This year set SMART goals that you’re excited about

At this time of year, you’d have to be living under a rock not to hear people talking about their goals. Yet when people start the year all fired up about their new year’s resolutions, why do so many fail to achieve them?

The truth is that many people don’t know how to set effective goals. One of the most widely used goal-setting techniques is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound. But even SMART goals are missing one vital ingredient for success – motivation.

When you think about it, Achievable and Realistic are quite similar in philosophy. So I’d recommend renaming the A in SMART. Why not inject some passion into your goal-setting by choosing goals that are Attractive?

To stay focused on a goal and put the effort in, you need to feel excited about it. Here’s how taking a fresh approach to setting SMART goals could increase your success this year.

Get specific about what you want

Studies have proven that when you set specific goals you’re far more likely to achieve them. It’s not surprising really. Picture setting yourself a goal of exercising more regularly. It’s a great aspiration, but is it enough to show you what you need to do each week? Probably not.

The clearer you are about your goal, the more likely you are to make it happen. In this case, setting a goal of exercising four times per week would be far more effective. Better still, allocate the four days and types of exercise so you really know what you want your goal to look and feel like.

Know how to measure your progress

One of the best ways to stay on track is to see the progress you’re making. So you need to know what success looks like and how to measure it.

Let’s take learning a language as an example. When the end goal is so far off, it’s important to see how you’re getting closer to it in tangible terms. You might measure your progress by completing each level of the language course, or by being able to perform increasingly more complex tasks, from reading a children’s book to asking for directions.

Set attractive goals that motivate you

Now add some real drive to your goals. What is it that you really want? You’ll notice that this question is not about what you feel you ‘should’ do. That’s because passion is a far greater motivator than obligation. You’ll also feel more excited about a goal when it’s aligned to your beliefs and values. So put your goals to the test.

And remember to frame your goals in the positive. If you’re initial thoughts are that you want to stop doing something, flip that around. It’s much easier to get excited about what we want, rather than changing something we don’t want.

Make your goals realistic

Ever been water skiing? With too much tension your tow rope can yank you right out of your skiis. Yet, if the rope is slack, you simply sink into the water and go nowhere. In the same way, your goals need to have the perfect balance of challenge and attainability.

When your goal is too hard or too easy, it’s more likely that you’ll give up. In ‘Setting Goals: Who, Why, How?’, S. Turkay (2014) discusses how the right level of challenge increases motivation through enjoyment, creates a sense of competence, and improves self-efficacy.

Use time-bound goal posts

A goal without an end date is more likely to roll over unaccomplished, year on year. Turkay surmises that the best way to fuel motivation and persistence is through a combination of short-term and long-term goals.

A great example is saving for a home deposit. It’s a powerful long-term goal, especially when owning your own home is so Attractive. But when it comes to pay-day, such a significant amount can seem too far away. That’s where setting smaller savings goals for each month can give a sense of achievement that keeps you motivated.

Finally, remember that good goals strategies are flexible

Now you know how to set SMART goals that you’re excited about achieving. That’s great – and the first step towards success. Just remember that life can be unpredictable, and it may mean your goals need to change from time to time. That’s ok. A good strategy is always flexible.

Sometimes you may need help setting your goals or forming a plan to achieve them. That’s where we can help. To find out more, contact Fleur on 0404 559 244 or email fleur@blueberryinstitute.com

Boost your resilience by shifting your perspective

Some stories stay with you, like this one about my friend – let’s call him Alex. He was on the retreat of a lifetime in India along with his girlfriend and best friend. Alex was learning yoga, until the morning he woke up to discover that his best friend and girlfriend had run off together.

Sounds like the plot of an Adam Sandler movie, doesn’t it? But it happened, and Alex was devastated. He went to his teacher and professed that he had nothing worth living for. It sounds dramatic, but he was in a foreign country, all alone, dealing with the unexpected loss of the two most important people in his life.

Alex was at an absolute loss, so his teacher sent him on a mission.

It’s all a matter of perspective

Under the instruction of his teacher, Alex travelled to the outskirts of town to speak to a blind beggar on the street. When he found the man on the ground with his begging bowl, Alex poured his heart out.

“My life has no meaning now. This is the worst day of my life,” Alex concluded.

The beggar shook off his cloak. As it slid off the man’s torso, Alex was shocked to see that the blind man had no arms and no legs. With great compassion in his voice, the beggar spoke.

“I would trade your worst day as the best day of my life.”

Suddenly, Alex’s problems didn’t seem so huge and he returned to the ashram that afternoon with a new perspective.

