How to be More Confident at Work

Do you remember back in school that there was always a popular and confident person who seemed to get the most attention from the teacher. They would always be the first ones to put up their hands to be chosen to speak, despite the fact that they didn’t always get the answer right! Invariably, they would also be the ones who would be chosen for team games and given extra responsibility in class.

Let’s now fast-forward 20 years and you might well find that same person in your own company, having now been promoted rapidly through various management levels to a senior management position of influence.

You try to persuade yourself that it doesn’t matter but it does because you just know that you are really more capable than they are and, to you, they just seem to be arrogant. But nobody else seems to think this way other than you! Sound familiar?

However, you know in your heart that everyone is different and just because someone is ‘confident’, it doesn’t necessarily make them ‘competent’. Continue reading


Be Stress Free and Experience the ‘Feel Good’ Factor

Here in the UK, we are on a ‘high’ after the successful London Olympic Games and with the Paralympics about to begin. The weather may not always be great but the country came together as one. We talked to each other on the streets, there was a buzz around the office and as the gold medals increased, everyone felt good.

But how long will that feeling last and wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could just bottle it, to be opened when the energy we have been feeling throughout the country will have gone?

So, how do you feel when you get up in the morning? Ready to bounce out of bed with your daily exercise regime or do you struggle to get yourself together and not want to look at yourself in the mirror until after your first cup of coffee?

And then you go into work, with a growl and grumpy face and maybe yell at the person who asks how you are? Sound familiar? Well, you are not alone.

If you are feeling miserable this may be accompanied by stress, anxiety, anger, irritability and low energy but in many ways, you are probably the last person to notice. Your colleague asks you what is wrong and you wish you could identify why you feel as you do but you don’t want to ‘open up’ at work for risk of being seen as weak and unable to cope. And so the vicious cycle goes on until maybe you get to the point where your sleepless nights and lack of concentration gets to you. And then you might finally think you should try and do something about it.

Hmm… you say to yourself. “Where did I put that bottle of ‘feel good factor’ – I am sure I have it around somewhere?”

Determining your mood

So what determines your mood – are they external or internal factors? Well, you may hear yourself saying, ‘It’s not fair that I did not get that job promotion or ‘It’s not fair that my wife doesn’t understand me’ and so it goes on. You spend your working day telling your colleagues that something or other is not fair and then you are surprised that your colleagues don’t wish to have lunch with you. And with all of that negativity, who can truthfully blame them? They will probably want to spend their free time with someone who has energy and a positive attitude. So if you can’t find your bottle of ‘feel good factor’, I suggest you go for lunch by yourself! Continue reading


Can you ‘Think Outside the box’?

‘Thinking outside the box’ is more than just a business cliché. It means approaching problems in new, previously unused ways; confronting situations differently and understanding your position in relation to any particular challenge in a manner you had never thought of before.

We are frequently told to do just that but you may wonder as to why this might be helpful. You may have completed a specific task many times in a certain way – so why the need to change?

You may also have been told to ‘think laterally’. Maybe you are so firmly ‘inside a particular box’ that you are completely unaware of this position. So let us apply some creative thinking. In a commonly used English phrase, ‘there are more ways to skin a cat’ meaning that there is usually more than one solution to any given problem. But, and here is the point, one has to have an open mind and a willingness to learn from others and not to take any critique as a personal criticism of you, but rather as constructive and creative feedback.

Confronting problems in a different way

So how do you confront problems in a different way and why should it be necessary to ‘think outside of the box’ anyway?

The key is to identify the ‘box’ in any given situation i.e. the often comfortable constructs that determine your operating boundaries, both physical and mental i.e. those which are real and those which are merely restricted by mindset. Then think about alternatives, and sometimes an unconventional solution that before you would not have even considered.

