A bridge to confidence.

Overview: Imagine if confidence was sustainable. Or, if confidence could be used only in support of making good things happen. What would your life, profession and our world look like via this type of lens?

There are few things in life that we don’t have to work to maintain in some way, yet there are many other aspects of our life we need to continuously work on. Perhaps improve, but ultimately accept and come to terms with. One of these areas is confidence.

When I was researching this topic, I was interested in finding out at what age do we become aware of being confident? As I was reviewing information, I came across a wonderful sentence in the opening of the article I was reading. It referred to the link between a person’s early self-esteem and confidence. The sentence which stood out expressed that “Self-esteem is your child’s passport to a lifetime of mental health and social happiness.”. It went on to also say that self-esteem “is the foundation of a child’s well-being and the key to success as an adult.” Wow! That’s a powerful statement.

Now imagine if everyone had an idyllic childhood which laid out the perfect foundation for us to have our self-esteem and confidence built on? Some of us do, but many of us don’t. Even if our foundation started out strong, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be weakened by events which happen in our lives. The type of events that chip away at our foundation, and without addressing these chips or cracks, add up and end up eroding our confidence foundation.

For me personally, I recall a distinct moment in time that I understood what it meant to have my confidence take a hit. It happened in a second-grade math class when I was called up in front of the class to visually show how to get to the answer of a math problem. I was randomly asked by the teacher to do this. As I stood in front of the class unaware of how to accomplish what I was asked to do, or how to articulate this, I was overwhelmed by emotions. The first one was fear, followed by embarrassment and then ultimately an enormous crack in my confidence foundation.

Ultimately, I ended up in tears in front of the class. What was worse than this, was that I did not have any experience to draw from with how to contend with the way I was feeling. However, this experience stands out in my mind as the first time my emotions were tied to my confidence.

As I think back to that day many decades ago, I believe I realized I needed to find a way to build up confidence. To come up with a solution from having to experience those type of negative emotions again. Or, at least not frequently.

Although I realized early on I was never going to be a math genius, I was OK with that. However, finding out what I was good at became something I put myself on an early journey to figure out. Of course, being so young, I didn’t realize that I was intentionally trying to solve my own challenge to having experienced what it is like to have your confidence rocked. However, as I think back, this was essentially what I was doing, and have continued to do my entire life.

You could say my first experience with having my confidence being challenged turned out well. Perhaps you also might be under the impression that I had an easy road to working on building up my confidence? This couldn’t be further from the truth, as I continued to struggle in school. Why? Because no one realized I was dyslexic. In fact, I did not officially find out I was until I was tested in college at the age of 21. Yes, finding this out made many experiences in my life come into focus in terms of having a reason why I struggled academically, yet I still persevered to obtain strong grades sheerly based on tenaciously doing do.

So, do I think there is a bridge or a way for people to increase their confidence? At any point in their lives? Yes, I do, and it is something I have like most people who have figured out the confidence equation, work on all the time. I do this, because as I mentioned earlier, confidence can be fleeting, and it needs to be nurtured to maintain it.

To describe to others how to develop or increase their confidence, I can offer the following suggestions:

  • Find one thing you are good at. It doesn’t matter what it is. Focus on becoming exceptional at it, and draw from this like it is your confidence battery.
  • I’m certain you are good at more than one thing. However, do you know what your top talents are? When I found out what mine were, it was a liberating day, and allowed me to finally be able to focus on what I was good at, versus focusing on trying to fix or become better at things I did not have a talent for.
  • Visualize yourself in a really happy place or time in your life. Consider the factors which contributed to this experience. Can you repeat aspects of this?
  • Do you surround yourself with people who build you up, or tear you down? Or, perhaps it’s a mix. What if you could edit out some of the people who chip away at your confidence? I don’t subscribe to someone saying this is impossible. It might be harder to accomplish, but it will be worth achieving.
  • Seek out one person who can be your “confidence champion”. This person is someone who never lets you down, and always helps to build back up your confidence during those times you might be struggling on your own to do so.
  • Commit to embracing that you will need to continuously work on your confidence, as like a vine, it can wither without care.

Building your confidence bridge can actually be fun, although it will take hard work to accomplish. However, when we have confidence, it can positively impact our lives in numerous ways that will be worth putting in the effort to do so. One of them is being happier and healthier. Now go out and start building that bridge, and be proud of showing the world what it looks like.

