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Coach Carlene

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“What do I want for lunch? Pasta or sushi?”

“When is the right time to have that difficult conversation?”

“Where can I go on vacation? Can I afford it?”

A typical adult makes more than 35,000 decisions per day – usually starting with whether to turn off the alarm or hit the snooze button.

We face hundreds of choices every day – from simple, “What should I wear to work?” to more complicated decisions that involve our emotional, financial, and physical well-being, “Should we pivot the business?”

The number of decisions you have to make in a day can get so overwhelming that by the time you get home, you can barely decide what to eat for dinner.

This is what’s known as decision fatigue – a term coined by social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister, as the emotional and mental strain resulting from a burden of choices.

This type of fatigue leads to one of two outcomes; risky decision-making or decision avoidance.

In other words, when your mental energy begins running low, you’re less able to override basic desires and more likely to go for whatever is easiest.

Fear not! That feeling when you’re overly stressed by the endless amount of decisions you’ve had to make throughout the day can be remedied.

How to Recognize It

Remember decision fatigue isn’t always easy to spot. Here are some tell-tale signs that might suggest you’re heading for burnout.

  • Procrastination – “I’ll tackle this later.”
  • Impulsivity – “A quick decision will give me relief.”
  • Avoidance – “I can’t deal with this right now.”
  • Indecision – “When in doubt, I just say no.”

ONE: Focus on self-care

Take time to rest by setting aside 10-minute breaks between tasks throughout the day.

Recovering also means making sure you’re getting enough sleep, making sure you’re eating healthy, and watching your alcohol intake.

TWO: Prioritize your decisions.

Cut down on needless decision-making by jotting down your top priorities for the day and ensuring you tackle those first. This way, your most important decisions get done when your energy is at its highest.

THREE: Save major decisions for when you’re rested and refreshed.

Ask yourself;

  • “How tired am I in the present moment?”
  • “Am I making a decision to simply solve the thing and get it off my plate?”
  • “How much impact on my life will this decision have?”

If the answer is that it’ll have a high impact, only allow yourself to make those decisions when you have to make them or when you feel refreshed.

That might mean setting aside a block of time each month to evaluate the pros and cons of those major decisions.

FOUR: Minimize low-stake decisions

Reduce decision drain by planning ahead and taking relatively minor decisions out of the equation. For example, take your lunch to work to avoid having to decide which restaurant to order from. Or, lay out your clothes the night before.

Yes, you are still making the decision but you are doing it at a time when you’re not rushed and stressed.

Remember, your morning is only as good as the night before.

We don’t realize that things that have very little impact on our lives can actually take a lot of decision energy.

FIVE: Create routines that will stick

Set up your day so that you have to make the fewest decisions possible. Have a morning and evening routine. Put as many things on auto-pilot as possible.

This means having strict and clear rules about certain things, such as;

  • when you’ll go to sleep
  • specific days you’ll hit the gym
  • going grocery shopping

SIX: Allow others to help

Sharing the mental load of decision-making can help prevent overwhelm.

Here are a few examples of what you can delegate:

  • If you’re having a hard time meal planning, allow your partner or roommate to come up with a menu. You can help out with the shopping.
  • Ask a close friend for a referral for a plumber.
  • Let a colleague choose which images to use on your next presentation.

SEVEN: Keep tabs on your mental and physical state

Everyone gets overwhelmed with decisions at times. Pay attention to your emotional and physical responses.

Are you repeatedly making poor choices because you feel overwhelmed? Do you find yourself making a habit of snacking on junk food to avoid making decisions about dinner?

Keeping track of your reactions can help you understand which habits need improvement.

EIGHT: Celebrate your good decisions.

You make so many small decisions during the day without even realizing it. And that’s on top of all the big, noticeable ones.

Celebrating the big and small decisions alike, boosts your confidence and sets you up for more confident decision-making tomorrow.

Mel Robbins created the High-Five Habit so we could all start celebrating ourselves. So, go high-five yourself in the mirror for showing up and making the best decisions you could today.

If you liked this, be sure to grab your free guide:

The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

Do you want to be perfect or excellent?

I had to ask myself this question as I was listening to a Jon Acuff podcast. As I was listening it became crystal clear to me the moments I’m pursuing excellence and the moments I’m letting perfectionism hold me back.

Following are the highlights and my spin on what I learned from him.

When we strive for excellence, we have high standards that encourage us to make improvements, solve problems and do quality work. It focuses on the process. 

Perfectionism is the belief we must be perfect to be acceptable. It focuses on the outcome. Anything other than perfect is failure. Perfectionism is an attitude, not necessarily a behavior.

Excellence, unlike perfectionism, does not demand a sacrifice of self-esteem as it tends to focus on the process of achievement rather than the outcome.

3 Differences between excellence and perfectionism

  1. Excellence Launches. Perfectionism lags.

    Excellence: You hit your deadlines, stick to the diet, publish the book, finished cleaning out the basement.
    Perfectionism: You half wrote the book, you quit the diet, you stopped cleaning out the basement because you couldn’t find the perfect containers.

  2. Excellence energizes. Perfectionism drains 

    Excellence can still be tiring but you’re exhausted and elated.
    Perfectionism leaves you feeling empty and hopeless.
     
  3. Excellence encourages others. Perfectionism discourages others

    Excellence: People who pursue excellence are admired for their drive for excellence. You give everything you’ve got.  You keep your eyes on what’s important. You don’t nit-pic everything.
    Perfectionism:  No one aspires to be like you or to work with you. You’re seen as difficult, holding up progress, micro-managing.

It can be difficult to tell if we are in the pursuit of excellence or trapped in perfectionism when we are all up in our heads thinking, thinking, thinking. 