Could perspective be the secret to resilience?

Building resilience doesn’t mean that stressful things don’t happen. Nor does it mean that you don’t react to them. It simply means that you’re better equipped to cope with the situation and move past it.

In his TED talk, ‘The happy secret to better work’, author and speaker, Shawn Achor, describes how changing your perspective can lead to completely different outcomes:

“We’re finding it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.”

Now, for those of us who don’t have a personal teacher on hand for every time we hit a crisis, this is very good news. It means that we have the power to choose how we perceive a stressful event. So how exactly do we do that?

1. Take a long-term view of things

In the heat of the moment, any problem or stressful event can feel insurmountable. One way to remove yourself from the midst of a crisis is to look towards the future.

I saw a great example of this when my friend was undergoing a gruelling medical treatment for a chronic illness she had lived with for 15 years. The treatment itself was more painful than the illness and pushed her right to breaking point. She had to dig deep to get through, so she looked to the future. She knew the treatment would only last six months, and that after that she would experience better health than she had ever known.

2. Learn from the past

The American Psychological Association states that “focusing on past experiences and sources of personal strength can help you learn about what strategies for building resilience might work for you”.

We’ve all been through stressful situations at one time or another, and the point is that we got through them. So, consider how you did that. Did you reach out to people who could support you again this time? Did you use other tools such as journaling, exercise or meditation? In the same way, reflect on what didn’t work for you at that time and avoid repeating the same behaviour when handling the current situation.

3. Recognise the things you’re grateful for

The beggar on the street showed Alex how much he had to be grateful for, and it made his problem seem much smaller and more manageable. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by a situation, stop and write down all the things you appreciate in your life. Once you’ve listed the obvious ones, such as loved ones or your health, dig deeper. Do you live in a country that’s free of war? Do you have access to food and clean water whenever you need it? Many of the things we often take for granted can actually give us the greatest perspective.

One day I asked my friend with the chronic illness how she stayed so strong. She replied: “When I hit the point where I feel like I can’t get through, I find a place to sit in the city centre. I see so many people who are carrying loads much greater than my own. I instantly feel grateful that this is all I have to deal with.”

4. See the problem as an opportunity

Every problem or challenge presents you with an opportunity to grow. Recognising the opportunity empowers you to turn a negative experience into a positive one.

As a clinical psychologist at Columbia University’s Teachers College, George Bonanno has been studying resilience for a quarter of a century. In Maria Konnikova’s article on newyorker.com, ‘How people learn to become resilient’, she talks about her interview with Bonanno:

“One of the central elements of resilience, Bonanno has found, is perception: Do you conceptualize an event as traumatic, or as an opportunity to learn and grow? ‘Events are not traumatic until we experience them as traumatic,’ Bonanno told me, in December. ‘To call something a “traumatic event” belies that fact.’”

5. Break it up into smaller chunks

There’s a saying: “The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” Now, I’m not sure that I’d be dining at a restaurant with our big-eared friends on the menu, but you get the idea. Looking at the whole problem in all it’s overwhelming glory, can leave you in despair. But when you break it down into bite-sized chunks, all of a sudden it seems more achievable.

Let’s sum up

From teachers in ashrams to clinical psychologists, the proof is there – perspective helps build your resilience. So the next time you’re faced with a challenging or stressful situation, use these strategies to step back and shift your perspective:

  1. Take a longer-term view of things by looking to the future.
  2. Recognise the things you’re grateful for to see the problem as just one aspect of your life and give yourself a more balanced view.
  3. See the problem as an opportunity to grow so it becomes an experience that will bring positive outcomes.
  4. Break it up into smaller chunks which will leave you feeling less overwhelmed and able to progress through the situation.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can build your resilience and wellbeing email fleur@blueberryinstitute.com

How developing personal resilience can lead to success

If you’ve ever wondered what resilience in the workplace looks like, just visit an airport. I remember waiting for a flight once. Boarding had finished for the flight before mine and the ground staff had secured the doors. A few minutes later an agitated woman came rushing to the gate. When she was told she had missed her flight, all hell broke loose. Not once did the man at the service desk raise his voice. In fact, he seemed completely unfazed.

Some people are lucky enough to be born with the resilience skills to handle high-pressure situations like this. The rest of us are not. But the great news is that all of us can develop our personal resilience.

So what exactly is personal resilience?

