Moving from Doubt to Get ‘Er Done

iStock_000022305200_SmallPeople who get things done don’t let anxiety and worry hold them back.

They are too busy moving forward to get side-tracked by doubt. They approach new opportunities with a perspective of hope and possibility which inspires them to focus on what they want and take action.

Doubters, on the other hand, come from a place of worry and a perspective of challenges and limitations. When we’re doubtful about being able to achieve what we want, we open our minds to negative thoughts. And, as you can imagine, the more negative thoughts we have, the less likely we are to get started. Doubt can be paralyzing. Even skilled snow skiers sometimes stand too long on the edge of a ski slope, looking down. The longer they look over the tips of their skis, the steeper the mountain appears, the higher the moguls, the further the fall. Doubt creeps in and sometimes the thrill of a lifetime is abandoned for something safer.

What about you? Are you standing on the edge doubting if you should take the next step?

The next time you find that your doubts are holding you back from your dreams, take these 4 simple, yet powerful, steps:

  1. Take a deep breath.

  2. Remember the skills you have that support you to move forward.

  3. Determine your first safe step.

  4. And just do it!

If you’d like to bring more confidence into your life, then we’ve got a special report that’s perfect for you, Ignite Your Confidence!  The Secret to Creating Unlimited Confidence!  It’s loaded with tools and guidance to create more confidence and maintain a courageous outlook in the face of any challenge.

As an added bonus, you’ll also get our Ignite Your Confidence! Training Series for FREE.  Download  Ignite Your Confidence!  The Secret to Creating Unlimited Confidence! Special Report, and begin to build your confidence for success!

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When You Communicate Your Goals, Help Is On the Way!

KS113267-2By JoAnne Foist

The past few weeks we have been talking about goals. In fact, it’s the trending topic at the start of each New Year. Why? Because this is the time when most of us feel motivated to set new goals. Unfortunately, come February, most of us give up on our goals. Surprisingly, one of the reasons for this failure is lack of support.   Sometimes we simply fail to communicate our goals and thus do not have support, or worse, those around us do not understand why we’re changing and respond negatively, which can sabotage our success.

You can avoid this pitfall by simply communicating and generating support for your goals.

Tell Your Peers, Friends and Family…

Whenever you want to make changes, it’s important to let those around you know of your plans and goals. You need to communicate why you want to make this change and the importance of having your peers, friends and loved ones’ support. Otherwise, those around you will be confused and could react negatively to your new behaviors. For instance, if you are trying to lose weight, you should let your friends know this and schedule fun activities that support your new healthy lifestyle instead of the usual calorie-heavy lunches or cocktail hours. This sets you up for success and begins establishing your friends as your support group. Also, if you normally go to lunch with your team and now you’re going for walks instead, invite them to join you. Communicating your goals goes for your household too. When one person makes a change, it affects everyone in some way. This would be a good time to not only communicate your goals, but to set family/household goals. Using the example of losing weight, if you’re now coming home later in the evenings because you’re going to the gym after work and cooking lower fat meals at home, it’s important to explain this to your family. This is also a great way to bring the family in on meal preparation and perhaps group outings.   Even when we change for the positive, it can be scary for our loved ones since they love us the way we are. When you bring those around you in on your plans, they can become your biggest supporters and might even join in your goals. Now you’ve got a new lifestyle.

Tell Your Leadership, Colleagues and Employees…

Developed an amazing vision for your organization? You can’t realize it if your organization does not clearly understand it. Think about it…how can others follow you if they don’t know where you’re heading? If you find your vision and goals inspiring, you should be able to inspire your team. And if they are inspired, they are more likely to support you. You should talk about your goals for the organization all the time so they remain front and center. Also, help your team members take ownership of your vision. This constant reminder and ownership will ensure the goals remain the priority over the other day-to-day distractions. You’ll build momentum toward success and the culture will start to shift.

