72 results for Confidence
Hi Francesca! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure, with pleasure. I’m Francesca, a three-year qualified life coach gold-accredited by the Association for Coaching, who in 2017 swapped a successful corporate career spanning 22 years, to explore outside of office walls in search for more purpose and freedom.
I’ve since established Gr8fool! as my coaching practice to support others committed to positive change, reveal their uniqueness and gain clarity and confidence to set themselves free to go after their dreams.
The adventures that followed the transformation of 2017 helped me fall even more in love with life and become a big fan of anything related to positivity, gratitude and foolishness.
As a curious people-person who loves a challenge, I find it rewarding to take people along an adventurous journey of growth.
What led you to the coaching industry?
Gr8fool, as a name and brand, was originally created for fun to brand one of my “foolish” (and fund-raising) adventures in September 2017, when I faced a number of fears, whilst embracing a new passion for riding my motorbike, a cute Harley Davidson 883N Iron, named HeiD. HeiD and I undertook an epic six-day solo ride from my home-base in London to my birth-town in Italy, Asolo (Treviso) – North of Venice. A 1500km-long transformational experience!
Earlier that year I had signed up to a life coaching training course, initially for selfish reasons; to learn the tools to support my journey of discovery and personal development. The course was key to the success of that adventure across Europe.
It was later, during my Camino de Santiago in 2018 (a 930km pilgrimage walk to Santiago de Campostella and beyond) that, on reflection, I realised my desire to share the benefits of coaching with others. This direction supported a newly recovered life purpose: contribute to a happier world, helping people live more authentically, joyful and free.
You mention that you support people with authenticity and living in alignment with their values, can you explain why this is important?
Authenticity is the power to live true to who we are and what is really important to us, aka “our values”. My mission is to help people make life and day-to-day choices that are aligned to those values, and the process starts with the identification of what these values actually are, as they vary from person to person and with time as we evolve.
I believe that a lifestyle-values misalignment causes frustration and dissatisfaction, leading to further consequences.
I chose the title Freedom Coach because my coaching process ultimately aims at releasing any and all layers that stop us from living as ourselves, free. Inside – out.
To me, freedom is a combination of two things: 1. Having choices and 2. Making conscious choices. Living free means living with integrity and making deliberate choices that fulfil our unique desires and values.
What’s beautiful about my job as a coach is that I am continuously witnessing that at the core we all have similar needs and often they are: 1. to do those things we love, and 2. share these in a way that positively contributes to the lives of others.
Be selfishly selfless or be selflessly selfish.
What would you say is the first step someone should take if they’re struggling with confidence?
It’s not easy to pick a step that suits all cases of struggles with confidence, as these can stem from a variety of individual reasons, beliefs and experiences. I love the coaching process because it allows clients, as the best experts in their lives, to identify that first step to best suit their situation.
We generally suffer from confidence-deficiency in those areas that challenge us, where we don’t feel comfortable. To grow confident, we, therefore, need to prepare to get uncomfortable, feel scared and embrace potential defeat. So, I would check the level of commitment to embark on a challenge.
Personally, I fuel my confidence with three ingredients: curiosity, courage and vulnerability. Curiosity pushes me to explore beyond my comfort, where I can grow and learn something new; courage means to go ahead regardless of how fearful I feel. Vulnerability gives me permission to be human, including feeling emotions and making mistakes.
I would, therefore, encourage cultivating these ingredients by exploring opportunities that would expose them, no matter how small.
What should someone expect from a coaching session with you?
I look to create an enjoyable experience with positive connection, powerful questions/tools and non-bias listening; all within a safe and fun space to work in, together.
I use a spontaneous and holistic approach to raise self-belief and awareness, and guide the conversation towards recognising the starting point (A), identifying the ideal outcome (B), and filling the gap in between: e.g. your why, what needs to happen, what can support you and what may hold you back.
I enjoy playing an active part in my client’s journey, sharing key session notes and relevant tools and resources to maintain the momentum.
A successful session is one that leaves you feeling expanded and inspired, through insights and commitment to take action.
What happens during a coaching session can be truly powerful, yet my aim is to allow for the transformation to continue on afterwards and in between sessions. Boosting motivation to step up, take action and achieve sustainable change.
What is one thing you wish more people knew about coaching?
Good question! The simplicity of its process, as well as the benefits of trusting said process. I’m saying simple, not easy.
Coaching can bring value in all areas of life: personal, relationships, education, at work.
Two years ago, I started delivering coaching at schools, as part of their co-curricular programmes, because I believe that educating with coaching can build strong foundations from a very early age. It can empower young people to raise self-awareness, believe in themselves and others more, and generally develop a more positive and healthy approach to life.
Where can our readers find out more about you?
You can get a sense of my vibe from my Instagram page and learn more about me, my coaching and read my blogs (on lifestyle, coaching but also on my above-mentioned bike-ride, the Camino and other travel adventures) on gr8fool.com and my Life Coach Directory profile.
The best way to really connect? Let’s chat. Send me a WhatsApp or call me (07766652561).
No matter what industry you work in, the chances are that this year, there have been changes to the way you work. For some, the shifts have been seismic, with people losing jobs, going on furlough or taking early retirement. For others, the changes have been more subtle, perhaps working from home or changing procedures to work safely.
A common theme we recognised throughout all of this was a lack of confidence; whether in your current role, or when thinking about moving in a new direction.