Here are 8 ways to spot perfectionism.

If you answer yes to any of these, perfectionism is running the show. 

1. Are the expectations for any goal you want to accomplish unreasonable?
I expect to lose 10 lbs in a week.
I will run every day.
This will be easy. 

2. Is the timeframe to accomplish the goal impossible? 
This trips you up with the speed of your progress. You believe you should be making faster progress.  
I should implement this new system in a week. 
I should get healthy in 10 weeks.

If it took you 5 yrs to put on the weight, why are you only giving yourself 5 weeks to take it off?

“Never give the problem 10 years and the solution a week.”

Jon Acuff

3. Are you obsessed about the results other people are getting? 

Perfectionism amplifies comparison.

“Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

Jon Acuff

It’s normal to compare yourself to others. But instead of comparing yourself to who is on the top, the biggest and best in that field, industry, or endeavor, compare yourself to someone similar. Someone who is slightly ahead of and better than you. 

Use this comparison not to beat yourself down, but to learn. What can you learn from this person and their experience that will help you accomplish your goal?

4. Do you forget to celebrate your progress and move on to the next thing before celebrating what you just accomplished? 

Perfectionism, eliminates the possibility to celebrate. It says that no victory is ever big enough. 

Perfectionism moves the goal post. It never allows you to celebrate at the finish line because perfectionism keeps moving the finish line. For example, you think, “I got all 3 priorities done today, but it would have been better if I could’ve got 2 more things done too.” You never get to enjoy the reward of all that hard work.

5. Are you suffering from burn-out?

If perfectionism is the standard, it’ s an impossible standard. You’ll never be finished. You’ll never be good enough. Ugh.

6. Are you overthinking and over researching?

Acuff says perfectionism turns the starting line on the ground into a wall of indecision and procrastination.

Let’s say you want to get in shape. You tell yourself this time is different. If you’re going to do this, you’re going to do it right. So, you start asking yourself all the questions. 

How many times will I go to the gym? What kind of workout will I do? How many calories can I eat? Do I take the right supplements? Where am I going to buy my workout shoes? How will I work this into my busy schedule? What’s the best gym to join? 

The pile of questions has turned your starting line that was so easy to cross into a wall you have to climb. 

7. Do you make up fictional problems to fix?

Perfectionism makes you think you must fix fictional problems. It tells you to fix problems that haven’t even happened yet. 

If you’re thinking about starting a business, you wonder what you will do when you must fire someone? What if they have a family? It’ll be awful. So, you decide to play small and be a solopreneur or not start the business at all. Sheesh, you could be years away from ever having to worry about that. 

8. Do you think everyone else has it all figured out, except you? 

Perfectionism cripples’ community. You worry your progress is too messy, your life is too scattered, and your challenges are too big to bring anyone else in, so you hide, and you do it alone or not at all.

How many of these did you answer yes to?

Now you know. 

What is one change you’re going to make to move out of perfectionist thinking? 

If you liked this go on and grab your free guide:
The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

I often wonder who I would be if I weren’t so afraid of being judged.

Have you ever struggled with feeling like you’re being judged? It seems silly to even ask. Maybe you’re reading this right now because fear of being judged has you staring at your phone instead of doing what you’re meant to do.

Fear of judgment is one of the many ways you doubt yourself.

Self-doubt is fear. Fear of judgment. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of being rejected. Fear of not being enough. I could go on, but I won’t. 

While I haven’t found a permanent cure, self-storytelling has become a great treatment… helping to keep my fear of judgement in check so I can keep doing what I was born to do.

Here are three stories I tell myself whenever I feel the fear of judgement, aka self-doubt, creeping in — they might help you too!

It could be situational or a sustained state of being, but if you’ve ever wanted to get out of a fear of judgment or self-doubt funk, these three stories will help.

Story One:

A story about a time when you felt judged and then realized it was all in your head.

Oh yes, we all do this. You were convinced you could read someone’s mind and you told yourself they were bashing you and judging you for not being good enough. But then, this person started talking with you and they complimented you or asked questions because they thought what you were doing was so intriguing, interesting, or even impressive.

Mind reading is dangerous, and never do we think, “Oh, how nice. This person thinks I’m creative and smart.” Oh no, our habit is to think they are bashing us because that is what we do to ourselves. I’m telling you; no one judges you more harshly than YOU judge yourself! 

Story Two:

A story about a time when you realized the person’s opinion about you really didn’t matter anyway.

Tell yourself a story about a time when you placed so much importance on one person’s opinion and you were bold and acted against their advice anyway and you nailed it! Reminding yourself of your courageous, bold moments puts fear in its place and self-doubt will join her. Sometimes the simple reminder of when you nailed it is enough to pull you out of the self-doubt rut. And if your inner critic tries to tell you it was a fluke, don’t believe it.

This need for external validation, the need to not ruffle any feathers, to please others, stops you from believing in yourself. People pleasing has nothing to do with other people and everything to do with your insecurities. Learn to love and support yourself and you’ll stop worrying about pleasing everyone else. External validation is fleeting. Belief in yourself is enduring.

Story Three: 

A story about someone else who really doesn’t give a thought to what other people think of them.

They go all in – two feet in. They don’t half-ass anything or make themselves smaller to make others feel okay. We all know someone like this. We secretly envy their courage and confidence and wish that it would rub off on us.

What things do they do that you are in awe of? Have you ever told yourself, “I wish I could be bold and do things that others don’t agree with and not care about disappointing them?” What are those things? Go ahead. Be bold. Do it. 

Want to learn more about letting go of the fear and believing in yourself?

