light because I’m not feeling good and don’t want to “make the effort”. I could go on. What on a good day might be easy to do, effortless, and productive, may on a bad day be ruled out or not considered.

The power of getting to know inside who we really are, and to feel OK about what we find, is that we get a more effective metric for readiness for action. We can also more easily develop ways to manage our state, and deal with the ego, because we know what it really is we need to manage.

Our society is so accustomed to teaching that there are external metrics, social conventions, rules of behaviour, expectations, that we are supposed to live up to, either overt or assumed, or ones we’ve made up ourselves and internalised and made unconscious, outside of awareness. What isn’t so easy is to develop your own, inside. For starters, we many of us avoid doing that because we’re afraid of what might be revealed. After all it’s a bit of a contradiction: I limit my potential because of how I see myself but I’m afraid to go inside and find that it isn’t what I thought it is!

It’s very easy for people like me to write that we are inside beautiful beyond measure. But it’s really all just words, until each of us in our own way take that journey and find it for ourselves. When we find our own way to peel back the onion skins and make contact for example with the pure love that dwells naturally within, then we know from personal experience what that means.

Then we can live as That, in whatever that means personally for me or you. It’s a tremendous liberation. No wonder Eastern mystics use exactly that word. When you find your own inner Self, it’s so much easier to go “out there” and be as who you are.

So, you can take this journey if you wish, at your own speed, and at whatever stage in your own growth you’ve reached. You’ll know the stage by the results you get, what occurs and shows up in your life, and how you feel.

Here’s a really good start, a day to explore who you are, to develop your knowledge of yourself within as who you really are, to connect more with the love and joy that is really you and be more as That in your everyday life.

Then, as you develop this knowledge, when you need to take action, you can do so from a more positive base of inner self-knowledge, of Self-knowledge with a capital “S”. Life is then so much easier.

So, you can read more here and book your place here in beautiful Wiltshire at the height of gorgeous spring, in May 2013.

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Where narcissism and unrealistic self awareness can lead to problems

It’s a much commented-upon trend, the growth of narcissism in today’s western society, part of what people call the “me first” culture.It received yet more treatment the other day in this article on this link.

Narcissism is associated with conceit, vanity, selfishness and egotism. Just to read those words doesn’t seem to be good. Yet the real narcissist would not even get that far, because it implies something negative about themselves that they just don’t want to know. Narcissism is also about the false self, something one convinces oneself one is but which in fact hides a lot of hidden and unresolved personal stuff. It gets a lot of comment today because of the huge emphasis in today’s culture on the individual and putting oneself “out there” as one who is important. It has almost become de rigueur to speak openly and vehemently about yourself, where you are coming from and what you want.

In a way this has been encouraged by many a keen parent, to help young people to stand up for themselves, to believe in themselves, express their emotions and assert their worth. And now it’s getting some criticism. One might almost think one can’t win!

So it comes as no surprise that, as in the article in the first link above, there’s also criticism of the self-esteem movement, with the implication that it doesn’t work. Yet such an assertion in the article is debatable when simply stated, since it can lead people to infer that self-esteem doesn’t matter. It does not make clearly enough the point that believing in oneself needs to be accompanied by effort, commitment and staying the path to realise one’s goals. What is clear is many people make an unrealistic self-appraisal, and this is a narcissistic trait not uncommon among young people. What is key is to learn from experience and feedback from others, so that one gains a more realistic picture of one’s abilities and where exactly one needs to learn and grow in order to be really successful.

Developing real talent involves a learning, feedback and coaching process, with a more grounded sense of one’s capabilities, along with self belief, determination and effort. Self belief is then a necessary part of the process. Here’s where people learn to counter their own negative inner dialogue and work on telling themselves that they are worth it, have potential and “can do it”. Self-belief, realistic self awareness and commitment to the path all go together.

Reading the above-mentioned article will no doubt irritate many readers who know by experience that self belief does play a part in one’s success. Yet, at the same time it serves as a cautionary note about narcissism and unrealistic self-assessment. It also flags up that there’s work to be done to help restore in our culture an awareness of others, of service, of empathy, of concern for community and for the greater good of the whole. After all, as holism teaches, the whole is greater than, and different from, the sum of its parts. We can forget that at our peril.

