Confidence is Within Your Reach

Confident by definition is “feeling or showing self-assured; and feeling or showing certainty about something.”  Have you ever felt your confidence slipping?  Fear and doubt creeps in?  Those nasty inner gremlins play with your emotions?

I have a choice – it is time to make a decision and take action.  Time to stop wallowing in self-pity.  Time to find the independent confident woman I was.  Time to STOMP on those inner gremlins.  Yes, there may be tears.  Yes, there may be angry moments.  But in the end, all will be well.  God has a plan for me and I need to have faith.

I looked back at an article I read on the Direct Sales Education Foundation‘s website about “Finding Confidence“.  Yes, I need to hit “RESET” periodically because those nasty gremlins find their way past the closed (or what I thought was sealed) doors.

Has “self confidence” been a struggle for you?  I know I am always talking about it but I but I am often surprised by the people who share they lack confidence.  On the outside they appear strong, capable of overcoming anything while on the inside they are fighting the same inner gremlins many of us do.   Here are some of the tips which might help:

  • Practice makes perfect.   We have all heard this a million times growing up – from sports to school to musical instruments.  As I got older, practicing seemed silly.  I was a fan of winging it but have found when I do, my confidence is sometimes shaken.  “My mission is to bring a smiles and paychecks to those who are struggling and love #ThirtyOneGifts as much as I do!” Something simple but definitely worth practicing.  My party scripts are becoming a little bit more natural too since I have been practicing.  Practice may not make me perfect but it will help to build confidence.
  • Find a mentor.  I have an amazing upline, Hope Shortt has been supportive and knows just when to challenge me.  Find someone who you want to be like, ask them if you can shadow them.  Find someone who you can trust and respect and build a relationship.  I also am blessed to have Desiree Wolfe in my corner.  Her kick in the butt is what I need sometimes.
  • Find a partner.  Find a close friend, family member or even your spouse who can share in your accomplishments and help to bolster your confidence.
  • Dress for success.  This is something else I have heard since my college days.  Wear something which makes you feel good when you go to a presentation or a meeting.  It should fit well and be put together with accessories and hair style.  Someone asked me the other day if I had a makeover.  I was THRILLED.  No, not a formal one but I did in my head.  How?  Hair style instead of just hair hanging straight.  Out of my jeans for meetings and into a pair of khakis (capris right now) with a nice shirt and jewelry.  Makeup.  I never leave the house without some.  You never know who you will run into on the trip to the grocery store to grab a gallon of milk.
Simple tips but for those of us who have a small comfort zone, this is a BIG deal.  Things I have heard for years but thought I was “too old”.  You can teach an old dog new tricks – really!  Are you ready to challenge yourself?  Try one of these tips, if not all of them.  DREAM BIG!  The sky is the limit.
Time to accept your strengths and weaknesses. Challenges will come but it is how we deal with them which makes the difference in the end.  Time to be confident in myself and how I want my life to be.
How do you find your confidence?  Please share, I would love to hear and at the same time, you may help someone else.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Overcoming Discouragement

Happy Monday!  If no one has told you lately, let me tell you how amazing you are.

For some of us (yes, I’m included), no matter how much we achieve or how much progress we make, we still have those nasty inner gremlins (and maybe some outer ones) who want to knock us down.

It’s the gremlins in our head saying:

  • “You’re not good enough.”
  • “You’ll look like a fool.”
  • “Who do you think you are?”
  • “You are self-centered. It isn’t always about you”.

When these mantras start, it is sometimes hard to silence the noise.  Verbal abuse whether external or internal can eat away at us.  Did you know there are things you can do to actively combat those nasty inner gremlins?  If it is an outer voice saying these things, the inner voices feed on those comments long after the outer voice has stopped talking.

Here are four simple ways to overcome those nasty gremlins:

1. Start talking to yourself

“You need to stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself again.”

Those nasty inner gremlins are setting you up for failure.  We are what we feed our mind.  When we feed those nasty gremlins positive things, they will shrink in the corner and the good will overcome.  When we feed them something negative, you know what happens.

The bottom line is: the statements and questions you use in conversations with yourself make a huge difference in what you do, how you think, and how you feel.

