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Coach Carlene

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The voices in our head ring so loudly. We hold on to the times when someone discounted our worth or criticized us. What would it be like to show up boldly instead of shrinking? How many opportunities, connections and moments of peace have passed us by because of our self-sabotaging thoughts? 

Does this sound familiar?

“I’m not good enough.”
“I’m never going to reach my goal.”
“I am not enough.”
“It’s not possible for me.”

These thoughts and beliefs are not based in fact; but fear, hurt or trauma. Sadly, we act on them as if they are true. Science has proven over and over again that what we think to be true will impact our actions.

What are we to do? 

Here are 4 strategies I use to stop those self-sabotaging conversations. 

First – journal & acknowledge where these thoughts are coming from. This is called root cause analysis.

Identify the self-sabotaging thought and then ask yourself at least 5 times:

Why am I thinking that? Answer
Then….Why am I thinking that? Answer
Then…Why am I thinking that? Answer  
Keep going until you get 5 answers deep. This will get you to the root of that thought. 

As you get to that root thought, you dig it up. It’s ok. There’s going to be a big hole where that negative root thought or belief lived. It’s important to back fill that hole with truth. “I am talented. I am a good person. I am worthy of being loved. I am deserving of this promotion.”

Replace those negative thoughts with empowered thoughts that are actually true. 

Second, stay in inspired action.

You’ve heard of the confidence competence loop. The more you do something, the better you become. When you first started riding a bike, you faltered and fell a few times. But you kept at it. The more you tried it, the better you got. And one day, you were able to ride successfully without falling, to the point that you now thoroughly enjoy riding the bike. This is the same competence confidence loop that you can employ in other areas of your life.

You need to start with one small step. Then you’ll say, “Ahhh, I actually can do this.” Repeat this and eventually you will be taking bigger steps. 

Doing anything new is going to be uncomfortable, so stop thinking it’s supposed to feel different. Reframe being uncomfortable by telling yourself, “I’m uncomfortable because I’m growing. I’m doing something new and exciting.”   

Third, write out & celebrate the small wins. 

What I’m talking about here are the baby steps that happen one by one and day by day. The incremental victories that are so small we often overlook them. 

It turns out that those little victories are a huge untapped source of motivation. Basically, it all comes down to something called “completion bias.” As humans, we are essentially hard-wired to get high off completion. 

What happens is that when your brain recognizes a task as complete, it releases dopamine, which makes you feel pleasure, which makes you want to repeat that behavior again and again. 

And what researchers have found is that this completion bias makes us predisposed to want to focus on quick, easy-to-finish tasks, as opposed to longer, more challenging, complex tasks. We like quick tasks because we like to get that little hit of completion, and we like to get it fast. 

Let’s say your goal is to write a book, then your metric might be words written per day Or, if you’re doing customer service, you’d write down the name of each person that you helped today on a post-it and stick them all up on the wall behind your computer. Track your wins, ESPECIALLY the small ones. 

Celebrate in a way that is meaningful and significant to you. Maybe use a win jar, where you keep thank you notes, write a compliment you got or a small win on a post it. Continue to remind yourself you are talented, worthy, skilled, and capable.

Fourth, get an accountability partner; someone you can share your wins with and who can hold you accountable to your goals and a healthy mindset.

Having a community to cheer you on is so valuable. The best way to create accountability is to take that promise you made to yourself about your goal and externalize it — so that you are not the only one invested in your success.

The fact of the matter is: humans are social animals. And the need to feel a connection to other people, and the need to feel a sense of belonging drives everything that we do. 

We don’t like to let people down. This is why people are more likely to run regularly if they join a running group, it’s why they’re more likely to lose weight if they join Weight Watchers, and it’s why they’re more likely to quit drinking if they join AA. 

It’s an incredibly powerful motivator for us when we feel like we will be celebrated when we achieve our goal. Or… let’s be honest, when we know we will feel guilty if we don’t achieve our goal. But we’re all driven by the desire to deliver on our promises to others. 

Don’t simply accept those self-sabotaging thoughts. You have control over them and how you choose to move forward. I know this sounds dramatic, but it’s true. If you follow these 4 strategies, you will change your life one baby step at a time. 

When you realize that you won’t die from letting go of things you thought you needed, you will be able to pursue things that are healthier for you. As you learn to let go, your self-esteem and self-confidence will grow.

Letting go is so hard because we allow our default thoughts to keep us stuck. The more we can simply watch our thoughts come and go without attaching our identity to them, the easier letting go becomes.