Grab your FREE Guide: The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

Fall is your listening season. It’s your time to listen to the feedback from those around you and more importantly to listen to your intuition so you can know how to come through for the next year!

It’s your time to show up for yourself and accomplish the things you set out to do this year.

Finishing the year strong means pushing yourself past the finish line even when other people are doubting you. And especially if YOU are doubting YOU! It means running that extra lap even when you know you’ve done the work. Whether you are an entrepreneur, work 9-5 or are someone who wants to have more flow in your life, there are things you can do to set yourself up for success.

With only a few months left in the year, prioritizing is the most impactful exercise you can do for yourself. You must be realistic. There’s a good chance you won’t get everything done. And that is okay! When you focus on the most important and impactful things, you will end the year feeling accomplished and energized.

Before you dive in and start prioritizing, it’s important to understand the 7 Reasons Why We Struggle to Prioritize:
  1. We tend to suffer from FOMO (Fear of missing out). We think that if we’re not involved in everything that somehow, we are going to miss out on something. There is beauty in missing out! Missing out allows you to be more present on the things that matter most.
  2. We don’t like to let people down. Remember, if you give away all your time, you won’t have any time left to pursue your goals. Letting people down from time-to-time is something that must happen! It is the price of entry for growing into who you’re meant to be.
  3. We don’t have confidence in ourselves. We tend to struggle with prioritizing things that we could change the world with because we don’t believe in ourselves. Step out of your comfort zone, try something new, and prove to yourself that you can go beyond what you believe is possible. You are capable of more than you think!
  4. We don’t have a clear WHY. Ever feel like you’re moving through your day like a robot? You’re productive and getting stuff done but you’re bored and doing it all half-hearted? When you understand WHY doing these things are important or not so important to YOU it naturally finds its place in your list of priorities, or not.
  5. We don’t have clear goals. It’s not enough to say that you want to get better. Get specific! Articulate what “better” means so that you can create smaller goals to hit along the way.
  6. We get stuck in the stuff of life. If we think that everything is important, then nothing is important. We must release ourselves from the things that aren’t aligned with our goals and who we are.
  7. We don’t take a driver’s seat where our priorities are concerned. If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will. Their needs will fill your calendar at the expense of your self-care! Don’t lose sight of what’s important. Prioritize it. Be comfortable deciding that prioritizing yourself is more important than keeping everyone else happy!
How to Prioritize Over the Next 2-3 Months:
  1. Focus on what matters to you. Don’t get caught up in other people’s priorities for you. Everyone else in your life believes they know what you need most. But what if they are wrong? Be clear on who you want to be on January 1, 2022. Your priorities might look different than what others think they should be.
  2. Consider the trade-off. Before saying yes to anything, understand that saying yes comes at the expense of saying NO to something else that potentially matters more to you.
  3. Evaluate the impact. Think about everything you are juggling as glass balls and plastic balls. Which of the things on your plate are glass and will shatter when dropped? Which ones are plastic and would bounce back if they fell? Prioritize the glass!
  4. Ask yourself more questions. If I say yes, will I regret it later? Is this thing in line with my WHY? Make sure everything you say yes to acts as a catalyst to what you are trying to achieve in life. Otherwise, it is only going to set you back. Be clear on what you stand for!
  5. Just say NO. No is a complete sentence. You don’t have to justify anything! If someone else doesn’t understand, most of the time that is their issue. Boundaries are important!
  6. Listen to your gut. Give yourself a chance to pull away from the media, the obligations, and all the noise in your life so you can hear yourself clearly. Your intuition exists and is only ever compromised when you allow external things to drown it out.
  7. Check and Re-Check your CAPACITY. You’re going to go through different things at different times of your life, each requiring you to establish a new or adjusted set of priorities. This could change month-by-month. It’s critical that you have grace for the circumstances happening in your life and that you can adapt accordingly!
  8. CELEBRATE yourself. Certain days are going to be harder than others. If you are showing up for yourself, doing the work and trying as best as you can, that is worthy of celebration. You have chosen growth. Give yourself grace and don’t forget to celebrate yourself!

Looking to find your WHY and stop doubting yourself? Grab your free guide:
The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

A lot of us are back to the office and school. This is great for so many reasons like, connecting with others, having structure & routine, and even some built in accountability. 

What many of us didn’t notice while we were working from home, was the opportunities it afforded us to set our own schedule’s and take some downtime when we needed it.

Between 2 pm and 4 pm, is when we typically experience afternoon slumps to some degree; where you feel mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. For those with ADHD, you don’t experience just a little slump, yours are full blown crashes. 

No matter if you fall on the side of a slump or a crash, they both affect your attention, focus, productivity, and your ability to stay calm and rational.

Here are 7 things you can do to minimize or prevent your afternoon slumps and crashes. The more suggestions you implement, the more results you will see!

1. Simply put, EAT

Many of us don’t eat breakfast; either because we don’t feel hungry in the mornings or because we are in a rush to get out the door. However, starting the day with a protein packed breakfast is incredibly helpful to avoid the afternoon crash.

Lunch is often a meal eaten on the run or skipped when we get busy in our day. Or because we missed breakfast, we are ravenous and eat a big heavy lunch. What we eat for lunch has a direct effect on our energy in the afternoon. Take time to eat a gluten-free lunch with some good-quality protein (chicken or fish) and fiber in the form of vegetables. Your afternoons will be transformed.

2. Get your 7 hours of Sleep

75% of ADHDers have problems with falling and staying asleep. According to the CDC, more than 35% of Americans get less than the recommended 7 hours a night. If you are sleep deprived or had a night of poor sleep, then an afternoon crash is more likely to happen. However, they can still be minimized with the other suggestions on this list.