Instead of questions like, “Why am I having such a hard time?” or, “Why does this always happen to me?” Try, “What just happened, and what can I take away from this?”  Ask yourself questions which are life giving not life killing. OUCH!  What we do, how we think, and how we feel are all dictated by the conversations we have with ourselves. Pay attention to those conversations and watch how your life changes.2. Celebrate Often

When was the last time you celebrated a small victory?  Or do you wait until you reach a huge milestone to celebrate?  Did you know by waiting to celebrate, you are giving those nasty inner gremlins a chance to sneak in the back door crushing your joy?

Why not celebrate everything and everyone—all the time?  It’s hard to stay discouraged when you’re constantly searching for something or someone to celebrate. The seeds of depressions have a tough time taking root in a grateful heart and the same is true with discouragement and celebration.

You have your goals set, right?  Now create smaller ones leading up to the BIG one and plan some kind of celebration when you reach a small milestone. It doesn’t have to be elaborate—just give yourself a reward for making progress.  Then watch for others who are hitting their small milestones, and recognize them when they do. When you acknowledge an achievement others are overlooking or discounting in their own lives, you can do wonders for their confidence.

Celebrating small wins along the way will keep you motivated and encouraged. Don’t neglect it!

3. Prune Your Negative Vines

This one can be tough but it is probably one of the most important pieces to the puzzle.  When you don’t prune unproductive branches off a fruit-bearing tree, you can’t expect much of a harvest.  The same goes for us.

We must distance ourselves from negativity. If we don’t, we stunt our own growth.  Your dreams, visions, and opportunities will always require you to become more than you currently are. In short, you must grow to achieve them.  So, how can you grow when you are surrounded by negativity?

Those outside voices feed the negativity to those nasty inner gremlins and the result is they squash your dreams saying things to discourage you.

The vision you have for your life (and your family’s life) holds more weight than other people’s opinions.  So distance yourself from negativity. Don’t listen to people whose intentions are just to slow you down.  For some, the most negative people in your life can be those who are closest to you. You can actually use these four strategies to distance yourself from them.

4. Establish Boundaries

Imagine how easy it would be for an army to capture an unprotected city. The same thing can happen to your mind if you don’t establish boundaries.  Boundaries are the castle walls surrounding your mind, preventing discouragement from walking right in and taking control.  The problem is most people are scared to set them.  I know I am sometimes.

We don’t want to offend others, so we tolerate the negative people and activities influencing our thinking and behavior. When we do this, we let their meaningless opinions take priority over our own goals and dreams.  Whom you spend time with, what you spend time doing, and what you allow in your mind will either help you overcome discouragement, or fall to its forces.

Boundaries are the only mechanism for keeping the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. If you want to overcome discouragement, boundaries are vital.  We’re all either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or headed for a crisis—is it just part of living life.

But, we can choose how we react to whatever life throws at us, including discouragement.  When you equip yourself with the proper defenses, you can overcome it and live the life you were made to live.

Share a time you overcame discouragement and how did you fight back?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Want to Sound More Confident?

I don’t read a lot of books, since I have a hard time remembering BUT I do love the core principles Valerie Burton outlined in her book, Successful Women Think Differently.  

Your thoughts create your actions.  I have said it a million times, think negative thoughts and more negative things happen.  Think positive thoughts and more positive things happen.  For me, sometimes I don’t realize I am thinking negative thoughts.  Crazy, right?  How many times have the words “don’t” or “need” or “won’t” been in your thoughts?  The Universe seldom hears things after these words.  I never really understood it until I started a list of positive mantras and read them every morning.  I claim the things I want and I am getting them – slowly but they are coming.

When you become aware of what you are saying to yourself about things, you can consciously decide if the thought is moving you toward your goals or farther away. Thoughts don’t just lead you to take actions,  your thoughts also shape the sound of your voice. Yes, the tone of our internal voices will reflect on the outside and others will see it.

Our voice is an expression of our internal state. If our internal state is anxious and you think danger is imminent, our voice will reflect anxiety. I have seen this play out so many times.  On the inside, I am stressing about money, relationships, business or whatever – on the outside, I am snappy and tense.  Our body responds to our thoughts.  No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to hide it.

Here is the “technical reason”: The sound of your voice is regulated by the vagus nerve, which is central to the parasympathetic nervous system. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, which can happen as a fight-or-flight response to anxiety-producing thoughts, the vocal cord muscle spasms. This can cause your voice to quiver or ‘sound nervous’. Additionally, when stressed or nervous, you typically don’t breathe deeply. As a result, you don’t have the air which creates the pressure needed for a strong, consistent voice quality.

How can you change things to sound more confident?

