How your business is relying on the holy triangle of perspective, focus and clarity

It is 2021. Time flies. Last year has been challenging for many people understandably, and with the new year coming many hope for a better period to come. As it is the beginning of the year, talking about goal setting is a trend. So, I am not going to do that. Instead, let me talk about three foundational elements of getting good results. 

Perspective

The angle and the mindset that defines how you see things that help or limit you. 

Perspective is you existing in a specific space that influences your thoughts. It is also the information, facts, and data that is known to you.
For example, you have to know someone better or live somewhere or work in a specific team for a period of time to understand more about the people. 

So, perspective essentially is to select and take information that is known and relevant to you and your situation and realize it influences you.

 

Clarity

Know exactly what you want, where you want to be.

Clarity represents the quality of what you want to see happen. If you think about the connection between Clarity and Focus, you can easily see how too much information can slow down your efforts to create clarity or how too little information can lead you astray.

Sometimes the level of detail is just too great to make meaningful connections (perspective), which then negatively influences the quality of your decisions, essentially your Clarity and Focus.

So, how do you know how much information is too great or what is too much of a focus?

If you experience challenges in making decisions, you might have too little or too much information. Alternatively, your perspective needs a shift. This means the way how you select, structure, and arrange the information needs to change.

Here is the thing: Most of the time, you will intuitively know whether you have enough information or not.

Let’s get back to what clarity is. It is where you want to be and what you want to achieve. In other words, it is your destination, your desired state.

Now, we switch to goal setting methods and think about the most frequently used one, which is the SMART. In that case, you can see that SMART is a tool, like any other, such as visualization, to give you a structure and highlight different aspects of your desired destination. In SMART language,

  • what do you want to achieve,
  • how do you know you can achieve it (a measurement of success),
  • how do you know it is not impossible to achieve it (attainable, not impossible)
  • whether your desired state and goals are realistic (are they within reach and in alignment with your life purpose)
  • when do you want to achieve it.

I prefer doing some visualization first because it helps me better define my goal. With visualization, I can see those details that I don’t see with the SMART method only. Visualization helps my brain to discover potential limitations and barriers my subconscious mind stores. 

In today’s logical and fact-driven world, it is easy to push your subconscious mind back into a dark room.
But remember, it has a price. Your subconscious mind is extremely powerful, so pushing back works only for a while. In the meantime, your subconscious is training like crazy doing its supermans, push-ups, and squats, building its muscles in that dark room, so that it can come forward when your mind becomes tired, for example, because of stress factors, and it is ready to fight.

The good news is that your subconscious is not fighting against or with you; it is fighting for you. So, my advice, take it by the hand, set it free.
If you tried to push it back for long, it will be messy in the beginning. But you will also gain better control of your mind quite quickly.

Focus

Do what you need to get there to achieve what you have clarity on. Focus is to define your path to achieve what you aim for.

Think about it as a path or a tunnel. When you set your Focus, you essentially build a path or a tunnel between you and your goal. The path and tunnel metaphors help consider the circumstances as well.

A path is under the open sky, which means there are many things that can influence your course and you on your way. The tunnel is a more controlled environment, so you can set tolerance for the potential deviations.
The tunnel also tells you that there can still be unexpected events, but it also allows you to take steps to mitigate potential risks.
A tunnel does not necessarily exist under the ground. It can exist above the ground as well. Think about a walking path with an arched glass cover above the trail.

So, what else can I tell you about the Focus, which is doing what you need to do? Remember, you have clarity, so you know where you are going. With Focus, you build a plan. Set a series of actions you choose to take in order to get to your destination.

And if you also recall what I told you about SMART, each step needs to take you closer to this destination in your plan, on your path. The reason why you make your goals (series of steps) measurable is so that you know how closer you got to achieving your goal. And it matters what you choose to measure. You may not get closer to your destination, even if each goal itself is measurable unless you choose to measure wisely.

Let’s see an example of this holy triangle of Perspective, Clarity, and Focus.

Assuming you want to increase your business’s performance by 5% by the end of this year. Depending on which month you are in when you read the article and your baseline, you can at least make the first judgment on whether it is possible.

How?

You gather information to understand how big the gap is. It is 5%, isn’t it? Easy peasy. Not quite. Depending on your cash flow, the readiness of the product offering to hit the relevant market or markets successfully, or marketing, or brand power 5% can be achievable or not.

