How to get your confidence back after a knock back

Have you ever had a confidence knock back? Have you gone in for a handshake only to be met with an awkward high-five and ended up casually styling it out and cringing inside? Or had that uneasy anxiety creep over you in a meeting that everyone is looking at you – but you’re not sure why? Have you ever made a badly thought through comment that was met with silence and had no option but to wait for the socially awkward moment to pass?

Did you feel your confidence take a nosedive? You’re not alone.

I help people to be creative and think differently to get the results they want. A lot of my work involves helping people make change happen, overcoming dips in confidence and brushing off the knock backs and keeping going.

In fact, I’ve helped so many people get through a confidence knock back, that I’d like to share some proven tips on how to manage your confidence.

If you’ve ever been afraid to speak up in a meeting or kept quiet when you knew the answer, or if you’ve let your inner critic jeopardize you by telling you that you’re no good and you’re going to get found out, read on and learn my 7 tips to get over the knock back and shine at work.

7 confidence boosting tips

  1. Shift your mindset

Stop labelling yourself as ‘not confident’ or ‘not good enough’. It might be your view on how you feel, but it probably isn’t how other people see you.

Nothing is going to send you into an unconfident spiral faster than berating yourself for the way other people may or may not see you.

So stop telling yourself that you are not good enough and start telling yourself that you’re an excellent confident person.

  1. Ask yourself ‘Why?’

Why are you having these feeling of low confidence in the first place? Are you comparing yourself to others?

An excellent piece of advice that I heard recently was:

‘Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside – you will always lose.’

Consider the situations where your confidence dips. For example, do you feel awkward at networking events? Why? Because you’re worried about what other people think? Why? Because people don’t understand what you do and lose interest?

Then you can think about how to describe what you do in a way that does spike peoples’ attention.

For example, when I told people I was a fundraiser for a charity, people would back away from me at networking events anxious that I was going to ask them for a donation.

So I changed what I said. I started talking about the impact of my work ‘protecting children from harm’ rather than my job title ‘fundraiser’ which felt much better and opened up conversations rather than closed them down.

Keep asking yourself why to get to the root cause of your anxiety. It might help to talk it through with a trusted friend or colleague. Or join the Lucidity Network to get some help and support. Then you can start to find solutions to shine.

  1. Focus on the other person

We can often get stressed out about what people think about us. Stop thinking about you – focus on them.

Be present. Put your phone away and give them your whole attention. Ask them lots of questions. By doing this you don’t have space to think about what they think of you because you’re too busy thinking about them.

  1. Practice every day

The best way to tackle anything that can feel big and overwhelming is to do something small every day that builds your confidence.

Like eating an elephant – how would you do it? In small chunks. (Well of course, I’m not really suggesting that you should eat an elephant.)

For example, if you feel awkward in social situations, start with small steps to build your confidence; say hello to the person at the bus stop, talk to the barista at the coffee shop, say hello and smile at the person on reception.

Build up every day with small steps and you’ll find you’re confidence for social situations will grow.

  1. Put your inner critic back in its box

That little voice that tells you you’re going to get found out and you should never have got the job, the pay rise or be at a work event where you have to interact with people – call it out!

Find evidence to prove the voice wrong. Tell that voice to shut up, tell it about all the reasons you did get the job, deserve the pay rise and the times when you enjoyed a conversation at a networking event or felt comfortable in a social situation.

  1. Fake it until you make it

An oldie but a goodie and one that’s stuck around for so long because there’s a lot of truth to it!

How you look and behave and how you feel are closely linked. Dress like you mean success. If you turn up to the office or a meeting looking smart (and smart will mean different things in different contexts) you’re perceived differently than if you turn up looking ready for a casual Sunday afternoon.

  1. Notice your body language

A research published on the Harvard Business School Working Paper shows that your body language has an effect on your confidence.[1]

So before you go into the meeting room, stand tall, shoulders back and breathe slowly to get yourself into a confident frame of mind and body.

