Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Confidence! Why You Need It, Why You May Lack It, and How to Get It!



Confidence. Self-confidence is an attitude which allows individuals to have positive yet realistic views of themselves and their situations. Self-confident people trust their own abilities, have a general sense of control in their lives, and believe that, within reason, they will be able to do what they wish, plan, and expect. Having self-confidence does not mean that individuals will be able to do everything. Self-confident people have expectations that are realistic. Even when some of their expectations are not met, they continue to be positive and to accept themselves.

People who are not self-confident depend excessively on the approval of others in order to feel good about themselves. They tend to avoid taking risks because they fear failure. They generally do not expect to be successful. They often put themselves down and tend to discount or ignore compliments paid to them. By contrast, self-confident people are willing to risk the disapproval of others because they generally trust their own abilities. They tend to accept themselves; they don’t feel they have to conform in order to be accepted.

Confidence is an extremely imperative characteristic to have in the work place. It is essential to have if one wants to achieve success in their field of work. It is especially essential to have in a job that involves sales, interviewing, training, and taking on new responsibilities. However, some people lack confidence. Even some of the people who appear very confident go through ebbs and flows of self-confidence. Where does lack of confidence come from, and how can you overcome it? Below are ten helpful steps separated into two phases…

 
Phase #1: Eliminating Self-doubt

Building self-confidence is a two-phase process. The first phase involves purging yourself of self-doubt; in the second, you build up your confidence. It’s like erecting a skyscraper: First you clear the site and lay a solid foundation, then you stack the superstructure. How high you go--how much confidence you muster--is up to you. Here's a 10-step plan.

 
Step 1. Understand Its Origins

Self-doubt crept into your system as a baby. As toddlers, we all looked at the power our folks had and thought: “Gotta be like them.” This wish isn’t the problem; putting our parents on pedestals is. It’s complex, but from the moment we crave power akin to what we feel our parents have, we continually contrast our sense of self with our ego ideal---an imagined, perfect self, derived from our image of our “super-powerful" parents. Since no one can live up to the standards set by ego ideals, we spend the rest of our lives (to greater or lesser degrees), plagued by doubt. This is irrational, of course, but true.

 
Step 2. Accept It

There’s a school of psychotherapy---called “acceptance therapy”---based on the insight that admitting you suffer from a problem reduces the distress it can cause. (Conversely, denying the existence of a problem, or beating yourself up for having a flaw, is always debilitating.) Everyone, even superstars, feels like a fake or failure at times. We all have imperfections. Recognizing that those whom you admire most have them, too, is the trick.

 
Step 3. Fess Up

You're probably not done with Step 2 yet. Chances are that real acceptance won't kick in without sharing your anxiety with someone you trust. Think you’ll flub a presentation? Give one to friends. Doubt you command respect? Ask someone you admire (but don’t report to) if all is okay. Worst case is that whomever you confide in will give you negative feedback that you can use to improve. Admitting what plagues you (and then learning that others feel the same way) will help you realize that while self-doubt is vexing, no one dies from it.

 
Step 4. Look At The Facts

If a claustrophobic person gets stuck in an elevator, it's hard for them to focus on the certainty that, any minute now, it will be moving again. Fear and panic simply take over. The same tendency is true with self-doubt, but unlike with claustrophobia, a few hard facts can help. Example: If you've been promoted somewhat recently, remind yourself why you were tapped. Make a list of all your valuable skills and accomplishments. Read them aloud if you have to. But--and this important--don't lean on a prepackaged pep talk, a la the old Stuart Smalley character on "Saturday Night Live." False self-praise will do more damage than self-doubt.

 
Phase #2:

Step 5. Know That Nothing Is Inherently Threatening

Boosting Self-confidenceIf possession is nine-tenths of the law, then perception is 100% of the truth. A dreadful event can be made manageable if you tell yourself you have the stuff to cope with it. Remember that.

 
Step 6. Confront Your Fear...

Okay, for most people, that last Jedi mind trick isn't enough. Fear, no matter its source, is a formidable adversary. That's why you have to pick a fight with it. William Jennings Bryan claimed, “The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear.” Setbacks are inevitable--suck it up. Resilience is the steel skeleton of self-confidence.

 
Step 7. ...But Choose Your Battles

Specifically, this means taking on challenges that are egosyntonic--that’s shrink-speak for behaviors and feelings that match your view of who you are. It is much easier to boost self-confidence by confronting challenges of your choosing than by tackling what someone else tells you to do. If you pick the battles you engage in because you believe in their aims, your self-confidence will increase along with your winning percentage.