3. Be a Smart Caffeine Drinker

Caffeine isn’t bad; and if you become a smart caffeine drinker, you can still drink it and not get afternoon crashes.

Drink your first coffee of the day after you have eaten breakfast.
If drinking coffee gives you energy highs and lows, then switch to green tea.
Both tips will give you more sustained energy. Don’t drink caffeine after 2pm because it will interfere with your sleep (which in turn affects crashes).

4. Get Moving

After you exercise, your whole body and mind is energized for 3 hours. To capitalize on this, move your workout to lunch time and see if you notice a difference in your energy level in the afternoons.

5. Drink up

Staying hydrated is by far the simplest ways to fight fatigue, yet remembering to drink water throughout the day isn’t as simple. Don’t skip this step!

6. Say Goodbye to Stress

Stress is exhausting! If your morning is full of tension, mini crisis (forgetting things, mad dashes for deadlines), worry and anxiety, then by the afternoon, you will be emotionally exhausted and ready to crash. 

Stress comes from 2 sources: things you can control and things you can’t.
Focus on the life stressors that are in your control. Using strategies to reduce your worry and anxiety is a great place to start.

7. Stop Multi-Tasking

We love to multi-task. It feels exciting and exhilarating. However, it’s also very tiring. Every time we shift focus, we burn glucose, which is the food our neurons use. After a couple of hours of speedy shifting, we feel drained and ready for a nap. Also, our glucose store is depleted; cortisol (the stress hormone) has also been released, causing us to feel edgy and stressed.
Stop multi-tasking and start single tasking.

Stop here and jot down which of these tips you’re going to put into practice. Don’t skip this step. Doing this sets your intentions. Also, share your intentions with a family member or friend. They may want to join you on getting out of the afternoon slump!

Have you grabbed your free confidence building guide yet?

The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

People can sniff out your underlying fear and self-doubt no matter how well you think you’re faking it. The mindset you show up with to a conversation determines the outcome.

These mindsets will help eliminate the overthinking and second-guessing you do after a conversation.

Your ability to collaborate and problem solve will improve. Your performance on the job and in your personal relationships will shift from conflict and confrontation to creating powerful partnerships.

You’ll notice these five mindsets have one thing in common. The conversation is not about you, even it is, it is NOT.

Mindset #1: We have a shared goal.

It could be that people just want to have a good time. Or we need to solve this problem. Keeping this shared goal in mind is great because it takes away any thoughts of “winning and losing.”

When you’re thinking about winning and losing, you’ll be subtly comparing yourself to others. Not a game you want to play.

With the mindset of “we have a shared goal,” you’re in a much better position to perform because your social compass will be pointing in the right direction.

​Mindset #2: It’s not about me. 

No one is judging you. They’re too busy wondering if you’re judging them.

Why do we think others are thinking the WORST about us?
 
Because of a wonderful concept called the negativity bias.

The negativity bias was a great thing for our ancestors. It was effective for avoiding sabretooth tigers. It’s not great for reading people’s minds at a dinner party.

When we’re in an uncertain environment, our brains constantly try to fill in the gaps. And our default mode as humans skews negative because staying alive is good.

Helpful reframe: We’re ALL hardwired to fear social judgment, so ask yourself: “How can I help OTHER people feel more accepted?”

The benefit here is twofold:

Awareness of the negativity bias will help you process those feelings of perceived judgment. You can even say to yourself: “Everyone is so focused on themselves. They aren’t thinking about me.” This will help you move on from that unproductive emotion.

This mindset is also helpful because it shifts your perspective from the internal (yourself) to the external (others). That’s a huge win.

It levels the playing field. If everyone struggles with perceived social judgment, you can be the person who helps buck the trend by helping people feel accepted.

Mindset 3: It’s not personal

Sometimes it’s easy to let your emotions get tangled up in things, especially if someone’s disagreeing or even attacking your position.  Anger, blame, hurt and a bunch of other provocative emotions can be at play, and before you know it you’ve got a bigger problem than you ever thought.

Don’t make it personal – people are allowed to disagree with your position, just as you’re allowed to disagree with others.

By all means, be passionate, but that’s not the same as being defensive or coming out on the offensive with all guns blazing.  The moment you start taking differences of opinion as personal criticism and judgement (even if that’s exactly what’s being thrown at you) you’ll be on the defensive or offensive, so balance that passion with the facts and a healthy sprinkling of common sense and perspective.

Mindset 4: I’m Curious

You assume you know what people are thinking, especially when it is something about you or something you’ve put effort into. You don’t have any psychic powers, but somehow you just know. And because you are so certain, you don’t bother to check out what is actually happening. 

There could be facts you need to know about or areas you need to explore before taking action.  Make sure you go deep enough into those areas to figure out the facts of what’s happening.

This is often a tricky balance between doing enough due diligence to be informed, checking in with your instincts and leveraging your experience to anticipate the different paths, and it means you have to put a hold on resolving the conflict until all parties can do their due diligence.

Be clear on what do you need to know and the most effective ways to get those answers.  Work that out with an open mind and you’ll be in a stronger position to move forwards.

Mindset # 5: It’s okay if I’m wrong 

If you’re wrong, admit it.  Don’t hang on to your position just for the sake of wanting to be right – that’ll just get you into more hot water, is sure to waste everyone’s time and will probably end up with you looking or feeling silly.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking being wrong is undesirable, it isn’t.  Allowing yourself to be wrong shows that you’re switched on enough to do the best thing for all concerned and find the best route through.  It demonstrates that you’re lead by integrity and are willing to take on new ideas if they work better, even if that flies in the face of what you were thinking previously.

