Become More Confident

 

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Where does confidence come from? Are some people born with more than others, or is it a skill or strength you develop over time? I am sure you have encountered people who seem to have a level of confidence way beyond their chronological age. Still there are others who are at a point in their life and career where they should have a high degree of confidence, yet are severely lacking it, and for no apparent reason. If desired, can you build confidence and maintain it? Where does one begin to do this?

There are numerous ways to increase your self-confidence, and here’s a link I found which lists (25) actions to boost your self-confidence – and ways to do so, all of which are completely easy to achieve, as I read through all of them and mentally ticked off the box to determine if they were achievable. They are, and I know you will feel the same. In case you think only non-celebrities suffer from lack of self-confidence, I did some research and found there have been numerous people documented in history who seemingly have reached the pinnacle of their careers or talent, and who yet are what I will call plagued with lack of confidence.

Examples of well-known people who suffer from lack of confidence are singer/songwriter Mariah Carey, singer/songwriter/actor David Bowie (1/8/47-1/10/16), tennis superstar Serena Williams and Academy, Golden Globe and Grammy Award winning actress Kate Winslet. Each of these celebrities have documented histories of battling with low self-esteem, or what I would classify as low self-confidence. How is it possible for these well-known “super stars” in their respective fields to not have over the top levels of confidence? Part of the reason has to do with the negative narrative they have running in their minds, and which has them perceive themselves far differently than the outside world does. Another contributing factor to low or lack of self-confidence is not believing in yourself, even though there is vast evidence to the contrary that you should be able to do so.

Building self-confidence is not something you can do overnight, but is in fact something you can work on every day. The methods to building self-confidence need to be practiced daily, and yes, you will have days when your confidence is lower or higher. The goal is to try to maintain a balance in your level of self-confidence, and this can be done with some of the items listed on the 25 actions to boosting your self-confidence. Another quick way to increase your self-confidence is to stand up and in front of a mirror if one if available, and put your hands on your hips and pose like superman or superwoman. Now, saying out loud, tell yourself “I’ve got this” (5-6) times until you feel a positive change in your demeanor.  You will be amazed at how such a simple action can make you feel more confident than simply a few minutes prior to doing so. I know this for a fact, because I have leveraged this technique numerous times in my life. Give it a try.

This blog is dedicated to our daughter, Bronwyn Shinnick, as she is one of the most confident people I know. She also inspires me with her drive to succeed and her magnificent level of focus and confidence every day.

 

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

How Positive Thinking Impacts Your Life.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

My Mom Emily Murphy had a long career in nursing, and when I was growing up, she would always tell me stories about the power of positive thinking, especially as it related to healing and the patients she was taking care of. For about a decade, my Mom’s profession as a nurse was focused on Oncology. She told me she was gifted in her ability to help people deal with their cancer, and for many years I did not fully understand or appreciate what this meant. As you would imagine, most of her cancer patients were extremely sick, and some were at the early stages of dealing with this awful disease. According to my Mom, the difference between patients and how they handled this dreadful disease was their attitude. The second thing which differentiated her patients from one another was how much they were able to apply positive thinking on a daily basis to help them make their situation better in even the smallest of ways (e.g., they were able to see beautiful trees outside of their hospital window emblazoned with all of the fall colors New England is known for).

The power of positive thinking has been written about for years, and there are many well known experts on this topic such as Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale who authored the book The Power of Positive Thinking which was published in 1952, and The Dalai Lama. Ironically when I was researching lists of well known optimists, there was not a definitive list of such people, but we all know they exist, and I happen to be one of them, but I am not yet known globally for this ability. How do I know I have optimism or positivity as a strength? I know this because my top strength according to the book Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath is Positivity.  Does it matter if you do or do not have an optimistic or positive outlook on life? I firmly believe it does.

Personally for me, there have been more numerous instances when if I thought about the outcome of a situation turning out well, in over 95% of the time the situation turned out to be positive. Is this because I viewed the outcome as being positive, or was it sincerely this way? Am I simply a lucky person? Or, did my positive thinking influence the outcome, and my optimistic nature have me only see the outcome as being positive, or the “glass being half full”?

My perspective and reality has been the situations I wanted to have positive outcomes generally turned out that way. If I thought about the instances the outcome did not turn out positively, there was usually some reason why the outcome was not positive (e.g., based on timing, based on location, based on other factors I had almost no control over). In the instances when the situation did not turn out positively, I think the manner in which I looked at the outcome had a great deal to do with my perception of the situation, and ultimately was less negative than I thought it would be.