 
Step 8. Once You Master Something, Stretch

Nothing erodes self-confidence like shooting fish in a barrel. Add more challenge to every task you tackle and your self-confidence will grow in lockstep. Level off for too long and you'll be on the slick slope to burnout.

 
Step 9. Never Solicit What You Hope Will Be Confidence-boosting Feedback

“How am I doin’?” may a good question for politicians to ask their constituents, but it’s a bad question for those looking to boost confidence---mainly because it smacks of insecurity and probably won't lead to honest feedback.

 
Step 10. Beware Hubris

In all things, too much is no good. That goes for self-confidence, too. Believe in yourself--just don't be a jerk about it.

 
Confidence is a key characteristic to have no matter what path you take in life. You may have it most of the time and lack it sometimes (for reasons you can't quite figure out), or you may lack it  most of time. However, it is never too late to understand your own origins of low self-confidence. Make it a priority to for yourself to figure out these origins and to attack them so you can approach any goal, activity, action, and career with confidence! 
 
 
 
 

 

 


Friday, November 22, 2013

Time is Not a Limitless Commodity


Rarely in this modern generation of 20-something year olds do you find young professionals that have a heightened sense of urgency to get to the next level.  In our 20s we think we have all the time in the world to A) figure it out and B) get what we want.  Time is the only treasure we start off with in abundance, and can never get back.  Let us be clear though…what is meant by a "sense of urgency" is not running around at 400 miles an hour with your hair on fire. Rather, having a sense of urgency means displaying and acting on a driving desire to accomplish the most important items now! It is an unrelenting push for speed that leads directly to desired results.

However, some might say that they don’t know what they want or they aren’t sure how to figure out a way to advance in their careers. Therefore, they convince themselves that it will all fall into place in time. Well, sorry to disappoint those who think this way but there isn’t some magic stork that flies in and drops off a bag full of opportunity, success, and fulfilled desires. If you aren’t sure what you want as a career or in your current career, or you aren’t sure about how to figure out what it takes to get this or that out of your career, then don’t just sit there. GET UP! Get up and start exploring. Start making moves. Start tapping into resources. This is the only way you young professionals will get to the next level. If you need help in creating that sense of urgency for yourself, here are some steps below...




1) Activate. Often we become paralyzed due to the real issue, which is courage. The point of absolute certainty in a decision never comes as fast as we would like it to. It is foolish to assume that it does. However, urgency requires that we activate quickly: Make a decision. Get off the dime. Do something! As the old adage goes, “it is easier to steer a moving object.” If you’ve made the wrong decision, you can adjust. But if you wait too long, you miss the opportunity entirely. Speed can be a competitive advantage. But this requires leaders who are willing to activate and get themselves, their teams, and their actions into motion.

2) Accelerate. Urgency requires more than activation. Yes, you have to start quickly, but you also have to keep things moving. Turning on the green light to start working towards your goals is only the beginning. There are many impersonal and personal forces that will conspire to slow you down—obligations to others, approvals, processes, meetings, budgets, etc. Some of these things are necessary—but not as many as you think and not as large of an obstacle that you think. As a leader, you have to fight these obstacles. You have to identify them and remove them. You must keep the pedal to the metal and keep things moving.

3) Achieve. Cultivating a sense of urgency is all about producing results. All the stuff that it takes to produce results is not an end in itself. Too often people think that the objective is to complete their task list. If they do so, they think they have actually accomplished something. This is not necessarily the case. Tasks are a necessary, and can even be considered little victories or small successes, but hardly a total condition of achievement.

4) Assess. Urgency does not rule out assessment. In fact, it demands it. If we are going to get faster at producing results, we have to assess what is working and what is not. We must then eliminate the waste. Analyze what decisions only procrastinated your achievements. Our job as leaders and young professionals is to remove the obstacles and give the people we work with as well as ourselves the best chance of achieving their goals and ours.

Make the most of the opportunities you have today, big or small, because there will be a time when you have no more opportunities and no more time to find and/or create them. People face similar and different opportunities everyday to take advantage of. Those who take advantage of them quickly and work hard to make the best of them in order to achieve their goals or find out what they want are the people who find themselves successful. Therefore, GET UP! Get up and start exploring. Start taking advantage of your opportunities. Activate. Accelerate. Achieve something. Then Assess. Lastly, have a sense of urgency in doing it all. Time doesn’t pause for you to figure it all out. YOU have to make things happen!