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Self confidence in the workplace – how to change what you can’t change

Self confidence in the workplace – a guest post by Ryan Rivera

Working in a toxic environment can cause a considerable amount of stress. When your coworkers or supervisors are unsupportive, it can hurt your self confidence in the workplace, and it make it harder and harder to become a satisfied person not just in your work life, but in your home life as well. Going into work every day can feel like abuse, and over time, your own ability to cope with that abuse will start to fail.

In the past, it would be recommended that you leave the job and seek out better opportunities elsewhere. But the economy is such that that is not always possible, and unfortunately that can mean that you’re stuck living in that type of environment, unable to make changes that will improve your workplace conditions.

But you still need to find a way to improve your self confidence and self worth, despite all that you’re up against. For that, you need to find ways to turn your workplace into something that doesn’t inspire as much fear, and instead gives you an opportunity to challenge yourself and feel accomplished.

Creating a Better Workplace

The first thing you need to do is no longer try to fight your stress and anxiety. Fighting those emotions when you’re stuck in this type of work environment is only going to make you harder on yourself. The stress is not your fault, so you shouldn’t be blaming or punishing yourself for dealing with it. You’ll also need to address the issues that you can’t change and turn them into something that is more enjoyable. Consider the following:

  • Challenging Yourself – Most people have tedious tasks at work that they complete every day. They look for praise from their supervisors but fail to get it, and then see themselves in a negative light. Rather than wait for that praise, challenge yourself to beat yourself. Turn your work into a game, and see how much you can improve and complete. Then, when you succeed, you’ll be the one praising yourself, and your praise will be all that matters.
  • Making Work Fun – Within reason, you should also turn your workplace into something that’s more fun for you. Whether it’s decorating your desk, listening to enjoyable music, or finding responsible inside jokes that make you laugh when you see them in and around the office, you have a responsibility to yourself to find ways to make your work something you enjoy, even if the traditional components of the work (your coworkers, your work itself, your bosses) are bringing you down. There are always ways to make work a bit more fun, and seeking those out can be incredibly advantageous.
  • Preventing Moping – Finally, you need to reduce the impact that a stressful job has on you. You need to try your best to build memories that create happiness and allow you to enjoy yourself more in your personal time. That means scheduling active and fun things immediately after work, so that you don’t have time to think about the impact that your work had on you. It also means that you need to stay energized and around people, and not let your stressful job cause you to sit alone in silence and mope. Moping only adds to the way that stress affects you, and gives your job too much of an impact on your life and memories.

Toxic workplaces are a serious problem, and one that needs to be addressed if you want to live a quality life. There are going to be things that you can’t change. What you can do is make the best of your situation, and if you integrate the above tips and strategies, you may find that your workplace becomes something you fear much less, and something that will build up your confidence and stop your workplace from affecting you.

About the Author: Ryan Rivera suffered from intense self confidence issues at work. He writes about anxiety help and stress now at

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Building self confidence provides resources in the face of adversity

Self confidence in the face of adversity is an admirable trait many of us would probably like to have and not many probably possess. How often do you find something difficult happens and you are consumed by anxiety, self doubt, anger or upset? Do you not wish you had that inner strength that will carry you through, or at least worry that if something unpleasant happens you won’t be able to cope?

Yet in history when certain nations have been beset by adversity, a leader has emerged to carry them through, one who held an aura of confidence that inspired others. It is a much valued leadership trait, and perhaps rare. Winston Churchill comes to my mind as regards the UK, or perhaps Roosevelt for the USA in the 2nd World War. In the UK’s situation it was when facing seemingly inevitable invasion and then through the long, difficult years of bombing until the tide turned. Churchill, himself a depressive, nevertheless had the strength within him to inspire a nation. You could probably think of others.

Looking at one’s own personal situation, self confidence and self belief give an anchor, an inner knowing that enables us to meet our challenges. It is that inner knowledge that you can do it, you have what it takes and that you will come through and all will be well. It’s a kind of trust of self. This is not necessarily an outward show, and that helps, but more a certainty within.

So the value of building self confidence and self belief is that it gives you an invaluable resource for any challenges that may come. So, when times are good, and things are going OK, this is every bit as important in terms of self development as the tougher times. This is when it pays to work on those areas where we are prone to self doubt and turn them to our advantage. This will depend on the individual, but you could for example choose where to challenge yourself in order to increase your confidence. One friend asked me to show him how to climb trees to help him overcome a fear of heights. He only told me he has this fear when we got to the top! He had in past avoided doing this. Another I know does a lot of public speaking and yet I know that historically he’s a shy person. He has learned to confront his fears and knows he can now achieve a lot more. It’s like his comfort boundary has massively expanded. What the resource is you have to ask, but I suspect it is an inner knowing that’s he’s OK in any situation. Doing such things equips you with additional skills and this in itself means there’s more you can do. When you know you can do it, and know you can find a way to do it, you have gained a level in confidence you didn’t previously possess.