TAGS: #Confidence #Personaldevelopment #Mentalhealth #Positivity #Benefitstobeingconfident #Howtobemoreconfident #Business #Motivation #Life #Profession #Success #Fear #Dyslexic #Dyslexia #Business #Leadership #Communication #Management #Strategy #Success #Teams #Motivation

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Ageless. What are the rules?

My birthday is this month, and I find that I become more reflective when this day approaches. When I was in my thirties, I remember listening to a conversation about someone in their fifties talking about how they didn’t feel any different than they did when they were two decades below this. I found this to be fascinating. Namely because I expected to hear a much different version of this conversation.

One of the things that provided a lasting impression from this conversation, was that it opened my mind to considering age as only a data classification. Although in our society we tend to place both visible and invisible fences around age. What I mean is that there are distinct markers of when you can and cannot do certain things legally in the US (e.g., obtaining your driver’s license, being able to vote, being able to consume alcohol) to name a few.

Fast forward or rewind to the decade of living in your twenties. This is a wonderful decade where we are encouraged to explore our career options and where to live, who to partner with, make mistakes and figure out who we are, and what makes us happy. Of course, not everyone figures this out during this decade, but for the sake of conversation, let’s make this assumption.

In your thirty’s decade, you might find yourself feeling more settled. Or, becoming more confident about some of the choices you made in your twenties which are impacting this decade. Perhaps you are caring for someone other than yourself, or not. Either way, your perspective on the world is evolving, and you are becoming more aware of how you can and might be impacting the environment you are in.

As you ease into your forties, you might realize that you have achieved a level of accomplishment you have been striving to attain for years. Although you have been working at your achievements for a while, it might feel as if you woke up one day and finally feel a sense of relief. Relief that the hard work you have put in to your career or life is beginning to pay off. Or, perhaps not yet?

Arriving at the doorstep of your fifties is an interesting place to be. For me personally, I became far more accepting of both my limitations and achievements. I’m not suggesting I was settling and not attempting to pursue other goals, but I arrived at a place where I was finally more comfortable in my own skin. This partially had to do with the fact I changed careers after decades, and entered into one which I felt embraced me authentically. For the first time in my life. Yes, this felt amazing, but truthfully, I was also frustrated that it took so long to arrive here.

This leads me back to how as I look forward in time, that I will not be referring to my age. I feel it is restrictive, and not representative of who I am, what I have to offer, or the possibilities and opportunities which might not be there for me if have a self-imposed age restriction on myself. So, my solution to being able to look at my life going forward is having a mindset of being ageless. Just writing this makes me feel different, and less restricted. It’s also something I was thinking about how I can share with others. In a way, this is my birthday gift to others.

I appreciate the fact not everyone may feel comfortable with defining themselves as ageless, but if it helps to open up your mind to placing fewer restrictions on your life, and provides a new lens to opportunities, I’ll be satisfied with this.

Since I have a mentoring mindset and generally provide suggestions on how to navigate towards accomplishing something, below are some ideas for you to consider adopting an “ageless” mindset too.

  • I have always liked bright clothes and colors. Although I am also a big fan of the black and white combo. My point is that your choice of clothes and the colors you where should not be influenced by others. Consider your color choices as a reflection of who you truly are, and don’t let your age dictate what colors you think you can or can’t wear.
  • Do you have friends from different decades? I hope you do, or will consider finding people to include in your circle of friends who are not in your same decade. You will learn and be incredibly enriched by the thinking from people who are at different phases in their life. Factor in both the mentoring and reverse mentoring possibilities too.
  • If there is a hobby or something you have wanted to do, but you think you are too young or too old to pursue it, give it a try. You might be denying yourself from having immense satisfaction, or determine it’s not really as great as you thought it might be. You need to experiment to find this out, so what are you waiting for?
  • Have you always wanted to travel, but have not been able to do so for any number of reasons (e.g., budget, you are afraid to, you don’t know where to go)? All of these can be overcome with some planning, especially the budget factor. In fact, traveling on a restricted budget can actually be more fun, as it challenges you to be more creative with what you can do. Hint, in my opinion, traveling is one of the best ways to feel ageless.

