Self-Confidence…It’s really not as hard as it sounds.

By JoAnne Foist

ConfidenceatworkSelf-confidence is having confidence in oneself.

This is such a simple yet perfect definition.  Unfortunately, we often make it so much bigger than that.  In fact, I continue to witness amazing and talented individuals limit themselves due to their lack of self-confidence.

Here’s a question for you, do you think self-confidence is the ability to be perfect at everything you do?  Meaning, will you only feel confident when you have mastered something?  Well guess what?  That’s not self-confidence, that’s perfectionism.

Plain and simple, self-confidence is about believing in yourself.  It is having the confidence to try, not in the absence of, but in spite of fears.  Yes, self-confident people still experience fear, but they have confidence in their ability to handle what comes their way.  They would rather try and learn from the experience than let the fear of failure stop them.  They realize that the more they try, the more confidence they’ll gain.

With that said, below are a few more ways you can build your self-confidence.

  1. Be courageous even when you don’t feel like it.  When you act courageous you start feeling courageous.  You’ll start believing more in yourself and others will believe in you as well.  Remember, “we become what we think.”
  2. Stop worrying about being perfect and instead focus on giving it your best and in a timely manner.  Believe it or not, it is better to deliver something good and on time then something great too late.  Think about it is this way, what if Apple waited to launch the iPhone until it was perfect?   And ponder this, is it perfect yet?
  3. Make failure your best teacher.  Look at each failure as a learning experience and build from it.   Think of Thomas Edison, who said, “I have not failed 10,000 times…I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”  Have confidence that you will eventually find the best solution, win the sale, get the promotion, get your degree, etc.  With every try you gain experience and get better.  True failure is not trying.
  4. Take risks and embrace being a novice.  Don’t try to master everything and don’t let your inability to be immediately great deter you from trying new things.  You’ll never know what you could do if you don’t try.  Plus, you’ll miss the exhilaration of experiencing new things.
  5. Stop second-guessing yourself.  Once you’ve made a decision, move forward with passion.  It’s a lot harder to reach your goal when you zigzag.
  6. Build your muscle.  Many think of self-confidence as this huge unattainable ability that one must be born with.  But we should think of self-confidence as a muscle.  The more you work it, the stronger it gets.   In other words, for most of us, self-confidence really just needs to be developed through practice, through successes and failures.  Every little bit helps.
  7. Keep your perspective.  There are greater catastrophes in the world then what we experience, and we all only have a short time on this earth.  So lighten up a bit and focus on enjoying all the experiences and lessons of life.  This takes some of the pressure off and helps keep you from getting chocked-up.   Plus, you’ll be able to look back and know that you not only gave it your best shot, you enjoyed the journey.

See, self-confidence is not so illusive after all.

If this is an area you struggle with, download our free eBook, The Confidence Habit.  Or, contact us to learn about our workshops and coaching programs.  We’ve witnessed incredible transformation in our clients and would love to help you on your journey.

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The Power of Optimism

By Kimberly Gerber

iStock_000018745816_FullBeing optimistic is more than seeing the world through rose colored glasses.

Optimism shows itself through your attitude, belief and actions. When we are optimistic everything in life is different.

Optimistic people:

  1. Set more goals and put more effort into attaining their goals.
  2. Stay more engaged when challenges arise.
  3. Cope better during stressful times.
  4. Feel better about themselves and the world around them.
  5. Get more done.

In fact, it turns out that optimism is a predictor of work performance. The higher the optimism, the better your performance in all areas of life.

Here are some tips to become more optimistic:

  1. Expect favorable outcomes. This actually primes your brain to be on the lookout for and recognize possibilities.
  2. Make a list of the good things in your career or life. Scan your day for three good things that happened that day.
  3. Journal about positive experiences.
  4. Make positive comments about the world and people around you.

And just in case doubt and negativity might be clouding your thinking right now, trust me, this information has been scientifically proven. And doesn’t that just make you a little more optimistic!

