Do You Struggle with Confidence?

Are you a people pleaser?  If so, you may struggle with confidence.  Why do I say that?  Well, as people pleasers, our world can be crushed when some says “they are disappointed in us” or they get upset with us.  Our confidence is shaken and the inner gremlins begin to bounce around in our head.

As we start a new year, it is time to work towards a new you.  One who is confident and believes you are good enough.  My goal in life has always been to bring a smile to the face of others.  Somewhere along the way, the people pleaser side took over and I lost myself.

Last year, I caught glimpses of how talented I was yet there was something deep inside me which believed I wasn’t good enough.  On the days I feel confident, I know I am good at running my businesses and the joy shines out for all to see.  On the days those inner gremlins are chipping away at my confidence, I sit in wonder and doubt about everything I have done in my life or am planning on doing.  Those days can be crippling.

I’m sure I am not alone.  Many of us have been taught to “fake it until we make it”.  For some it works – they can mask their lack of confidence closing the door on those inner gremlins.  There are others (like me) who wear their emotions on their sleeve.  How many times have you been told “get over it”, “pull yourself together”, or the one which makes me the craziest “you should be over this already”.

Sometimes it is more complicated.  Sometimes, it is tough to get over the self-limiting beliefs which have haunted us for years.  We can overcome them with compassion, and patience.

#1 Get to the heart of it

Your struggle with confidence exists for a reason. Maybe someone told you once you weren’t good enough. Maybe you weren’t nurtured growing up. Maybe you were crushed too many times.  Painful, horrible, heartbreaking things can happen in our lives. Some big, some small, which all affect how we feel about ourselves.  Diving deep into these experiences and our stories can help us connect the dots to see where we are now.

#2 But don’t live there

We get stuck!   Once we own the things which shaped and affected our confidence, it’s easy to feel defeated, overwhelmed, and even a little angry.  But we can’t stay in there because we can’t thrive if we do.  It’s our job to move forward, rewriting the stories we’ve told ourselves.  We need to grow confidence in our skills and in ourselves moving forward every day.  The most important part is  letting go of the things which don’t serve us along the way.

#3 Surround yourself with the right things

Everything we surround ourselves with shapes our perspective and experience – it all matters.  We need to surround ourselves with people who believe in us, who inspire us, and who cheer us on every step of the way.  Look for ways to push yourself to be the very best version of you.  STOMP out those inner gremlins which make you feel small or overwhelmed. It is important to nurture your mind and your body. Fill your days with the things which bring you joy, inspires you to take action, and supports you to show up with a whole heart to your work and your life.

#4 Focus on you, not your fears

Fear can be healthy and it is an unavoidable part of living life. But when we devote our time and energy to honing, growing, and nurturing ourselves, we can grow confident in our creative work and life.  The more we show ourselves what we’re capable of, the more we build grow and the more confident we become.  Don’t let self-doubt and fear distract you from becoming the crazy-awesome creative person you’re meant to be.

#5 You’re the one who your lack of confidence hurts the most

OUCH!  This is and was the toughest realization for me.  If I give into my fears, if I let my self-doubt take the wheel, the person who suffers the most is me.  Believe me is won’t be easy – facing ourselves, our biggest fears, and our toughest experiences.  By believing we are capable of more, and we are worthy of running in the direction of a life which feels true to us takes a whole lot of courage.  Becoming confident takes time.  We need to show up every day, even when this inner gremlins in our head are telling us we should quit.  We need to push through the crap so we can get to the good stuff.

The truth is: it’s always, always, worth it.  When we believe in ourselves, once we bear witness to our gifts, strengths, and creativity, we can start to do incredible work in the world and  build a life which is impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Gossip is Deadly

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message….

A monster was sneaking into my yard in the dark of night and devouring my prize plants. I never saw his beady eyes or heard his pounding footsteps—just the aftermath of his destruction. He left a trail of slime as he moved from plant to plant, leaving large gaping holes in broadleaf Gerbera daisies, gnawing entire velvety trumpet-shaped blossoms on purple petunias and reducing bushy begonias to naked stalks.

I asked a neighbor about my flowerbed’s demise and she determined, “You’ve got slugs.”

Slugs!” I exclaimed. “The yard monster is a tiny little slug?”

“You can put out slug bait to catch them and see for yourself,” my confident neighbor continued.

