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Coach Carlene

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

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. 

Have you snatched up your free guide?

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. 

If you like to know how to feel more confident, grab your free guide here.

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.

If you liked this, grab your free guide:

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

How often do you put yourself first?

If you can’t put yourself first, first thing in the morning, then when can you?

You deserve to spend time on yourself and put your needs first for the simple fact that you exist. Believing that is the first step toward building self-worth and confidence.

One of the best ways to put yourself first is to create a Morning Routine or Ritual, where you spend time doing something just for you.

Committing to a daily morning ritual helps you build self-worth by declaring that this is your time, and you deserve to do something for yourself.

Morning routines are all the buzz on the internet and social media. 

There’s good reason for this. Morning routines are made up of rituals and set the tone for your day. Having a solid and intentional morning routine is the KEY to being happy, successful and confident.

Rituals change our brain chemistry. They signal that it’s time for something to happen. Having routines and rituals for putting our kids down at night is a perfect example.

Our kids count on taking that warm bubble bath, brushing their teeth and reading a book with us. Maybe you have a favorite saying like, “Love you to the moon and back.” Or maybe you rub their back for 5 minutes. Whatever it is, these rituals trigger your kids’ brain telling them it’s time for bed. 

So what do rituals have to do with confidence?

First, rituals are always there for us. We can pull them out whenever we need them. Mostly, we do them without even thinking about it.

Second, it is an important way of showing up for ourselves. It tells you that YOU can count on YOU. Keeping promises to ourselves is a huge confidence boost. 

Third, the ritual of NOT doing certain things is just as critical to our state of mind as the things we are doing. 

Science has shown rituals and routines have a direct impact on our confidence.

Researchers theorize that routines help focus our attention, limit distractions, help to “trigger” behaviors we’ve practiced in advance, as well as generally help us feel optimistic, energized and confident.

Having a great day starts with how you wake up. And the best way to make sure your start your day off right is by sticking to a morning routine that makes you feel empowered and in control. 

That doesn’t mean you to need to wake at 4am or block off hours of your morning. All it means is getting intentional with your time and prioritizing what YOU need in order to have a successful day.

Start with one of these 5 rituals that I practice every morning. Give it 30 days and then add in another. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do them all at once.

1. Self Before Cell

At night, put your phone across the room or better yet in another room. You’ll be less tempted to look at it in the middle of the night. 

Now, commit to not looking at it for the first 30 minutes of your day. That’s right. Think about it this way: would you let 100 people into your bedroom first thing in the morning? What about 1,000? 

That’s essentially what you’re doing when you’re checking emails or scrolling through social media first thing every day. You’re letting everyone else, and their needs come first. 

You’re also looking at everyone’s perfect vacations, cute puppy dogs, perfect friends and family and now you feel like garbage about your life. 

Now your day is defined by that instead of how you are actually feeling when you wake up. 

You deserve a few minutes every morning before you let the world in that’s just for you.

2. Start by making your bed every morning.

Yes, I make my bed even when I’m at a hotel. When you make your bed in the morning it will automatically make you feel productive since you just completed something. And doesn’t it look nice?! You can throw your covers over the wrinkled sheets, it doesn’t have to be perfect. 

One small task can make a huge difference in making you feel more confident to start your day.

3. Morning Journal

Get present, journal and plan your day.

Ask yourself these 3 questions, it will help you set an inspired intention for the day.

  • What’s one thing you want to work on today that matters to you?
  • Who are you going to be today?
  • What are 3 things I’m grateful for that occurred in the last few days.

They can be small (how someone smiled at you in the grocery store), big (a promotion), or anything that comes to mind. As you think of each of these things, notice how the joy feels in your body as you reflect on your gratitude. 

4. Care for your body

There are a number of things you can do to help your body wake up in the morning. If our bodies aren’t on board, it’s hard to get our day started with confidence. First, drink at least 8 ounces of water. By hydrating first thing in the morning, especially upon waking up dehydrated, we can reduce hunger throughout the day and reduce the potential onset of headaches. Next, do some gentle stretching. It only needs to take 5-10 minutes. This will help increase flexibility, improve mobility, and also flush out toxins. 

5. High Five Yourself

Life is hard enough, so stop being so hard on yourself. If you want the life you dream about, you HAVE to be your own greatest cheerleader.