When one is faced with a challenging problem, it is all too easy to focus on the specific facts and the ‘obvious solutions’ without making the effort to take yourself into another zone of thinking in which alternative, and possibly more advantageous, solutions are suggested. In order to ‘think outside of the box’, one must ‘brainstorm’ every possibility – even those that you would normally dismiss, because from those, other ideas can emanate, take shape and provide beneficial and/or profitable solutions. Continue reading


The Crying Games

The celebration of the London Olympic Games are now over.  The winners, some crying with tears of elation, will return home with their medals to enjoy their newly acquired national status.   They are the ones who will have worked tirelessly for many years to finally enjoy the results of their achievements. There were also, believe it or not, some tears from journalists, caught up in the emotion of the winners – and also the losers who just failed to make the grade who feel they have let down their country.

Although we are told that it is the competing that is the most important, and not necessarily the winning, we must not underestimate the impact that disappointment will have on each competitor.

Managing Disappointment

Of course, we know that everyone manages disappointment differently.   Some athletes
may feel that their failure to win a medal is to have absolutely failed their friends, family and trainers whilst for others it may merely increase their determination to do better next time.

Those who fail to win may feel angry and cross at their lack of concentration or physical ability to be the best, and while they congratulate the winners, they are secretly having to manage not only their pain but also their feelings of disappointment for themselves and for those that have supported them over so many months and years of training.

These are the people that I think of at this time.  Of course, for every winner there is a loser and we cannot all be champions: life is full of disappointments which we have
to manage whether we are Olympic competitors or corporate managers.  We all have dreams and aspirations not yet realised.  Illness, in ourselves or our family, may get
in the way of us achieving our full potential.  Hopes are often dashed and life, at times,
just seems so unfair.

Life is not a straight line – there will always be ups and downs along the way. We cannot always sail on the crest of a wave.  Situations do not always work out; our vision
does not always become a reality and too often, we don’t come home with the gold, or even the bronze!

We are not all Olympic competitors, but in one form or another, we will have had to manage disappointment and the powerful emotions that it releases.  It happens to all of
us, rich or poor, old or young, man or woman. It is a fact of life that will happen to you and although it cannot be avoided, how you deal with it  will  determine the effect it has on your life and the extent to which you can control that effect.  Disappointment is a combination of two things:  your expectations and perceptions of an event and its actual resolution.

Here are some ways to help you to move on:

  • Treat the event as a moment to consider what you can learn about yourself from the situation.  Reflect and take the learning
    out of the situation so that you can use it for another time.
  • Allow yourself space to grieve and sufficient time to manage the loss.  It is important to acknowledge that it did
    happen, to acknowledge the disappointment and to move on.
  • Take responsibility for your own actions and don’t blame others.  Whilst, other people or factors may have influenced how a particular situation unfolded, there
    will be ways in which you can modify those influences, next time.
  • Accept that change is an integral part of life, both in business and in the home.  Do your best to believe in the fact that how you manage change will determine the type of person that you are.

Even though you may have experienced disappointment, don’t forget to say ‘Thank you!’ to those who were there for you and supported you onyour journey. Be grateful for what you have and for those whom you have around you: your family, friends and colleagues.

Life is a journey for all of us.  Tears of joy and sometimes of disappointment will happen.  The sooner, you come to terms with the pain, the sooner you can move on. These disappointments will have been yesterday but today, and everyday, is a new beginning!

Key Points

  • Disappointments happen to all of us
  • Learn and profit from your mistakes
  • Life is about looking forwards not back

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

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The New Olympic Champions

This year, 2012, Britain has the great privilege of being host nation to the international Summer Olympic Games, for the third time in its history – the previous
occasions being 1908 and 1948. London will be the only city ever to host three Olympiads! A new 200 acre “Olympic Park” has been built in Stratford,
East London, and many existing London facilities, such as the new Wembley Stadium, will also be used. And when the Games are finished, London will be left with the valuable legacy of a completely rejuvenated area, that was once derelict, and that will, in a few weeks time, provide homes for thousands of Londoners.

The Games began on Friday 27th July and will run through until 12 August, with 4,700
medals ready and waiting to be won!   The country is enjoying Olympic fever and the excitement is running at a high level throughout the capitol. Continue reading