I sprinkled slug bait all around the yard and then waited. The next morning I viewed the “monsters” remains. The beasts were about ¼ inch long—about the size of my little toe nail.

How could something so small cause so much damage in such a short amount of time? I mused. Then my mind thought of something else that is very small that can cause enormous damage in a short amount of time…gossip. King Solomon wrote, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” Just as one tiny slug can destroy an entire flowerbed, so can one tiny morsel of gossip destroy a person’s reputation, mar one’s character, and devour a friendship.

In the South we have this knack for making gossips sound…almost nice. All you have to do is add “bless her heart” to the end of the sentence. It goes like this: “Susie gained fifty pounds with that last pregnancy, bless her heart.” “Marcy’s husband ran off with his secretary, bless her heart.” “I heard Clair yelling at the postman yesterday, bless her heart.” But all the “bless her hearts” don’t mask what it really is…gossip.

Solomon wrote, “Whoever repeats the matter separates close friends,” (Proverbs 17:9 NIV). Charles Allen, the author of God’ Psychiatry observed: “Those of great minds discuss ideas, people of mediocre minds discuss events, and those of small minds discuss other people.” Maybe if we are spending our time talking about people, we need to fill our minds with better material such as good books and other reading material (and I don’t mean People Magazine or the National Enquirer).

What exactly is gossip? Webster defines gossip as ”easy, fluent, trivial talk, talk about people behind their backs.” It is repeating information about another person’s private affairs. If you have to look around to make sure that no one can hear what you are saying, you are probably gossiping. If you would not say something in front of the person you are talking about, then you’re probably gossiping.

We have often heard the phrase, “knowledge is power.” Perhaps that is why gossip is so appealing. It suggests a certain amount of power because, “I have the inside scoop.” But gossip is not power. On the contrary it shows a lack of power…lack of self-control.

Today, let’s make our lives a NO GOSSIP ZONE.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Who Will You Be Today?

Today we are going to stomp on those inner gremlins, getting us ready to sparkle for the weekend….

I don’t know about you but I struggle being confident. I know I write about and when people meet me they sometimes find it hard to believe but trust me, it is true.  I struggle with trying to be the woman God wants me to be.  I know I am not alone because I hear it from others all of the time.  Maybe you know someone who is feeling the same way?

Think about school shopping with your kids.  Were these some of the questions they pondered?

  • Jordache jeans, schrunchies and white L.A. Gear?
  • Lacoste, cardigans and penny loafers?
  • Black eyeliner, mega earrings and a mini-skirt?

Alright the brand or style may be a little different but you get it, right?  Many girls worry about looking like everyone else.  I was grateful my daughter, was just a tad different.  Unlike me, she wanted things the others weren’t buying for school.  She had her own style and didn’t worry about if she fit in because of her clothes.

These are the girls who stomp on their inner gremlins in their youth and move on to confident women.  Then there are those who hold on to those fears and people pleasing attitudes so when they grow up, they are struggling to stomp on the gremlins as adults.

I wasn’t sure of the girl I was or the girl I wanted to be. I stood on shaky ground relying on the fickle and flippant opinions of others. I bobbed and weaved to fit each situation I found myself in. I often found myself acting all sorts of ways, so I could be the person I thought my friends and family wanted.

As an adult, I fit other roles – single mom, career woman, wife, business owner.  In each one, I did the same bob and weave.  When I retired, the bob and weave stopped and I was stuck.  Stuck trying to find me and who I would be.  With the help of some amazing women, I found me and on most days STOMP the inner gremlins.

They helped me to see I don’t have to spin like the Tilt-O-Whirl at the amusement park; trying to be everything to everybody. Their encouragement, support and guidance has led me to a stronger walk in my faith and as a result not a copy of someone else.  I still skip the line in the comparison ride and jump on but each day I become more and more confident growing into the women I was meant to be.

Did you know, a girl’s self-esteem peaks at age 9 and only 4% of women describe themselves as beautiful?  Age 9 … before this crazy, comparison ride calls for them to get on.

As children grow from child to adult, God (or your Higher Power) can help them to build a solid foundation on Him, instead of on the ever changing opinions of others. They don’t have to feel like they’re constantly pushed in a million different directions. He can make them brave and give them the courage to be their true selves and build a confidence which stands firm for the days to come.