All this being said, in spite of your best efforts, not everyone will support your goals. In these cases it’s important to stick to what’s right for you. Hopefully, as they see your increased success and progress they will begin supporting you. And if not, it’s time to access their future role in your life and/or organization. Often times when we change, our professional and personal social circles change as well.   In both old and new circles communicating your vision and what’s important to you will be key to your success and happiness.

Are you feeling like you need a positive change? Join our FREE Fast Pass To Success. It’s a four week planning course where you’ll create your vision, set your goals, determine and work with your strengths and develop your plan for success.  Also, we have life-changing workshops that focus on helping you be your best self.   Above all, we hope that you communicate your vision and goals with confidence so that you’re getting the support you need for success.

Feeling Frazzled? Ground Yourself with Gratitude

I-am-grateful-for3By JoAnne Foist

Since it’s the holidays, which brings both joy and stress in our lives, I thought it would be the prefect time to talk about that little “g-word” we hear so much about.  We seem to think of it on Thanksgiving, but then quickly change gears come “Black Friday.”  You might dismiss gratitude as being trite, or that you can’t even think about it for all that you’ve got on your plate. I get it. But, then you’ll be missing out on all the AMAZING benefits that being thankful brings.

What is gratitude?

Simply put, it’s the feeling of being “THANKFUL.”  That emotion you get when something great happens and you say to yourself, ”Yes!!!! Thank you!!!! It’s also that adrenaline-rushing feeling you get when you narrowly escaped something terrible such as a fall, an accident, getting hit by a car and/or finding out that a loved one is “ok.” All of a sudden you feel amazingly alive and incredibly grateful, and you immediately say to yourself “Oh, Thank God!” You feel it in your gut, your heart and your head all at the same time.  In that moment you’ve experienced gratitude in it’s deepest sense. All your other pressures are still there, but you’re now filled with gratitude. You’ve had a complete attitude shift.

 Now that you know what gratitude feels like, what does it do?

Gratitude can lead to greater success and contentment.   You might be thinking “really?” Yes, it’s true, research has shown that feeling thankful reduces stress, increases happiness, and helps to bring about positive changes.

It’s good for you and good for business.  Why? Because people want to work with people who appreciate them. Customers want to buy from businesses that appreciate them. Marriages are improved when appreciation is shown. You see the trend here? By being grateful for those around you, your personal and professional relationships will change. Performance, sales, satisfaction, etc. can all improve as you begin to show gratitude. Plus, you’ll feel better as you start focusing on all the good things in your life instead of dwelling on the bad. And based on the power of attraction, you’ll be drawing in even more positive things to be grateful for.

 Are you ready to start? 

There is always something to be grateful for. It’s just a matter at how you look at things. For instance, you can focus on Monday-morning traffic, or you can be grateful that you have a car to get around in.   It takes consistency and discipline to notice how “green the grass” is under your feet, but it’s a fun practice, so let’s get started….