Habits of Confident People

By Kimberly Gerber

confidence1 copyConfidence is one of the most admired traits in people.

Yet how can we recognize the habitual behaviors associated with confidence so that we can learn to behave in these ways as well?  Consider the following behaviors that can mark a confident person.

A confident person…

  • Believes in their own abilities, talents and strengths, and is not paralyzed by doubts. The key word here is paralyzed – we all have doubts from time to time and a confident person remembers to have assurance in their own beliefs and does not look for the approval of others, knowing it’s not needed.
  • Knows they have much to offer the world, and respect the value they bring to life. They treat others well and expect the same in return.  They are not hesitant to have boundaries and protect their own rights.
  • Is certain, yet realistic, about the goals they will achieve. They believe in their plans, and anything resembling failure is regarded as a temporary setback, challenge to overcome or learning opportunity.  A confident person is comfortable in taking on challenges and acting even in the face of risk.
  • Identifies themselves with other confident people. They celebrate others’ successes and relish in the realization of people’s inherent potential.
  • Dreams big and acts on those dreams. They can picture themselves as successful in whatever they do.
  • Accepts the recognition of others rather than diminishing or deflecting such recognition as if they believe it can’t possibly be warranted.
  • Accepts themselves as they are, yet are open to feedback that will help them become better.
  • Is open to new ideas and is willing to entertain them.
  • Is willing to accept mistakes.
  • Is always prepared to do their best.

Confidence is like a muscle – it has to be exercised to get strong.  It requires plenty of preparation and practice, and can be achieved by anyone who has a desire to be more confident, successful and fulfilled in their lives!

And, if you’re serious about building confidence, download our free eBook, Incredible Confidence. You’ll learn how to project confidence in everything you do. Plus, you’ll receive the Incredible Confidence training series for free!

Is your Presence Powerful or Powerless?

By JoAnne Foist

iStock_000016743467_SmallHave you ever been passed over for an opportunity and wondered what the person selected had that you didn’t? Most likely they had a more confident and powerful presence.

Did you know that people judge you within 30 seconds of seeing you?  This means that before you even say a word, you’ve made an impact. And even when you start speaking, over 80% of what you communicate is still through your body language.  So the question is this, are you making a positive or a negative impression?  Not, sure?  Check yourself against this list to see if your presence is powerful or powerless.

Do You Have Good Posture?

A straight upright position communicates self-confidence and builds trust among others.  Practice standing up strait with your shoulders back and your head held high to project a powerful presence.  If you find yourself slouching, you’re communicating insecurity and indifference…that would be a powerless presence.

How’s Your Eye Contact?

Direct eye contact is another sign of confidence and trust. When you look someone in the eye, you’re making a great impression and generating confidence and trust.  If you dart your eyes around, or constantly look down, you’re communicating disinterest and insecurity…not a very positive impression.

Are you Smiling?

Smiling raises your energy, creates trust and attracts people to you.   Smiling also makes you more likable and approachable. If you’re frowning, it communicates displeasure and worry and pushes people away.

Check Your Body Movement

Take wider steps and keep your body positioned forward with your head neutral.  As with the above three postures, this communicates confidence and projects a powerful presence. Plus, walking in this manner actually increases your own energy and confidence. If you walk with your shoulders down and/or your head down, you’re communicating lack of energy and confidence, in other words, a powerless presence.

How did you fair? If not so good, then you could be missing out on huge opportunities! So start making these adjustments to your body language today! If you want additional tips for creating a more powerful presence through body positioning, check out our article “It’s True…Actions Speak Louder Than Words.” You’ll find more detailed instructions for good body language, plus there’s a free body language tip sheet available for download.

And, if you’re serious about building confidence, download our free eBook, Incredible Confidence. You’ll learn how to exude confidence in everything you do. Plus, you’ll receive the Incredible Confidence training series for free!

Serious about building a Powerful Presence? Attend our Powerful Presence Workshop and lean how to get better in everything you do. You’ll leave the workshop with a more powerful presence and improved communications!