You’ve been talking to yourself negatively for so long, and it’s gotten you nowhere. It’s impossible to grow and push yourself if your inner voice is telling you you’re not good enough. 

You weren’t born doubting yourself. Life did that to you. And if your brain can learn how to criticize, it can learn how to cheer.

So, what’s the easiest way to start cheering for yourself? Give yourself a high five every time you pass a mirror.

It’s going to feel silly at first – but trust me. It’s shockingly powerful. It creates positive change at the neural pathway level of your brain. I can almost guarantee you will start to feel a difference in your mood, your attitude, and your energy.

If you want to learn more about cultivating confidence, grab your free guide:

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

Ever feel like it takes you forever to get things done? You’re working hard, but you easily spend all day working on something that you could’ve gotten done in a couple hours. I mean, you know that other people would have done it much faster than you.

Sooooo frustrating, right?

What the heck is going on?

I started keeping notes from my clients sessions and found the ONE thing that slooowwws them down is not being able to get “unstuck” when they hit a roadblock. 

Couple that with the ability to hyperfocus and you are stuck for a looooong time.

Hyperfocus refers to an intense fixation on an interest or activity for an extended period of time. People who experience hyperfocus often become so engrossed they block out the world around them. If you have ADHD you’ve probably experienced hyperfocus when working intently on things that interest you.

At its best, hyperfocus is what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow” — a state of mind in which you are so immersed in a task that you become (not to sound too far out) one with it. PET scans have shown that the hyperfocusing brain literally “lights up” with activity and pleasure.

At its worst, hyperfocus becomes a trance-like state in which you do the same pointless act over and over again. A student who creates flash cards for an upcoming test, for instance, may spend hours decorating them instead of studying. With hyperfocus, you can easily lose all sense of time and perspective.

Staying stuck has its consequences. 

Physically you may experience your muscles tightening or getting a headache. 

It stresses you out. You become frustrated.

This all zaps your confidence and you tell yourself you’ll never be able to get anything done. And we know where that leads. In the future, you use this as the reason to not even bother getting started. Yikes!

The trick is to have a system in place for when you get stuck. Ahhh, but you cannot get unstuck if you are hyper-focused on a problem.

Two things that will speed up your productivity:

  1. Know how to keep yourself out of hyperfocus and break it if you go there.
  2. Have a doable plan to problem solve and get unstuck.

Here we go.

Let’s manage your hyperfocus. 

  • Set a timer for 20 minutes. Before you sit down to do your work, set that timer. If you get into hyperfocus, this will help break the spell. If after 20 minutes, you are not stuck yet, set it for another 20 minutes. Keep this pattern going until you are done with your work. 
  • Take short 5 minute breaks between your 20 minute sprints. 
  • Take inventory of your progress at the end of each 20 minute sprint. Have you moved forward?  Are you closer to being done? If not, what’s the problem? You’re most likely stuck.

Asking for help is one of the most courageous things you can do.

Now let’s make and use a plan to problem solve and get unstuck. 

  • Take a break. Get up, stretch, go to another room, go outside. So many times, when we go back to the problem, we can see what we need to do because we are seeing it with fresh eyes.
  • Ask for help. Who knows something about what you’re working on? A colleague? Tech support? Call them!
  • Don’t know that expert? Call someone to talk it through. When you talk through the problem the solution is likely to pop up. 
  • If you’re still stuck and your deadline isn’t looming too close, sleep on it

Ever hear of shower thoughts? It’s when we give our brains a break that we have the ability to come up with our most creative solutions. 

Getting stuck happens. Staying stuck is a choice. 

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

I’m not going to tell you how amazing it is to start over or how freeing it feels do something that makes you nervous and doubt yourself. If you’re looking for that you can stop reading.

But if you’re still with me, let me ask you this:

How are you stopping yourself from moving forward?

Signing up for a barre exercise class felt like doing something for the first time for me. It wasn’t. I did barre for years, before the world stopped turning. But returning to that practice made me a beginner again. And I had all the icky feelings of not feeling like enough, doubting I could even get through a class without passing out, and fearing everyone judging me. 

We hate being a beginner. Our habit brains set us up to stay stuck in the fear. Here are two things you can do to move past the fear and start again.