Thoughts are nothing more than thoughts. What we decide to do with them is what can either make us or break us.

Letting go requires you to release all doubt, worry, and fear about a situation, person or outcome.

Letting go is about accepting what is happening right now and not worrying about what will come up tomorrow.

Learning to let go is not as difficult as you might think. But it does take some courage and determination. Here are 5 Steps you can take to start letting go.

1. Stop Blaming Others

We often blame others for our misfortunes. We feel we’re the victim of others’ injustices. While this may be the case, we cannot waste our lives waiting for other people to repair the harm they did to us. They may be unwilling, or even unable.

2. Make a Decision to Let Go

Letting go is a choice to decide that you will no longer ruminate on things that are out of your control, and focus on what you can control, instead.

It would help if you put that decision in writing. Write a statement like, “I have decided to let go of ________. I realize that holding on to this is preventing me from growing and being happy.” You can expand on this by listing more of the benefits you’ll receive, and how you look forward to a new chapter in your life.

Once you’ve written your decision statement, print it and post it some place where you’ll see it every day. Also, copy it by hand in a notebook regularly, such as once a day until you are certain you won’t go back. This will ingrain it in your subconscious mind, and the new behavior will begin to manifest itself naturally.

3. Trust That You’ll Be Okay

One of the reasons we hold on to things is that we think we need them to survive. Remember, letting go is the release of our mental and emotional fixation on something. It is not a physical letting go. 

Trust that you’ll be okay. If you have to, lean on a friend. Your experience isn’t unique. Chances are that many other people have gone through the same experience, and they’ve survived. You don’t have to go through a detachment by yourself. You are not alone.

4. Forgive

To truly let go and move on, sometimes you have to forgive people who aren’t even sorry. Sometimes you have to accept an apology you’ll never receive. That takes so much strength and courage and humility. While it may seem unfair and backwards, sometimes, that’s how the chips will fall.

There’s nothing worse than holding onto resentment about someone or something for years, while they happily move on with life. And the reality is, doing this only hurts you. The most important thing is that we also have to learn to forgive ourselves.

This can be done by writing a letter to yourself, replacing self-loathing with self-compassion, and deciding to make better choices next time.

5. Learn the Lesson and Move On

Life is a series of experiences that are meant to teach us important lessons. When we refuse to let go of something, it is because we refuse to see what life is trying to teach us. As a result, we feel stuck.

When you’re having trouble letting go of something, ask yourself, “what can I learn from this experience?” The answer may not be revealed to you immediately. But when it is, you’ll be able to let go, and move on with your life.

Everyday we have a choice to keep holding on just a little bit longer, or choose that today is the day we will finally let go.

If you like this, you’ll love this free guide.

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

If left to simmer, fear turns to paralyzing self-doubt. There is the fear of not fitting in, of being ostracized, of disappointing others, of failure or even success. 

I’m here to tell you that a life that is exciting, joyful and meaningful, is on the other side of that fear.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

I mean it. Really take some time to answer that question. 

And when you find your answers, go out and plan to do exactly what you are afraid of doing.

We allow ourselves to be caged in by fear, the tiger in our mind that keeps us within the boundaries of our comfort zone. But fear, like any other emotion is just a feeling. It’s not pleasant, but if you can lean into its discomfort, you will discover endless new possibilities for yourself.

Life is short. It truly is. This past year has been a painful reminder to all of us. You may think you have time. That there will be a day that you will not be scared, and then you’ll do it.

But here’s the thing, that day will not come. The only way you will stop being afraid and stop doubting yourself is by doing exactly what you are afraid of. Stop waiting.

Ask yourself, is what I’m scared of really that important? In the bigger picture of it all, does it really matter?

The answer is no. If you focus on “why” the thing you’re afraid to do is important, you get to choose. 

Why is it important for you to ask for a promotion & get a raise? 

To feed your family, to take vacations, to get out of debt? 

Are those things more important than your fear of your boss saying no? 

Remember it’s not about your fear. A mantra I use, when I’m stuck at this point of choice, is NAM – Not About Me. It’s not about me and my fears. It’s about taking care of my family. 

It’s a heavy weight to carry around living your life dictated by the limitations of the imagined fears in your head. 

It is not about the absence of fear, but a way of using the fear as a compass to guide you in the right direction, knowing that whatever comes your way, you’ll deal with it. 

If you’re scared of something, then it very likely is the one thing that you should be doing. And each and every time you do this, you grow in ways you never thought possible. 