Be ready to be wrong – that’s how you grow.

Curious how self-doubt keeps you trapped? Take the quiz here!

The number one thing that keeps us stuck is our thoughts. We spend so much time being all busy up in our heads.

You know what you want. You have the skills and the know-how to do it. But you’re not doing it. Ugh. If only you could get out of your head.

Free yourself from those icky, sticky thoughts once and for all.

Here are 3 mindset shifts you must make to get yourself into action.

Mindset Shift #1: Imposter Syndrome

This is so normal. It’s so easy to feel like an imposter, especially if you spend any time on social media.

You feel like you don’t deserve to have that job.

You feel like you don’t deserve to live in that beautiful home.

You believe you have no idea what you’re doing. You believe you only got where you are by sheer luck.

You live in fear that someone is going to call you out and expose you as being a fraud. 

What a heavy weight to carry.

Here’s a little harsh secret. Sorry, not sorry.  Nobody cares. Nobody is paying attention to you. People are so busy with their own stuff. It’s natural to feel like all eyes are on you, but they aren’t. 

“Focus less on the impression you’re making on others and more on the impression you’re making on yourself.” 

-Amy Cuddy

Make the shift:

  • Acknowledge your credibility and success.
  • Be aware of the stories you’re telling yourself. “Ask would Judge Judy or a court of law say these thoughts are fact?” Nope.
  • Get out of your head and into your heart. Let your why be bigger than your worry or fear. Why is this thing you want to do important to you? Find it, find several why’s. Play those why soundtracks over and over in your head to silence your worries and fears.
  • Keep showing up.

Mindset Shift #2: Dabbling instead of going all in because you’re scared.

Are you a learner? I am. I could take courses and research something to death all the while convincing myself that going down these rabbit holes is necessary. But it’s not. It’s called procrastination or info-crastination. Can you relate? 

“Trying” to do something isn’t going all in. It’s dabbling. You can’t try to start a business. You have to start a business. You can’t hide behind having to learn everything before you can start. 

You have to do whatever it is scared. It’s called courage.

Playing full-out makes you fully present.

Make the shift:

  • Go all in no matter how scared you are.
  • Playing small only delays your inevitable success.
  • Give the thing you want to do the attention and respect it deserves. 

“There is an amazing version of you, you haven’t met yet. Keep showing up.”

Unknown

Mindset Shift #3: Perfectionism

This gets in the way of you making decisions. It’s the death of doing what you want to do.

Alyssa, a budding entrepreneur suffered from perfectionism.

“The problem was, I wanted my emails to look and sound perfect. I wanted my website to be perfect. I didn’t even know what perfect meant. I wasn’t finding it and I wasn’t getting my products out to people.”

I hear this over and over. You must be willing to be imperfect.

Make the shift:

  • Give yourself permission to do B+ work
  • Putting yourself out there imperfectly is better than NOT putting yourself out there at all.
  • You can only learn how to do better by doing.
  • Go back to your why. What’s greater than your need to be perfect?

You don’t have to stay stuck. 

You are in charge of your thoughts.

You are in charge of how you talk to yourself.

Be kind. Be imperfect.

Impress yourself. Go all in.

Curious how self-doubt keeps you trapped? Take the quiz here!

“I’m a slacker if I’m not constantly accomplishing something. I’m afraid others will think I’m lazy. I need to do more, faster.”

This belief that we MUST be uber productive to be worthy is killing our confidence and our ability to get stuff done. 

Acting with the idea that “more is always better, so I need to do more” contributes to:

  • Anxiety: “How will I ever get where I want to?”
  • A mindset of scarcity and impatience: “I’m not doing enough”
  • Fear: “If I don’t create what I want here, then I won’t be okay in life.”
  • A scattered mind: “So much to do, so little time!”

The counterintuitive solution to productivity may lie in the very thing we fear will impede it: slowing down.

The benefits of slowing down are numerous. Research has found that when we’re idle, we allow our minds to wander. And that daydreaming makes us more creative and better at problem-solving.

Slowing down is a great productivity tool. When our energy is depleted, we can’t possibly be as productive because we’ll be out of fuel to burn. 

Doing more isn’t always better. If you want to make more progress, start by slowing down.

If slowing down is so important, why don’t we do it more often? Why isn’t “mindful and slow” our default state?

There’s something attractive about the idea that hard work can solve all your problems. It’s simple and gives you a clear path forward. To be fair, it’s rooted in a gem of truth: action begets results.

But it’s not the whole story.How you do something matters just as much as the fact that you do it.

The goal of slowing down isn’t to go slower. It’s about moving forward in the most effective way.

The following 8 approaches to slowing down work well together, but this isn’t a fixed sequence. Treat them as options to experiment with.

8 Ways to Slow Down and Get Better Results

  1. Physically slow down. Changing your physical body is a great way to shift your psychology. Start by sitting still. Put your devices away. Breathe deeply for a few minutes. Sit in meditation. Go for a walk outside. Anywhere from 5-20 minutes can create a profound shift.
  2. Get out of your head and into your body: Re-ground yourself by directing your attention towards the physical sensations in your body. Observe how the sensations ebb, flow, and change over time. By noticing what’s there without judgment, you can stay more intentional.
  3. Recall the nature of your thoughts: The thoughts crossing your mind are just thoughts, not universal truths. Think of them as suggestions, or possibilities. Question them. Is this thought actually true?
  4. Consider alternate paths forward: What do you want here? How have you been approaching it? What are some different ways you could approach it?
  5. Set a new intention: Having slowed down and considered your approach, what do you want to do now? In the bigpicture, what’s most important?
  6. Write about it: Thoughts move quickly in the mind. And if you’ve got a fast ADHD brain, thoughts zip through before you can catch them. Getting them down on paper slows things down so you can see them more clearly. Grab a pen and some paper and write thoughts as they surface in your mind. (Without judging them or needing to do something about it.)
  7. Prime yourself for quality action: Before acting, consider: “What would it look like to move forward in the best way?” For me, this often involves taking a break to shift my state by exercising, having some tea, or switching my physical location, as examples. Creating a deliberate shift, even a small one, helps with letting go of the previous approach, and orienting to your new intention.
  8. Treat it as an experiment: It can be intimidating to try new approaches. Instead of worrying about what will happen if it doesn’t work, treat it as an experiment. You’ll never know what will happen unless you give it a go!