1. Embrace being a beginner, don’t resist it.

I don’t know about you, but I like doing things I’m good at. It’s why I don’t try new things often enough. But when your life gets shaken up, you become a beginner again.

When you embrace the change, you grow. Resist it and your life gets smaller.

Maybe it’s going back to the office or seeing an old group of friends. Maybe it’s exercise, like me.

Whatever is hard for you now will become easier over time.

You may have heard me say that once you start doing the thing that scares you, the fear fades. Let me add this: sometimes it takes a while to fade.

Wherever you are facing a new beginning or getting back to something you love in life, give yourself some grace. It’s normal to be nervous and to doubt yourself. But please, start. Action is the most effective way to eventually moving past the fear. 

2. Affirm yourself, don’t doubt yourself.

One of the most common ways we doubt ourselves is to ask the wrong questions. Wrong questions are disempowering. They immediately change our subconscious thought patterns from positive to negative, or vice versa. They are powerful.

Question: Why can’t I lost weight?
Answer: Because you’re a pig.

Question: Why can’t I do things right?
Answer: Because you’re not smart!

Question: Why am I so broke?
Answer: Because you’re a loser.

Ask a bad question and you’ll get a bad answer. This is how our subconscious mind works. Because the conscious mind programs the subconscious. You can take charge.

Good questions lead to productive answers:

What are the top two things I can do to lose weight?

What is a better way to do this?

What are three things I can do to increase my cashflow?

Asking the right question is empowering.

With the right mindset you can do anything.

What are you going to do now?

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Sometimes we are wasting our time doing things that are holding us back from being productive, happy and successful. And, often we don’t recognize those things until someone points them out. That was so true for me. Then I became an entrepreneur and learned how valuable each second of the day was – that there really wasn’t any time to waste on things that didn’t grow me or my business.

So to get started, here are eight habits I’ve adopted to boost my productivity and keep the momentum going.

Habit 1 – Limit Social Media

Being on social media – checking Facebook notifications, scrolling through pictures on Instagram, reading quick updates on Twitter, whatever – it’s part of everyday life. But if you don’t control how much time you spend on it the hours will fly by and you won’t have accomplished anything on your to-do list.

Either put a time limit on it – set an alarm for when you need to minimize it, close the app, do something else – or only get on after completing necessary work and tasks and use social media as a reward.

Habit 2 – Plan Every Day

Productive people have a purpose, a laser-focused plan of things they want to achieve on a particular day. I believe in writing things down – but only the top two or three things I need to accomplish that day, not a long list of to-do’s. Ask yourself, “What are the 2-3 things that I must get done today and when I look back on my day if I accomplished them, then it was indeed a great day?”

Habit 3 – Stop Doing Emotionally Draining Activities

If you want to create a truly productive life, you have to focus on things that positively fuel your life. Productive people don’t waste their time on things that emotionally drain them.

Before committing to activities on your schedule, be sure it will positively add to your day and life. If you believe it wont, then think about saying no, or not now. Don’t feel like your have to give an answer right when you’re being asked. Follow your gut. Don’t overthink it.

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Did you know perfectionism is one of the biggest confidence killers?

PER-FEC_TION-ISM
Noun
Obsession with “getting it perfect” to avoid criticism and failure.

Raise your hand if you’re a self-proclaimed perfectionist. You too huh?

The pursuit of perfection can be crippling. This perfectionist thinking plagues mostly women.

It’s no wonder perfectionism is linked to numerous negative health effects, including higher rates of anxiety, depression, unhappiness and eating disorders.

One study found perfectionists are 51 percent more likely to die at an earlier age.

That’s crazy to think about. But it’s true.

Perfectionism keeps us stuck in the cycle of self-doubt. As harsh as it sounds, it is an EXCUSE to avoid something we don’t like or we don’t have much confidence around. It keeps us from putting our great ideas and our great selves out into the world.

Perfection paralysis is a trick your mind plays on you in an attempt to keep you safe.

Whenever you are about to put a piece of yourself out in the world (say by starting a business or asking someone out on a date) you form an idea of it in your mind first. You think, “I don’t want to be rejected or judged.” “I don’t want to fail.”

If perfection is your standard, of course you will never be fully confident because the bar is always impossibly high, and you will inevitably and routinely feel inadequate.

Action is the anecdote to self-doubt. Well, here’s the rub. Perfectionism keeps us from taking action. Perfectionism is the greatest form of procrastination.