Therefore, to achieve clarity, you need to set your perspective right; you need to choose the relevant information, assess it well, and then plan the right set of actions, too. When you did that, do not hesitate to execute what you intended.

What I learned about decision-making as a consultancy business owner

decision-making

Consultancy is one type of expertise business besides financial advisors, personal stylists, a wedding planner, brand photographer, videographers, etc. As expertise business owners, we face different types of decision-making day in, day out. Let’s have a closer look at the types of decisions I have come across as a consultant, helping business owners, as well as choices I had to make as a small business owner.  

Decisions, decisions…

Decisions govern the flow of our life. We make decisions at every step of the way of our waking moments, from the moment we open our eyes till we fall asleep at night. Our decisions reveal our values, beliefs, and experiences. Moreover, some choices happen at and create new junctures in life. Although, not even good decisions can guarantee optimum outcomes or even an improvement in our lives. The way how we make choices influence these decisions, and therefore the results as well.   

The process of decision-making  

Decision-making is a process that considers the decision-maker and the environment in which the choice is made. The process of decision-making consists of a series of steps an individual follows when making a choice: collecting information, evaluating alternatives, and making a choice based on a set of criteria; finally, you act. During decision-making, various things are linked to you, which affect how you make your choices. These variables could be your fears, your deepest desires, circumstances, lifestyle, your beliefs to the overall outcome, and so on.   

In our Five Strategies to Make Better Decisions Faster Guidebook, we help you formulate your secret recipe to get closer to what you desire by giving you food for thought and exercises. It guides you through the steps of a transformational process that leads to a new you. Get in touch if you would like to acquire this guidebook.  

Now, let’s get back to our topic today. When you own or run a business, no matter the size, you are required and trusted to make the best decisions for your team. Business owners and managers must understand the impact and importance of each decision they make. The results of the wrong or right choices can affect the entire business. Business owners must continue to improve and update their decision-making skill set. Most of the time, the basics of decision making are the same. However, new techniques are evolving every day, impacting making significant decisions for your company.   

Collaborative technique of decision-making  

Also known as group decision making, collaborative decision making is a decision-making technique that works precisely the way it sounds. A group of people discusses and weighs up decisions. Most often, these people are chosen either at random or are compiled based on their experiences and knowledge in the company. This decision-making method is one of the most impactful ways to decide, but it is also the most time-consuming.   

For example, a company would like to make an investment, and you are part of the team that is preparing the analysis connected to this potential deal. When you work as part of a team, you need to approve a presentation supporting a decision-making process. The analysis is wide-ranging, considering the effect of the investment on the legal, economic, brand-related aspects of the business. This is a typical example of collaborative decision-making. Alternatively, when a firm decides that they would like to make an acquisition or a merger is also a good example of collaborative decision-making. Technology businesses, especially app development, require lots of decisions made in collaboration between team members and partners.  

An even more direct example of this technique is the following. In the pharma industry, there is fierce competition between companies in significantly shortening the molecules’ testing and approval time. In this process, many groups work together. The sales and marketing, product development, and regulatory teams work together on the decision of reducing the testing and approval time.  

Reaching a consensus  

When something is decided through the collaborative technique, it can happen through reaching a consensus or a non-collaborative decision. Decision-makers reach a consensus when all of the parties making the choice come to a common agreement. The above examples have a good outcome if they are reached through unison amongst the parties. The advantage of such decision-making is that it’s a win-win for all involved. It’s not about having a win here and be on the losing side elsewhere. The decision has the agreement of all parties because they accept the group’s choice due to it bringing them the value that is in line with their interest.  Nevertheless, not all collaborative decisions will be consensus-based. Some may be ‘dictated’ from upper management levels, and they need to agree, rather than want to agree with the decision fully.  

Sir, yes, sir! – The command technique  

The command technique is very rare nowadays. You may come across it in the army, or not even there. This decision-making technique is connected to the autocratic leadership style. Through the command technique, leaders make decisions without talking with higher managers or their teams when deciding. This style is standard and often speeds up the decision-making process. Often, this technique works best when you must make a quick, time-sensitive decision.   