I found a book for girls between the ages of 8 – 12 years old.  It is something I wish I had found many years ago or at least when I was in my early years of HS.  The book is called “Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You”, by Lynn Cowell.  It is written especially for girls between the ages 8 – 12.  Lynn helps to prepare girls to:

  • Overcome confidence-defeating thoughts.
  • Shape their self-worth and overcome temptation based on environmental factors.
  • Build a strong foundation to face the fickle and flippant opinions of others.
  • Find approval of herself even when she lacks the acceptance of others.

I am grateful to be part of a company who developed Gives for this purpose:

We believe confident girls and women can lead more purposeful, thriving lives and are the key to strong families and communities. Gives is a partnership between our consultants, customers, hostesses and employees working together to support nonprofits aligned to our mission.

Every time you round-up your order, you help fulfill the mission of Thirty One Gives.  Your change helps to make a difference.  How will you help to make a difference in the lives of tween girls so they become confident, strong women?  Or maybe you are the woman who needs help stomping on the inner gremlins, reach out and know you are not alone….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Grow Your Self Confidence

Did you know 62% of all girls feel insecure about themselves?  How about 4 in 5 women have low self-esteem?  For some low self-esteem feels like a life sentence with no chance of escape.

Self Confidence by definition is realistic confidence in one’s own judgment, ability, power, etc.

With such a simple definition, why is is so hard at times to wrap our head around the idea?   I battle the inner gremlins of low self-esteem as well as a lack of self-confidence.  Honestly, I don’t know when it all started but I’m sure it goes back to those formative years in middle school.  I’ve learned (okay, so still learning some days), we each have our own unique story, and with help we can rebuild our life and rewrite our story.

The words self-esteem and self-confidence are usually interchangeable when we talk about our struggles but there is a distinct difference between the two:

Self Esteem is determined by whether you believe you’re worthy of respect from others

Self Confidence is whether you believe in yourself.

When we rebuild our confidence, we are actually retraining our brain to recognize our worth thereby increasing our self-esteem. Here are a few of my favorite tips which have helped me fight those nasty inner gremlins.

1. Dress for Success.

I am guilty of NOT dressing for success when my confidence is waining and my self-esteem is low.  How often are you worried about what others will think of you based on how you are dressed?  Feel like you are stuck in a rut? Battling with self-consciousness?  Take a minute to focus on your appearance. Scary, right?  When you feel good about how you look, your confidence will shine through.

Have a favorite outfit which always gets you compliments?  Wear it.  Need a hair cut?  Pamper yourself and get one. What makes you feel good?  It is a simple pedicure – go get one.  I’m not saying go on a spending spree, but you need to dress for success.  Use the things in your closet or check out a local thrift store for some great finds.  Working from home, I have found the sweats and no make up are an every day thing.  I find when I “dress” for work even at home with a little bit of makeup, I feel good.  When I feel good, I am confident.

2. Positive Thinking

I know I talk about it a lot but the truth is changing the way we think can change the outcomes in our life.  There are some amazing people out there who teach this – Dana Wilde at Train Your Brain; Eryka Peskin with her fierce cheerleading; and of course, Norman Vincent Peale in his book Positive Self Image or The Secret.

Negative thoughts bring more negative thoughts.  When you learn to shift your mindset, you gain the ability to see things in a new light, which in turn provides new alternatives and better outcomes.  Daily affirmations from Dana Wilde and The Secret have helped me to fight and win most days the battle with the inner gremlins.

3. Invest in others deeply

This one probably sounds the craziest right?  If you have low confidence and low self-esteem, how can you possibly get to know others and build a relationship with them?

By taking the focus off of you and putting it on them.  As you start getting to know someone else, asking questions beyond the surface they will see you are genuinely interested in them.  As we start to care for others helping them to feel seen and heard while building a rapport with them, we are letting our own light shine.

We talk about this a lot in direct sales but the truth is when I do it every day, I have gained confidence.  I started many years ago as a newly recovering addict who was helping individuals during the early years of the AIDS epidemic.  My focus was on helping to improve their quality of life and through it, I became an expert in my field.  Confident, letting my light shine.  Most days, I consider my work in direct sales the same way.  Helping others with organizing or gift giving or just feeling good about themselves.  When I focus on helping others instead of “needing sales”, my confidence sparkles.  As an introvert (yes, I really am), I know it can be hard so it is something I am aware of and practice being more open to receiving every day.