To learn more about why this is coming up and how to navigate it, we talked to executive coach and leadership trainer, Jenny Garrett.
Jenny is an award-winning career coach who has 15 years’ experience running her global business. Through her work, Jenny empowers people to make the transformation they’re seeking actually happen, whether that’s navigating their career successfully, finding work that is more purposeful for them, or getting the best from their team.
Everything she does is aimed at either advancing gender balance, creating inclusive workplaces or equipping young people with the skills that leaders of the future need.
In this webinar, we discussed confidence in our abilities when working in a pandemic and why this is difficult right now, with Jenny sharing her advice on improving confidence at this time. We talked about why the pandemic has caused people to reconsider their careers and how we can build the courage we need to make a change.
Exploring those looking at taking the leap and working for themselves, Jenny offered some first steps to consider along with confidence-building tips. Along the way, Jenny answered a number of questions on topics including imposter syndrome and building resilience.
Looking for support to regain your confidence at work? Find a career coach today. Simply browse profiles and when you find a person you resonate with, send them an email.
When it comes to the workplace, many of us appreciate that it’s made up of a variety of different personality types. We’re all unique and bring different things to the table. Certain traits however are still revered, particularly in office-culture. With open-plan offices being the norm and many meetings turning into a competition of ‘who can shout the loudest?’, louder personalities and those willing to speak up often take centre stage.
We can even see this affecting the gender pay gap. While there are multiple causes for this, research suggests that it could be at least partly down to the fact that men are more likely to negotiate – whether that’s for a higher salary, a bigger bonus, or a larger pay rise.
Gender aside, confidence, assertion and speaking up can serve you very well at work. This doesn’t mean you need to change your personality or become the loudest person in the room. This is about valuing yourself, the work you bring to the table and not being afraid to ask for what you deserve and recognising that it may take some negotiating to get what you want.
When we talk about negotiating and getting what you deserve here, we don’t just mean more money. Perhaps you want more flexible working hours, or a shift in responsibilities within your role. Whatever it is that you want, understanding how to negotiate is key.
Let’s take a closer look at negotiation and some steps you can take to feel more confident the next time you ask for what you deserve.
Value yourself and your needs
This is where it all starts. At the core of asking for what you deserve is believing that you deserve it in the first place. Start by writing a list of all your achievements at work, what do you bring to the table in your particular work place? Try to get into the habit of noting down positive feedback or even keeping an email folder called ‘feedback’ where you can store it. This will remind you of the amazing things you’ve done and give your confidence a boost.
Think about why you’re asking for whatever it is you’re asking for. What difference will it make to your life? Why is it important to you? How will it affect other people in your life? This will help you value your needs and remind you that they are important.
Identify any limiting beliefs that may be holding you back
If you’re still feeling reluctant to ask for what you want, consider whether or not you may have a limiting belief holding you back. Have you had any bad experiences in the past when speaking up? Dig deep and allow these feelings to surface. When you’ve done this you can see these beliefs for what they are – beliefs, not facts. Try creating an alternative narrative (this could be in the form of affirmations) to help your brain make new connections through a positive belief.
If you find you’re struggling with this part of the process, you may find it helpful to work with a coach to help you build confidence and self-esteem.
When you feel ready to have your discussion, it’s time to get it in the diary and then spend some time planning. Remind yourself of what you’re asking for and why (write it down) and then consider what is important to the other person. What goals or aims do they have? How will the changes you’re suggesting impact them?
Instead of going in with just one suggestion, use a mind-map to think of a number of creative solutions to the current problem that will work for you and them (if possible). You might also want to get some data or evidence to support your case together, anything that will help the other person understand your request and why you deserve it.
“By taking the time to prepare what you’re going to say, you can take a step back, see things from many perspectives and think of the most compelling arguments and ideas – as well as persuasive communication styles.
“If you don’t have time to prepare, see if you can negotiate time to go away and think about something or buy time by asking more questions about a topic first, rather than pressuring yourself to give an answer.” – Career and confidence coach Madeleine Morgan explains.
Listen to their point of view
Remember, negotiation is a two-way thing. Listen carefully to what the other person is saying and ask questions. For example if they say something isn’t possible, prompt them to explain why. This will either help you understand their position and offer a chance to offer a different solution, or they won’t have a defence and you can push a little harder on the original request.
Negotiations can be a nerve racking experience, especially if you don’t have much practice. Try your best to stay relaxed throughout as this can help you appear more self-assured. Psychologist and life coach Sarah Connell recommends taking deep breaths.
“If you are feeling anxious at the thought of being assertive, taking a few deep regular breaths will help you to feel much calmer. When we are calm, what we say sounds more assertive.
“When communicating, 38% of your message comes from your tone of voice, so it is important to keep this in check. With each breath relax your facial muscles, slow down the speed at which you talk, we tend to speed up when we are feeling anxious.”
As well as helping you communicate more clearly, staying calm will help you avoid being reactive if the other person is negative. Try not to mirror their attitude or get angry. Keep breathing, keep making your case and if it helps, suggest taking a break and returning to the conversation at a later date.
Aim for a win-win situation
Ultimately the aim of any negotiation should be a win-win situation for both parties, so keep this in mind. If you’re left feeling like you got the raw end of the deal, don’t be afraid to ask for a further conversation.
If a win-win situation isn’t possible, you may need to consider other options. This could mean making a move in your career or getting other parties involved in the negotiation.