So, the next time someone asks me what my age is, you know what I’ll be telling them…I’m ageless. I can’t wait to hear the responses from this statement, and what type of conversations I’ll be having when this happens. Perhaps you can adopt this ageless philosophy? Better yet, perhaps you can also re-write both the written and undocumented rules that can place unnecessary restrictions and unnecessary fear in our minds, and on how we lead and approach going forward in our lives. Enjoy the journey, and I hope to see you along the way.

TAGS: #Ageless #Aging #Birthday #Perception #Fear #Journey #Life #Leadership #Success #Mindset #Positivity #PositiveMindset #Fear #Redefiningage #Reimaginingaging  #Confidence #Motivation #Perception #Inspiration #Mentor #Mentoring B265

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Why do we follow leaders?

I’m not known for talking about politics, and in fact I don’t talk about them for obvious reasons. However, similar to business and sports team leaders, the people in these positions all play an important role in our society. Although their respective assents to their leadership roles are generally remarkably, and curiously different. 

Take for example just about any CEO or leader of a sports team organization. Or, a head sports team coach. If you were to ask them where they went to leadership school, most would look at you oddly. Why? Because there are limited ways for leaders to obtain their skills from an educational perspective. Skills that are truly meaningful.

In other words, leaders learn how to lead from actual experience of leading others. Not by simply reading about how to lead others. I’m not disparaging the wonderful leadership books out there, I’m just stating that I have yet to come across a leader who said they learned everything they needed to become an amazing leader via reading about the topic.

Similar to a trade role (e.g., plumber, electrician, welder), leaders gain the majority of their skills by practicing and applying them in a physical way. Although trade persons are highly skilled, they do not have to master the soft skills that effective leaders need to gain. Unless of course they are the owner of the company. Then I would place those individuals in the same category as business and sports team leaders.

The most impactful skills that leaders need to acquire and master are ones which are more difficult to measure. I’m referring to the skills of communication, influence and emotional intelligence (e.g., EQ). Granted I want to stress that the EQ skill isn’t something one can learn, as this is one of the skills in the innate category. You are either fortunate to have lots of it, or not enough for your or others liking. Having common sense is also one of the beneficial skills the top leaders possess. However, it’s one of the other skills you either have, or you don’t.

Of course, all leaders start out as followers. The interesting factor to consider is at what point is the cross over to leadership made? Depending on the type of leadership role, it could in fact take years before someone steps into that role. However, we have all seen instances where an individual is placed into a leadership role they are ill prepared to take on. Everyone suffers when this occurs. With a few exceptions.

One of the exceptions is that the newly minted leader is supported by others to buffer their learning curve. The supporters will play the role of advising the majority of the new leaders decisions, until they reach a point when they can make more of the decisions on their own. However, without this arrangement in place as an exception, the new under prepared leader will experience a steep and often painful learning curve themselves, and for those they lead. I guarantee you have seen this. Perhaps you have even had the misfortune of being led by this individual? The good news is that most of these ill prepared leaders will be filtered out, and replaced by an actual experienced leader. Although not always.

At what point do people know they are ready to lead and make the crossover into leadership? Below are some ways you will know when the time is right for you to make this leap.

  • Gaining experience takes time. Most leaders will need a minimum of a decade worth of experience to have had enough opportunities to learn, and to have made enough mistakes along the way to be effective when they step into their role. With this said, having 15-20 years of experience is even better.
  • You have had the opportunity to learn about multiple facets of the business, or acquire deep knowledge about the sports team you are leading. Additionally, you have had a minimum number of roles (e.g., 2-4) to provide you with insight only gained from having exposure to critical functions which impact the company, or sports team you will be leading.
  • You are at a point where you are able to mentor others.
  • People you respect and who are in leadership roles begin seeking you out for advice or your opinion on how to handle different situations.
  • You are able to see the big picture, and can effectively communicate strategically as well as persuasively to your peers and leadership members above your current role. 
  • You have made enough calculated mistakes and recovered from them without tarnishing your reputation.
  • Others trust your judgement and are comfortable with letting you make critical decisions, as you have solid track record for demonstrating this.
  • Not everyone who can step into a leadership role wants to do so. In fact, many shy away from the enormous responsibilities that go along with being the leader. It’s not a role for the faint of heart, or those who have difficulty with making, sticking to and applying decisions to be carried out effectively.

Moving into a leadership role is a privilege, and not one to be casually entered into.  In fact, I can tell you that you will intuitively know when you are ready to take on becoming the leader. If you can’t trust your gut instinct with this decision, then it’s not likely your time to step out of the follower role yet. 