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What is your best tip for boosting your confidence or has helped you to raise your self-esteem?  Share them with us…

Have  ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Socializing is Key to a Healthy Life

WOOHOO!  It’s Friday and who’s ready for the weekend?

Have you ever opted to stay in on a Friday night or maybe even the whole weekend avoiding being social?  I know sometimes we need rest and me time, BUT did you know social networking enhances your well-being?  Your mind and your body can actually react negatively to not socializing for more than a day.   Are all the introverts cringing, I know I was.  Yes, we are a little shyer and seem to flourish with more alone time than others, but the truth is if you isolate too much, it could lead to loneliness and reduce your quality of life.

Some of the best healthy lifestyle coaches will tell you having a great network of friends and family can boost happiness and health, as well as make you feel more connected to the world at large.

If you don’t make time for social commitments, you can’t build deeper connections with people.  You are at risk of missing out on memorable moments and good fun.  Here are some things which happen to your body and mind when you don’t socialize for more than a day.

1. Poor Self-Esteem

People who continuously isolate themselves day in and day out, tend to develop poor body image and self esteem over time.  Think back to those middle school years, I know for some a painful memory.  The truth is that a girl’s self-esteem peaks at the age of 9 years old and only 4% of women describe themselves as beautiful.  Something as simple as socializing could make a difference.

2. Depression

Studies show depression can be associated with isolating yourself and not socializing for more than a day at a time. Now, I am not advocating going out to happy hour every day, but it’s important to talk with co-workers, phone a friend, or attend a fitness class, so you can see people you know and care about during the day.  Believe it or not,  if you don’t, your mental health could suffer.

3. Loss Of Reality

According to an interview published in the Huffington Post, if you binge watch TV shows (of any kind of show) when they come to an end, it can trigger depression.  Why?  The inability to decipher between fiction and personal reality and when you tune into media too often it can interfere with the brain.  Personally, I think it would take a whole lot of BINGE watching.  What do you think?

4. Body Chills

Did you know you can literally feel chills from isolation in social circles.  If you aren’t surrounded by warmth and comfort, and you are isolating yourself regularly, you might notice a decrease in body temperature and increase in body chills.  Okay, I am ALWAYS cold so I am not sure I buy this one and yes I am an introvert.

5. Decreased Ability To Learn

Studies show lonely people are less able to do well with puzzles and mind games, due to the rewiring in the brain. I do puzzles ALOT to help re-wire my brain from the MS lesions and seem to do just fine.  Doing a puzzle with a friend would definitely be fun but I do enjoy the quiet time with my puzzles.

6. Decreased Sense Of Empathy

A research study shows people who are lonely are less empathetic than happier, socializing people, when shown pictures of pleasant and unpleasant scenarios.  According to this, when you isolate, you’re changing your brain and may hinder your ability to feel and love as well as others can.  Lonely = less empathy?  I always thought you would have more because you could understand the feelings others are having in unpleasant situations.

7. Inflammation

Did you know when you isolate, it lowers your quality of life which can cause depression and stress, which then shows up in the body as inflammation. Inflammation can lead to bloating, increased risk of illnesses, digestive issues, and inability to function.  Or it could be symptoms of a bigger problem?

8. Shorter Life Span

According public health professor at the University College London, being socially isolated for more than one day can lead to a shorter life which actually means dying at a younger age.  I have heard of people dying from a broken heart but it is usually when someone they love has passed away.  So, do we die from the isolation or the fact we are sitting on our butts, eating junk and not physically active?  Think about it, aren’t you more apt to be social when you are feeling good, after a walk or some type of physical activity?

9. Reduced Resilience

Whatever your reason for isolating, remember social interactions are crucial for a person’s happiness. Close, loving relationships and social interactions lead to the development of resilience, coping skills, and higher self-esteem. We all want to have high self-esteem, right?

Now, don’t shoot the messenger because I am not sure I agree with all of these things.  I do believe staying home too often, not being around people (family or friends) can have a negative impact on your life.  Talk a walk and interact with people.  It’s worth getting out more and making plans with friends, family, and co-workers.

Being around people and having close connections can be such a joy in life, so try to embrace it and find a happier balance between solo nights and those with others.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!