This type of decision-making is used, for example, at the time of a merger or acquisition decision when leaders of an organization may not consult with you when making their choice. If the firm’s strategy and growth dictate to make an acquisition, they may not discuss with all managers that they are taking this step. In this case, the board of directors comes together, and they may make a collaborative decision. Still, that may not involve other managers in making this choice. Therefore, the decision will be collaboratively made for the board of directors, but it will be more of a command for the rest of the organization. So, the same decision from different angles may appear in a different light.   

Convenience technique  

Some decisions are made out of convenience. The decision-maker may choose to go with the flow or pick the option with less resistance, even opting for the alternative with the least pain. This technique comes in handy too, when the decision-maker wants to gloss over something they consider a weakness.   

The convenience technique is a ‘hands-off’ approach to decision making. This technique can be one of the toughest for business owners and managers. Delegating and trusting another person to make the best decision for your company may be daunting and stressful. However, this decision-making technique also opens up perspectives you had not looked at before. Handing over a decision to someone else on operational matters can empower your team while clearing up time on your schedule. The convenience technique is one of the most difficult methods, yet it is an impactful and rewarding way to make a decision. It has downsides, too, unfortunately. Placing decisions in an employee’s hands may leave you open to not knowing what is happening in your business. This notion could leave you facing trouble when they step out of the company.  

A stitch in time saves nine…  

As an example, for making a convenient decision, here is a situation that I’ve found myself in. I consider it as my life lesson. In my business’s technology department, I left many decisions to the person responsible for the IT side of my company. This was a decision I made out of convenience, as I did not want to spend time or energy with the technological details. Soon I had to realize that I got distanced far from the applied technological solutions. When this person left my company, it left me feeling uneasy that I didn’t know these things. I then had to learn everything connected to the technological solutions to be able to work my way through it all. I am a small business owner, and I must admit that I cannot be a jack-of-all-trades. Simultaneously, I have to possess enough knowledge to pull through and resolve occurring issues after someone leaves the business. My convenience decision stemmed from wanting to focus on product development, sales, and so on and therefore wanted the technological stuff to get resolved ‘on their own’. Well, lessons learned, I won’t do this in a hurry any time soon!

How to become an entrepreneur – What videos don’t tell you about developing an entrepreneur mindset

become an entrepreneur

Becoming an entrepreneur is no mean feat, despite what is being projected to us on social media. This article is all about enabling entrepreneurs and expertise-business owners to maximize their business’s performance & potential and be more confident & compromise less on their journey to greatness.

Firstly, let us define entrepreneurs

Who do we call entrepreneurs? What are our perceptions of them?

An entrepreneur is someone who runs a business or businesses to generate profit—simple definition enough. Many run a business but cannot be called entrepreneurs, though.

Let me give you an example. Some consultants are freelancers yet run businesses but work in a similar setting as employees, even though with differences in how they manage their work delivery. 

An entrepreneur generates profit by selling products or services, not their time, or through investments.

The locus of control

For sure, entrepreneurs need to have an internal locus of control, which means they believe that they greatly influence how their lives evolve.
They need to be comfortable taking risks, being independent thinkers, and establishing rapport with a wide range of people.
Entrepreneurs are innovative and should be able to recognize business opportunities. With an entrepreneurial mindset, you often need to make quick decisions and take responsibility for the consequences.
You are on a continuous journey of improving your skills, learning and moving on from your mistakes, and acquiring new skills as you go along on your business journey.

In some sense, it is similar to anyone working as an employee, although the level of risk-taking and the combination of the traits and skills I mentioned will be different; because the challenges are different.

Overnight successes and the reality

These traits and characteristics are usually not visible when ‘overnight successes’ appear. If you believe that overnight success is realistic.

Typically, you don’t see what may have gone on in the background: the struggle, the sleepless nights, and the vast amount of work that, eventually, resulted in success.

The image of a duck comes to mind: you don’t see their little feet work frantically underwater as they glide forward on the surface, seemingly effortlessly.

If you haven’t been in business before, the things you have heard made you form a picture in your mind of what it could be like to be your own boss. This idea may be missing the crucial transition process and the experiences you need to become an entrepreneur.
Unless you were born into a family of entrepreneurs, you have to learn how to be one. I am not talking about reading a few popular books. Sure, books help a lot. At the same time, you have to work on yourself, and that transformation or transition will last for years … guaranteed until you become that entrepreneur version of yourself that you dream of.

So, how do we transform from employees to the makers of our own business success?