If you’re not in a position to negotiate in your current role at all, think about taking a sideways step in your career. Could you find something that will offer better employment benefits, more money or other long-term gains? Sometimes taking the time to step back and gain perspective can help you see all the options in front of you.
I’ve been working in the personal development industry for a number of years now and an unsung hero in the pursuit of growth I’m drawn to again and again is self-trust. A lot of us focus our attention on mountains we want to climb in the distance, whether that’s becoming more confident, achieving goals or making big life changes. When we lock onto these in our minds, we’re forgetting something closer to home, something integral – self-trust.
When we don’t trust ourselves, when we don’t respect our opinions or true desires how are we expected to learn, develop and grow? How can we feel confident and believe in ourselves if we can’t trust the thoughts swirling in our mind?
Developing self-trust is essentially about building a better relationship with yourself. It’s showing yourself compassion, listening to yourself and giving yourself the space you need. If you don’t treat yourself particularly kindly, chances are your self-trust is off. Would you trust someone who constantly spoke down to you?
Before you storm head-first towards the mountain you want to climb, take some time to ensure your self-trust is intact, this will be a big help on your journey. If you need some help developing your self-trust, try the following suggestions.
Give yourself space to feel your feelings
When difficult emotions come up, it can be easy to avoid them, using our preferred numbing tool to keep them far away (my numbing tool of choice is scrolling on social media). When we do this, we’re not giving ourselves the space and time needed to process our feelings and move on. This can undermine our self-trust because we aren’t listening to ourselves.
Find a way to give yourself the space you need to feel your feelings. This may involve journaling, meditating or talking things through with someone you trust. Do this when you have decisions to make too, give yourself the gift of time to figure out what you truly want and listen to yourself.
Create a positive relationship with your inner critic
Most of us have a rocky relationship with our inner critic. We either take everything it says to heart and follow it’s direction without argument or we distract ourselves, push down its words and avoid it. Part of building self-trust is understanding that as nasty as our inner critic can be, there is a positive intention behind its actions. It’s trying to keep us safe.
When we’re able to see this and recognise it for the scared entity that it is, we can foster a more positive relationship with it. We can say “thank you”, we can appreciate it’s positive intentions, then explain that we’re not going to listen to it.
This can lead the way for positive self-talk as we create an inner cheerleader, encouraging ourselves and speaking more kindly to ourselves. This helps us trust ourselves as we’re not constantly being mean to ourselves.
Make self-care a priority
Every time we carry out an act of self-care we’re affirming to ourselves that we deserve this and we take care of ourselves. This nurturing relationship with ourselves allows self-trust to thrive. If it’s not already, make self-care a priority. Note down different self-care activities you can do and schedule them in. Treat them like you would any other important appointment and remember self-care helps you maintain the energy you need to support others so it’s anything but selfish.
Stuck for time? Try these six self-care rituals that fit in easily to your daily routine.
Choose your advice sources carefully
Listening to yourself sounds easy but, in truth, it can be hard. Other people’s opinions can quickly drown out our inner voice, leaving us more confused than ever. Where possible, try to spend time alone thinking about whatever dilemma is coming up for you. Consider what you want and need, and then if you feel outside opinion is necessary, choose your sources carefully. Ask yourself – who’s opinion do you really trust?
This is why I’m such a fan of coaching. Coaches won’t inundate you with opinions and advice, instead, they help you listen to yourself. Asking questions to encourage reflection and critical thinking, their aim is to guide you to the answers you already have within you.
Notice how it feels when you don’t trust yourself
Do you remember the last time you made what turned out to be a bad decision? Perhaps your gut was trying to tell you something but you ignored it? Take yourself back to that moment and try to remember how this felt in your body. What does it feel like? Where in your body do you feel it? What does it look/sound/smell like?
The idea here is to recognise when you’re not trusting yourself so you can identify the feeling when it comes up again in the future. When you feel the same sensations you’ll know this is a sign to pause, step back and listen to yourself.
Let go of habits/routines that undermine your self-trust
I’m a big fan of habits and routines, but I recently realised one of them was undermining my self-trust – writing extensive life admin to-do lists every day. While lists can be very helpful (I couldn’t manage at work without one!), I was putting things down that didn’t really need to be on a list. I realised not only did I not need the reminder I thought having a list would provide, but having the list hovering over me was making me anxious.
Letting go of this list was an expression of self-trust. I trusted that I knew what needed to be done daily and anything out of the ordinary could be set as a reminder instead of a looming to-do list. Other habits that might be undermining your self-trust include checking emails multiple times a day or working late.
The more you trust yourself, the more confident you’ll be in sharing your opinion and moving forwards towards your goals. We hope these suggestions are helpful and if you’re looking for support from a coach you can find one using our search tool.
Whether confidence is something you’ve always struggled with, or it’s something that’s come up for you more recently, it’s tempting to fire off a quick Google search to find out how to tackle it. Now, there is a lot of advice out there when it comes to confidence building and navigating the seemingly never-ending ‘how-tos’ can be daunting.
This is why we thought we’d point you in the direction of our expert life coaches, many of whom specialise in helping clients build confidence. We’ve curated six things they want you to know about confidence and share helpful articles to help you on your journey.
1. Confidence issues are often caused by not believing you’re ‘enough’
Life and accountability coach Ayesha Giselle Dornelly wants us to dig deep to uncover the root cause of our self-doubt.