Are You Making a Positive Impact?

By JoAnne Foist

Business achievementAsk anyone what they want to do in life. The answer you’ll most often get goes something like this, “I want to have a positive impact…to make a difference in the world.”

Then, when you ask them how they plan to make an impact, many become stumped. They are waiting for some sort of epiphany. Well here it is: You have to do a little work if you want to make an impact. And here’s the good news, the work is rewarding and fun!

The truth is that you don’t have to be some revolutionary leader to make an impact; you just need to be your authentic self. So if you want to make an impact, practice these five behaviors and you’ll start to make a positive impact on yourself and others.

  1. Continuous Self-Improvement – People who make an impact are lifelong learners. They follow the idiom, “you grow or you die.” They have a thirst for knowledge and that spark keeps them creative, energized and vibrant. They are constantly looking for ways to grow, learn and improve. They ask lots of questions and maintain an open mind. They are students of the world. This drive to learn acts as a catalyst for inspiring others to do the same.
  1. Share Information Freely – People who make an impact share their knowledge. They are not hoarders of information; instead they share what they know in hopes of stimulating thought, contemplation and helping others grow. Impactful people teach others and are invigorating to be around.
  1. Make a Positive Difference – People who make an impact make a difference. They don’t wait until they find THEIR purpose in life, they find purpose in life. People who make a difference find purpose in everything they do. They take action because they realize that all the big and small things they do create an impact. They are conscious of their words and actions and care about the world around them.
  1. Inspire Others – People who make an impact bring out the best in others. They realize that everyone has unique talents and they seek out and appreciate those talents of others. They sincerely care and show respect for those around them and listen to others with empathy. People want to be heard and understood so this active engagement is what creates a lasting and impactful impression.
  1. Be Authentic – People who make an impact are secure in who they are and what they believe. They radiate confidence. This authentic confidence creates a memorable impression and builds trust and respect from others.

Do you practice these behaviors? If yes…good for you! If no…why not? Keep in mind that it’s not always changing what you do, but how you do it. Think about each behavior and see how you could adjust. For instance, we all take in information daily. Examine what you’re taking in and determine if it’s enriching or not. And, when you learn insightful information, it’s fun to share. See how easy that was? Also, when you look at this list, you’ll notice that these behaviors are also what make a great leader. That’s because leaders create impact. So don’t wait any longer, incorporate these behaviors and you’ll be making a memorable difference.

If you’re still a bit stumped, perhaps you need more confidence. Signup for our free e-book, Incredible Confidence and you’ll also get the Incredible Confidence training series for free!  This will help you become your most confident self and enjoy a richer and more impactful life.

Serious about making an impact? Attend our Powerful Presence Intensive 3-day workshop and learn how to create a powerful presence with a positive and lasting impact.

What makes a Great Leader…well, Great?

Business Partners Shaking HandsBy JoAnne Foist

Think for a moment about the greatest leaders you know…what makes them stand out from the pack?

While many adjectives can be used to describe a great leader, and our definitions of leadership might differ, we all know a great leader when see one. Think of the leader you most admire…how do they make you feel and what skills do you think they possess?

Do you want to be known as an exceptional leader? I sure hope so. You don’t have to run a company or start a revolution to be a leader; leadership is demonstrated by how we live our lives everyday. Below are seven habits of great leaders that, with practice, you can master.