Are you keen to be more deliberate about building and maintaining your confidence?

I’ve created a 55-minute training webinar and workbook to keep your confidence at work. It includes simple and practical tips you can action straight away to keep your confidence topped up even if you’ve experienced a knock back.

You’ll finish this training  and be able to over come a knock back and keep your confidence high at work

Get the full 55-minute training webinar and accompanying workbook for only £5.

3 tips to keep your confidence at workFind out more about this training here

This training contains:
– A 55-minute webinar, packed with practical actions to take immediately to build and maintain your confidence.
– A practical workbook with the key action points for success as well as a place to write down your notes and goals.
– Bonus guide on how to be brilliant at stepping out of your comfort zone.

Sign up now for only £5

 

[1]^Harvard Business School: The Benefit of Power Posing Before a High-Stakes Social Evaluation

Three tips to be brilliant at strategy

Strategic thinking at the Lucidity Network

A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall vision.

At its core, strategy is about finding where an organisation, team or individual should focus its efforts so it can overcome the biggest challenges holding it back. A strategy is about determining how you are going to ‘win’ in the period ahead.

Your strategy is a combination of the thinking required to work out the overall vision, combined with a plan on how best to achieve it. You need to have both a vision and a plan. One without the other simply doesn’t work because you need to know where you’re going in order to decide the activities that you believe will best get you there. A strategy must be flexible; for example as the environment changes, the activities you carry out to achieve your vision might need to change too. This is especially important now that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives beyond recognition.

Strategy can be difficult to define. It can mean different things to different people and organisations. Strategy can feel like a buzzword or jargon, which can feel confusing. There is often a misconception that if you’re not in a ‘leadership role’ strategy doesn’t apply to you. I believe that we are all leaders in our own sphere of influence, whether we lead an organisation, a team or ourselves. We all need strategies to achieve our vision.

That’s why this month over at the Lucidity Network we’re focusing on how to be brilliant at strategy. Here’s our top 3 tips;

  1. Don’t be intimidated by strategy jargon: Strategy can be surrounded by a lot of jargon. (For example SWOT, KPIs, PESTLE and balanced scorecard) Sometimes these are useful shorthand for a well-understood concept or analytical tool. However, sometimes people use this strategy jargon because they think it makes them sound more impressive, or to gloss over their own insecurities about their strategic thinking abilities.

Always ask for clarification. If you feel unable to ask what a phrase means, putting your question like this can be helpful: ‘Help me understand what you mean?’ or ‘How might that ensure a strategic approach to the challenge we’re facing?’ This can help you move beyond the jargon and steer the conversation towards the strategic elements of the decision at hand.

  1. Use the four building blocks of strategy The four building blocks of strategy are useful when you’re creating or testing a strategy.

Clarify your vision: Why does your organisation exist? What difference will it make to the world? Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years’ time? How will people think of it/you?

Identify your accelerators and sticking points: What are your accelerators; the positives already propelling you towards achieving your vision? What are your sticking points; the things holding you back or the challenges you’re facing? This is often where the hard work is.

Figure out your general approach: What is the general way you’re going to overcome your two or three most significant sticking points? How can you use your accelerators to help? Keep it general at this stage.

Create an action plan: Plot out some activities, which will start to put your general approach into action. Don’t plan too far ahead, just far enough to check that your general approach is realistic. Each time you near the end of your action plan, revisit your general approach and plan your next set of actions.

  1. Make time for strategic thinking Studies have reported that 97% of business leaders feel that being strategic is the leadership behaviour that has the most beneficial impact on organisational success. However, 96% of business leaders say they don’t have enough time for strategy! Strategic thinking doesn’t just happen. You have to make time. Time is the fuel for your thinking and your personal and organisational success.

I’m delighted that Juliet Corbett, a strategy consultant helping school heads and fundraisers create robust strategies to achieve their visions faster is delivering a webinar at the Lucidity Network to share her expertise in strategic thinking.