“If you dig as deep as possible, you will notice that the main cause of your insecurity, anxiety or self-doubt is that you believe you are not enough. This feeling of ‘I am not enough’ shows up in so many different ways, and is the number one cause of your insecurity, depression, self-doubt and loneliness.
“The feeling that ‘I am not good enough’ is the reason you don’t go after that promotion you deserve or push people who truly care about you away. It’s the reason you find it difficult to date, don’t live up to your true value, and stay up at night worrying.”
In her article, Feeling insecure, anxious or filled with self-doubt? Do this!, Ayesha explains how reprogramming the mind through affirmations, guided meditations and overriding your limiting beliefs can be key to building self-belief.
2. When uncertainty is thwarting your confidence, focus on what you can control
Life coach James Wilson notes the impact unprecedented circumstances have on our confidence and asks us to let go of what’s out of our hands.
“The chances are you have no control over most external circumstances that are invading your thoughts and eroding your confidence, whether that is societal decision making, pandemics, or just another human being’s thoughts, actions, emotions, behaviours. We can attempt to influence, but ultimately the power is not in our hands.
“If we can move to a place of acknowledging that and completely letting it go, we can place all our attention and focus on what we can control and influence, such as our reaction to external events, our behaviours, the way we communicate and interact with others, our actions, the next step we take, decisions etc. This shift can make all the difference, moving from feeling anxious, powerless, overwhelmed to empowered, calm, action-focused, in control of you and only you.”
In his article, Building confidence in times of uncertainty, James explains how this and reframing negative internal chatter can help us regain a sense of control.
3. Recognising our achievements can help ward off impostor syndrome
Life coach and founder of The Confidence Craft, Nicole Greenfield-Smith reminds us how easy it is to forget our achievements but how important it is to recognise them.
“Accept that you’ve played a pivotal role in your own achievements. They are no fluke! Impostor syndrome can often present in those of us with a strong sense of fairness. We can assume we were ‘gifted’ opportunities that others weren’t – but sustaining opportunities is not the work of someone who deserves their success!
“Take time to list out your achievements and all of the good things people say about you. It’s all too easy to forget, but it’s important to remember, record and to contextualise our achievements, especially when we’re feeling low in self-worth.”
In her article, Tackling the curse of impostor syndrome, Nicole shares her own experience and 10 tips to rid yourself of fraudulent feelings.
4. Self-trust is an essential foundation for confidence
Relationship coach Helen Snape explains how confidence is made up of two distinct layers – the top layer being a belief in our own abilities and the foundation being self-trust.
“A lack of trust in yourself can be easy to cover up and ignore for a while. But we can all think of people, maybe ourselves, who are great at what they do but are riddled with doubts and self-criticism.
“If we don’t trust ourselves, we don’t have that firm foundation to build on. When we have built that foundation, we can make a mistake or hear criticism and our confidence remains intact.”
In her article, How to trust yourself – the foundation of confidence, Helen shares four key steps to help you build self-trust.
5. Seek feedback to boost your career confidence
Life coach Sarah Clark asks those of us struggling with confidence at work to seek feedback from those you work with.
“If you receive feedback from others, this can be a really useful way to validate yourself and your achievements and get you thinking about your career. Others can often perceive areas that you might not have thought about, and their feedback can start the process off by helping you to recognise new opportunities.
“I set up my coaching business, for example, when my coaching supervisor suggested I had in-depth knowledge of coaching that could be used to establish a private practice. I would not have realised this at that stage in my life had it not been for this constructive feedback.”
In her article, Career confidence, Sarah shares her top 12 tips for bolstering career confidence.
6. It’s OK to need support
Life coach Nikki Emerton wants us to remember that humans are wired for connection and investing in ourselves is an act of self-care.
“Remember that we all need a little help at some point. We were designed to be a part of a tribe and, within that tribe, we could embrace our differences and, together, we could provide extensive and varied perspectives to a vast range of situations.
“You invest in servicing your car, and you probably invest in others more than you do yourself. You cannot pour from an empty cup, and the next time you fly you will notice that the cabin crew will tell you to put your own oxygen mask first before assisting others.”
In her article, Building your own self-esteem, Nikki shares four ways to take control of your life.
When you trust the voice on the inside more than the doubters on the outside, you’re really taking control of your life. But the journey to cultivating that inner trust, the belief in yourself that you are capable, you can do, and you do deserve it isn’t a straightforward one. As with everything in this life worth having, there will be trials and tribulations, unexpected challenges, and you will need to persevere in the face of adversity even if those around you decide to give up. With this in mind, dedicating a small portion of your day to developing this level of self-confidence can help you express yourself and live life on your own terms.
There are a million ways to solve a puzzle as the saying goes, but in our fast-paced, time-poor society, utilising the Pareto principle can give us a key advantage. This is the idea that approximately 80% of results come from 20% of our work.
So how do we choose where to focus? Fortunately, the latest developments in neuroscience can lend us a helping hand. Combining years of research with over a decade of empirical evidence, there are six key steps to developing self-confidence.
Exercise has long been known to have a plethora of beneficial effects on both body and mind. As neuroscience gains a deeper understanding of how exercise creates those feel-good chemicals, it is the foundation of strong self-confidence.
In addition to the health benefits, exercise provides a challenge and a subsequent achievement, it increases stamina, focus and concentration. It can clear the mind of negative thoughts and be used to change your energy in just a few short minutes. Explore different options until you find something you enjoy and commit to a short period of exercise daily.