10 Gratitude Exercises

  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal – Either at the beginning, or at the end of the day write-out what you are grateful for. I’ve recommended this before and I keep recommending because it works.   It focuses your mind on the positive.
  1. Be Grateful for the Little Things – Notice and appreciate all the little things. For me, I am thankful for electricity and running water, especially after my time spent in third-world countries. I am grateful when my car starts after being parked for weeks in an airport parking lot. Are you getting the idea here? Even before you get out of bed, instead of complaining about being tired, think of all the things that you’re grateful for. It’s a complete change in how you start your day. You can also mentally list out all the things your grateful for as you brush your teeth.
  1. Be Grateful before you Eat – Before eating, say thank you and feel appreciation. It’s a wonderful habit that brings you back to your center and, as an added benefit, you’ll pay more attention to your eating thus you’ll enjoy it more and feel satisfied sooner, which means you could eat less…goodbye stomach upset…hello weight loss.
  1. Meditate on Gratitude – Close your eyes, take deep long breaths and feel grateful. Let the feeling sink in as you imagine your whole body filled with a white light of gratitude.  With each inhale and exhale, mentally say “gratitude.”  This is a great practice to do anytime to ground yourself (just don’t do it while you’re driving).  If you can get out in nature and soak it in, even better.
  1. Be Grateful for your Surroundings – Stop reading and look around. Really take in everything around you and be grateful for what each thing provides.  Your computer, the desk, the chair that supports you.  You’ll feel more connected.
  1. Keep Gratitude Reminders – Put gratitude prompting notes around where you’ll see them (bathroom mirror, refrigerator, etc.).  To do this, write on sticky notes, “I am thankful for…” and when you see them, fill-in the blank on what comes to mind.
  1. Show Gratitude to Strangers – Say, “thank you” and show your appreciate to others. When you’re interacting in the world (buying your morning coffee, getting your groceries, etc.), make eye contact and say “thank you.” Start connecting with people and don’t be afraid to give out sincere complements to strangers either. You just might make someone’s day.
  1. Show Gratitude to Those in Your Life – Let the people in your life know how much you appreciate them. Be sincere and specific with complements. I love giving sincere complements; it makes me and the other person feel great. Of course, I enjoy receiving them as well.   And, since it’s the gift-giving time a year, appreciation is a wonderful gift to give. A simple note listing the things that you appreciate and admire about someone can mean a lot. I received a very sweet email from a classmate and it completely lifted my spirits.
  1. Be Grateful for Others – When those around you experience success, share their joy and be grateful of their happiness. Feel like it’s your success.
  1. Share Gratitude – Tell others what you’re grateful for. Attitudes are contagious and you’ll be spreading joy. Think about it, it’s more fun to be with others who show appreciation….It’s elevating.

Did you notice anything while you were reading these exercises? They make you stop to be in the moment and appreciate life. That’s right, gratitude is a way of connecting to the world and to yourself.  Gratitude just might be your key to inner happiness.

Thinking about your 2015 New Year resolutions?  Any of the above practices could change your year.  Just imagine how wonderful a year of gratitude would be.  And, if you’re looking to really set yourself up for a transformative year?  Signup for our next workshop.

It’s True – Actions Speak Louder Than Words!

bigstockphoto_Businessteam_At_A_Meeting_878809How your body tells the world what you’re really thinking.

When I was starting out in my career, I used to rush through the halls with my head down and stayed completely focused on my tasks.  When someone would stop at my office door, I would respond with a quick glance over my shoulder, or without moving my eyes from my computer.  I thought I was being efficient; I thought I was demonstrating that I was a focused hard worker…I was wrong on both accounts.

Much to my surprise, my colleagues provided feedback that I was unapproachable and standoffish.  I was shocked!  I thought I was just staying focused and providing a positive example.  Those close to me knew I was nice and a team player.  But my non-verbal communications were telling most of my peers that they were unimportant, which was the last thing I wanted to communicate.  Since then, I’ve changed my body language to be more open and inviting.  And you know what? I am much more productive.

After I made some changes, my office relationships got much stronger, I felt closer to the team and I received several promotions.  What I’ve learned is that over 80% of what we communicate is done through our body language.  So when our verbal and non-verbal messages are in conflict, it throws our audience off and they will always believe our body language over our words.

What does this mean for you?  It means you could be self-sabotaging yourself without even knowing it, just as I was.  Not to worry, it’s happened to the best of us.  All it takes is a little body-awareness to get your body language in-sync with your verbal communications.  Here are some illustrations to show the difference between good and bad non-verbal communications.

Which person would you want to work with?

iStock.woman virtual.small Stressed man

I hope you said the smiling lady. The man’s body language is communicating that he’s stressed out and unapproachable, whereas the woman is smiling and approachable.  When we’re at our desks, it’s import to keep good posture, relax our jaw and smile.  Smiling relieves stress and helps you think more clearly.  This will make you feel better and you’ll be more inviting to co-workers and leadership.

Who would you rather talk with?

Boring Phone Conversation iStock_000007701331XSmall

The man who is smiling on the phone appears to be more open and easier to work with.  Believe it or not, people can feel your body language over the phone.

