Do you believe in yourself?
My goodness it’s the first of November. How time has flown since I last visited your inbox. Can you believe it was July?! So much has happened both personally and in the world at large since then. Chaos and turmoil in our economic and political environments. I’m pleased to say not the same on the home-front! Although there has been a great deal going on which has meant that I’ve had to hone my organisation and time management skills!
For me, the last three months have been extremely busy working with so many inspirational people doing work that I love eg developing mindsets in culture, leadership and management. I’ve had to pinch myself regularly to make sure I’m not dreaming as this is the work I left my corporate role to do in 2006 and at long last, it is a reality! It’s also been an additional period of learning for me too as I’ve become accredited in the use of some fabulous tools and techniques that continue to complement the work I do on the above which has been extremely rewarding.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because nearly 17 years ago I left my job to start up my own business. I was full of excitement and curiosity for what the future would hold. Little did I know what a bumpy ride it would be … and there have been a lot of bumps! However, the thing that always remained strong was the belief that I could achieve it. I had a goal and I knew what it would look and feel like. That vision and self-efficacy has given me the drive and determination to be more resilient and bounce back from the obstacles that have appeared along the way.
It’s also helped me remain focused on why I was doing what I was doing so that in my moments of self-doubt, when my ‘Eeyore’ voice was telling me that I really ought to apply for a proper job in a bigger organisation again, I could push back. This is when I’d hear the lovely Anita Roddick pipe us and say ‘If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room’, and it would make me smile and I’d take control of what I could do rather than what I couldn’t. Not that I want to be compared to a mosquito, of course!!
We don’t do any of our work in isolation. Yet what has been brilliant is that during the last ten years or so, the work we do has gone from a place of intuition to be backed by amazing data and research supplied from many prominent universities and people such as Martin Seligman, David Rock, James Clear, Carol Dweck, Brené Brown, Frederic Laloux to name just a few. This has been a game changer for us as it shows the approaches we have been taking, haven’t achieved results through sheer fluke but, because there are deep psychological and neurological reasons for those outcomes that have been shared more widely.
Our focus has always been to help people develop their potential in both their professional and personal lives. In a lot of cases this means unlearning some of our learning to replace outdated or limiting beliefs with new and more helpful ways of achieving better results.
The learning that I have had is to:
- Set clear intentions – setting stretching goals are a key part of moving in the right direction. As soon as we can visualize it, we can do it. Our mind will open up and find the possibilities but without a picture it doesn’t know what it’s looking for. Think about the last time you wanted to have a restyle of yourself, your home, your garden. As soon as you were clear of what you wanted, you’d see articles, pictures etc of what you were dreaming of.
- Tend to your self-efficacy regularly. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? What will help you have more self-belief? Read more, watch more, listen more, empathise more, be curious. 20 minutes of learning each day is so much better than no learning at all – keep building that compound interest! And surround yourself with people who provide you with caring and constructive feedback in search of your vision.
- Expect the best of self and others. When you look for the good in others, you will see their potential. If you look with a critical eye, you will find the faults, even if they’re not there. It’s so easy to jump into that judgmental mode, but we all know how it feels when someone believes in us. It creates a powerful positive energy that infects others around you. Above all remain kind.
- Seek continual improvement, not successes and failures. Learning to cultivate our positive bias rather than always wanting to hear the negative has been a great way of finding silver linings when things go wrong. If we focus on fixing problems, we’ll always be in that place. I use the ‘what went well’ and the ‘even better if’ approach as there’s always something, however small it may be, that went right even if the overall project didn’t work out as well as it could have. And even when things go really well there’s always a way you can improve for the next time. Gather feedback as the norm and find more ways to do what you do well.
- Practice gratitude – I’ve shared with you before that I have very high expectations of myself and been hard on myself for not attaining them. In early 2020 I started writing down one thing, at the end of each day, for which I was grateful. It started off as a mini project but now it has become a way of life. Even on the gloomiest of days I can find something that has been amazing. You have no idea how this one little nugget can make a difference to us finishing the day on a high note. Try it and see what you think.
My final learning which I will leave you with, is to have rest and recuperation. When you put everything into what you do, your reserves become depleted. Find ways to replenish them daily whether it’s through exercise, socializing or finding your happy place to chill out. It’s worth its weight in gold.