It’s a simple enough question, but there isn’t a universally agreed definition of resilience. The definition that I like is Gill Windle’s from ‘What is resilience? A review and concept analysis. Reviews in Clinical Gerontology’ (2011):

“Resilience is the process of negotiating, managing and adapting to significant sources of stress or trauma. Assets and resources within the individual, their life and environment facilitate the capacity for adaptation and ‘bouncing back’ in the face of adversity.”

In short, your resilience is what helps you cope with challenging situations, work through them and recover from the personal toll this takes.

Where some people go wrong is in thinking that resilience is a magical cure for all stress. Let’s be honest – there will always be ups and downs in your workplace and in life. It’s how you react to these stressors that showcases your resilience.

And resilience isn’t just a blanket concept. You might be great in moments of crisis but suffer from burn out when placed under sustained periods of pressure. Or vice-versa. Your personal resilience is also affected by what else is going on in your life and how much you have left in the reserve tank.

Think of resilience as your very own super power

When our stress builds, it hijacks our brain’s neural capacity for paying attention, comprehending and learning. In a nutshell, it can make us perform poorly at work and we may take the stress on in a physical way, such as through headaches or neck pain.

It might not be as cool as invisibility, but your personal resilience is a pretty useful superpower. No one enjoys feeling overwhelmed or a like victim of circumstance. Drawing on your resilience empowers you to stay calm and in control.

Not only does actively developing your personal resilience help you to succeed at work and feel happier overall, it also contributes to your wellness and wellbeing.

You can boost your resilience using simple strategies

When you increase your overall resilience, it’s easier to keep doing your best under pressure and still maintain a balanced approach to life. Here’s an example of some simple strategies:

  • Shape your sense of control – recognise what’s beyond your control and let go of those things.
  • Stay positive – expect good things and visualise the outcome you want.
  • Keep a long-term perspective  – avoid seeing stressful events as all-encompassing. As the saying goes, ‘This too shall pass’.
  • Be proactive – deal with pressures before they escalate.
  • Develop problem-solving skills – learn how to come up with solutions to problems.
  • Exercise your choice – remember that you are in control of how you manage your feelings.

Of course, it isn’t called ‘personal’ resilience for nothing. Everyone has their own strengths and areas for improvement. If you’d like to find out about our personalised resilience and wellbeing coaching, workplace resilience programs and other services, contact Fleur on 0404 559 244 or email fleur@blueberryinstitute.com

How you can improve your wellness and wellbeing

You’ve probably noticed that the terms ‘wellness’ and ‘wellbeing’ have been getting quite a bit of airtime recently. Yet if you were put on the spot, could you articulate the difference between them? Don’t worry, most people couldn’t.

It might surprise you to learn that one is actually key to achieving the other. And knowing how can help you take control of your wellness and wellbeing.

Firstly, let’s understand wellbeing

Even the experts can’t agree on a single definition of wellbeing. That’s because wellbeing is highly subjective. You don’t have the same values, life goals and personality traits as the person next to you. So certain aspects of wellbeing may be more or less important to you than others.

For some people, wellbeing means physical health. For others, it’s about happiness, stress management or mental health. What’s more, your wellbeing changes. Think about your last holiday. The chances are that your wellbeing was better when you had ample time to relax than it is when you’re under prolonged stress at work.

All of this shows that wellbeing is more all-encompassing than any one aspect or trait. I like the New Economics Foundation (2012) definition:

“Wellbeing can be understood as how people feel and how they function on a personal and social level and how they evaluate their lives as a whole.”

So wellbeing encompasses your physical, mental and emotional states, as well as how you’re demonstrating meaning in your life, and your social evaluation of how things are going.

So where does wellness come in?

According to the World Health Organisation:

“Wellness is an active process of becoming aware and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life … [achieving] complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.”

Now that’s interesting. If wellness is an active process, you can use it as a tool to improve your wellbeing.

A wellness mindset is great for your wellbeing

At some point in your life, you may have felt that your wellbeing was suffering because of things beyond your control. Perhaps it was being too busy to exercise and ending up constantly fatigued. Or maybe it was catching every flu and bug that happened to be going around.

The great news is that wellness is completely within your control. That’s because wellness is about taking responsibility for the quality of your life. Often this begins with a conscious decision to create a healthy lifestyle or a wellness mindset.

And the benefits are huge. Not only will you feel happier, healthier and more energised, but it can also flow on to your performance at work.

It’s worth noting that wellness isn’t the only way to enhance your wellbeing. Developing your personal resilience also plays a key role by giving you the skills to handle change and do your best under challenging circumstances. For the moment though, let’s take a closer look at wellness.