The first-century Greek philosopher Epictetus said it best, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters”.
Learning how your mind works so that you can transform your perceptions is a skill that pays dividends for life. Changing an event from something that had a profound impact on you, to being a tremendous resource, will allow your confidence and self-expression to flourish. Developing the skills to regulate your own emotions and keep a clear mind during times of challenge strengthens your self-belief and increases your self-worth.
Personal development is the engine for building self-confidence.
Meditation is both a skill and a practice and is essential to connect to that voice on the inside. This tool can be used to integrate emotional charges and create inspiring visions. Investing a few minutes each day to enter stillness, while the rest of the world keeps the foot on the accelerator, allows you to stay grounded and calm. Meditation is a means to balance your physiology, view challenges from a greater perspective, and a moment to disconnect from social media, smartphones and television to tap into your heart and seek guidance.
A strategic journal serves as a specific tool to grow and expand your self-confidence each and every day. Journaling is so important because it collects the data that evidence your successes and records your progress. It turns the intangible sensations of the body into a clear demonstration of progress and improvement. Journaling helps you to draw on your exercise, personal development and meditative experiences to distil our learning into golden nuggets of wisdom.
Planning and prioritisation
Even the greatest of ideas may never see the light of day without an inspired plan. It’s easy to get bogged down with the small, day-to-day steps needed to achieve big dreams. Learning how to create an inspired plan and how to prioritise action steps builds confidence by chunking things down into small enough pieces that give you the certainty you need to take action.
When you have strategically thought out what you want, and created your own road map of how to get there, you’ll develop unshakeable confidence that it can be achieved. As this confidence is often the difference between realising your dreams and falling just short, planning and prioritisation create the momentum you need.
Learning and study
The more you know, the quicker you realise how much you don’t know. Human beings are geared for learning, and our brains continue to make new connections from the moment we are born to the moment we die. A curious approach to life helps us approach problems with intrigue, and keeps our brain healthy. There are many different types of learning, but when you engage in something that lights up your spirit, it opens the tap to unlimited energy and inspiration. Finding what you love to learn about will take you on a lifelong journey of exploring the world with confidence.
Self-confidence is a journey more than a destination, but these timeless tools will help you move towards your goals with purpose and productivity. Beyond that, you can take each step of the journey speaking from your heart, leading from the front, and having fun.
Remember, it’s OK to need a helping hand in life. You don’t need to be going through a crisis or challenge in order to benefit from seeking professional support. In fact, we think everyone can benefit from working with a coach at some point in their life. Learn more about coaching and how a coach can help with confidence building.
If you’re ready to start your coaching journey, simply browse profiles and when you have found a coach you resonate with, send them an email.
Whilst some businesses are beginning to return to office working, for many professionals and organisations, remote working is likely to remain an integrated part of corporate life, whether full time or for a few days a week.
Adapting to the new normal, professionals at all levels of business are being met with new remote communications challenges. RADA Business, the commercial subsidiary of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, reveals it has received a significant increase in leaders seeking professional guidance since the start of lockdown wishing to improve their communication skills via virtual mediums and tackle anxieties related to remote working.
Speaking to Life Coach Directory, RADA Business tutor, Kate Montague, shares her insights to help professionals ease communication-related anxiety whilst working from home.
Why do you think more of us are struggling with work-related anxiety while working remotely?
There are myriad reasons why remote working can take its toll. We are creatures of habit and anything that causes us to venture into the unknown can trigger our ‘fight or flight response’, or a sense of feeling threatened or overwhelmed, and this is bound to have an impact on how we think, feel, breathe and express ourselves.
Remote working means we are no longer surrounded by our usual support network of colleagues who have our backs and step in to help where needed; perhaps we’re struggling to get our hard work recognised, or the boss is constantly questioning our outputs whilst we’re at home and away from their watchful eye. And of course, with remote working, comes specific tech problems.
Difficult communication is one of the biggest causes of remote work-related anxiety, but once we understand this we can then begin to take steps to consider our interaction with others and improve our communication.
What can we do to manage work-related anxiety while working remotely?
Solid communication is pivotal in tackling remote working anxieties. A phone or video call is always going to be a clearer and more efficient method of communication than batting emails back and forth, or using multiple social messaging apps.
Setting aside time to have regular catch-ups with your team or clients can reduce the risk of miscommunications online and, as the saying goes, “a problem shared is a problem halved”. So often the act of talking through issues with someone else can help us to relax and declutter the mind.
At RADA Business we provide coaching on communications, but we also look at where stress is manifesting itself. Often, it takes a physical form in the spine and in our posture. When anxiety is particularly high, physical exercises and stretches can also help to relieve work-related anxiety.
Stretching upward to lengthen the spine, rolling out the shoulders, and gently releasing your neck, are a few simple and effective exercises we can do at home, between virtual calls, to release physical tension. It is a good idea to do this from standing so that you reclaim your body’s natural alignment, which will inevitably be compromised from too much sitting.
It takes 3-5 minutes of conscious breathing to reset the nervous system, calming the ‘fight or flight response’, helping to make us more comfortable both physically and mentally. To do this, take a moment to sit or stand tall, then allow yourself to become aware of your breath and breathe deeply and fully, in through the nose, releasing out through the mouth. Let yourself breathe up and down your body. Aim to breathe consciously, and more deeply than normal at periods throughout the day, particularly during stressful spells, to help relieve anxiety and clear the mind. This will help enable you to respond to situations rationally and empathetically rather than letting your emotions drive you.