Seven Habits of Great Leaders

  1. Confident – Great leaders have confidence in their ability to get things done. And when they do not have previous experience with an initiative or challenge, they have the confidence to know they will figure it out and/or procure the right resources to do so.
  1. Inspirational – Great leaders inspire action. They inspire their team to be the best they can be and they help them get there. They do what it takes to set their team up for success.
  1. High-Integrity – Great leaders lead by example. They have strong values and can be counted on to be consistent, honest and fair. They make ethical choices, they practice what they preach and support their team in doing the same.
  1. Communicators – Great leaders are kind, smart and courageous in their communications. They are proactive and inclusive communicators who go the extra mile to create clear (and often concise) messages in order to ensure everyone understands the vision, goals, direction, etc. Great leaders listen to their team and establish systems and habits to ensure ease of communications throughout their organization and customer base. Great leaders also realize that revolutionary ideas can come from anywhere and so they communicate with everyone!
  1. Positive – Great leaders use optimal thinking to motivate others and focus on a successful future. They see the opportunity in every challenge and keep everyone focused on overcoming obstacles and continual growth.
  1. Tenacious – Great leaders demonstrate perseverance when pursuing their goals. They hold firm to their vision and see it through to completion. They accept roadblocks, pitfalls and hurdles as obstacles to overcome – not reasons to quit.
  1. Supportive – Great leaders follow the platinum rule. They support their team the way the team needs to be supported and they provide a safe environment to work and share ideas. They encourage and support risk taking and challenge the status quo. They care about the well-being and success of each team member.

Using these traits as a barometer, how great is your leadership? A quick way to up your game is to select a few areas where you aren’t so successful and practice the behaviors indicated. Pay attention to the changes you witness.  Leadership is about leading ourselves as much as it is leading others and developing your leadership skills is an investment that pays dividends through the course of your life.

Take the first step in building leadership muscle by registering for our free training class on Building Incredible Confidence. You can start by downloading our free eBook, “The Confidence Habit.” It’s full of tips for developing your confidence and, by applying just a few of the techniques mentioned you will begin feeling more bold and seeing the response to your improved skill.

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If you are a high-performing professional who is interested in being more successful in EVERYTHING you do; then check out Excelerate’s Powerful Presence Program. It is a very unique program designed for people who have a track record of success and who want to exponentially grow their business or advance their career to the executive level.

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Seven Steps for Putting Off Procrastination

iStock.woman virtual.smallIf you are like most people, you have been putting something off that you know you need to get done.

In fact, I bet right this minute you could name three things you’ve been putting off for at least three months. Losing weight?  Sorting receipts for your taxes? Asking for a raise?

Have you noticed that when you procrastinate for extended periods of time you begin to engage in negative self-talk? This is a sure way to deflate your confidence. The undone tasks loom in our mind, sending us messages that we are lazy, afraid, incapable, etc. We can buy into these negative messages, or take the task by the horns so-to-speak and get it done.

Below are seven steps to overcome procrastination and build up your confidence:

  1. Make a list of all the tasks you have been putting off.
  2. Prioritize what is most important and what can wait.
  3. From the tasks that are most important, prioritize them based on what can be completed easily and what requires more time and effort.
  4. Create action steps needed to accomplish each task (small steps).
  5. Monitor your progress and scratch completed items off your list.
  6. Get the support you need. If you are uncertain of the best way to approach a task, ask a friend – or an expert.
  7. Plan rewards and celebrations for accomplishing small and large tasks.

Make your list today, start taking action, and experience more confidence as you take charge of your life.  Ready? Set? GO!

If you want to learn more on how to build your confidence, download our FREE eBook, “The Confidence Habit.”

As an added bonus, you’ll also get our Confidence Training Series for FREE!  So join, and start enjoying a more productive and confident life.

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

bigstockphoto_Natural_High_407475-2If we are not prepared to change with the pace of our world, we will find ourselves stuck, or worse, left behind.

We all have our comfort zone, a world where we feel comfortable and safe. We are at ease in our routine surroundings, job, community, and relationships. But here’s the catch – in our ever-changing world, life inside our comfort zone will still be tossed and turned.

Here’s a good example. Depending on your age, you have had to make changes to the way you listen to music: records, 8-tracks, cassettes, CD’s, MP-3’s. Or what about the phone you have: rotary, push button, remote, cell, and who knows what is next?

Confident people know that the world is constantly changing – perhaps faster than most of us desire. So, to be comfortable moving forward, we can engage in some simple habits that prepare us to think and live outside our comfort zone – even if just a little bit at a time.

Ask these questions:

  1. What would you do if you could do anything?
  2. What would you like to learn about?
  3. What small changes would you like to make to your life?