1. Become aware of your thoughts and redirect counterproductive ones. Basically, go from a negative thought to a positive one.  Instead of “No one wants to book parties” or “It is taking so long to pay off my debt”, intentionally change the thought.  If you can, change your environment – go for a walk, a ride or just sit out in the sunshine and watch the clouds.  Choose a new thought – like “I am a booking machine” or “I have enough money to pay off my debt”.  Do something (anything) to get your mind moving in a new direction.

2. Exercise. Exercise purges negative energy.  It is true.  I don’t mean you have to go to the gym to exercise, unless you want to.  For me, it means a walk around the block or some housecleaning or turn on the music and dance.

3. Practice. We have heard most of our lives “practice makes perfect”.  While we aren’t looking for perfection, we are looking to feel confident.  Need to do a presentation in from of a group and you feel uncomfortable or anxious – practice what you are going to say in advance. Some will say you should even record it and listen to find the areas where you want to improve. Take a video on your phone or have someone else film you.  Then watch it back.  Don’t be overly hard on yourself, just look for ways to improve.  You don’t need to be PERFECT but you want to get rid of the nervous energy.

4. Hydrate. Hydration alleviates dry mouth. Drink water before or during important conversations.  In the beginning of talking to a group of any size, I am nervous.  I usually ask for a glass of water or keep a bottle of water handy.  When I feel like I am talking too fast or my nervousness is showing, I stop, take a sip of water, breathe and move on.  It really does make a difference.  It is like the water washes away the nervousness.

5. Talk it out. This one is tough for me because when I have the negative thoughts and I try to share them, I get emotional.  I have been blessed with friends, old and new, who help me to put my negative thinking into perspective.  Be careful and choose wisely.  Be sure you pick someone to share with who will help put the negative thoughts into perspective restoring a sense of confidence and calm.

These are some basic steps which will help, I know because I continue to practice all of them at some point in my life.  As you become more aware of the negative thoughts, you will be able to convert them to  positive thoughts and actions to help you move forward.

What thoughts make you anxious and chip away at your confidence?

Value Yourself

My weightless journey has been a journey.  Actually more like a roller coaster.  Last week at our meeting we talked about valuing ourself no matter what the scale says.  This was like a SMACK in the head for me.

The numbers on the scale have always played a factor in how I feel about me.  No, let me be honest, when I was at my heaviest I didn’t get on a scale.  I had no clue how much I weighed and being clueless seemed to be okay with me.  I liked myself as I hid behind the weight not letting anyone get too close.  Does this story sound familiar?

I walked into the doors of Weight Watchers seeing myself through different eyes.  The eyes of the scale.  It didn’t get really hard until I got closer to my goal weight.  As the number got lower, the insecurities of my youth came out.  No, I didn’t head to the nearest shrink to bare my soul – I began fighting the inner gremlins with some help of some really good people. I learned to start seeing myself as others see me.

I know what does all of this have to do with anything, right?  How many of us let the number on the scale define us especially when we are on a weightless journey?  We let our self-worth be connected to the number on the scale.  When it goes down, we are happy.  When it goes up, the inner gremlins join us in beating ourselves up.  It is time to stop the madness.

Recognizing and appreciating ourselves for our many gifts and talents is not an easy task. The reality is when we feel good about ourselves, we are more likely to have a positive outlook on life, take better care of ourselves and the end result is we lose weight.  The better we feel about ourselves, the easier it is to lose weight.  Think about your own journey….

I remember doing a VERY scary exercise when I began trying to squash my inner gremlins.  I was told to ask 5 friends and/or family what they thought my best qualities were.  In other words, how would they describe me?  YIKES!  I sent the message out and was definitely not ready for the responses I received.  I was told I was kind, generous, compassionate, determined, helpful and strong.  I didn’t see myself from their perspective. But on my worst days (seems to be quite a few lately), I go back to the list and repeat the positive traits over and over again.  Why?  So I can feel and believe them again.

What can you do to see yourself through loving eyes?  No, I am not suggesting you reach out to family and friends to ask for their input (unless you want); I am suggesting you find a quiet spot, grab a piece of paper and a pen, reflect AND…..

THINK about someone in your life who cares about you; a friend or relative, spouse or significant other.

FOCUS on the person for a minute and describe them in words or draw a picture.  What do they look like? Height? Eye color? Hair? Do they smile a lot? Do they have a soft or loud voice?  How would you describe their personality?