If you really knew and understood your time here was limited, would that change your perspective on your fears? If you knew you only had another 5 years, would that change things? A year? A month? A week? 

We allow ourselves to hide under the comfortable blanket of certainty. But in the end, it won’t matter. It won’t matter that you failed at something. Get real. We all do. It comes with being human. It won’t matter that it took you longer than expected or that you didn’t do the best job of it, or that you never even succeeded.  

What matters is that you succeed in life. And with that I mean, that you tried, you learned, you grew, you lived, you loved, and in some way made a difference in someone’s day.

So what are you afraid of? And what step can you take to do exactly that? What challenge can you set for yourself, big or small?

If you like this, you’ll love this free guide.

Grab it now. It’ll help you find your “why”.

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

Now, if you’re a productivity fan, you love shortcuts, right? What if I told you, it’s not about all those quick get-it-done hacks? 

Today’s productivity advice (and the whole work ethic, for that matter) is missing an essential human component. It misses a person with a body, feelings and emotions at the center of the productivity system. 

Modern productivity and success advice is presented in a way that if anyone tries it, it will always work. If it doesn’t, then the person is probably lazy or lacks willpower. Nothing less is acceptable.

Soul crushing, right?

Here’s the secret. 

At the center of it all is “you”. All productivity, performance and success start with you. 

You may have all the motivation and all the best of intentions. Heck, you may even have a plan.

But if you don’t trust yourself, you can’t make decisions and you don’t believe you are capable.

You can’t count on yourself to do what you want and need to do. So you make excuses. You procrastinate. You start, but you don’t finish. Or you never start. 

It is simple. Who would have known?

It’s about trusting yourself.

It’s about trusting yourself to handle whatever shows up.

When you begin to really trust yourself, it’s all about you connecting with the real you, being able to trust yourself more and follow your own inner wisdom.

When you start to trust yourself, you see that you can drop all of the prepping to be perfect. There are so many ways you can save hundreds of hours every year once you trust yourself more.

That all sounds great, but how do we trust ourselves?

It’s called simple discipline.

Simple discipline is the practice of making and keeping promises to yourself.

Most of us struggle with consistency. We tell ourselves, “I didn’t do that thing before, why would this time be any different?” We give up before we ever get started because we don’t trust ourselves.
 
If we can keep promises to ourselves, then we can keep promises that we are making everywhere else in our lives. 

These promises are the foundation of our daily lives, which is the foundation for our goals and dreams. 

The only way to change the big things in your life is to change the small things first — your daily habits, your morning routine, your evening ritual and everything in between.

Here are some small promises my clients and I have made and kept. 
1. Make your bed.

2. Start each morning with a cup of tea or warm lemon water.

3. Don’t look at your phone until you are dressed and ready to start your day.

4. Stretch immediately after getting out of bed. (If you wake up anxious or overwhelmed, this helps move that through and out of your body.)

5. Review tomorrow’s calendar and to-do’s after dinner.
 
6. Lay out your work-out clothes the night before. (This will help with getting you to actually work-out!)

7. Do a 5-10 minute guided meditation before bed.

8. Write down one thing you’re grateful for before you go to bed.

Now it’s your turn.

Make one small promise to yourself that you will keep every single day. And, no, you won’t get it perfect. When you miss a day, give yourself grace, and start again tomorrow.

Remember, you’ve probably doubted yourself your entire life. Building self-trust isn’t a quick thing. Frequency and consistency of keeping small promises to yourself will speed it up.
 
Oh, did I mention, when you trust yourself, you build confidence? When you’re more confident you take action. When you take action you are more productive.

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

How we set-up our day determines how we end our day.

It’s so common for many of us to hit the snooze button everyday.

The amount of sleep you get never feels like enough, so you use your snooze button to tack on an extra 10, 20, 30 minutes… whatever you can squeeze in.

Those stolen minutes — as delicious as they seem — aren’t worth it. 

I’ve heard you should get up as soon as your alarm rings — but why is hitting that snooze button bad for you? Turns out this habit is counterintuitive; instead of giving us a little more rest, it makes us more tired during the day.

Contrary to what you might think, those spurts of sleep between alarms won’t leave you feeling more rested. You’re basically oscillating between sleep and wakefulness without reaching deep, restorative sleep, which takes longer than just a few minutes to enter, according to Xue Ming, a professor of neurology at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, who specializes in sleep disorders.