Now that you’ve got the swing of this, here are some tried and true tips for showing good body language.

  1. Smile – Smiling is contagious.  When you smile, it makes others feel at ease and you’ll seem much more approachable.  Plus, it makes others smile back and creates better rapport.
  2. Make Eye Contact/Keep Your Eyes Level – Looking up or down communicates that you don’t want to talk with others.  It makes you appear standoffish.  Making eye contact communicates that you’re open and inviting.
  3. Stand Straight – When you stand up strait with your shoulders back and your head held high, you are telling the world that you are a confident individual – and this is one of the main components of executive presence.  Slouching communicates insecurity and a host of other messages that you DON’T want to be sending.

Great body language and facial expressions is the key ingredient to having Executive Presence and may be the difference between getting the job, winning a client or securing a high-level promotion.

To get more tips for using your body to effectively communicate, download our “10 Essential Body Language Tips” – following these guidelines will help you communicate that you’re poised and confident. Click here for a free download.

If you are serious about wanting to up your game and communicate more powerfully, we invite you to attend Powerful Presence, our 3-Day Intensive Workshop where you will join other high-level executives, business owners and professionals to learn how to leverage your personal talents in order to create an amazing and Powerful Executive Presence.

Five More Reasons to Smile…Starting with You’ll Be More Attractive

iStock_000017948519Medium By JoAnne Foist 

I hope you’re smiling now!  In the last post, we talked about the benefits of smiling.  Incase you weren’t convinced, here are five more reasons to smile:

  1. Smiling Increases Your Attractiveness and Appeal – A study conducted at the University of Aberdeen found that “for judgments of faces with direct gaze, attractiveness preferences were stronger for smiling faces than for faces with neutral expressions.”  The study concluded that people identify individuals most likely “to reciprocate one’s own social interest” as being the most attractive.  So when you smile and look other’s in the eye, you are seen as more appealing.
  2. Smiling Builds Relationships and Trust – When you genuinely smile, you are perceived as being more altruistic and thus communicate a sincere interest in the other person.  Genuinely smiling can even create trust between strangers. Which means that smiling can have a positive impact on your interactions such as working with teams, interviewing, leading a group, negotiating, presenting, etc.  When trust needs to be established, a smile is a great way to start.
  3. Smiling Creates Greater Awareness and Mental Flexibility – Smiling increases your ability to see the “forest through the tees” which allows you to see the big picture beyond the situation at hand.  Meaning you’ll be more flexible.  Try it.  Smile when you’re trying to solve complex problems, understand a situation or point-of-view, and learn new information.  You’ll be more open to new ideas and insights needed to find the best solution.
  4. Smiling Can Generate a Higher Income – A study conducted by Kathi Tidd and Joan Lockard in a cocktail lounge confirmed that genuine smiling was shown to bring in more tips than a minimal smile.   The researchers believe this is due to “reciprocal altruism.” An example of reciprocal altruism would be an individual believing that if they perform altruistic acts, these acts would be reciprocated. When someone smiles, most people feel inclined to smile back. When someone does something nice for someone, most people feel inclined to do something nice in return.   As a side note, this concept is sometimes referred to as “the power of reciprocity,” and it’s been influencing marketing and sales techniques for years (but that’s a subject for another day).
  5. Smiling is Contagious – For the same reason stated above, when you smile, most individuals feel inclined to smile back.  And, based on all the positive health benefits, that means that smiling makes others’ feel better too.  When you smile, you’re promoting health and happiness.

Still smiling?  After reviewing all this evidence, it just makes sense to smile as much as possible.  To use another idiom, “put on a happy face.”  No extra time or money is required to perform this activity and the payback can be realized immediately.

Want to learn more about improving your outlook, appeal and presence?  We invite you to attend Powerful Presence, our 3-Day Intensive Workshop.   You’ll learn how to leverage your personal talents to be your best self and create an amazing and Powerful Presence.