Change your routine everyday:

  1. A new restaurant or menu item
  2. A new route to work or school
  3. Morning or evening rituals

Experience something different on a weekly basis:

  1. Visit a museum, art store, antique mall, etc.
  2. Go to a kid’s soccer, baseball, or hockey game.
  3. Explore a new walking trail or park.

These simple and fun exercises can help you to stretch your comfort zone. And as we get out of our routine and try on new attitudes, behaviors and perspectives, our thinking grows, our experiences grow, and life grows too.

If you want to learn how to maintain your confidence while getting out of your comfort zone, download our FREE eBook, “The Confidence Habit.”

As an added bonus, you’ll also get our Confidence Training Series for FREE!  So join, and start enjoying a more calm and confident life.

Calm Down and Carry On

iStock_000015266719_SmallDo you ever feel so overwhelmed or stressed that you can’t think straight?  Do you have days when your mind feels so cluttered that you can’t fit in another chore, project or appointment even if you wanted to?

When our minds are filled with worry, stress and overwhelm, we operate from an emotional part of our mind that prevents us from making decisions or taking actions that serve our best interest. It is easy to lose confidence during stressful times. We just don’t know which way to turn.

Experiences of stress and overwhelm happen in all of our lives. It serves us well to take steps to calm ourselves during these times. Here are some useful tips:

  1. Stop and take stock. Even though you may be having a bad day or even a bad week, you can think of many people and things you are grateful for. Focusing on those we love and what is good in our lives is a powerful way of controlling our body’s response to stress and keeping things in check.
  2. Breathe deeply and slowly with focus. This ancient practice instantly reduces stress and allows us to tap into our creative energy. And from our creative resources, we can find the solutions we need.
  3. Know what you can and cannot control. Make of list of the things that overwhelm you. After you do, put a check by the things you can control or influence. Review the other things on your list and acknowledge that you cannot control these items. When you do that, commit to letting them go.

By making a conscious effort to calm your mind when life is spinning out of control, you will arm yourself with the positive and resourceful energy you need.     

If you want to learn how to maintain your confidence, download our FREE eBook, “The Confidence Habit.”

As an added bonus, you’ll also get our Confidence Training Series for FREE!  So join, and start enjoying a more calm and confident life.

Just Who Do You Think You Are?

Business woman with arrows and questions sign above isolated onHave you ever had an idea, a dream, or a sudden burst of confidence to try something new, only to be reeled in by your internal voice that says, “Who do you think you are?”

All of a sudden we find ourselves in a tug-of-war between our confident, forward moving self and the other self – the one who holds us back by causing us to question our ability. You’ve heard those voices say things like:

  • You always start a new project and never finish it.
  • You tried something like this before and failed. Why do you think it will be different this time?
  • You didn’t grow up in a family that did things like this.
  • Don’t be so full of yourself.
  • What makes you think you can do this?

Over the course of a lifetime, we’ve been conditioned by real and imaginary voices. Chances are, we’ve internalized more negative than positive messages, leaving us with a very vocal inner critic.

In order to turn off the inner critic, you might want to try these ideas:

  • Shift your inner critic messages to messages of accomplishment – whenever your negative voices show up, remind yourself of the positive qualities you possess.
  • Evaluate the critical message. Is it true? Is there a bit of truth? Or is it a lie?
  • Look yourself in a mirror and say, “Yes, this may be true about me, AND this is also true.” For example: “Yes, sometimes I do procrastinate and I am really productive when I put my mind to it.”

Just remember, when you hear the critical voice asking “Just who do you think you are?” you have the power to turn the volume up, down, or better yet, turn it off.

Replace that negative voice with a supportive, positive one that speaks power into who you are.

If you want to learn how to be more confident, download our FREE eBook, “The Confidence Habit.

You’ll find tools to develop confidence and overcome your inner critic.  As an added bonus, you’ll also get our Confidence Training Series for FREE!  So join, and start enjoying a more confident life.