The body needs some time to get you ready to wake up. When you let yourself go back to sleep, your body thinks, “False alarm! I guess I didn’t need to do anything, because we’re not getting up after all,” and settles in.

When that buzzer goes off a second time, your body and brain are taken by surprise, resulting in that groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling called sleep inertia. The more you snooze, the more confused your body and brain get (“So are we going back to sleep or not?!”), so you’ll probably feel more out of it even though you actually spent extra time in bed.

What’s more, this groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling can persist for up to two to four hours.

This sleep inertia leads to difficulty getting our day started. It’s harder to get in the zone and focus. Our attention span is shorter throughout day. We get cranky more easily and we give up on ourselves. 

At day’s end, we feel like garbage because we didn’t get our stuff done and then we repeat the snooze button habit all over again.

The answer here is simple. Set your alarm for the time you really want to get up. When your alarm goes off, GET UP! 

A simple answer doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a simple habit to break. Tell yourself before you go to bed that you are going to get up when your alarm goes off. Then when it goes off in the morning, count down 5-4-3-2-1 and GET UP.

It literally, takes our brain 5 seconds to talk us out of doing the thing we promised ourselves we’d do. Counting backwards and then taking action will interrupt your habit brain. 

Think about how great it will feel to NOT be in a brain fog for hours. Think about how much more you’ll be able to accomplish. Think about how good you’ll feel at the end of the day.

If you liked this grab your free Productivity Guide here.

When we are stressed and anxious we usually fall into one or more behavior traps that keep us stuck. We repeat these things over and over. Most of the time we don’t even know we are doing these things. They have become our habit and our way of protecting ourselves.

These are the most common go-to behaviors when our anxiety is triggered and what you can do instead.

1. PROCRASTINATION

Procrastination is a way of avoiding the thing that is stressful for you. This keeps you from doing the things you want and need to do and you likely beat yourself up for procrastinating. 

What to do instead:

When your procrastination has been triggered, ask yourself, “What am I avoiding? Can I avoid it forever or will I have to do it eventually?”

Most likely, you’re going to have to do it at some point.  You get to choose if you step into this zone of being uncomfortable now or later. Choose now so you can get it over with and you can stop thinking and stressing about it.  

If you are second-guessing yourself and you’re not sure what your first or next step is, talk it out with a friend or co-worker. The fear of “I don’t know what to do” can be solved quickly.

Now go do the darn thing! You got this!

2. WORRYING 

When you feel anxious, you think about everything that can go wrong. You stay stuck in the worry and cannot take action. 99.9% of the things you are worrying about will never happen. It feels so huge in your head though. Worrying creates stress in your body and leads to full blown anxiety. Do you wake in the middle of the night worrying about things? It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? 

The fact is, that never, ever, ever has a problem been solved by worrying.  

Here’s how to break the worry cycle:

Ask yourself, “What do I have control over?” Then decide what action you can take in that space of control. Worrying is NOT an action. 

Once you see there is something you can do, go do it! There is nothing more powerful over our minds than taking action and proving all our worry thoughts wrong. 

3. PERFECTIONISM 

Did you know that perfectionism is the greatest form of procrastination? It helps us avoid the things that make us anxious. Perfect does NOT exist, which means you will never finish that thing you’re working on. You may never even get started.

Perfectionism is a trap, fooling us into thinking that we have such high standards for ourselves and that’s a good thing. Wrong! It holds us back from learning and growing. If you’ve ever heard of the growth mindset, you know what I’m talking about. When you adopt a growth mindset you don’t think about getting it all right. You think about what is this “try” going to teach me, so the next time I “try” I’ll be smarter. 

Here’s what you can do:

When you find yourself trying to get it perfect, ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that will happen if this is B+ work instead of A+ work? Will anyone but me really notice?” Probably not. Approach each thing you are avoiding as an opportunity to learn something new. If this mindset is foreign to you, check out Carol Dweck’s book Mindset – The New Psychology of Success.

4. STRESS EATING 

When you’re feeling anxious food comforts you. Well, it comforts you in the moment. But later you most likely regret that emotional eating. We all have our comfort foods. The biggest problem with this behavior is it is such an auto-pilot response we don’t even notice it. 

Here’s what you can do:

Before you grab something and put it in your mouth ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” If not, exit the kitchen and go get busy for 10 minutes. Your desire to comfort yourself with food will most likely go away.  Try some deep breathing.