Based on what my Mom witnessed as a nurse time and time again, and which would in many instances be called a “miracle”, she would tell you the power of positive thinking or being optimistic in even the most dire situations can bring you results you did not think were possible. I challenge you to pick a day to think about having everything in your day turn out well or positively, and see what the outcome of your day is like. If you are not a positive person by nature, you might need to start more slowly and take this challenge on by the hour. Being positive may take practice, but the long-term benefits and the outcomes you will see will be worth it. Take my word, as those who truly know me, will tell you I am living proof of this concept working well.

Thanks to Greg DeGuglielmo and Holden Laquerre for inspiring me to write, and by picking this topic from my list of topics to write about.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Is work life balance a myth?

Not everyone who writes about balancing your life actually has “street cred”, but I do. My experience of balancing “life” is from having three kids, two who are in college, one in high school, and what I call my permanent “furry baby”, or our five year old Golden Doodle, as well as a frog and lizard. I also have a husband who’s office is 200 miles from our house and who has commuted there for four years, a sister, brother, Mom and Dad and in-laws as well as relatives from their relationships. I am fortunate to have friends I met as far back in elementary school in the fourth grade (e.g., Greg, Kathy & Monique), and I have maintained these aspects of my life while working full-time in the demanding high technology marketing industry for more than 20 years. The first thing I will tell you is this has not been easy. The second thing I will tell you is I would not trade my experiences for anything. However, I now have perspective on balancing my life, and I will share this perspective with you.

Being a full-time working Mother puts you in a position of constantly weighing the pros and cons of decisions on an hourly basis, sometimes simultaneously both at work and home. So, it has been critical for me to be able to have my family reach me at all times, meaning my mobile phone is always on and with me. There have also been numerous times during my career when I have often excused myself during important professional conversations when my children or other family members have reached out to me. Yes, this might seem impolite, but I prioritize my family over work 100% of the time. No job or career is worth the reverse of this prioritization, especially if you are in a field that demands you work excessively long hours. I also do not apologize for taking these calls, and that is a whole other topic I will be writing about, as women apologize way to often for things they should not be apologizing for.

Friends are another part of the equation, which you should never forget to maintain as part of your balance. I have seen too many people compromise their friendships because they are unable to simply send a text once in awhile to their friends to let them know they are thinking about them. If you really want to let them know you are thinking about them, you can drop them a handwritten note, or buy them a cute card, or simply leave them a voicemail. When was the last time you received a card from a friend of yours “just because” they were thinking of you? I regularly send my friends cards for this reason, or leave them extended voicemails.

Proper amounts of sleep, nutrition and exercise are also fundamental aspects of obtaining life balance. Yes, there are times when each of these will be compromised. However, the point is to make each a priority, and to strive to maintain as much discipline as you can with making these aspects of your life a priority too. At times in my life when I was averaging 5-6 hours of sleep at night, not able to exercise or eat the proper food, I paid dearly for this by feeling overly stressed, exhausted and as if I had no control over my schedule or life. With help from friends and family, by reprioritizing these aspects of my life, I was able to get back on track and have my life come back into balance. Again, this was not easy, and I ask you to be kind to yourself and not become overly frustrated when you get out of balance. You also have to realize you are not a “super hero”, and it is fine to ask for help from others, as you can reciprocate when they will need you at some point.

Of course there are other facets of my life and yours you want to factor into the mix, and this is when it gets really interesting in terms of a balancing act. However, I think this is the fun part, as the “trick” to streamlining all the other facets of your life are accomplished by literally scheduling them, or writing them down on a “to do” list. As many of you know about me, I am a huge fan of “to do” lists. It’s because of these lists I am able to accomplish all I do, as I have found that if I write something down, it will get done. Once it is written down, it is like my “up-front-contract” to adhere to and to make it happen. Perhaps not in the exact timeframe of when I wanted it to, but as close to when it would be possible to accomplish the item (e.g., travel, coach and see our kids participate in their sporting or other activities, take a course, work on my hobbies, go to the gym, spend quality time with family/friends, etc.).

I am not saying my life is perfect, as I do not think there is such a thing, and I do believe you can strike a balance in your life and accomplish more than you imagine is possible. I firmly believe I have struck a balance in my life, and I look forward to continuing to do so given the opportunity. Lastly, I hope my shared experience on creating and having balance in my life might help you to do so too, or provide you with some thoughts on how to strike your own balance in life.

Thanks to Holden Laquerre and Patrick Sweeney for encouraging me to write, and by picking this topic from my list of topics to write about next. Up next will be the topic on “Staying passionate about something.”

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.