So Simple, Easy and at No Cost! Smiling is a Silver Bullet for Happiness, Stress Reduction and More!

iStock_000019630934_ExtraSmallBy JoAnne Foist

When I coach runners, I’ve always told them to smile when they train and it will feel easier.  They thought I was crazy, but it worked!  In fact, you can always see me smiling when I am out running; it just makes me happier and makes the effort seem easier.  You’ve probably heard the popular idioms, “Smile at the world and the world smiles back,” and “grin and bear it.”  Conventional wisdom says that smiling makes things better, even easier.  And, the good news is that research has been proving what conventional wisdom has said for years.  Smiling has been proven to reduce stress, boost immunity, increase positive feelings, decrease depression, increase attractiveness and appeal, improve relationships, increase awareness and mental flexibility, lower perceived effort and produce higher income Whew…that’s a long list.

In essence, smiling is one of the simplest acts that you can practice daily to achieve positive physical and psychological heath benefits.  

Smiling has been scientifically proven to positively boost a person’s mood and lower their anxiety.  Psychological scientists Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman of the University of Kansas conducted a study to determine if there was scientific evidence that smiling affects individuals’ stress recovery.  They looked at two types of smiles: standard and genuine (Duchenne) smiles. Standard smiles use only the mouth muscles and genuine smiles use the muscles around the mouth and the eyes.  The first phase of the study was training participants to hold chopsticks in their mouth in such a manner that would either create a neutral facial expression, a standard smile, or a genuine smile.  The second phase was testing which consisted of the participants keeping the chopsticks in their mouth, as they had been taught, while performing two different multitasking activities that would cause stress.  Half of the entire group was told to smile while they preformed the task.  The participants’ heart rates and self-reported levels of stress were measured while they performed each activity.  The results of the study showed that participants who were instructed to smile had lower heart rates after activity recovery then the participants who held a neutral expression.  Even the participants who were forced to smile due to the chopstick positioning, but were not told to smile, experienced lower heart rates than the neutral expression group, although the difference was not as great. The group who held a genuine smile and who were told to smile had the most significant reduction in stress.  The researchers concluded, “These findings show that smiling during brief stressors can help to reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response, regardless of whether a person actually feels happy.”  See, smiling makes things feel easier!

Because smiling reduces stress, it allows the body’s immune system to function better. This means that smiling could protect people from catching the common cold or flu.  Added to that, because smiling causes lower blood pressure, it can support heart health. Continue reading

Where Would We Be Without Trust…Where Could We Go if We Had More of it.  

KS113261By Kimberly Gerber

Stop and think about how you go through your day as it relates to trust. You’ll quickly realize that most everything you do and experience is based on trust and being trustworthy.  We trust that other drivers will stay in their lanes, we trust that our cars will work, we trust that the school will teach and protect our children, we trust that our phones, computer and internet will work, and on and on.  When things don’t work, or our expectations are not met, we lose trust.  If these breaches happen often, we make changes to avoid and/or stop the breaches.

It’s the same for our relationships.  If we are trustworthy, we have solid relationships.  If we breach their trust, our friends, colleagues, etc. will go elsewhere.  Therefore, our personal and professional success comes down to building trust.  Below are four elements to building trust.

  1. Integrity – Trusting the character and principles of the person.
  2. Competence – Assessment of the person’s knowledge, skill, experience or authority to do what he/she is promising.
  3. Reliability – Based on experience, our assessment of whether we trust the person to fulfill the commitment they are making.
  4. Benevolence. Our assessment that the person cares enough about us to help, or at least not harm us.

Building trust is a process of extending trust, meaning trusting that someone will do what was committed to.  And protecting trust, which is meeting commitments.

Practice these four elements of trust in your interactions and pay attention to the process of extending and protecting trust and you’ll find that your relationships will become more solid and rewarding.  For a more in-depth look at the elements of trust, please read my “The Currency of Trust:  The Difference between Flourishing and Floundering”article published in Training Industry Magazine.