Talent Is Overrated


 
We seem to have a generation full of young adults who believe that to be successful one must have some kind of natural talent that allows them to have that extra edge compared to others. Well, congratulations...you may be the most capable, creative, knowledgeable & multi-tasking generation yet.  However, if it is just talent that got you anywhere what you really deserve is a a "Sh-t Medal.”  Unrefined raw materials (no matter how valuable) are simply wasted potential.  There’s no prize for talent, just results.  Even the most seemingly gifted folks methodically and painfully worked their way to success.

 

As an office full of leaders who are helping each other train and build crews while also working hard to make sales in the field we know that no matter what talent someone brings to our team we still have to refine and improve our skills as sales people and especially as leaders. While not all leaders will develop their talents and abilities to the same level, all successful leaders more or less begin with the same foundation. The difference possessed by all great leaders is that they continue to refine, develop and build from their foundation. They understand leadership is not a destination; it’s a continuum.  The best leaders combine attitude, effort and skill, but of the three, skill is the least important.  When in doubt, always choose attitude over aptitude. 

Leadership is a choice, and great leaders not only choose to lead – they choose to lead well. They not only continuously develop talent, but they also maintain a strong work ethic. Along with work ethic it is a leader's drive, discipline, dedication, determination, and desire that makes a bigger difference more than their potential. 

Below are six leadership characteristics (in no particular order of preference) that require absolutely no talent or ability, but that must be present in order to succeed over the long-haul as a leader.



1.     Show-up: You can’t make a difference if you don’t show-up. It requires zero talent to be present mentally and physically. In most sports I’m aware of you cannot play if you don’t suit-up and show-up. Leadership is a participation sport and never works well in absentia.

2.     Care: There is great truth in the old axiom “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Extending basic human courtesy requires no talent – just a willingness to behave in a decent manner. It’s highly probable you don’t like rude, elitist, arrogant, dismissive, or condescending people, so don’t become one yourself.

3.     Hustle: I learned this lesson at an early age… I had a basketball coach take me aside after I finished far ahead of the pack after a long set of down-and-backs. He pointed to a slower teammate who was still running his lines and said, “he may not be as fast, but he’s giving 100% – Did you?” He went on to say, ”it takes no talent to hustle and your team deserves better.” I don’t ever remember dogging-it again.

4.     Follow Through: It takes no ability to simply do what you say you’re going to do. Nothing is more important for a leader than keeping promises and commitments. A leader who fails to understand this will never create the trust bond necessary to lead effectively. It’s just not that hard to deliver on your promises, and if you have no intention of doing so, don’t make the commitment to begin with.

5.     Positive Attitude: To the one, the best leaders I’ve ever known all smile, listen, engage, have a positive outlook, and have a high energy level. This is a mindset thing, not a talent thing – it’s as simple as making the choice to be pleasant.

6.     Do the Right Thing: While it will often require courage, it takes no talent or ability to recognize the difference between right and wrong. Real leaders don’t compromise when it comes to core values – they have character. It takes no skill to tell the truth, and great leaders will always forgo doing things right where such actions conflict with doing the right thing.

 

There is no doubt that the list above could be expanded as there are large numbers of leadership characteristics that require no talent or ability –  just desire. Perhaps as a leader you find more characteristics to add to the list. Whatever they are, be sure they are characteristics that you have a strong ethic for and which you can continuously refine and improve upon. 

 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How to Get Everything You Want...no, seriously

 
 

Everyone wants to be successful, and it isn't as difficult as it may seem.  When you simply work to help others and become more likable, everything you want will fall into place.  Here are seven tips adapted from Dave Kerpen's "How to Get Everything You Want. Seriously." to make it happen: 

 