And this next one is the most powerful…get up and move! Anxiety isn’t just an emotion. It sits in our body as muscle aches, a racing heart, a heavy heart, sweaty palms etc. When you move, you help the anxiety move through and out of your body. Give it a try.

If you’re not sure which of the above behaviors is your default, go take this quick 5 question quiz to find out.

Most of us dream our dreams and leave this world never having lived those dreams. I don’t know about you, but this year has taught me there is no time to waste in actively pursuing our dreams. 

Pursuing our dreams can be scary. It means we most likely have to go out of our comfort zone. It takes courage. 

What do you think courage is? 

When I ask this question, I get answers like; “It means being brave or fearless.” 

Here’s the truth about courage. 

Courage does not mean that you are NOT afraid. Quite the opposite. It’s the ability to take action when you feel afraid or uncertain. It’s taking action even when you are afraid. Courage is what will make you say yes to things in spite of your feelings about it. Confidence says, I know what I’m doing. Courage says, I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’ll try anyway. 

As I was watching a video from Mel Robbins, it hit me why our dreams are never lived, left sitting quietly on the horizon. 

The dream is free and EASY. But the goals you need to achieve in order to live those dreams come at a cost; time, effort, money. Goals are HARD. We need courage to do hard things.

So what’s the difference between dreams and goals. 

Dreams: 

  1. Are really big, inspiring and motivating.
  2. Should be made public. You should talk about them. Research shows that when you talk about your dreams, you feel more inspired to go after them.
  3. Never have a timeline or an expiration date. None of this, “by the time I’m 30” stuff.
  4. Are EASY
    E- Energized: You should feel it in your body
    A-Aspirational: A dream is a hope or ambition that makes you feel bigger. You know? That you’re up to something bigger than the small stuff in your everyday life. 
    S-Spacious: When you think about this dream, there is something that expands. It could be in your spirituality, your physicality, your consciousness, your purpose or the impact you’re making, 
    Y-Yours:  Your dreams don’t have to make sense to anyone else. Dreams are easy because they are yours. Not someone else’s expectations. 

Goals: 

  1. Need to be made small so you can take action.
  2. Should be kept private. When you talk about your goals, you’ve tricked your brain into thinking you’ve already achieved something, which makes you less likely to work at it. This is new to me. But there’s science behind it. 
  3. Needs to have a deadline and be measured for completion. It creates urgency and importance in your mind in terms of getting them done. 
  4. Are HARD
    H – Habit: Something you’re going to do over and over until you achieve the goal.
    A-Action: Just thinking about the darn thing isn’t going to make it happen. Goals require focus and consistent action. 
    R- Reachable: Goals have to be realistic. You can’t lose 100 lbs in a week, but you could lose 3 lbs in a week. You have to believe it in order to go for it. 
    D- Do it anyway: Yes, even if it’s hard. You have to stay in action. 

We know a dream without a goal is just a dream. 

We also know, goals without a dream are not just HARD but EXTRAORDINARILY HARD! We need the motivation and inspiration of the dream to propel us forward.

If your dream isn’t motivation enough, you need to understand why this dream is important to you.

What are you afraid of in pursuit of this dream?

Fear of failure? Fear of rejection?

Fear of success?

What is so amazing about living this dream that is so much greater than your fear? 

When you find your why, you find your courage. You will pursue your dream even though you are afraid. You’ll know that living your dream is so much more powerful than living your fear. 

If you liked this, learn more about how to find your courage in my free guide:
The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It & Build Real Confidence

We are all ready for 2020 to be over. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our first instinct is to write off this past year. It was full of loss, grief, challenges, and struggles. It was also full of new ideas, new connections, new ways of working, new ways of schooling, new ways of being and thinking.

We are all forever changed by 2020. What are you going to carry into 2021? If you’ve already jumped on the New Years band wagon of setting goals or God forbid made a New Years resolution, I urge you to take a step back.

First of all, resolutions don’t work. Don’t waste your time.

Start here and I’ll get you to the next step in my next article.

Deal?

Deal!

Great!

We all need goals. You can set them at any time. There is nothing magical about a new year. Every day is a new start.

The number one mistake we make when setting goals is we jump into the future. We make goals for the future without having looked at this past year. You have to take a moment to take a look back before you can look ahead.

You have to get grounded in the present moment. What are the mistakes you made? What are the lessons you learned? What were the things that were amazing?

If you don’t take a moment to assess where you’ve been, there is no way you’re going to set the right goals for the next year. Where are you right now? Start where you are.

Find a quiet spot to reflect and journal on these 8 questions.