CONSIDER what makes this person special to you.  Does thinking of this person make you happy?  Excited? Loving? How do they make you feel?

IMAGINE you are this person who loves YOU and start to see yourself through their eyes.  What do you like about this person you see?  Write down thoughts, feelings and behaviors you love about yourself.  I know this is tough.  You may just start with “I like my eyes” – something simple.  Then dig deeper.  Think about the qualities you have down deep – are you caring? kind? passionate about life or a cause? hard worker? friendly?

COME BACK to yourself and read what you wrote.  You will notice a growing appreciation for how you feel about yourself.

Believe me, I get how tough this can be.  I struggle with it too. Do this once a week for one month and read the positive qualities daily.  You will be amazed at the difference it will make in your life.  Thirty days make a habit, right?

Change those negative, unhelpful thoughts into positive thoughts.  Changing your mindset is the first step to make a difference in your life which will give the ripple effect of making a difference in the lives of those around you.  Share you best qualities with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What Does Your Success Look Like?

Success is defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose” and is something different to everyone.  The true meaning of success is up to YOU.

A new year at Thirty One allows me to reflect on my accomplishments, where I stand on my goals for the year and define (or re-define) what success will look like for me.  When you think of success, you probably think of more money, maybe another car, travel – all tangible things, right?  In the past, I always said success was being debt free. I still want to be debt free, who doesn’t, right?  But will it alone get me up in the morning?  For some the answer would be yes.  For me, no.

I want my legacy to be more.  I want to know I have made a difference in the lives of others.  I want the ability to give to those in need.  Success to me isn’t about just being debt free, it is about what I can do with the money.  Don’t get me wrong, part of the reason I have debt is because I give to those in need and try to make a difference in the lives of others even when I don’t have it.

Do you have tunnel vision when it comes to what your  successful life will look like?  Are you focused on the tangible things or are you creating a legacy?  I have heard it said often “people may not remember the day you were born or the day you die but they will remember how you lived your life (or made people feel)”.  What will they remember about you?

Success isn’t a destination—it’s a progressive realization of a worthwhile dream or goal.  What is your dream or goal?  Dream BIG!

Years ago, I had a dream of opening a house – a place where those infected/affected with HIV/AIDS could come and enjoy life forgetting about their life struggles for a moment.  In the early days of my work in HIV/AIDS, I created a place like it.  For some it was my office to get help with problems, for the kids it was a place to play and get snacks, and for others it was just a place to forget for a moment how cruel life could be.  The last time I was in Bridgeton, I drove by what used to be “Hope’s House”.  The small office, long since closed and moved to a new location, brought back some memories I thought were lost.  I honestly didn’t know what I was creating.  I didn’t know I would make a difference but my passion to help others showed through all I did.

As I moved from HIV work to working with struggling addicts, chronically unemployed and single moms – the dream faded slightly but my desire to make a difference in the life of others was still there.  Since retiring from social work, almost 6 years ago, I’ve been searching to find the dream and the passion.  Despite my best efforts, the MS beats me up and steals my passion as a result of stealing my memory.  Some days I feel like it is an excuse while other days I embrace the reality and enormity of it all.

Do I still dream of making a difference?  YES!  Do I know what it looks like?  NO!  Success to me is seeing a smile on the face of a single mom struggling to provide for her children.  It is seeing a struggling addict believe in themselves if even for a moment.  It is seeing a smile on the face of someone enduring the pain of treatment of a chronic disease. In today’s busy world, I’m not sure how my view of success fits in.  I’m the eternal optimist, seeing the good in everyone and looking for a place to make a difference.  What is your dream?

While I continue to search for a place to connect, I will continue to give back in small ways.  This month we are again doing our FIGHT HUNGER campaign.  A chance for YOU to make a difference in the lives of a child.  You can sponsor a thermal tote which I will fill with healthy snacks and school supplies.  These will be delivered to children in need in the local area to bring a smile to their face.  My Thirty One team, the Rays of Hope, will be collecting thermals all across the country and delivering them to children in their area to make a difference.

Remember you can also help me to make a difference by nominating someone on my “Give Back with Me” page.  Each month, a someone special will receive a Thirty One product and words of encouragement.  Do you know someone who needs some “loving on”?

I know I squirreled.  When I started today’s blog, it was about defining success in your life and I’m not sure I have helped you to do it.

I challenge you to take a moment and think about what success means to you.  Think about what people will say about you when you are gone – how will they remember your life?  I would love to hear your definition of success….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!