 1. Listen First and Never Stop Listening
The single-most important skill in professional and personal relationships is listening. As Ernest Hemingway said, "When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." Most people have their own agenda of are too busy talking/thinking about what they are going to say next to you. So, if you, unlike most people, listen fully and with empathy, then people will like you and eventually help you get what you want. 
2. Help Others
Instead of asking for something from someone, help that person get what he/she wants. If you don't know what they want- ask, "How can I help you?". You will stand out just by genuinely seek to help others succeed in their goals and dreams, as most people are only out to help themselves. And those you genuinely help will turn around and fight to help you succeed with your goals as well. When you help others first without expecting anything, the return will be great. 
3. Be Yourself: Authentic, Transparent, and Vulnerable
As Oprah Winfrey once stated, “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I've become. If I had, I'd have done it a lot earlier." 
It may be tough in the work place to opt to become transparent and vulnerable, especially with people that you may not know very well. But as hard as these choices may be, what results from being authentic, transparent and vulnerable is that people will trust you. Opening up and taking chances will show others that you are trustworthy.
4. Tell, Don't Sell
While it is important to listen and to help others, you still need to eventually tell people what it is that you want. The key is to tell, not sell because no one wants to be sold to. Whether it is a product, idea, service or yourself, give up on "selling.". Instead, focus on painting the picture of what will happen when you do get what you want, and practice telling a great story- bringing to life what the future will bring when you get to your goals. Then, people will be excited and want to be part of your story too. 
5. Inject Passion Into Every Interaction
If you really want something, you must but more passionate and excited about it than anyone else. If you aren't, why should someone else be? Passion and excitement is contagious, but lack of both is as well. You don't need to be super high energy and bouncing off the walls, but you just need to reveal your passion in a way that works for you.
6. Surprise and Delight Others
For example, as written in Dave Kerpen's article, "You know how when you walk into a casino, there's always a slot machine going off somewhere in the background, telling the world that another person just hit a jackpot? This is what social psychologists call variable rewards. You don't know when you're going to win; you just have enough positive experiences that you feel excited, even when you're not winning." 
By surprising and delighting others, you remind them that you are the type of person that may surprise and delight them again soon and that makes them happy. Some other examples would be bringing home flowers for no reason or telling a customer a product may arrive next week- and then overnight it. If you go out of your way to make an experience with you special, especially when others may least expect it, you will get big results over time.
 7. Use the Four Most Important Words in Business and Life
-I'm sorry- when you make a mistake.
-Thank you- as much as you can.
The words, "I'm sorry" and "Thank you" are so simple yet so many people overlook the importance of saying them. Everyone makes mistake, and it’s not when you make a mistake that’s a problem it’s when you are too proud or embarrassed to fess up, be vulnerable and apologize. 
Saying sorry lets others forgive you so you can move on and focus back on what you want. 
Expressing sincere gratitude is a strong emotion to convey, and opens up new doors and opportunities. Sending thank you cards to acquaintances is a great idea- because it’s not just about sending the card it’s about having a deep appreciation for others around you.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


4 Traits of an Excellent Leader
 
 
1. Commitment to leadership.

Putting your staff first and sharing your leadership is essential. We all like to be called a leader but with becoming a leader there is responsibility and commitment. Everyone has to go through servant leadership training and it is up to you to take advantage of the training.
 
 
2. Formal and informal feedback mechanisms.

To help have better open communication with your staff doing things such as dinners, lunches, breakfast, etc are good ways to listen deeply to the staff’s concerns and get important open feedback.


3. Accountability.

Improvement must be shown throughout staff’s jobs. Try giving an evaluation and weighing it on a scale to see if everyone is holding up to the standards required of the company. This is a great test to show how many employees take accountability for their work.  

 
4. Keep everyone in the loop.

Develop a way to keep all staff informed about everything in the office through creating an app, email list, or website, so everyone feels a part of something great and in the “loop”.
 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Six Elements Of Mental Toughness




 
Top athletes have to master them. Business leaders do, too.


There are at least six markers of mental toughness from sports psychology that apply equally well to business situations. As with athletes, business leaders need to ask, am I mentally tough enough to compete?

1. Flexibility. Game-ready leaders have the ability to absorb the unexpected and remain supple and non-defensive. They maintain humor even when the situation becomes tough. If something isn't going well or doesn't turn out as expected, they remain flexible in their approach and look for new ways to solve the problem. Just like a quarterback faced with a broken play, a leader may have to decide quickly on a different way to get the ball down the field.

Also, leaders must continually be open to re-educating themselves, even in the basics, which they may have taken for granted for too long. They need to exercise caution in defensively falling back on ideas they know and are comfortable with rather than looking for new ways of doing business.

2. Responsiveness. Game-ready leaders are able to remain engaged, alive and connected with a situation when under pressure. They are constantly identifying the opportunities, challenges, and threats in the environment. They understand that they need to think differently about how their environment and business operate.

The problems we encounter now are messier and more complicated than ever before. They often can't be solved in the ways others were. Game-ready leaders look for new ways to think about these problems and, more important, look for fresh ways out of these problems. They have a sense of urgency about responding to the changing face of business.

Just as a coach may change strategies at halftime in response to the way a game is going based on the opponent's strengths and weaknesses, game-ready leaders in business must respond to changes in the environment and the players.

We must pay close attention to and understand global, national, regional and local economic trends, market trends, consumer trends, industry trends and competitor responses. Relying on old assumptions about how business operates and assuming that last year's trends still hold today is dangerous. Leaders make decisions and act based on up-to-the-minute and in-depth knowledge of what is really going on in business now.