TIP 1: Look back on photos from the past year. We have a cognitive bias to remember the bad stuff and forget the good. Look on your social media or camera roll and get a complete picture of your 2020.

TIP 2: Grab your calendar or planner. Thumb through it to remind yourself of commitments you kept, projects you worked on, people you connected with.

Here we go:

  1. What were the highlights of this year?
  2. What did you learn about yourself that surprised you?
  3. What was the hardest aspect of this year?
  4. What lesson(s) did you learn that you’re going to take into next year?
  5. What’s one thing that you’ll commit to NOT going back to?
  6. What’s one thing you started doing this year that you want to keep doing?
  7. In what ways are you stronger now than you were at the beginning of 2020? What wisdom are you bringing into next year?
  8. What are you most proud of that happened this year?
    BONUS QUESTION:
  9. What did you lose that turned out to be a blessing?

Once you have this clarity of where you are right now, you’ll know what you want your goals to be for next year.

Clarity is the first step to building confidence. Grab your free guide: The Habit of Self-Doubt; Crush it and Build Real Confidence

We might not always have a firm grasp of confidence, but we know it when we see it. We know it because we feel it, and we know what it feels like to be around it. Which is one reason the definition of confidence can be so hard to pin down. Confidence is really an experience—both of ourselves and of other people.

We also know when we don’t feel it. In the presence of an insecure person—or, even more telling, a person pretending to be confident—we not only notice their lack of confidence, but also their shaky attempts to compensate for it.

The concept of fake-it-til-you-make-it gets you only so far. When we fake-it, our confidence can appear quite strong, only to crumble in the face of struggle, criticism or failure. In those moments, it seems like confidence is nothing more than a fleeting feeling, a passing belief in our own power, a temporary reprieve between periods of self-doubt.

It is in these moments of self-doubt that we become vulnerable. Our lack of confidence broadcasts to the world how susceptible we really are.

In an increasingly complex world, confidence is one of the greatest weapons we can develop. 

Confidence manifests in a number of highly visible ways: our body language, tone of voice, verbal cues and micro-decisions. No matter how hard we try, we can’t really hide how we feel about ourselves. We broadcast our weaknesses wherever we go.

We wear our lack of confidence like a badge, and that badge unconsciously tells the world how to treat us.

Unfortunately, there will always be people ready to capitalize on those weaknesses. In some cases, that vulnerability will invite trouble in relatively varying ways from a shifty cab driver offering us a ride off the meter to a manipulative family member controlling our happiness and resources, or a power-hungry manager exploiting us in the workplace. 

Even worse is that predators look for people who are meek, mild, weak, unfocused, and distracted. “Criminals are looking for easy pickings. They’re looking for someone who they can take by surprise and will likely not resist,” says Jean O’Neil, director of research and evaluation for the National Crime Prevention Council.

She suggests presenting yourself in a confident assertive manner. When walking down the street, make eye contact with people who look at you. O’Neil says that signals the would-be offender that you are confident, in charge and aware that they are there. 

If you take a moment to think back, you can probably remember a time you were taken advantage of in a moment of low confidence. That wasn’t an accident. It was your degree of confidence at the time that exposed you to that situation, and it was your relationship to your confidence that determined how well you handled it.

The outcome of that experience might have taught you a lesson and increased your confidence in the future. Or it might have confirmed what you subconsciously believe about yourself and left you vulnerable to a similar scenario down the road.

So in addition to enhancing our work and character, confidence also helps protect us, physically and emotionally. That’s why working on it matters so much. We aren’t just talking about style and appearances. We’re talking fundamentally about who we are, how we present ourselves in the world, and how the world will treat us in return.

Grab your free guide:

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

As a remote worker, you often have flexibility with your work schedule, but it’s easy to get sucked into just one more hour when you’re already at home and aren’t facing a commute. 

If you’re serious about leaving work behind at the end of the day to maximize your free time, set office hours—and stick to them.

Meetings usually get us going at a pretty decent hour in the morning. The problem is the end of the day. If we don’t set a quitting time, we’ll just keep on working. Worse is when our colleagues figure that out and start calling us after “normal work hours.”  

Committing to and communicating your quitting time can be a game changer. Here’s the thing. You have to honor it Every. Single. Day. 

3 Benefits of Setting a Work End Time 

#1 When you set your quitting time you activate Parkinson’s Law – the adage that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” In other words, any project that you have expands to the amount of time you have to give it.