When you decide to make your move from working for someone else to make your own dream come true, you first go through a pretty exciting phase. During this initial sparkling period, you decide things like business name, how to start, and what you plan to do. It’s all so exciting and fancy, and, gosh, you are a business owner!

Once you are through this thrilling initial phase, there come some pretty weighty decisions about business strategy, the products or services your business will offer. This is the point, usually, when reality hits and the width and depth of knowledge that is required to run a business is starting to dawn on you.

You need to master things like marketing, operations, sales, finance, and so on. You dive into the world of online courses and webinars, networking events and may also subscribe to numerous newsletters. Also exciting stuff. Exhausting too.

Each teaches you something useful. You learn to see that free stuff rarely gives you the secrets that truly make a difference, and you learn to differentiate the value of products and services you pay for.

Being the captain of the ship – becoming an entrepreneur

From the beginning, you may have some helpers, such as virtual assistants or a team around you. Even so, being an entrepreneur may feel like a lonely place to be, and you may feel isolated. Why? Because at the end of the day, you are the captain of that ship. The people you work with help you progress, and you pay them for it. At such times, friends become more important than ever. Sometimes you become friends with people you surround yourself with. Some even become your business partner.

Even so, there will be such a weight on your shoulders, which can break many people and cause them to quit.

Now, before you run for the hills, I am telling you about this because I want to show you the other side of becoming an entrepreneur. And, make no mistake, being an entrepreneur is terrific; the freedom, the limitless opportunities bound only by your talent and skill.

Each job has its specific features, so does being an entrepreneur. The picture that is being painted on social media about entrepreneurship is rather fancy.

Entrepreneurship is fancy

And, yes, of course, there is a fancy side to it all: you are the one calling the shots, have the flexibility of hours, and so on. It is very appealing. However, we must not forget the responsibility of it all.

As an employee,  you went to work, did your job, and got your salary. When you become an entrepreneur, you cannot be sure of getting a paycheck at the end of it all. Even if you do a great job, the market is a tricky thing, and there are so many moving parts.

You live in a more intense world: you must work well at all times, communicate well who you are and what you are on about, and all of this has to be designed to be sustainable while remaining true to yourself.

Furthermore, there are various business strategies that you may want to adopt as you start off. For example, to respond to market demand or to shape your offering. Alternatively, you perhaps have a set direction based on your previous experience and need to validate your direction by checking that there is demand out there for it. This is quite a decision to make at the beginning of your quest to become an entrepreneur.

Let me pause here for a second. There are, of course, other avenues you could take after quitting your job. For example, you could decide to become a freelance consultant.
Would you say it falls into the entrepreneurship category? I am not minded calling freelance consultancy entrepreneurship. Many freelancers got themselves a business, but the business model is very similar to being an employee for many.

Going back to becoming an entrepreneur.

  • How do you make all these individual puzzle pieces of various business knowledge come together?
  • How do marketing, sales, operations, thought leadership, customer service, finance, product development, and working with suppliers and vendors come together? Not to mention the everyday tasks and the focused project management that you need to maneuver through in addition to all of these?

So, the things that you are not told is precisely what I’ve just mentioned. Additionally, it is the transformation you have to go through to change your mindset and thinking, which effectively will change how you make decisions.

Profound mental change

Videos and articles that talk about being an entrepreneur don’t say much about fitting the pieces together and process the myriad of information in your mind within a short space of time. There isn’t much mention about the development that you go through mentally and spiritually when you become an entrepreneur.

Let me give you an example. I have worked with expertise-business owners who started their companies as a way out from the 9 to 5 world. Some did it out of necessity as they lost their jobs. In their case, the transition from being an employee in a corporate environment was slower, and it did slow down their business development. There was a constant internal battle between seeking the lifestyle and customs and paving the new path.

Even though this process itself is natural, its pace, and how difficult it can be, make all the difference.

Naturally, you might say, it is a decision to make. Once you decided, you behave the new way; however, the lingering and memory of the security clashes with the new business’s uncertainty and volatility.

So, even if you are determined and decided on the required behavior alignment, it will take time.

These expertise-business owners have read popular books and even shared their findings and AHA moments on their thoughts about money and wealth; however, they couldn’t internalize the new knowledge until we learned how to turn the switch. Also, adaptability and flexibility evolve in the process.

When you become an entrepreneur, you have no other solution but to move on and get back up after a blow – it’s not an option; it’s an absolute must.