What tips do you have for keeping communication smooth and productive when working remotely for both leaders and members within a team?
When using visual platforms, taking time to find a reliable video conferencing service can keep meetings efficient by reducing time lost to technical difficulties. Getting set up with a good camera and microphone helps us to land messages clearly. Be practical – check that you can be seen clearly – lighting from the front really helps.
Sitting with a window behind you, for example, will mean that you are seen only in silhouette. Headsets are useful for clarity and privacy in your own quiet zone, yet ensure that your headset is discrete and does not detract from your presence.
Temperamental video conferencing software and poor wi-fi connections can cause further communications issues, so be sure to check in with whomever you are speaking with and have them confirm that they’ve understood the points you are making. This will ensure your message has been received and has landed as you intended.
Create intimacy and connection through setting an appropriate tone with your listener. You can do this by connecting to a strong intention for each meeting: my intention, for example, is to help, or to mentor, or to support, or be flexible.
Speaking clearly on video calls is hugely helpful and it’s not just a wi-fi signal that can hinder this. Consider your posture: make sure you’re lengthening through the spine, and think of your pelvis as a foundation stone to your spine – let it relax into the base of the chair. Be sure to ground yourself with your feet flat on the floor, too, as this will help you to connect your breath to your speech so you’re able to communicate comfortably with depth of tone and clarity.
Do you think the pandemic has paved the way for more compassionate leadership at work?
During these challenging past few months, business leaders have seen how resilient they can be. In this Covid-era, we’re seeing an increased need to acknowledge strengths.
Simultaneously there is more willingness to acknowledge vulnerability at more senior levels. This is key as it develops our empathy and leads to deeper human connections – the bottom line of any business – and crucial for effective leadership.
Leaders who are willing to lead by example, and practise self-care and compassion are in a far better position to be more compassionate toward those working beneath them, and in turn will create an atmosphere where people feel freer to express themselves, more fully, including their vulnerability, rather than creating a culture of suppressed feelings and a lack of transparency.
As leaders, the relationship we have with our team is everything. Online and remote communication can only benefit from prioritising compassion. Rapport and intimacy become even more important if a team is downsized or colleagues are struggling with their own remote working anxieties.
In recent months, we’ve seen leaders adopting more regular check-ins to ensure their team’s workload is relatively balanced to prevent exhaustion and burnout amongst the ranks. Teams thrive on celebrating the wins, so we also encourage leaders to factor in time to thank the team in some way, either verbally or with small tokens of appreciation.
Whilst surviving the recent months have been stressful for us all, they have also helped us to learn about balance and to become more attuned to what we need in order to thrive, including how to be more responsive to our colleagues and clients, and maintain a relaxed and expressive connection within online forums.
When we think about confidence, we may think about being the loudest person in the room, shouting opinions and being seemingly unfazed by anything. This isn’t truly what confidence is, however. Confidence, feeling certain in your abilities, comes in lots of different forms and it has nothing to do with how loud you are.
Quiet confidence is when you don’t need to be the loudest person in the room. It’s when you don’t need to prove yourself to anyone. You simply walk about your life, quiet in the knowledge that you’re on the right track and that you are totally capable. This feeling is a powerful one. It can propel you forwards in all areas of your life, from your career to your relationships.
But how exactly can we cultivate and build this quiet confidence? Here we look at the key steps you need to do this.
Connect with your values
Understanding who you are and what you stand for is an essential first step. By identifying your core values and living in alignment with them, you’ll know deep down you’re doing what you believe is right and focusing on what’s important to you.
Having this knowledge underpin the decisions you make day-to-day helps to stay on the right path for you, building quiet confidence that you’re moving in the right direction. You may falter from time to time (we’re only human), but being open to learning from your mistakes and recalibrating will ensure your confidence doesn’t get dented.
Listen before you speak
Confidence doesn’t mean assuming everything you say or do is right. Those who are truly confident are open to learning and practice active listening during conversations. When you actively listen to others, you get a better understanding of what they want from you in that moment. You can nip any miscommunication in the bud and feel more confident in the process.
When having a conversation with someone, avoid multitasking and give them your undivided attention. Rather than waiting for your turn to talk, or composing your response in your head while they speak, try to take in everything they’re saying. You may find it helpful to reflect back to them what you’ve heard, to ensure you’ve understood what they’ve said and then offer your response. Ask questions and aim to leave the conversation with both parties being crystal clear on any follow-up actions that need to be taken.
Play to your strengths
Building quiet confidence relies on you both knowing and playing to your strengths. When you know what you’re good at, and what you enjoy, you can seek out a lifestyle that incorporates these things for a happier, more fulfilling life.
If you’re not sure what your strengths are, you may want to explore online strengths finder quizzes. The VIA character strengths survey is a popular and free option, giving you the option to pay to dive deeper and receive a full report. Another popular (and free) quiz is the personal strengths inventory, based on psychologist Martin Seligman’s pioneering research in positive psychology.
Once you’ve identified your strengths, ask yourself the following:
- Am I utilising these strengths in my life right now?
- What small steps can I take to start utilising these strengths more in my personal life?
- What small steps can I take to start utilising these strengths more in my professional life?
Ask for help
In order to build confidence, we must acknowledge and accept our vulnerabilities as well as our strengths. Nobody is perfect, and no one has to be good at everything. If, however, there’s something you’re struggling with that you know will help you move forward in life, asking for help should be your first port of call.