Tags: #Business #Success #Leadership #Teams #Sportsteams #Headcoaches #Sportscoaches #Coaches #Headsportscoach #HeadSportscoaches #Strategy #Management #BusinessManagement

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Re-inventing yourself. Do you need to?

Every once and awhile I think about whether I am at a place in my life that I want to be. Most of the time I am happy with where I am. Although there are times when I consider what it would be like to re-brand or re-invent myself. As a matter of fact, I have done this a number of times.

If you are considering re-inventing yourself, the trick is to do it subtlety. In fact, you will know if you have done this well when others start to comment that you either seem different, or that they can’t figure out what is different about you.

Let’s consider you have reflected upon your personal brand, and have determined it isn’t the one you want to have. Or, perhaps you want others to have a different perception of who you are. Is it possible to make either of these changes on your own? Yes, it is. However, you will need to factor in having a plan to do so.

As a former marketing executive, I have spent decades perfecting the art of re-crafting the images of companies and products. I enjoyed doing this. It’s partially due to the fact I embrace change, but really because I love the challenge of re-invention. Do you need to have these same characteristics to alter your image? No, but without experience in doing this, the path to doing so might be slightly more challenging.

To decrease the challenge of re-inventing yourself, I will provide you with some suggestions below about how to approach doing this. If this is in fact your goal.

Before we dive into how to go about changing others perception of you, first consider why you want to do this. This is important to think about, as you might not need a complete overhaul of your image. In fact, there may be some minor tweaks you can make to have a similar outcome from a more aggressive self re-branding experience.

One thing I want you to do before we proceed, is to critically and genuinely rate yourself on your ability to gauge how others perceive you. Is it possible your perception is off? In my experience, many people have not what I refer to as “held a mirror in front of them”. What I mean by this, is that they do not truly understand how they come across to others. Worse, their perception meter is way off, or completely broken.

When someone is challenged with a faulty or broken self-perception mirror, it often will create other problems for them. One of them is that they are essentially blind to how their actions, words and persona comes across to others. How is this possible? One of the reasons this occurs is that people have not developed their self-awareness level enough. Age is independent of this factor, as I have seen very young and self-aware people, and people who are well advanced in their decades who are completely unaware of how others perceive them.

Popping back to the concept of subtly changing your image, what I mean by this is that there are minor things you can do to shift others perception of you. However, you first need to commit to wanting to make these subtle but impactful changes. If you do, here are some ways you can go about doing so.

  • Have you ever genuinely asked someone you trust to tell you how you come across to others? Keep in mind we might in fact need to ask people who see us in different roles in our lives, as it is possible we alter our image in certain situations (e.g., at home vs professionally, with friends).
  • Sometimes it is our exterior image (e.g., what we choose to wear) which impacts others perception of us. Have you ever tested or felt differently when you feel you look a certain way? Possibly you felt more confident. This is a subtle way of being able to shift others perception of you, simply by altering your outward appearance .
  • Altering your outward appearance whether by clothing, or perhaps by a new haircut, getting in shape or eating healthier and looking and feeling more energetic are other ways to shift both your own perception, as well as others of you.
  • When was the last time you either recorded how you speak, or listened to a recording of yourself speak? How did you sound? Did your voice come across the way you think it comes across to others?
  • I have had people listen to how they speak to others and realize they are always coming across aggressively, when in fact they had no awareness of doing so until they listened to themselves.
  • Listening and seeing are different. Consider video recording an interaction you have with someone. Are you able to see or recognize body movements you didn’t realize you do when you are interacting with someone (e.g., you bite your nails as you listen to them, you defensively cross your arms all the time, you appear to not be listening and look distracted when you are engaging with someone, you always appear to look like you are angry or in a bad mood or you look nervous or afraid).
  • The point is, you are going to see lots of body movements you need to be aware of. All of which you can alter to help with your external image re-branding.  The first step is being aware, and then doing something about your new awareness of your outward perception.

If you are considering re-branding or re-inventing yourself this year, be kind to yourself, as it isn’t easy to do. However, if you believe you will benefit from doing so, I encourage you to also think about the goals you will want to be associated with the effort towards this journey. Otherwise, it might not be worth the effort you will need to put in to accomplish this.