This kind of webinar is usually exclusive to members of the Lucidity Network, but the topic of being brilliant at strategy is so important (especially right now as our strategies are changing in response to COVID-19) that we’re inviting people outside the Network to benefit.

Join Juliet at 12.30pm UK time on 28 July and learn:

  • Tips to build your confidence and skills for strategic thinking
  • How to use the four building blocks of strategy
  • Practical ways to adapt your strategy in a fast-changing environment.

Sign up to reserve your place here. Hurry though as places are limited.

This blog is co-written with the help and expertise of Juliet Corbett. Thank you. 🙂

Do you have an inner voice that sucks your confidence? You are not alone.

When I read sweeping research claims I do tend to take them with a pinch of salt. Here’s one ‘Women don’t apply for jobs unless 100% qualified and men will apply when they have only 60% of what’s required’

I first read this in Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In with a raised eyebrow and I thought it was complete rubbish. Then I started to notice more. I spotted more women saying no to opportunities. Not going for the promotion. Not taking on the new project. Not stepping up. I heard the same clichés ‘I don’t think I can do it’ ‘I’m not qualified’ ‘So-and-so is better than me’ and ‘So-and-so deserves it’

I started quoting the 100% qualified vs 60% qualified research to them and asked them to prove it to be false by going for the promotion and taking the opportunities that they wanted and deserved.

Many did, and in the discussion about why they could and should step up, everyone revealed an inner dialogue that they’d had to overcome. Each person had their own name for it. The ‘official’ term is Imposter Syndrome, but amongst others, I met Jiminy Cricket, the little voice on my shoulder, ‘bad <insert persons name>’, devil’s advocate and my inner critic. The list was long.

For most of us (I have one too) the inner voice is like an old friend that sucks the fun and possibility out of your dreams and leaves you with a feeling of woeful uneasiness that if you get too big for your boots and put yourself out there you are going to ‘get found out’. Or worst still something bad will happen to pay you back for being greedy and wanting too much.

The little voice nags away, becomes louder, more insistent, more toxic until you just want to stick firmly with what you know because then you are safe and nothing bad will happen.

Sound familiar?

I disagree that the critical voice is just the territory of women, I think every human being has the voice. My hunch is that it’s the difference between how men and women manage their inner critic that is the difference that might mean that the 100% vs 60% has some truth to it.

Harvard Business Review claims that it’s not confidence that stops women going for the job, but a greater fear of failure because girls do better at school and it’s more instilled in us to follow rules and conform – and we perceive failure as having greater and longer lasting consequences. Conversely, men have a greater willingness to break rules and are less inclined to follow instructions (in the context of applying for jobs breaking the rules and ignoring instructions of needing a certain amount of qualifications and experience) and just apply for the job anyway. Men are better at ignoring or telling their inner critic to pipe down.

Make of it what you will, I see similar fears fuelled by the inner critics of both men and women I work with.

When it comes to getting the best results, confidence is a big deal. That’s one of the reasons I’ve created a 55-minute webinar and workbook to give you a quick confidence kick start. It includes simple and practical tips you can action straight away to keep your confidence topped up. You’ll finish this training and feel prepared, informed, and confident at work.

3 tips to keep your confidence at work

Get the full 55-minute webinar and accompanying workbook for only £5.

 

The difference between failure and success is confidence

Dice represent success, failure and confidence

Innovation is (in my view) a buzzword. It can mean different things to different people. For example, you or your organisation might want to be disruptive and develop brand new ideas that change current thinking and business models, or you might opt to make incremental changes or you may choose to focus on product development. They are not mutually exclusive; you might opt to do them all. There is not single right or wrong approach to innovation. And, sadly, there is no silver bullet.

In my experience whether innovation is disruptive, radical, marginal, incremental or whatever the next buzzword prefix is; the best innovation happens when people work together, build on each other’s ideas, add new elements, develop new perspectives, understand audiences and focus on how to make the idea a reality.