Moreover, you need to recognize that you are the heart and soul of your business and must treat yourself with love – you need to look after yourself mentally and physically. If you are not sound, then your business will suffer.  So, look after yourself to be able to look after your business and make your dream come true!

Leadership styles – Do women lead better than men?

Leadership styles – Do women lead better than men?

Recently we have all been hearing and reading different speculations, theories and claims about differences between the leadership styles of men and women. One thing that we have gathered so far from all these theories is the fact that men and women lead differently. Consequently, this is the base from which we can look at the distinctions between the leadership styles of the two genders. Once we have a better understanding of the variations, only then will we be able to form a conclusion on who leads better, men or women?

Before we start the comparison, let me share the findings of a couple of studies. One of them argues that ‘organizations that most aggressively promote women to executive positions have 1/4 to 1/3 higher profits than their industry average’. (Pepperdine University 2007, Catalyst 2009)

Another study concludes that ‘working groups with more women in them demonstrate higher collective intelligence, problem-solving capability. Because women listen better and encourage more participation’.(Harvard Business Review, June 2011)

Notably, gender stereotyping is normally avoided, and we try not to generalize people into groups according to their genders. Still, in practical terms, gender differences stand true, and the distinctions between the leadership styles also originate here. Some leadership styles may be associated more with men.

Command and Control Leadership Style

According to the social norms established in the world, men usually belong to the ‘dominant group’. Throughout history, the male population dominated all kinds of businesses. For this reason, we see them in positions of authority everywhere; they are the managers, bosses, CEOs, chancellors, directors, etc. This has been going on for a very long time. As a result, it has given a false perception that women are the non-dominant group and are less fit for leadership.

This leadership style assumes that leaders practice very tight control of the ship. Consequently, they get used to issuing instructions and expect workers to follow those without hesitation. As a result of this leadership style, depending on the environment, the outcomes may not be very fruitful. The working environment remains tense with no or little room for creativity, compassion or even mistakes. As a result, this makes employees restless, resentful and generally unhappy. We are all aware of the fact that unhappy or unsatisfied workers never give the best results.

The disadvantages of this leadership style are:

  • it leaves little room for empathy, and workers are less engaged in a professional, but in-depth, communication with the ‘boss’,
  • the leader rarely gives employees a chance to explain their points at lengths and from their point of view,
  • creative and effective employee engagement may also decrease,
  • leading like this tends to reduce the effectiveness of the leader, as they consider themselves not having to answer to anyone.

The factors described here originate from a couple of leadership styles. Usually, leaders practising these styles lack interaction with some levels of the organisation.

Women, in our social standard, assumed to belong to the non-dominant group of society. They are often said to be too sensitive, compassionate and involved to be good leaders. But guess what: these are the traits of good leaders. So, let’s talk about what does it mean to be a transformational leader!

Transformational or Interactive Leadership Style

This type of leadership style is perhaps a better fit for female leaders, and it’s characterized by the following:

  1. Generally, women, due to their social roles, tend to be more patient, imaginative, creative and brim-full of ideas.
  2. Their ability to get involved with the situation, circumstances and people is what helps this style to flourish. They are not used to the high-chair of authority. This translates to having the ability to bring themselves down to the level of each employee and think from their perspective. It gives them a unique insight. Therefore, they can interact well with everyone, and come up with ideas and solutions that everyone is agreeable to.
  3. Another couple of traits are patience and perseverance. We often believe that women do not give up easily. They tend to dig down to the root of the problem and keep looking for solutions until they succeed.
  4. Another factor here is compassion and sensitivity. These characteristics allow them to forgive mistakes and pave the way for sensitive communication. In turn, this treatment of workers does wonders for employee morale, and satisfied and happy people are more efficient.
  5. Other reasons that can make females successful leaders are: 
    • their nurturing nature;
    • competence to maintain a work-life balance;
    • their empathy and skill to listen keenly;
    • challenge motivation;
    • creative analysis of ideas.

Women and men leadership styles in practice

To back up the theories, let me share some evidence. The data underlines the effectiveness of leadership styles and promote that female leaders are also the way forward to success.