This is the sort of resource acquistion I’m thinking of, giving yourself more skills that adds to your belief in your capability. In turn it rubs off on your confidence levels in general and you come across accordingly as more impactful and as one who can inspire others in some way. Study the careers of successful people and you will find some adversity they had to overcome to be as they became, and they needed to equip themselves with particular resources to do this.

I help people in building self confidence so that they can accomplish what they really want to do. To learn more, click here.

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In building self confidence in what you’re doing plans give reassurance

In building self confidence in you and your project it helps to have a plan. Now that might sound like stating the blindingly obvious to some of us, except that it can be surprising how often I find people have an inspiring idea but have not thought it through. Thus there’s no structure and process to follow when for example things get difficult. Issues and challenges haven’t been identified and there’s a lack of options about how to resolve them and stay on track. What they are proposing to do lacks a grounding in action. But until they’ve got that grounding, there will be an uncertainty and a doubt that can undermine our efforts. Or we’ll get going and meet unexpected obstacles.

For example, if you’re planning to start a business to provide certain products and services, you’d need to develop and plan for surveying the market to find out who might want what you offer, are there enough of these people, how might you reach them and can you do, and will you do, what’s needed? Yet it’s very common to find people coming out of full time work, planning to be self employed and yet haven’t done the ground work to be clear that their idea is viable, for them. The same can apply to other ventures in life: you might think of leaving your partner, but do you really fancy being on your own, how will you cope, and aren’t there things that you’ll miss further down the line? Do you think that upping sticks and moving to the other side of the world will fix your home-grown problems, or might they not just follow you and still hang around till you deal with them?

It is very often when going through the options and the actions that my clients start to really engage with their challenges. Till then it is theoretical, or we’re more motivated by what we’re trying to get away from. We need to balance theory with pragmatism. Very often I meet people who are full of ideas but woefully thin on implementation. In a business you might have others to fill the skills gap, but in your own life you need the whole skill spectrum.

This is where coaching is incredibly useful, supplying that skill gap, so that you can turn your ideas into reality. To learn more, click here.

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How to have self confidence when you don’t know where you are going

Bit difficult, not knowing where you’re going, or what you are about, and still have confidence in your endeavours! It’s a bit of a “chicken-and-egg” question, which comes first? Yet the question of how to have self confidence when things aren’t clear offers important opportunities for insight into your creative potential.

When starting out on a new project, whatever that is, it’s well known that it helps to get clear what your vision and purpose is. Your vision would be some description of the end result and what it will feel and look like. The vision needs to match your inspiration, which inspired you in the first place, and has something powerfully motivating in it to encapsulate all the effort that will going into manifesting it. It needs to feel worth it. The purpose is linked to the vision in that it states what you are doing this for, which might be another way of stating the vision but then it might also state something of your values and what you are in this journey for, what lights you up. So my vision might be to be running x and y courses and my purpose might be to help people know more of who they really are. There’s no need to get too academic about it, but rather come up with something that reflects what drew you to the endeavour and states where you are going with it.

Self confidence then comes with the knowing of what you are about and where you are going. Of course there’s also the doing of it, and we’ll discuss that in other postings, but at least you are a step further towards where you need to be.

Today in Western society there’s a spiritual aridity underlying our culture and a cynicism about the ideal of what we’re about. Vision conjures up negative connotations even. People are struggling to get beyond ideas like “betterment”, and “growth” and lack something that really uplifts us as humans and as key members of the planet. The effects of the recession are to induce a certain hopelessness instead. So, thinking about personal vision is all the more important.

It is a vital activity and if you haven’t done it, and this resonates for you, then perhaps it’s time to take time out to allow your creative juices to flow about what you really want in your life and what it would look, sound and feel like when you’ve got it.

However, there’s also another angle on this, that of how to have self confidence in where you are going when you don’t know what that is. Many people say to me that they don’t know what they really want, again a reflection of this gap I am writing about, and life happens for them in the meantime. They say that “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” (John Lennon)!