3. Strength. Game-ready leaders are able to exert and resist great force when under pressure and to keep going against insurmountable odds. They find the strength to dig deep and garner the resolve to keep going, even when in a seemingly losing game. They focus on giving their best and fighting hard until the end, with persistent intensity throughout the game.

The story of Team Hoyt, Dick and Rick, is an inspirational example of drawing on both inner and physical strength. Rick was born in 1962 to Dick and Judy Hoyt and was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. His parents were advised to institutionalize him because"there was no chance of him recovering, and little hope for Rick to live a 'normal' life. This was just the beginning of Dick and Judy's quest for Rick's inclusion in community, sports, education, and one day, the workplace. In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Far from being a long-distance runner, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair, and they finished all 5 miles, coming in next to last. That night, Rick told his father, 'Dad, when I'm running, it feels like I'm not handicapped.' At that moment, they formed Team Hoyt and have run many races together with now impressive times. The 2009 Boston Marathon was officially Team Hoyt's 1,000th race." (Adapted from the Team Hoyt website.)

Just as athletes dig deep to find the physical and psychological strength to continue through adverse and tough situations, game-ready business leaders must exhibit the same strength. As James Loehr puts it, top athletes think, "While this is tough, I am a whole lot tougher." Game-ready business leaders bring the same intensity, through all the continual pounding.

4. Courage and ethics. Game-ready leaders do the right thing for the organization and the team. They suppress the temptation to cut corners or to undermine others so they come out on top. They have the courage to make the hard but right decisions for the organization.

A famous story I share with my son as an example of courage and ethics in sports is that of the tennis player Andy Roddick. In 2008 Roddick was the No. 1 seed at the Rome Masters. He was at match point and about to win. The umpire called his opponent for a double-fault serve. Walking to shake his opponent's hand, Roddick noticed a ball mark on the clay--in bounds. Roddick got the umpire's attention and pointed out that the ball had nicked the line but was in fact in bounds. The match continued. Roddick went on to lose the match, and his beyond-the-call-of-duty honesty made him famous as an upstanding person, an opponent who would do the right thing. Game-ready leaders in business do the same. PepsiCo ( PEP - news - people ) provides a great business example of this. A disgruntled Coca-Cola ( KO - news - people ) employee and two other individuals attempted to sell proprietary information to Pepsi. Pepsi received a package containing a sample of a new Coke product and other information. Pepsi immediately informed Coke, which contacted the FBI. Game-ready business leaders ultimately win by making the right and courageous decisions.

5. Resiliency. Game-ready leaders rebound from disappointments, mistakes and missed opportunities and get right back in the game. They have a hardiness for enduring the downs of a situation. They remain optimistic in the face of adversity and quickly change when necessary.They resolve to make things better and are experts at figuring out ways to do more with fewer resources. How about the resiliency of Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga, who was just one out away from pitching a perfect game when Jim Joyce, the first-base umpire, called a runner safe who was indeed out? Joyce had made an error. Galarraga was certainly deeply disappointed, but he continued to pitch and get the next batter out. Afterward, Joyce admitted the error and apologized. Galarraga shrugged it off, saying, "Everyone makes mistakes."

6. Sportsmanship. Game-ready leaders exhibit sportsmanship. They don't let the opponent know when he or she has gotten them down. "Chin up," I say to my son. Clearly we all experience disappointment, attacks from others, an occasional blow to the stomach. However, the behavior exhibited by game-ready leaders after losing or being attacked by others or the situation sets the tone for the rest of an organization. Additionally, top athletes support their teammates and their roles. If teammates start competing with and attacking one another, it is definitely difficult to win.

Living in Denver, I follow the Denver Broncos. Kyle Orton has done an outstanding job of displaying sportsmanship while under public scrutiny. Brought to the Broncos last year, he has been the subject of constant press speculation about possibly being replaced. The drafting of Tim Tebow brought on another press outcry, that Kyle was out and Tim was in. Kyle handled it with grace and dignity. Putting his mind to the game and the team, he got on the field and simply practiced hard, welcoming his new teammate. In the face of even internal competition, Kyle Orton exhibits the mentality of "Bring it on!"

We all need these same markers of toughness to succeed and lead in today's business environment. We cannot succeed on technical skill alone. Companies have tough questions and situations to address. Game-ready leaders go into today's business environment with their best mental game and with the attitude of "Bring it on!" After all, who doesn't love the challenge and fun of a demanding, complex game?

Shore Thing Marketing Inc received this from Forbes.com