In 2011, a survey took place involving 7280 leaders. The data was collected by bosses, peers, and directly from the leaders in the form of self-evaluation reports. In order to gauge effectiveness, the scientists selected 16 competencies from 30 years of research work. These competencies paint a picture of a leader’s highest effectiveness based on several business models. The results indicate that the majority of leaders employed in different sectors are still men. Still, in terms of leadership effectiveness, women take the lead (overall leadership effectiveness for males: 51.3% and for females: 55.1%). This study included leaders from all sectors and walks of life including commercial, domestic, government, private and international. Zenger Folkman Inc. conducted the survey. Its outcome was that Folkman, a psychometrician, has designed a tool to measure leadership effectiveness. In short, he described leadership effectiveness as follows:

‘A great leader can connect with people. And we find that as leaders progress in an organization, their ability to empathize and understand people is absolutely critical for a senior executive…If a leader doesn’t do that, they don’t get the kind of engagement and commitment from employees.’

Overall Leadership Effectiveness by Gender by Position (Percentile Scores)

 

Male

Female

Top Management, Executive, Senior Team Members

57.7

67.7

Reports to Top Management, Supervises Middle Managers

48.9

56.2

Middle Manager

49.9

52.7

Supervisor, Front Line Manager, Foreman

52.5

52.6

Individual Contributor

52.7

53.9

Other

50.7

52.0

Total

51.3

55.1

Source: Zenger Folkman Inc., 2011

How far have we come?

Let’s see if we have learnt from and implemented these findings over the past decade. Earlier this month, Catalyst has published their results in the area. They revealed that last year the proportion of women in senior management roles globally grew to 29%, the highest ever recorded. That means there is a movement towards gender diversity, although the proportion of women in senior leadership differs by role. Women are over-represented in administration-related positions, while men are likely to be more concentrated in operations-related roles.

There is also a variation by region: Africa has the highest score at 38% in the proportion of women in senior leadership positions, followed by Eastern Europe (35%) and North America (29%). Looking at the USA, we can see startling figures. There is a record-high number of Fortune 500 Women CEOs in 2020. Nevertheless, there are still nearly 13 Companies run by a man for every company run by a woman.

Based on a Mercer analysis looking at over a thousand organizations, the following was found concerning women in leadership roles:

  • Executives: 23%,
  • Senior Managers: 29%
  • Managers: 37%.

Clearly, there has been some progress made in the right direction in the past years. However, there is still a wide gap in the representation of genders in higher positions.

The transformational and interactive leadership traits that we discussed earlier fall in line with Folkman’s words. We have also seen the results of interactive, empathetic and compassionate leadership. It wins leaders the commitment and happiness of employees. And a leader is successful when they have the faith and commitment of their employees. 

So, why are women so underrepresented in leadership roles? Perhaps it is due to the biased society standards. Women still face several issues at the workplace. They also spend a lot more time and mental ability to find solutions to problems that come their way. This could lead to anxiety, tension and other mental health issues.

In this changing world, you need not fear problems and looking for solutions. Buckle up women, it won’t be a smooth ride! Still, many are standing behind you to find ways to manage the challenges so that you can take the opportunity to step up to lead.

Self-Confidence is Fundamental to Everything, But What is the Source of Self-Confidence?

fundamentals of self-confidence

If you’re here, you have at least one question on your mind that you want the answer to. Is improving self-confidence possible, and if so, how? 

If you want to get anywhere in life, doing all the things you want to do and seeing all the things you want to see, you can’t do it while missing one of the key elements which is self-confidence. One’s experiences influence one’s perception of the self. A child that has been brought up from an early age believing they can achieve anything they will tend to grow up with a generous amount of trust in their own abilities.  

Not all of us are so fortunate. Facing failure at an early age without being able to bounce back from it can lead to poor self-esteem. Our inner critic constantly uses these little incidents to make us question our self-worth. The lack of confidence can lead a person to back out from situations, growing incredibly anxious in public events, or even making mistakes in things they already know.  

However, we have all seen numerous examples showing that one’s attitude as a child does not completely determine their path as an adult. It means, there is a way to quiet that inner critic and build up one’s self-confidence as an adult. The path may be more complex at a later age, but it is certainly possible to develop and maintain higher self-confidence.  

With the right guidance, support, tools and desire to live a happier and healthier life overallyou can build a new mindset, and with that, you can change your experiences. 

For some, it may take years of practice, but eventually, we can all reach a stage where we intrinsically believe in ourselves and where we need not consciously remind ourselves of our worth.  