I think the biggest barrier to delivering innovation (of which there are many lets face it, fear of failure, fear of success, internal politics, external politics, no budget, too busy, too many deadlines, wanting immediate results, the list goes on) is lack of confidence.

Lack of confidence, which is incubated by all the blockers and barriers that we battle with on a day-to-day basis when we try to create any sort of change.

I think it all starts in school.

Think back to showing your parents or your teacher your math homework. There were 20 questions. You got 18 right. Yet rather than getting a ‘well done’ for the 18 right answers, the focus from your parents and teachers was on the two answers you got wrong.

And as we grow older we learn in school that we get rewarded for getting things right and following instruction and not for inquisitive enquiry, experimenting or ideas, being different or asking questions and certainly not for getting things wrong.

The impact is that we feel safer sticking with what we know, we prefer not to take risks, and we like to be rewarded for getting things right. We conform. We prefer not to challenge or test new ideas that may fail, or be marked wrong.

The only people with objectives around thinking differently or (dare I say it) failure are the innovation managers. Organisations talk about innovation, but their structures and processes do not encourage any different or creative thinking. Innovation is often blocked (see blockers above) or fails to gain traction because insufficient time and resource are invested into helping it succeed.

Layer on top that most of us (I have one too) have an inner voice that nags away at us, telling us we’ll get found out, or we’ll fail or that we’re not good enough.

The little voice nags away, and especially when we are doing something new or different (innovating) becomes louder, more insistent, more toxic until you just want to stick firmly with what you know because then you are safe and nothing bad will happen.

That’s why at Lucidity when we help individuals and organisation to innovate we work with people to help them build both their confidence and their capacity for innovation. Because we’ve learned from our own hard-fought failures that without confidence even the best ideas die on the vine.

When it comes to getting the best results, confidence is a big deal. That’s one of the reasons that I set up the Lucidity Network – a combination of resources, inspiration and connections to people that can help you make more impact at work. Join the Lucidity Network today. 

Radical or incremental when it comes to innovation the key word is confidence

Innovation is an old-fashioned term these days. It seems that to keep it sexy you’ve got to use a prefix. Disruptive or radical, marginal or incremental. We can’t just plain innovate anymore.

In my experience whether innovation is disruptive, radical, marginal or whatever the next buzz prefix is; unless you have innovation in your job title innovation gets passed on as someone else’s job. Innovation is the work of the ‘creative people’. I felt this when I was an innovation manager in an organisation, all sorts of stuff landed on my desk with a friendly post-it attached along the lines of ‘its innovation – you work it out’.

In my view the best innovation happens when people work together, build on each other’s ideas, add new elements, develop new perspectives, understand audiences and focus on how to make the idea a reality.

I think the biggest barrier to delivering innovation (of which there are many lets face it, fear of failure, fear of success, internal politics, external politics, no budget, too busy, too many deadlines, wanting immediate results, the list goes on) is lack of confidence.

Lack of confidence, which is incubated by all the blockers and barriers that we battle with on a day-to-day basis when we try to create any sort of change.

I think it all starts in school. You get rewarded for getting things right, not for inquisitive enquiry, being different or asking questions. Like Pavlov’s dog we go to work and are rewarded for getting things right, for conforming. The only people with objectives around thinking differently or (dare I say it) failure are the innovation managers. Organisations talk about innovation, but their structures and processes do not encourage any different or creative thinking. Innovation is often blocked (see blockers above) or fails to gain traction because insufficient time and resource are invested into helping it succeed.

That’s why at Lucidity we work with people to help them build both their confidence and their capacity for innovation. Because we’ve learned from our own hard-fought failures that without confidence even the best ideas die on the vine.

Confidence is such a big deal for achieving success that I’ve set up the Lucidity Network designed to help you take the lead in getting the results you want. It’s a pick and mix of online and offline practical tools and advice as well as access to a dynamic network of expertise. We’re open for new members a few times a year. Join today – but hurry because the doors close at midnight on 15 November.