If you’re in school and you got a paper due in 2 weeks, how long is it going to take you to write it? 2 weeks.

But if you only have 20 minutes to write this paper, how long is it going to take you to write it.? 20 minutes. 

It expands or shrinks to the amount of time you have.

When you set your quitting time, it shrinks the amount of time you have to screw around and you become more productive.

#2 If you need to work extra hours on a certain project, having a set quitting time forces you to consider starting your day early in order to finish on time. It’s often preferable to get “extra” work out of the way in the morning when the day is just getting going than at night when your overtime will cut into family activities or after-work leisure. 

#3 You’re more likely to Find Your Third Space

If you’re new to remote work, chances are that you love not having a commute. But one of the benefits of a commute is that it’s a transition between your work and personal life, during which you can let go of the stresses of the workday and get ready to transition to your non-work activities.

This third space acts as an essential bridge between work and home relaxation. It helps prepare you for the mental shift you need to go from employee to parent, spouse, partner, or friend, and enables you to show up in your personal life calm, present, and ready to roll.

When working from home, though, it’s easy to skip this transition entirely. After all, the walk from your home office to your living room likely isn’t going to cut it when it comes to clearing your mental palette. You can easily build in a third space transition to your day by:

  • Creating a commute. Take a daily after work mind-cleansing drive or walk to a park or your local coffee shop.
  • Working out. Going to the gym or for a run outside gives you an outlet for any pent-up stress and time to decompress.
  • Taking your dog for a walk. When you’ve been inside all day, your canine friend probably has been, too, and would appreciate the fresh air.
  • Practicing mindfulness. If physically leaving your house (and workspace) isn’t possible, simply taking a few minutes to meditate, do yoga, or otherwise quiet your mind can be a calming transition.

Whatever you choose, avoid throwing yourself immediately into household chores after your workday (unless they relax you). A peaceful, grounding activity at the end of your day will help you refocus your brain.

What’s your quitting time? Who needs to know? What can you do to enforce it?

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

If what you’re doing in your life or work is not leading you to the results you desire, this article is for you. You’re about to learn specific ways to take massive action, get more done, and get those big results you desire. 

“Taking action…” seems easy enough, right?  “Just do something!” As you and I both know, it’s not as easy as it sounds!

Managing Your Mind

So much of taking action is about managing your mind.  Here’s the thing, you can understand how to do everything, you can study all the material, but until you understand that what you think about is going to create the emotion that either drives the action or the inaction, you’re never going to take the action.

Did you get that? This is important: What you think about creates the emotion that drives the action or inaction.  If stress, fear, and panic are fueling the action, you’re not going to be able to produce results at the level you want to produce. 

Three Roadblocks that are keeping you from taking massive action.   

#1: YOU’RE STUCK IN THE BURNING HUSTLE

I can remember times, back when I was first starting my business, when I was hustling my butt off. I was all over the place, connecting with different people, working with all kinds of clients, somewhat successful—but the problem was, I wasn’t taking action on the things that could actually take me to a place where I could grow and scale my business. I was hustling. I was tired. But, to some degree, I was really just chasing my tail. 

This is what I call “The Burning Hustle”—a tiring hustle that’s produced by negative emotion: stress, fear, panic…[Insert your own word here!].  

You want to avoid getting into a state of burning hustle, where you may be working hard yet aren’t producing anything. Instead, your goal should be to get to a place of a productive hustle, where results are consistently produced. 

 If you want to produce something, don’t just sit down to “work on something.” Sit down to produce something! 

It’s important to change our language around this. Let’s stop saying, “I’m working on so and so,” and instead say, “I’m producing XYZ,” or “I’m writing a blog post.” See the difference?!  

#2: YOU’RE GIVING YOURSELF TOO MUCH TIME TO GET SOMETHING DONE

Too much time is the enemy. It invites us to procrastinate. We give ourselves too much time to produce a result. 

Let’s look at the projects we need to get done and assign a time frame in which we will get it done. For example: instead of my saying, “I’ll get the blog post written  and uploaded to my website by Wednesday”, I would say, “I will have the blog post written and uploaded to my website in one hour. I’ll sit down and get it done in that hour.” 

When you decide how long something will take and you stick to that, that’s when your production gets huge momentum.

Now, for my fellow perfectionists out there, this can be tough because you’re going to have to embrace the fact that you might produce some B-minus work. I know that’s hard to stomach!

B-minus work can change people’s lives. Work that you don’t produce at all, does nothing in the world. 