Basically, that is the state where you can confidently say you have a good sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Naturally, we all have our ups and downs, and we don’t feel confident all the time. Such moments, when you start questioning your abilities are also helpful, so listen to yourself. Listen to your mind. This is where it all starts. Those moments, when you waver, indicate which situations you may have trouble with, what your triggers are and which skills you need to work on.  

Building up your self-confidence might sound difficult, especially if you have very little belief in yourself right now. But after experiencing the first quick improvements, you will have something to build on. Do not underestimate small results.  

We prepared some easy to implement tips to help you start your journey and build your confidence.  

 1. Visualization

Visualize yourself as who you want to be and how your life will look like once you have more confidence You don’t have to imagine yourself all successful, be realistic and visualize the next stage of development. With time, you will and can be bolder.  

Often, we suffer from poor self-image. By imagining yourself as a confident, capable person, you can open your mind to new ways and new thinking. New ways which you are not choosing yet because you don’t believe you can do it. Experiment and keep your risks at bay.  

Are you not confident to ask for help from an experienced colleague or be a part of that project where you could prove your abilities just yet? Visualize various scenarios, practice what a confident person would say. Collect your thoughts, relevant experiences, and examples of similar situations. This is what confident people do. They rely on their past results and experiences. They rely on their skills. You have skills; we all have skills; you are no exception. The difference is that you haven’t recognized your skills yet, or you have no reference point. Find yourself the first reference point. A problem you can solve. 

Click the link to learn 5 Ways you can use relaxation and visualisation to help advance your career

2. Affirmations

We tend to beat ourselves up for the smallest of mistakes far too often, but rarely do we remember to compliment ourselves for the things we do well. When you know you are good at something, make it a point to remind yourself of that. Say it out loud, do not be shy. It is true for you; it has already been proven. You have proved it.  

It may sound strange first to hear your own voice saying, I tackled that interview and got the job I have been dreaming about. But it will give you a sense of pride and closure too. Knowing that you have accomplished something as a result of your talent and effort.  

I recall the first time I did that. I didn’t even state my achievement. Also, I said it as if it was a question.  

This method can apply to your physical insecurities as well. The next time you look into the mirror, compliment yourself. Compliment yourself out loud, for features of your appearance you are proud of. It can be anything, and you may be proud of your shapely eyebrows, nice smile, you can even compliment yourself for your hairstyle that day. 

Similarly, do not forget to compliment yourself for your mind, resilience, and perseverance. Compliment yourself for your dreams and plans. Without them, you wouldn’t make any progress. Dreams and plans are fuel to your growth.  Appreciate your own qualities with conviction, and your self-confidence will have no choice but to follow. 

3. Challenge Yourself

Do something that makes you uncomfortable. Start small, and this is not a competition. Your development and happiness are at stake. Others have no say in it. Listen to advice and opinions but know that you live your own life, and no one else lives it on your behalf. 

I know some would question this advice. Why would I start small? Why not be bold I can tell you if you ask these questions, you probably have enough self-confidence in that field, so find another challenge for yourself. 

By facing a difficult situation head-on, your heart will finally start believing that you can do anything you set your mind to.  Also remember, facing it head-on does not mean you have to rush into it. You can still craft your plan and progress at your own pace.  

4. I mentioned this already. Start Small

Often, we set ourselves on a course for a nearly unachievable aim, and when we are unable to meet it, our confidence takes a hit. Instead, break down your larger long-term aims into goals and those into smaller, short-term objectives 

After achieving your objectives, make a list of those achievements, no matter how small you believe them to be. This will help reaffirm your faith in yourself, and eventually, you will have achieved your goal as well. 

5. Personal Boundaries

It is okay to say no to other people. By setting personal boundaries and doing things that make you happy, you will be more in control of your life. Naturally, this will improve your perception of yourself.  

Follow these five techniques, and soon, you will be the person you always wished to be.  

Related articles
What does it take to be confident?
Benefits of Believing In Yourself.

 

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The Ingredients of Developing a Growth Mindset

The Ingredients of Developing a Growth Mindset

Developing a growth mindset and being able to sell yourself to your boss may just be what you need to get that long-awaited promotion. Being successful is everyone’s dream, but only those with a growth mindset get closer to achieving it. While you can wish to be successful, you are not just born with a growth mindset or get it automatically. Being truly successful and get recognition for your work means you show an aptitude to develop yourself and build resilience. It’s easier than it sounds, so if you don’t know where to start, you’re in the right place!