It’s important to note that slowing down is NOT about making things perfect. Instead, it’s about improving your effectiveness, even by a little bit.

Most importantly, celebrate every tiny win at the end of the day. Congratulate yourself for slowing down. 

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The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

Oh, so many of us prioritize our tasks according to the needs of others. So often, there are underlying people-pleasing tendencies. At the end of the day, we think we’ve made everyone else happy, but they may not have even noticed.

Add to that the frustration of not getting the things done that we really needed to get done, it’s no wonder we beat ourselves up at the end of the day.  

You started the day with the best of intentions and then life happens. Emails marked urgent (and they really are NOT urgent) flood your inbox. Someone calls or drops in your office to vent. Someone on your team didn’t follow-through on something so you tell yourself it’s easier if I do it myself.

Can you relate?

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.

Paul J. Meyer

This doesn’t only happen at work, but it happens in our personal lives, too, with limited time spent on activities that are actually important and more energy spent being “busy.”

Sometimes, we fall into productive procrastination mode. This is when you convince yourself that because you’re busy doing something, it’s ok that you’re not doing the thing that is most critical at that time. 

It is in these moments that it’s critical to have a system in place to help you decide what is the best use of your time.

By implementing a prioritization system, you can drastically change the arc of your workday to really make the most of your time at work and at home. 

Step 1: Identify your to-do’s.

Step 2: Run each of the tasks through the 3 categories of questions or filters, Impact, Time, and Consequences

Impact Filters

  • Why is this important?
  • What do I want the outcome to be?
  • What’s the impact if this task is completed?
  • What is the larger goal I’ll be making progress on by completing this task?
  • Is this a must-do or nice-to-do?

Time Filters

  • Do I have the capacity for this? (time, energy)
  • What’s the deadline?
  • Does this NEED to be done NOW?
  • Is this the best use of my time?

Consequence Filters

  • What won’t get done if I focus on this?
  • What’s the penalty or fall-out if I don’t do it?
  • Will anyone notice if it doesn’t get done?

Step 3: After you’ve put your tasks through these filters, put those tasks that need to be worked on this week into your planner. Schedule the day and time you’re going to do the task. YOU MUST SCHEDULE IT!

Step 4: For those tasks that did not make the cut, do not keep them on your current to-do list. Your to-do list get cluttered with the nice-to-do’s and tasks that are not important right now. Then you look at that long list and it looks like you got nothing done. From there, the self-doubt and self-bullying chatter in your head starts. Instead, add these tasks to a NOT NOW LIST. You don’t want to lose sight of these things. 

Step 5: Tomorrow, or next week pull out your NOT NOW LIST and take them through the filters again. If they stay on your NOT NOW LIST week after week, ask yourself why this task is even on your list. If you can’t answer that, delete it.

Remember, the purpose of prioritization is to spend time working on the important tasks, those things that will make a difference in the long run and move you in the right direction. When prioritization is handled well, you’ll feel less reactive and more focused and intentional.

The aim is to complete work that signifies true progress, and let all the rest, all the “busyness” and “people-pleasing”, fall to the wayside. 

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The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

Thinking about doing something is not the same as doing it.
Everyone overthinks sometimes.

It’s hard to recognize the spiral of overthinking when you’re caught in the middle of it. In fact, your brain might try to convince you that worrying, and ruminating is somehow helpful.

After all, won’t you develop a better solution or prevent yourself from making the same mistake if you spend more time thinking? Not necessarily.

In fact, the opposite is often true. Analysis paralysis is a real problem. The more you think, the worse you feel. And your feelings of misery, anxiety, or anger may cloud your judgment and prevent you from taking positive action.

If you have ADHD, the overthinking can be more intense and more frequent. People often tell me, “I can’t relax. It’s like my brain won’t shut off,” or “I can’t stop thinking about how my life could have been better if I’d done things differently.”

Two Forms of Overthinking

Overthinking comes in two forms: ruminating about the past and worrying about the future.

It’s different than problem-solving. Problem-solving involves thinking about a solution. Overthinking involves dwelling on the problem.

Overthinking is also different than self-reflection. Healthy self-reflection is about learning something about yourself or gaining a new perspective about a situation. It’s purposeful.

Overthinking involves dwelling on how bad you feel and thinking about all the things you have no control over. It won’t help you develop new insight.

The difference between problem-solving, self-reflection, and overthinking isn’t about the amount of time you spend in deep thought. Time spent developing creative solutions or learning from your behavior is productive. But time spent overthinking, whether it’s 10 minutes or 10 hours, won’t enhance your life.

When you become more aware of your tendency to overthink things, you can take steps to change. But first, you have to recognize that overthinking does more harm than good.

Sometimes, people think that their overthinking somehow prevents bad things from happening. But, the research is pretty clear–overthinking is bad for you and it does nothing to prevent or solve problems.

Here are 10 signs that you’re an overthinker.