How to put your wellness mindset into practice

Take continually getting sick as an example. This can often be a sign that you’re run down or on the way to burning out. When you adopt a wellness mindset, you’ll find there are many small changes you can make to improve your wellbeing. These could include:

  • Eating more nutritious foods – you could begin with something easy, such as eating a salad for lunch twice a week or cutting out soft drinks.
  • Getting a health check-up – testing your vitamin and essential mineral levels is a good way to see if any deficiencies could be contributing to your health issues.
  • Making time to exercise – switch your approach from ‘having time’ to ‘creating time’, such as going for a walk during your lunch break and inviting a colleague to join you.
  • Committing to a healthy sleep pattern – start seeing your eight hours a night as every bit as important as your other demands, because you can’t do your best when you’re worn out.

To find out more, contact Fleur on 0404 559 244 or email fleur@blueberryinstitute.com

Tips for creating a successful career plan

Today’s career progression isn’t the linear ladder it used to be. Workplaces are ever-changing and restructures are continually reshaping our career options. That’s why it’s important to take control of your career rather than leave it to chance. By actively building your career resilience, you can do just that.

Working in an environment where change is the norm can make anyone feel uncertain about their future. Taking a career resilient approach puts you back in the driver’s seat, rather than leaving your career in the hands of your employer. And having a career plan is an important first step.

How to design a successful career plan

Think of your career plan as a roadmap to help you navigate the varied terrain ahead. It helps you assess any opportunities that come up and prioritise the focus of your professional development.

Make sure your career plan sets you up for success with these tips:

  • State what you want from your work, but also what you don’t want to do
  • Incorporate your values, personal boundaries and professional aspirations
  • Include an assessment of your strengths, knowledge and experience
  • Pinpoint your competency and work gaps to identify professional development areas.

What if you’re not sure where you want to head?

If you already know what you want to do, developing your career plan may come easily. But if you’re still figuring it out or tossing up a few options, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • Is there a way to build a career around my passions?
  • What types of roles will allow me to best use my core strengths?
  • What tasks and responsibilities bring me the most satisfaction?
  • What are the tasks and responsibilities that drain my energy?
  • Will the path I’m considering offer me growth, healthy challenges and the chance to keep learning?

Be prepared to adapt your career plan

Having a plan is great for keeping you focused, but life can be unpredictable. And you don’t want to miss out on other opportunities because you’re attached to a specific outcome. In today’s digital world, new jobs are being created all the time – some we haven’t even imagined yet.

Consider taking a double-pronged approach with your career plan:

  1. A deliberate strategy, with a list of your career goals and pathway; and
  2. An emergent strategy, which allows you to modify your plan to accommodate opportunities and experiences that pop up along the way.

Whatever your career goals, developing your career resilience will help you achieve them.
To find out how we can help, contact Fleur on 0404 559 244 or email fleur@blueberryinstitute.com

Use career resilience to get more out of your job

Have you ever felt dissatisfied in your job? If you’re like most of us, your first instinct was probably to leave. But often this is followed by the thought, ‘I can’t.’ Whether it’s financial reasons, bad timing or something else, feeling ‘stuck’ can lead to a downward emotional spiral.

The great news is that there is something you can do. By using your career resilience, you can create more space for what makes you happy, every day.

Craft your current job so it’s more fulfilling

While you’re waiting for the stars to align for a longer-term solution, you can ‘re-craft’ your job or work environment to keep you going in the short term. Studies show that people who love their jobs share these four common characteristics1:

  • They use their strengths every day
  • They feel that they are an important part of their organisation’s future
  • They are surrounded by colleagues who care about their overall wellbeing
  • They are excited about the future because of their leader’s enthusiasm and vision.

Increase your career resilience with these tips

You can boost your career resilience and shape your current role by shifting your mindset and drawing on some resilience strategies. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Know your strengths and use them – leverage your strengths so you feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • Make your passion known – if there’s an area you’re particularly passionate about, put your hand up for more of this type of work.
  • Chunk down the activities you find challenging – doing tasks you dislike for days on end can take a toll on anyone’s energy. Try to insert half-hour blocks of something you enjoy, even if it’s a proactive piece of work.
  • Don’t let the pressure build – when you’re so under the pump that you feel paralysed, go for a walk around the block. Your mind will scream, ‘You don’t have time for that!’, but fresh air will give you perspective and you’ll come back feeling calmer and more productive.
  • Spend time with the right people – negativity is contagious, so make sure you’re surrounding yourself with positive people, even if it means venturing outside of your regular circle.
  • Keep an eye out for other opportunities – one of the benefits of change in the workplace is that there will often be the option to go on a project or take on a hybrid role. This can be a great way to try new things, expand your skills and clarify your career path.