When I started my business, everything felt like B-minus work. But you know what? Nobody else cared about that. 

When I got an email from a client who told me she had made significant positive changes in her life as a result of our coaching together,  she made me realize that had I not launched my business until it was A-plus, that her life would never have been affected.

That was when I decided that I’m ok with B-minus work—because I know my business will still have a positive impact and help others produce good results. You’ll have to decide for yourself as to what level of work you are ok with. 

#3: YOU’RE AVOIDING FAILURE AND DISCOMFORT

Of course, no one loves failure and discomfort; but the truth is, if we’re going to learn and grow, there are going to be moments of failure and times where we will need to step outside of our comfort zone.

Our brains are literally wired to avoid any kind of failure. And usually the only way to be successful at whatever it is that’s important to you, is to fail repeatedly. 

So what do we do?! 

First, we have to reframe failure. Maya Angelou sums up the reframe best:

“Each time I miss my mark, I learn something, I take that as my reward.” — Maya Angelou

Lastly, we have to show our brains that we are not going to die because of discomfort and failure. We need to learn the process to move into discomfort, and then get comfortable with that discomfort.

If you’re in a holding pattern about anything, move. Take the first step to stop the stall. Write an email, initiate a difficult conversation. Disempower your fear by leaning into it. Action is the proof our brains need to get comfortable with discomfort. 

Grab your free guide:

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

It’s easy to assume that most of us are facing difficult times this Thanksgiving. You may be without a job, have an illness, or be feeling lonely and anxious among many other things. When going through difficult times, it’s harder to see the good that exists amidst our troubles. But practicing gratitude during a difficult time can genuinely help.

By being more grateful for what we do have, we can increase our happiness by 25% according to University of California Psychology Professor Dr. Robert Emmons, author of the book, Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier. He says that gratitude is one of the few things that can change people’s lives in a measurable way.

He sums up his research on gratitude’s effects: 

“We have discovered that a person who experiences gratitude is able to cope more effectively with everyday stress, may show increased resilience in the face of trauma-induced stress, and may recover more quickly from illness and benefit from greater physical health.” 

We don’t have total control over our emotions. We cannot easily will ourselves to feel grateful, less depressed, or happy.”

But, there’s a distinction between feeling grateful and being grateful. While we might not feel grateful during a difficult time, we can be grateful. We can choose gratitude. We can choose a grateful perspective.

When disaster strikes, as it has over and over again in 2020, gratitude provides a perspective from which we can view life as a whole and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances. 

In short, gratitude can be our raft.

Here are four ideas to practice gratitude when stress and chaos strike.

#1 Count your current blessings.  

Think about what you’re currently struggling with and identifying the area of your life that it’s affecting. Next, think about all the other areas of your life where you’re not struggling. Maybe you’re struggling with a work issue, so you think about your good health and your happy home life. Then reflect on all the things that are going right.

#2 Consider what’s way worse. 

Name what’s currently upsetting you, and then come up with a situation (or two) that’s a whole lot worse. Your worst-case scenario could be completely absurd or funny (or not). Let’s use the example of a difficult boss. 

  • Your whole team now consists of several versions of your boss.
  • Your boss follows you home and now lives with you. All. The. Time.
  • You lose your job, and your boss goes everywhere with you and nitpicks everything you do.

#3 Hunt for the positive. 

This is a great way to engage your imagination and invite some play into your life—during a time you likely need it most. Find at least three positive things, three times a day for an entire week. And all these things have to be different. But they can be small. Even tiny. For instance, you might be grateful that a stranger held the door for you, you got to savor a hot cup of coffee, or your favorite shirt was clean after all.

#4 Express Your Gratitude

Expressing gratitude to our loved ones and to strangers every day can be uplifting for both the giver and receiver. We are often so consumed with our daily routines and obligations that we may take people for granted and if we stopped to say thanks, we can make someone’s day.

Our perspective for the people who might be in need of some thankfulness has shifted this year. How long have we taken our teachers, bus drivers, truck drivers, delivery drivers, grocery store workers, healthcare workers, and so many other front-line workers for granted? We can deliver a huge boost of positive energy to them simply by expressing our gratitude. 

When you’re going through a difficult time, it’s important to honor your feelings. Honor your pain, hurt, confusion, anger, and fear. And adjust your perspective. Because even in the midst of the worst kinds of losses, there can be love and even laughter. And for that we can be grateful.

If you liked this, download your free guide: Mindset Reset Using the Emoji Technique