I’m reminded of an important principle from the science of systems and software design: the good-enough principle.

The principle states that most consumers will use products that are good enough, even if there are more technically advanced options available to them.

This means that in most areas of life, good enough really is good enough. True success is progress towards goals that matter to you.

When you strive for perfection, you are bound to fail, and this can lead to even more self-criticism, turning your mind into your enemy.

By calling on the good-enough principle to reframe your perspective, you are giving yourself permission to fail.

Trust me: You will fail at something along the way. It is only when the pressure of perfection has been removed that you can tap into your inner genius and do your best work.

Next time you find yourself stalling out on an important project, suffering from writer’s block or avoiding asking your cute co-worker out to dinner, remember the good-enough principle and give yourself permission to try.

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

Overthinking is when what you think gets in the way of what you want.

It’s one of the most expensive things in the world because it wastes time, creativity, and productivity. It’s an epidemic of inaction.

Essentially, overthinking is when your brain spins on a thought or an idea for longer than you anticipated. Unfortunately, overthinking tends to lean toward the negative. Left to its own devices, it will naturally gravitate toward things you don’t want to dwell on.

I have to constantly ask myself things like, “Do I want to donate an afternoon of brain space to churn over something dumb I said to a friend three months ago?” What’s worse is if I don’t give it the space to process during the day, it finds a way of creeping into my brain at night and the cycle of insomnia continues.

Thoughts are something you have, not something you hone. We can’t control them, right? That’s why whenever we talk about thinking, we describe it as something outside of us that operates on its agenda:

  • “I got lost in my thoughts.”
  • “My thoughts got away from me.”
  • “She got carried away by her thoughts.”

We treat our thoughts as something we have no control over. If we don’t control our thoughts, then I guess our thoughts control us.

Our brain likes to believe the things it already believes. We’re magnets for information and experiences that confirm the things we already think about ourselves and the world.

If one of your beliefs is that you’re the most disorganized mom ever, then being three minutes late to the after-school pickup line will confirm that. 

Even if that morning you got both kids to school on time, worked a full-time job, planned dinner, and scheduled the carpool for soccer this weekend, your brain will still convince you to ignore any new evidence that doesn’t agree with that engrained belief. 

When you pick the thoughts you listen to the most, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.

Unknown

Now that you know your brain can be a real jerk, do you want to leave your thoughts to chance?

Think about all the opportunities and adventures you’ll miss out on if these sabatoging thoughts, AKA limiting beliefs are in charge of your actions.

How do you know which thoughts to listen to?

Ask yourself these 3 quick questions.

Question 1: Is it true?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming all your thoughts are true. We believe that if it’s in our head, it must be accurate. If I think it, it must be real. 

I promise you’ll be shocked by how many lies you have cluttering up your head. 

Question 2: Is it helpful?

The question “Is it true?” won’t be enough to smoke out the lies in your head. Asking yourself is this thought helpful? Does it move you forward or keep you stuck? Does it lead to a decision or limit a decision? Does it generate action or apathy?

A client of mine, let’s call her Sarah, told me she will never be able to get rid of the clutter in her house. She was raised in a cluttered house and she doesn’t know any other way of living. 

Well, that is not entirely true. Yes, she grew up in a cluttered home. But what is not true is that she will NEVER be able to get rid of clutter in her adult home. 

It is also not helpful. It stops her from taking action. She’s already made up her mind by listening to this thought. 

She can choose another thought. “I can figure this out and ask someone to help me.”

She can make a choice to take one small action of cleaning out one drawer, one closet or one cabinet. 

Question 3: Is it kind? 

Is the thought you’re listening to kind to yourself? After listening to it a few times, do you feel better about yourself? Are you encouraged about your life and opportunities? 

For Sarah, her thought of “I’ll never be able to get rid of the clutter in my home,” is not kind. It tells her she’s not capable. 

Mike Peasley, PhD, asked ten thousand people how overthinking made them feel, 73 percent responded “inadequate.” When asked if overthinking left them feeling drained, 52 percent of people said yes. 

Do you know why overthinking makes you feel inadequate and drained? Because you’ve been listening to unkind thoughts about yourself on repeat.

If you’re still stuck figuring out which thoughts to tune into ask this last question:

Would I say this to a friend?

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