TAGS: #Image #Confidence #Self-improvement #Reinvention #Newselfimage  #Howtorebrandyourself #Howtorebrandyourimage #Business #Success

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Inspired gratefulness. Where does it come from?

Roughly thirty-five years ago today, I experienced a day that in most instances might be one of the happiest days of a person’s life. However, within twelve hours, what perceivably to others looked like a delightful situation turned out to be the most nightmarish year of my life. Yes, I’m going to leave you wondering what happened. Spoiler alert, there is a much better ending than anyone would have thought there would be.

My point is that today is a day for me to be reflective.  Instead of dwelling on a particular day and year of my life, and that I would have at times rather erased from my memory, I can now look back on it with perspective that time has granted me. In fact, I can tell you that as I think about that day, I can now be inspired from the experience. I’m also confident that some of you reading this article might have had a similar feeling about one of your experiences. I hope you do.

When I hear the words inspired and gratefulness, I think of them as being great word partners. The word inspired can be interpreted quite differently by individuals, and so can being grateful. Both are often influenced by circumstances, some of which are in your control. While perhaps others might not be.

Gaining perspective based on the influences of other people, time, places or your attitude can all contribute to whether you feel inspired each day. Being grateful can also be impacted by your perspective, mood or potentially circumstances you may not realize you have more control over than you give yourself credit.

An example of what I am referring to is based on a true-life story of a 7-year old boy and his Mom who are both homeless and living in southern California. Their circumstances were documented by a west coast reporter. As I read through the story, there were so many instances for the Mom to re-write the narrative of how she and her son’s life were playing out that year. However, the challenge was that she was not willing to accept advice or help that could have changed their short and long term circumstances.

Although the Mom and her son were homeless, it didn’t mean that they were not grateful. They were grateful for people attempting to help them, but the Mom was not inspired to be able to move beyond her circumstances to improve her and her son’s life at that time.

Do I think the Mom could have been inspired or have found inspiration to change her circumstances? Potentially, but since untreated mental illness was identified as part of the reason the Mom could not, or chose not to change her situation, they both suffered from her lack of her ability from her circumstances to make good decisions.

Circling back to the earlier part of my story, I have learned over the years to find inspiration from places I never imagined. My personal history of the anniversary of today’s date is one of those places. Having deep perspective on my experience, and the year following that day, I know I wouldn’t have achieved all of the milestones in my life had I not endured, and come out the other side of where I was thirty-five years ago. For level setting, my situation did not personally involve a mental health challenge, chemical or physical abuse challenge. That’s all I’ll share with you.

However, from my experience, I am able to provide you with some inspirational suggestions based on a particular year in my life, as well as the cumulative years following it. I hope that some of them will inspire you.

  • We know time does not stand still, so always use the benefit of looking towards the future to envision how your circumstances can and will be different if you allow them to be.
  • Ever since I was young, I have had at least one domestic animal. Sometimes it was simply a small frog I captured outside and placed into a shoebox for thirty minutes to observe and admire it. Pets can provide unlimited inspiration, as well as motivation for you on a daily basis.
  • Depending on where you live, you will have different access to being out in nature. However, even if you live in a city, most of them have at least one park you can enjoy. The point is to get outside every day for a minimum of 5-20 minutes to experience the numerous benefits of being in fresh air.
  • When you are outside, take time to notice and admire the amazing beauty of nature. It will also serve to remind you of how your inside surroundings are typically far less interesting than what you can observe when you are outside.
  • Seek out people who make you smile, laugh or remind you not to take yourself too seriously. These people and their gift to help you do this, are like medicine for your soul.
  • Everyone knows we need to take good and sometimes better care of ourselves. When we ignore the signs of us not doing this, the effects can be negative and cumulative. However, it is possible to reverse most of the things we might be doing which don’t contribute to increasing our personal health (e.g., diet, exercise, sleep).
  • Helping someone else serves multiple purposes to inspire and motivate us. One of the things it does is to take our mind off of ourselves. When we help someone else, it also makes us feel better. When we care for others, this generally contributes to doing so. 

My list of suggestions could go on and on, but the intent of providing you with some ideas is to kick start your mind to thinking about other things you can do to help you to be more inspired and grateful on a regular basis. Enjoy the daily journey of making this happen for yourself, and indirectly others.

Tags: #Advice #Inspiration #Motivation #Business #Grateful #Howtobegrateful #Howtogaininspiration #Beinggrateful

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