  1. I relive embarrassing moments in my head repeatedly.
  2. I have trouble sleeping because it feels like my brain won’t shut off.
  3. I ask myself a lot of “what if…” questions.
  4. I spend a lot of time thinking about the hidden meaning in things people say or events that happen.
  5. I rehash conversations I had with people in my mind and think about all the things I wished I had or hadn’t said.
  6. I constantly relive my mistakes.
  7. When someone says or acts in a way I don’t like, I keep replaying it in my mind.
  8. Sometimes I’m not aware of what’s going on around me because I’m dwelling on things that happened in the past or worrying about things that might happen in the future.
  9. I spend a lot of time worrying about things I have no control over.
  10. I can’t get my mind off my worries.

Here’s How to Stop the Spiral 

If you know that you get caught up in overthinking, don’t despair. You can take steps to reclaim your time, energy, and brain power.

This is the tool I share with all my overthinkers in coaching. It works!

Mel Robbins created the best tool you can use to break your habit of overthinking and start taking action called the 5 Second Rule. 

Here’s how you use it: the next time you catch yourself spinning in circles, procrastinating, obsessing over every detail, worrying about something that doesn’t matter, fixating on making it perfect, reflecting, ticking off excuses – interrupt that garbage and take control.

Count: 5-4-3-2-1 and MOVE. 

Counting backwards requires your mind to focus. As soon as you start counting, your brain switches from autopilot mode (where your overthinking habit runs on a loop) to the prefrontal part of your brain that focuses on counting down from five. It gives you immediate control over what you think and do next.

It’s a little trick that works for millions of people and it’s backed by tremendous research.

Try it and let me know how it works. And, seriously, grab Mel Robbins book The 5 Second Rule.

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The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush it and Build Real Confidence

We need to break the comparison cycle because it’s a game we’ll never win. Comparison steals our joy, our paychecks and our sanity. If we don’t stop comparing ourselves to others, we will constantly spend money and mental energy just trying to keep up!  

There’s actually a biological reason we’re prone to comparing ourselves to others. Our brain uses comparison to figure out how we measure up to other people.

Thomas Mussweiler, a professor of organizational behavior, describes comparison this way:

“It’s one of the most basic ways we develop an understanding of who we are, what we’re good at, and what we’re not so good at.”

Most of the time, this calculation is made in a split second in the background, and we don’t even realize it. But when we dwell on the highlights of other people’s lives, it can quickly become toxic. We’re wired for connection and belonging, but if we constantly compare ourselves to others, we’re putting our happiness, confidence and mental health at risk.

Comparison costs us:

  • Causing us to lose focus and takes our eyes off our goals.
  • Makes us feel bad about how we’re doing. It diminishes our accomplishments.
  • Fuels emotions of depression and anxiety, draining us of our mental strength to do our best.
  • Stops us from taking action. We hide. We avoid.
  • Creates negative and anxious thoughts that are hard to come out of -AKA ruminations
  • Causes us to overspend in an effort to keep up with the Joneses

When we compare ourselves to others, we make bad decisions, or decisions that don’t necessarily serve us. We will never be able to stop comparing ourselves to other people. But we can decide if want to use these comparisons to better ourselves and move forward or bash ourselves and stay stuck.

Here are 6 Practical Ways to Get Out of the Comparison Trap.

1. Let Jealousy and envy GUIDE you. 

They’re pointing you in the right direction. 

Ever get jealous when you see someone else succeed? I know I do. It’s normal to have those feelings, but it’s what you do with them that can CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

The next time you feel JEALOUS, do this: (This reframe is a game-changer)

  • Lean into the feeling. It’s your soul telling you, “This is the kind of success YOU want for yourself.” See it as a sign that IT’S POSSIBLE for you to experience the same success.
  • Don’t shrink when someone else does something similar to what you want to do. Instead RISE and figure it out!
  • Instead of comparing, start looking at people who have what you want and ADMIRE them. Be INSPIRED by them. Teach yourself how to use that as motivation and inspiration instead of a reason to bash yourself. Let it amplify your ability to see and admire your own accomplishments, traits, goals and dreams.

2. Ask yourself what you can learn

So the next time you’re tempted to think someone else is better than you, reframe the way you’re thinking about the situation. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I admire about this person or their work?
  • What information does that person have that could be helpful to me?
  • How can I make what they do better? Or How can put my own mark on this shared thing we both do?
  • What would I ask this person if I could talk to them?
  • Stay curious. Look for opportunities to learn and you’ll start to see that other people aren’t necessarily better than you.

3. Embrace an Infinite vs Finite Mindset

It took me a long time to truly embrace the idea that there is enough success for all of us. The world is an enormous place, and there is room for everyone to succeed, be happy, and pursue their dreams. 

This is what we call an infinite mindset. It embraces abundance. 

When you are jealous of others and see them as someone you have to be better than, you are using a finite mindset. This mindset tells you that there’s not enough room for everyone to be successful. It’s a mindset of scarcity, limiting our possibilities.

When you embrace an infinite mindset, you stop looking at everyone around you as competition. You know that just because they are successful it doesn’t mean you can’t be. Just because they are beautiful doesn’t mean you are not. Just because they have what you want doesn’t mean you can’t have it.

4. Cheer for other people (AKA shift from a finite to an infinite mindset) 

I have seen first-hand that the more you cheer for other people, the faster that success and happiness will come to you. Constantly comparing ourselves to others leads to us not cheering on the people who are working hard to get somewhere. And it makes it hard to celebrate with the ones who’ve accomplished something!

So, here’s my challenge to you: When a friend tells you about her new job, be happy for her. If someone buys a new house, take part in their enthusiasm. If someone shares some great news with you, keep the focus on them instead of turning it back to yourself. Find big and small ways to celebrate other people’s accomplishments!