Even the perfect role can have challenging times or unexpected change. So career resilience is a skill that will support you for years to come. If you’d like help developing your career resilience, you might want to consider coaching or taking part in a workshop.

To find out more, contact Fleur on 0404 559 244 or email fleur@blueberryinstitute.com

1. Job crafting research (2013); Jane Dutton, Amy Wrzesniewski, Justin Berg; University of Michigan

10 invaluable benefits from having a mentor

A mentor provides a safe and supportive environment that facilitates confidence and the courage to stretch yourself and achieve more than you thought possible. Mentoring achievements often include work promotions, cross business project participation, opportunities to assume a leadership role, and improved working relationships.

I am often asked what the difference between coaching and mentoring is. While typically used interchangeably, it is important to understand that while there are similarities between the two development styles, mentoring offers something unique to coaching. While a coach provides a structure and support for you to generate results for yourself via a process of skilful questioning; mentors use their experience in a field, position or industry to provide more direct guidance and individualised support.

Mentoring is a developmental partnership where knowledge, skills, information and perspective developed over years of experience are shared to foster the personal and professional growth of another individual. You may have one constant mentor or different mentors that support you at different stages of your learning journey.

Having a mentor throughout your career is a valuable asset to your growth. Mentoring provides:

  1. Support for planning, navigating and making decisions about your career path
  2. One-on-one, regular, critical feedback to support your growth
  3. Increased self-awareness, self-discipline and commitment to personal goals
  4. Expanded vision and perspectives
  5. Extended networks and support systems
  6. Impartial and objective advice
  7. A safe space to discuss work issues and brainstorm solutions
  8. Enhanced communication and interpersonal skills
  9. A supporter to cheer you on
  10. Knowledge and skills to develop leadership

Always listen to the advice of your mentor and trust your instincts. At the end of the day, the final decision on the best solution to move forward must be your own. The decision to change can only be owned by you.

To understand more: about how to develop mentoring competencies for yourself or structured mentoring for your organisation, please email fleur@blueberryinstitute.com or call 0404 559 244, for a complimentary coffee discussion.

9 awesome reasons why you should become a mentor

Often people hesitate when asked to be a mentor for fear of not having the relevant experience or possessing all the answers to the questions a mentoree might ask. The role of mentor has evolved significantly from the ancient days of the wise old sage or the traditional workplace hierarchical seniority structure. Mentoring is now more accurately defined as a developmental partnership where one person shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective, to foster the personal and professional growth of someone else.

Mentoring is about supporting learning rather than teaching, with both mentors and those mentored learning and growing from the experience. Great mentors are now coming from positions, departments and industries that are quite different to their mentorees. Consistently mentors are reporting the following positive experiences from mentoring:

  1. The personal satisfaction in developing another person
  2. Making a contribution and being able to ‘give back’ to the organisation by sharing their skills, experience and abilities
  3. Being able to practice their coaching and mentoring skills in goal setting, questioning, listening, problem-solving in a safe and supportive partnership
  4. Expanding their own networks and breaking down functional silos
  5. Broadening their perspective and deepening their understanding of another business area
  6. Public recognition and acknowledgment of their experience
  7. Improving communication and feedback skills
  8. A greater appreciation for the views, alternative perspectives and contribution of others
  9. The opportunity to develop their own people management and leadership skills

The key to a successful and fulfilling mentoring relationship is not about having all the answers. It is about working together to set meaningful goals, clearly defining roles and expectations between mentor and mentoree, using learning frameworks to guide a developmental conversation, and having fun along the way.

To understand more: about how to develop mentoring competencies for yourself or structured mentoring for your organisation, please email fleur@blueberryinstitute.com or call 0404 559 244, for a complimentary coffee discussion.

How to drive your career forward

Many managers and leaders ask me for advice on what type of professional development they should be undertaking to improve both their performance in their current role but also support their longer-term career aspirations. It is important to understand that your leadership development needs are different at key transition points in your career.

Often the struggle to devise a performance development plan resides with a lack of understanding of the different types of learning and development associated with the different stages of your career evolution. At each level of leadership, we face complex situations that need balancing. We experience ever-increasing demands to assimilate information, to prioritise and decide, to take action and achieve results. To do this, we need to be flexible, agile, and master new skills.