So, it can also be a matter of trusting the process, which can take a learning about faith, since what is meant to happen will make itself apparent, but usually when we’ve let go of needing an answer in a negative sense. Which points up a vital point in the creation process, being willing to have an intention and then energetically let go of it and not be attached to the outcome. So arguably the real learning, the more powerful insight, can be to have trust and faith that what happens will be perfect. Maybe this is another step in self development, as many would argue.

I give coaching for people setting out on a journey who need to develop their faith, vision and purpose. To learn more, click here.

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Building self confidence in our endeavours through inspiration

Stuck in the doldrums of the recession we can feel short on inspiration and doubt our capability for moving forward and improving our situation. Frustrated in building self confidence, we search frantically around for the bright idea and frustation shuts down our creativity. It becomes a vicious circle, we need an idea and the more we are driven by need the less we can access the ideas, or so it seems. This is the function of fear, as it cuts us off from Source, and our ego has got us. Then we’re plagued by self doubt and lack of self belief and even doubt our whole endeavour.

This dilemma affects not just the individual but whole businesses. Events seem to conspire to reinforce the negative state, as if that is how things are and we had better behave in consequence. Thus we lose sight of our creative potential and are driven instead by fear.

Inspiration by contrast comes from a different space. Depending on your perspective it can mean in-spiration, from the spirit within, your divine Source in spiritual terms, or your artistic creativity or your capacity to invent. However you perceive it, it is often seen as an inner process that we can better access in a calm, centred state, and hence the need for calming and centring techniques that open us up to our Source however conceived.

To have such access means calming and managing our fears, such that we can allow new ideas to emerge. This is where awareness is so important, because people can be unaware how much fear is driving them, often operating in the background and manifesting in different forms.

Rather we need to create the conditions to allow inspiration to emerge. Because when it does, it lights us up. We feel new energy and enthusiasm and new determination to succeed. “Now I know what I want,” is a powerful shift. There’s a sense of reassurance. We feel a calm sense of purpose, and hence the need to define and describe that purpose so that we can remind ourselves of it, and come back to it when challenged. Thus self confidence comes flooding back. “Now I know what I’m about and where I’m going.” You can feel it in your bones and crucially in your heart. It give your courage, of the heart, le coeur, as in bon courage.

Such inspiration then becomes the motivating force for making plans and taking action. It is a reference point behind the more practical-seeming aspects of the planning process. It is the oil of the engine but also the fuel that drives us forward. Enthusiasm is closely related to it, from en-theos in Greek, from the God within, and enthusiasm is infectious and rubs off on others and motivates them too.

So you’re dealing with powerful stuff. No wonder it needs nurturing.

I give coaching to help people re-connect with inspiration and motivation for their projects. To learn more, click here.

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Building self confidence can mean starting with inner quiet

It can seem an odd place to start in building self confidence in yourself and in a project by first building inner quiet. Yet if you need to re-focus, re-build, get something new going in your life and work, you may need to calm self doubt and lack of self belief and develop stillness of mind so that you have a surer base from which to grow what you intend.

You may not be clear what it is that you intend and you may need to get your mind clear in order to allow creativity to do its work. In a still place, unhindered by the workings of the mind, intuition can lead you to your bright idea, your new awareness, your insight. You may also need to manage the sirens of doubt and one way to do that is by developing skill in managing the mind, using some practice to get more adept at interrupting the negative mental flow, which in any case is an illusion of the ego, stilling your thoughts, even challenging any negativity, and moving towards greater calm and equipoise.

Meditation is a powerful tool for this, although you can do this simply by having some quiet time, focusing on the breath, using the breath to calm your mind and become more relaxed. Those more used to the inner journey use this as a regular technique. It is very simple but needs regular practice, and sticking with it when we feel we don’t need it, to be building self confidence in our ability to still our minds, increase innner peace, and re-focus on our purpose.

With a calm state re-established, you are likely to be feeling better in yourself and better placed to focus on your project.

Those already embarked on their project may also find they hit problems and doubts and thus this same practice, giving time for inner quiet, is invaluable. We can get so rushed off our feet in all that is going on that we can somehow easily lose that sense of connection that is so vital to our wellbeing and what we are trying to achieve. When our minds get wobbly, it is much easier for the ego to reassert itself and we go back in an instant to our old knee-jerk responses.

Thus regular re-visiting of your own inner space is vital to helping yourself move forward.

Use this week to do this every day. Find a quiet time where you won’t be interrupted and spend a little while giving yourself inner quiet.