This doesn’t literally have to be asking someone to help you, asking for help could look like seeking a course/workshop/book to help improve your skills, finding a mentor to support you, talking to friends for advice or working with a coach.
Those who exude quiet confidence are comfortable in their skin. They understand that they’re a work in progress and this is OK. They know asking for help doesn’t imply weakness and that they don’t have to do this alone. Support and guidance can be the icing on the quiet confidence cake you’ve baked, elevating it to the next level so you can move through life with your head held high.
If you’re looking for coaching support to build confidence or work on another area you’ve identified, use our search tool to find a coach you resonate with.
Growing up, I was good at things. I loved to read, draw and was the first in my class to be ‘upgraded’ to the once-coveted red handwriting pen. Heck, there was once a time when I was even quite good at running.
This, of course, was back at primary school. Young, creative and without a care in the world.
But even then, at just five years old, we were being compared to our peers. Who had the best handwriting, who was still writing the alphabet in pencil? God forbid if you were picked to read aloud in class, and were a slow reader!
I say this when actually, I was very fortunate during these years – I had what was considered ‘talent’. I could read books that were way above my age group, I won competitions for my artwork and could spell any word asked of me.
Of course at that age, winning is the best thing ever and it makes you feel special, but do you really think of it as success?
Fast forward 10 years and we’re thrust into the claws of secondary school and puberty, forced to navigate a whole new world of social circles. You don’t need to be in the top set, but if you’re not smart, you best be in the popular crowd. There is no in-between. Where I was once successful and talented, now I was just about average. I grazed through exams, passing, but not exceeding and generally living day by day until I could leave.
While I’d lost my ‘success’, my passions stayed with me – I still loved to draw, write and read – but they weren’t my priority. I studied them, but other people were better. Other kids were surpassing expectations and growing, while I was falling behind.
Secondary school is tough in so many ways. Again, I was lucky enough to not have had a bad experience of school per se, though I can’t say I look back with fond memories. I wasn’t bullied, I wasn’t one of the ‘bad kids’ and I wasn’t in the top sets, in fact, somehow I found myself in the popular group. Somehow being the key word.
“You don’t fit in with the popular group you hang out with, you’re too nice.” Someone said to me once. At the time I thought it was odd, what did they mean I didn’t fit in with them? They were my friends. It stuck with me for a long time, but now that I’m in my late 20s, I think I understand what they meant. They weren’t intending to offend, they were simply stating that I didn’t fit into the mould that was considered the popular crowd. I was just me.
Despite not fitting that mould and being completely average grade-wise, I’m now in a job that I very much love. I have wonderful colleagues, friends and family, I’m a homeowner and am in the midst of planning my wedding. I’m incredibly privileged. And while I’m not sure exactly what the future holds, I’m looking forward to it.
Yet despite all this, I still find myself scrolling through my Instagram feed, reading articles, and comparing my life with the more glamorous one I’m looking at. It’s daft and ridiculous, comparing yourself to strangers, and yet, we all do it.
I was lucky enough to have missed the social media generation – just – with the likes of Myspace and Facebook not entering our circle until the latter half of our school lives. But even back then, we were dragged into the black hole that is social media and suddenly, our lives were published online, ready to be judged by a new set of eyes.
But I have decided now that I don’t need to compare. I don’t know these strangers and I probably never will, so why should it affect me? People may look at me the same way. Do they know this question goes through my head? How do we know that magazine editors, company directors and innovators aren’t asking themselves the same thing?
What is success, anyway?
It’s easy to think of success as a one-way street. If you’re successful, it means you have money, a car, a good house. Society may assume that you’re not a very nice person; you’re bossy, cut-throat and ruthless.
However, the Oxford English Dictionary defines success as the following.
Success – noun – the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
So, success means different things for different people. After all, it depends on what you want from your life. Is it money, happiness, love, or adventure? It’s the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. What might be one person’s aim isn’t necessarily yours.
As I get older, I often think about success and whether I’m ‘doing well for my age’ or if actually, I’m still that teenager, grazing along. There are days when people will ask how things are, and I’ll automatically respond with an “Oh you know, just getting on.”
But no, I’m not just doing anything. I’m doing pretty well and I’m happy and healthy. What more could I need? Does that make me cocky or overly confident? Maybe. And as a young woman, I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or not. Times are changing after all, and by saying, “yes, I am doing well and I’m very proud of myself,” that’s not me comparing myself to friends or even strangers, that’s me focusing on who I am right now and acknowledging my achievements.
Life is different for all of us. Circumstance takes us down many paths, but for now, I think yes – I am successful. I am happy, passionate and driven, with enough imagination and freedom to push me to still take risks, challenge myself and get into a little trouble.
Ask yourself, what does success mean to you? What are your aims, and does that make you successful? Does it even really matter?
There aren’t many opportunities for us to slow the pace and truly listen to ourselves. Most of us are focusing on the future and moving forward, or running away from the past. We feel guilty for having a day to do nothing, and yet we’re criticised for working too hard and not taking a break.
Right now we’re being forced to face this discomfort. It’s not easy, but I’ve learnt so much about myself in these last two months. How I work, what I need to do each day to stay happy and healthy, and how to continue living without the usual social distractions.
We need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Only when we stop and consider our wants and needs, will we fully understand ourselves. Whatever you’re feeling right now, wherever you’re at, know that it’s OK to have a day or week when you can’t continue the pace. It’s OK to deal with this how you want to, but know that it’s also OK for it to hit you like a tonne of bricks one morning, only to feel fine again a few hours later.