I encourage you to identify the stage where you are at in your career as the starting point for planning your professional development and learning priorities:
As a First Time Manager the skills and behaviours that make you a highly successful team member are very different to those required to be a successful manager of a high performing team. There is a significant shift required from performing tasks yourself to communicating task priorities for others to complete. New skills to activate include planning, delegation, coaching for motivation and development, providing effective feedback and driving successful team delivery and outcomes.

Becoming a Manager of a team of Managers generally means assuming responsibility for the greatest number of people in the organisation that perform the majority of the day-to-day work. This transition involves a shift from in-depth technical understanding and detail to directing and relying on others providing the necessary know-how. Quality, company productivity and financial results become your key performance measures. You no longer have full knowledge and must rely on the day-to-day decision making being the responsibility of your team. Without making behavioural shifts towards successful prioritisation, delegation and achieving results through others, this is where high achievers can burn out or fail.

The appointment to a Functional Manager (Head of Department, Director) role is both exciting and daunting. You have the opportunity and position to make a real difference to your organisation. Responsibilities are broadened and include direct accountability for the people and annual plans that your department delivers as well as setting and driving overall organisation strategy. With this responsibility comes the juggling of multiple roles and numerous agendas. Collaborating with other departments and embracing a more holistic business outlook is pivotal for success.

The biggest shift Business Leaders (General Manager, CEO, Business Owner) need to make is moving from a functional execution mindset to a long-term strategic view and profit perspective. Business Leaders need to master the paradox of short-term delivery with long-term thinking, balancing the present needs of the business whilst simultaneously planning for goals out into the future. Multiple layers of team management and development and balancing the competition for resources between functional managers are two major transitional skills to be mastered.

Becoming a Group Business Leader (Managing multiple businesses across diverse portfolios) requires a transition from driving the success of your own business to supporting others to achieve success in their businesses. You move from strategic planning to strategic evaluation for resource deployment.

You require a sophisticated corporate perspective to ask the right questions, analyse the right data and weigh up risks in decision making with a portfolio strategy. The development of business leaders, succession planning, performance processes, organisational capability and promoting a performance culture is critical to your success at this level.

Where you are at with your career evolution will guide you towards the most relevant learning and development activities in designing your personal and professional development plan. For a confidential coffee chat on personal and professional development ideas for supporting you, your team or your organisation, please email fleur@blueberryinstitute.com or call 0404 559 244, for a complimentary coffee discussion.

3 steps to successfully develop confidence

Korn Ferry provides an empowering and motivating definition of confidence which I like to work with: “Confidence is…the power to produce the life you want – one that reflects your goals, needs, hopes, dreams, desires, and ambitions – it comes from taking action based on what you are capable of doing currently, as well as what you believe you can become capable of doing in the future.”

Most people that I coach who have a desire to improve their confidence, don’t start out with such a clear definition. This is largely due to the fact that we experience confidence at a very personal level and often express it in vague and difficult to action ways such as: “I want to be able to present with confidence” or “I want to have the confidence to apply for promotional opportunities”. Here are 3 simple steps to defining and developing what confidence means for you.

Step 1 is to first describe the current situation in which you lack confidence. For example: “When I present now my voice sounds weak, people don’t pay attention to what I say and the decisions I need are left unmade”. Then rewrite the same situation as it would look like with confidence. This becomes: “When I present I will command attention, make my points clearly and succinctly, invite discussion from my participants, and ensure that I leave with commitments for follow up action”.

Step 2 is to identify where your confidence gap is being driven by a lack of self-esteem or whether it may be self-efficacy.

Self-esteem relates to our sense of coping with what is going on in our lives. Useful tools for building self-esteem include recalling past achievements, identifying your strengths, reframing negative self-talk and encouraging positive thinking. These strategies reinforce self-value and provide a greater ability to face challenges such as standing up and speaking to a group of people.

Self-efficacy relates to our mastery of skills; how competent we feel pursuing goals that are important to us. Do we have the knowledge and skills we require to achieve our goals? To support us in mastering a successful presentation, for example, we could choose to undertake presentation skills training, attend conferences to observe expert speakers, practice presentation topics with our peers and so forth. These strategies support our ability to complete our goals successfully.

Step 3 is to set small, achievable learning goals once we have identified the most appropriate development strategy for us. Experiencing success, however, small increases our self-esteem and supports our self-efficacy.

For further information and coaching in developing confidence for individual and teams, contact fleur@blueberryinstitute.com or call 0404 559 244, for a complimentary coffee discussion.