Their success has nothing to do with you, so celebrate their success sincerely while you keep working toward your own success.

5. Learn to compete with yourself instead of others. 

The only person you should compare yourself with is the person you were yesterday.

You have so much self-doubt that you see other people as competition. The only competition is the one that you create in your mind. It is impossible to not compare yourself to other people. 

Instead of focusing on where you are compared to others, focus on your own goals. Where are you compared to where you were at this time last year? Or five years ago?

In the past year, you’ve learned, stretched, improved, accomplished and created. Think about how much of that you’ve done in your lifetime! 

6. Unlock the power of contentment. 

Gratitude leads to contentment, which allows you to be in a state of joy and satisfaction no matter what your circumstances. Having a daily gratitude ritual through journaling, a gratitude jar, or something else will lead you to a place of knowing you are happy with where you are in life and aren’t worried about what other people are doing.

Contentment doesn’t mean you don’t have goals for the future or that you aren’t working toward being a better person tomorrow than you are today. And it definitely doesn’t mean that you’re stagnant or that you’re choosing to sit around and do nothing new, exciting and challenging with your life. 

It just means that you develop a peace about your life and a sincere enjoyment about what you have today without basing all your happiness on what you hope to achieve tomorrow.

Your next step.

It’s easy to look at what everyone else is doing and achieving and think, “I’m not good enough, I should be doing more, I’m not ready, I don’t have enough, I’m failing.”

But you have no idea where other people’s starting lines were or where their finish line will be.

And you are not behind. You are exactly where you need to be. You’re not falling behind in life. There’s no one to be behind because there isn’t a race to begin with. 

Decide that today is the day you start to put in the work, show up as yourself, have the courage to pursue the things that scare the crap out of you, and stop worrying about what others are doing.  

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The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

You don’t even notice it. It’s been happening your entire life. You’ve become complacent and simply accept it. What is it?

Accepting unsolicited advice. 

Think about a time (you won’t have to go back too far in time) when you got some unwanted advice? How did it make you feel? Do any of these feel familiar?

  • You feel insulted.
  • It feels patronizing and condescending.
  • You now underestimate your abilities.
  • You don’t trust yourself to make decisions.
  • You feel criticized and rejected.
  • You feel defensive. 

Over time, these feelings erode your confidence. Accepting unsolicited advice eventually keeps you trapped in a cycle of doubting yourself. It holds you back from doing things you want to do. You don’t believe or trust in yourself. You no longer feel capable of handling challenging situations. You question yourself constantly. 

Wait a minute!

Why are you allowing this?

I know. You’re scared of conflict. You don’t want to rock the boat. You don’t have the confidence or know-how to politely shut the advisor down. 

You need to hear this.

You do NOT have to accept unsolicited advice. You have a choice. Really!

Say that out loud, “I do NOT have to accept unsolicited advice!” 

So, what do you do instead of accepting it?

Here are 4 things you can do instead.

1. Don’t take it personally.

Easier said than done. Some people genuinely want to help you, but if they give unsolicited advice often, you can mention that part about them so they can consider toning it down. But for those other advisors who don’t have the best of intentions, you have to take control.

Take a step back and realize you are capable. To know that all this unsolicited advice isn’t about your inadequacies but about the persons ego or need for power or need to be right, makes it much less personal.

When you can be in that moment of pure frustration of getting that advice and know that it’s not about you, you have taken the power away from them. YOU are the only person in charge of your thoughts and how you feel about yourself. 

2. Be clear up front.

Know what you want to get from the conversation. If you want advice, ask for it. If you don’t want advice, say it first. For all those times you want to vent, to simply verbally process something, you need to lead the conversation with something like,

“I really need to get something off my chest. I only need you to listen. I don’t want a solution or any ideas on what I should or should not do. Think of this as a monologue.” Watch your tone. You want to be clear and firm and respectful. After all, the person is going to listen to you. When someone knows what the goal of the conversation is, it keeps all potential conflicts from even cropping up.  

3. Politely shut it down.

There are times you simply don’t see it coming.  The conversation has morphed into unsolicited advice being slung your way and you are getting annoyed and feel belittled. Now you have to manage your emotions and avoid the conflict that will come if you try to cut-off the giver of advice. First, take a deep breath and yes, kind of stop listening. Put the advisors voice in the background, like white noise, so you can get a hold of your emotions. 

You are now ready to politely shut it down. 

Say something like, “Thank you for offering an option but I’m okay with my choice.” Or “Thank you for your advice but I have a plan that works for me. I’ll ask you about it if I need your opinion in the future.”

You don’t need to apply every piece of advice you get from everyone. And you also shouldn’t let people establish superiority by imposing their opinions on you. If they’re wise, such polite but firm statements will make them realize their rudeness.

4. Indicate you’ll consider it.

If you want to avoid as much confrontation as possible, the best way to evade such an overwhelming scene is to say something non-committal like, “I’ll consider it”, or “You might be right, I’ll think about it.”

I know this kind of feels like you’re blowing them off, that’s because you are. It’s all in your tone. 

These comments should signal to them that the conversation is over. If they continue with the advice giving, try something like, “I’m done talking about that for now.” And change the subject. 

You don’t want to give them the power to further annoy you so cutting the conversation short without revealing what you’re thinking can be the best move. After thinking deeply about what they said with less emotional attachment, you can choose to ignore or apply their advice.

You get to choose who and what you listen to. You choose your thoughts. You choose who you give the power too. You choose to take back the power. By choosing NOT to accept unsolicited advice that erodes your confidence, you are choosing YOU and a healthy mindset that will propel you forward. 

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