Understand what you need
During this time, I’ve learnt that for me to stay mentally well, I need to move my body regularly and get as much fresh air as possible. I like change, but a bit of routine is good. So regular, balanced meals and plenty of water throughout the day, waking up at the same time each morning, going for a walk and reading for an hour before bed are four key things I’ve come to realise I need to stay happy and well.
I’ve also had to face the reality of my coping skills, and that even I have a limit. Typically, I cope with discomfort or unease by staying as busy as possible. So these recent months have seen me working as hard as I can during the working day (potentially taking on more work than is achievable), exercising daily and going for a walk, making dinner, keeping up with friends, family and the news, all the while getting to bed for 10 pm.
It’s no wonder that after a few weeks of this, I started to feel the effects. I wasn’t allowing any time for myself to sit back, process what’s going on and just breathe.
So that’s what I did. Over the weekend, I made sure I took a slower pace. I woke up without an alarm and pottered about doing what I wanted to do, without guilt. This helped me to start the new week with a clear head, and without that feeling of fear looming over my shoulder.
What also helped me was to talk to people about how I was feeling. I spoke to close friends and had calls that had us laughing out loud, for a long time. I was honest with colleagues, that no, I wasn’t fine and actually, just felt a bit rubbish.
But it was one particular conversation with a colleague that sparked the idea for this article. Humans are so comforted by routine and knowing what to expect, that when we are thrust into an unsettled situation with no set outcome, we fall apart.
So, how can we get used to being uncomfortable?
Let yourself feel the discomfort
Recognise the discomfort and face it head-on. No longer can we run away from our issues by keeping busy and hiding behind our daily jobs and social lives. For many of us, we’re stuck at home – with a lot of time to listen to our own thoughts. It might not be pleasant or comfortable right now, but the things we learn about ourselves during this time will change us for the better.
Learn what works for you
We need to listen to ourselves and what works for us as individuals. It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap, and social media right now is rife with people sharing how they’re dealing with this “extra time”, whether that be exercising more, learning a new skill and developing their life long dream. For some of us, what we need is a moment of quiet. We need to sit and stare out the window, and literally let the thoughts run free, without any external pressures.
You may not know yet what works for you. Only during this time have I learned what works for me, and what I need to feel I can keep going. Try new things, but ease the pressure and ease the guilt. Ignore what everyone else is doing and do what you feel like doing.
Make the most of the situation
Kirsty Hulse, founder of training and coaching company, Roar! explained it perfectly in a recent webinar, “Staying confident, feeling like you can have great ideas, remembering you are brilliant at your job is like… a sh*t show right now. You are not alone.”
It’s completely normal to be feeling this way, and you’re not the only one. Take each day as it comes, and remove the pressure. But, if you’re feeling the need for change, this shouldn’t stop us from moving forward. Life, for many, feels like it’s on pause, but that doesn’t mean we can’t focus on our future. In fact, this might be the best time to do so. Why not use this as a time to develop, grow and take chances?
If we were to go back to normal, would you want everything to go back to exactly the way it was? Or are there things you’ve learnt about yourself that actually, could be done differently, or could completely change your life for the better?
By facing these challenges and difficult feelings, we can learn so much about ourselves and reflect on what wasn’t working previously. Many of us have been gifted this time to slow down and face what we’re usually running from. By leaning into this time, we have the opportunity to grow, develop ourselves and our relationships, and put us in a better place for the future.
Consider asking for help
One thing I’ve learnt is that you don’t need to be the strong one all the time. You, as much as anyone else, are allowed to have down days. And what might really help, is talking to someone. Whether that be talking to a loved one, your best friend, a colleague, your manager or even a professional – someone who doesn’t know you – talking about how you’re feeling can really help ease the pressure and help you understand what you need.
It may be that you are struggling to cope with this new way of living and your mental health is being impacted – why not consider speaking with a therapist? Online counselling is available and means you can get the support you need while staying at home.
Perhaps you or your partner has been made redundant, maybe your confidence has been impacted from the constant change and uncertainty, or perhaps this time away from the ordinary day to day of working life has made you realise that you are destined for another path – a new career. So why not use this time to explore online coaching?
This is a time that is incredibly out of the ordinary, and not everyone is fortunate enough to consider professional support. But please know you’re aren’t alone. If you need immediate support, please call the Samaritans on 116 123. You can also find plenty of information and advice on Happiful, from good news and recipe recommendations to the benefits of therapy.
Take it one day at a time
It’s important we remember that there are going to be ups and downs. There will be days when you feel great and there will be days when you feel really low. It’s OK to lean into the down days. Allow yourself to acknowledge how you’re feeling, rather than running away from it.
If you can take a day off work to completely switch off and binge a box set, then do it. If you have to work, try to arrange your day and take it at a slower pace, schedule a call with a friend or have an evening with your favourite dinner and a book. Not all of us are able to take time away from work right now, and some of us are doing so without a choice. Whatever our situation, we need to continue practising self-care where possible, and give ourselves the time we need to process what’s going on right now.
Listen to what you need and want right now. People have lost loved ones, many have been furloughed or been made redundant, and we’re away from friends and family. The fear is yet to be removed from this situation, but we’re doing the best we can to cope and continue living – after all, the world hasn’t stopped spinning.