If trust is an area of opportunity for you, then we invite you to meet with communications experts and learn more about building trust!  There are many ways to connect with us – follow us on Facebook, signup to receive tips, attend our next 3-Day Intensive Workshop, or contact our offices to find out more about how we help successful professionals every day.

Believe It or Not, Success and Happiness Require You to Say “No!”

Say-No

By Kimberly Gerber

Last week I posted about how to rebuild trust and clarified that, while it’s possible, it’s even better to not put ourselves in the position of losing trust.  So how do we do this?  One way is by keeping healthy promises and learning how to recognize and prioritize the boundaries on our time.  This means saying “no” to the things that we either do not want to do, or that we don’t realistically have the capacity to do.  We put our priorities first, which oftentimes does not leave room for other things.

It sounds easy, but saying “no” can be a challenge.  Many of us struggle with holding boundaries in an attempt to be helpful, show initiative or create harmony.   We don’t want to disappoint others.  But trying to do everything will lead to feeling overworked, resentful, stressed, and/or unfocused.  And, it can keep you from accomplishing what’s most important to you.

The balance between being available for others, and creating healthy and fulfilling lives is a tough one.  And, sometimes we can make it more difficult than it needs to be because we don’t have strong skills in asserting our boundaries by saying “no.”

To help, here are two simple tips that you can use to strengthen your skill in this area and bring some balance back into your life.

  1. Be intentional about what you are saying “yes” to.   Whenever you say “yes” to one thing, you are inadvertently saying “no” to something else.  If someone makes a request, take some time to think through the implications and determine what you want to say “yes” to, and respond with confidence.  If the answer has to be a “no,” then you’ve let the other party know so they can make other plans.   A quick “no” is much better than saying “yes” to something that you can’t do and/or resent doing.
  2. Tell people what you “can” do, then tell them what you can’t do.  This serves to act as balm on a paper cut.  When you bring solutions that solve at least some of the problem, you communicate to the other person that you have been thoughtful and made an attempt to be helpful while still holding your boundary.

Saying “no” can be a challenge – but it doesn’t have to be!  Having clarifying priorities and being realistic about time helps.  If this is an area of opportunity for you, then we invite you to meet with communications experts and learn more about asserting your boundaries for success!  There are many ways to connect with us – follow us on Facebooksignup to receive tips, attend our next 3-Day Intensive Workshop or contact our offices to find out more about how we help successful professionals every day.

You Gotta act Quick, but “Yes,” it is Possible to Rebuild Trust! 

iStock.climbers.Small

By Kimberly Gerber

We are human after all and sometimes, even with our best intentions, we can fail to meet an obligation, keep a promise, or commit some other breach of trust.   When this happens you should immediately pursue rebuilding trust with integrity and sincerely.  Here are the six crucial steps to follow when doing this:

  1. Act immediately:  The longer you wait, the greater the likelihood the situation becomes irreversible.
  1. Acknowledge.  Accept.  Apologize:  For reconciliation to be credible, it is important that the offending party extend these three actions to the offended party.
  1. Be sincere:  If you are being forced to the table, or have another agenda, your offer will likely be declined.
  1. Provide restitution:  A gesture to commensurate with the offense may reduce resentment.  This often times does not need to be monetary.
  1. Renegotiate expectations:  To avoid further breaches of trust, discuss and even reset expectations that both parties feel comfortable agreeing to.
  1. Reaffirm commitment to the relationship:  Reconfirming your commitment to the person and to the process is an essential ingredient in rebuilding broken trust.

Following these six steps will help to rebuild broken trust.  Keep in mind, however, that an even better solution is to be realistic with expectations so as not to put yourself in situations of having to break a commitment.  This can be difficult to do sometimes, so we’ll talk about this in future posts.

Would you like to meet with communications experts and learn more about building trust and setting realistic expectations?   There are many ways to connect with us – follow us on Facebooksignup to receive tips, attend our next 3-Day Intensive Workshop, or contact our offices to find out more about how we help successful professionals every day.