Create Your Personal Vision of ‘Success’

The literal definition of success may be similar for everyone. Still, its real meaning differs from person to person. Everyone’s vision of reaching the pinnacle is unique. To start establishing your mindset, all you have to do is envision your pinnacle. What do you want to achieve to be able to call yourself successful? What does success mean to you? What do you want to see, hear, and sense around you when you are successful? Remember, for this exercise to work, you have to envision, you are already there.

Set Your Goals with a Growth Mindset

After you framed your personal vision of success in your mind, the next step is to set goals that lead you to this ultimate vision. Your goals need to be reasonable because success can’t be achieved overnight. Similarly, you cannot accomplish your goals overnight either. Ensure you cover all the important things such as wealth, career, personal development, social relations, joy, and physical health. This will mark out the milestones on your journey of building a growth mindset.

A Dose of Motivation Each Day

It isn’t easy to stay on your path to success without motivation. In fact, without motivation, you may not last very long in the first place. Go out there and find your inspiration. It is easier than you think! Take a walk in the park, set aside time to listen to our podcasts, or to read our articles.

Inspiration is everywhere. It can be in the form of words by your role model or the form of lessons from a self-help book. Reading articles and watching videos of personal stories can also be a great start. Watch the stories of successful people and what they did to reach their level of success. All of these will give you ideas as to how to get closer to your goal. It will also add to the strength and resilience to keep going each day to keep forming your growth mindset.

Routines With a Dash of Habits

One of the most difficult steps to success is building and being able to stick to a routine. Dedicating 15 minutes a day to an activity doesn’t sound like too much. However, it is indeed rather difficult if you’ve never stuck to a routine before, or if you are not willing to change an existing habit. To develop a growth mindset, maintaining good habits is highly essential. You have to develop the habit of working towards a new goal each and every day. It doesn’t mean you have to change your goal every day; it means you reach for more every day while moving consistently in the desired direction.

Break Up with Procrastination

Procrastination is an easy trap to fall into. You might think that deviating from your routine for a day or two won’t matter, but this is where your sense of control should come in when you aim to develop a growth mindset. Because procrastination may turn into a habit before you even recognize it, and it can become very harmful. One of the best ways to defend yourself from slipping into the habit of procrastination is to understand the reasons behind your inactivity and handle them.

Think about the reasons. Why do you not proceed? What holds you back? Is it motivation? Most of the time, it is not about motivation. It is about not believing that you are moving in the right direction. Procrastination also creeps in when you don’t trust yourself. Did you know many become unsuccessful because they give up before reaping the benefits of their efforts?

Part of a Growth Mindset is to Say YOU Can

A growth mindset also enables you; you don’t only envision yourself as successful; you plan the steps to lead you there. You think about the potential roadblocks and figure out the solutions. You do that because you concentrate on growing. Not avoiding something, not competing against something, you are not driven by fear of losing. You concentrate on YOU and becoming a better version of YOU.

Success is not something to place on a pedestal and dream about. Instead, it is achievable with consistent efforts. Integrate the growth mindset into your life. Manage it as part of your life, not as a distant destination you only desire to get to one day.

You might also be interested in the following article: 3 Methods successful women follow to keep their career on track

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You Have Your Goals by Now. Still Struggling to Achieve Them?

You Have Your Goals by Now

It is May already, and most of us have our goals set. Some spend a great amount of time throughout January and February thinking about what they want to achieve during the year. Just to realise around May, their resources are exhausted, and they are still far from succeeding. Win half the battle now, so you can concentrate on winning it all. 

It is also that time of the year when many sit back and relax because they know what success will look like for the year ahead, isn’t it? No wonder why studies show that more than 70% of life goals set at the beginning of the year are abandoned later in the year.  

Is setting goals and knowing what success looks like the same as planning? Because this is the question, isn’t it? We might believe that by setting goals, we planned out the year ahead. And I am not talking about unexpected events disrupting our precious dreams.  

 

High performers know proper planning is half the battle 

Setting a goal means you know the WHAT. Did knowing the WHAT ever take you to achieve it? Itself it didn’t work for sure. You can add a deadline to your goal, which makes your progress more measurable. But you still might be clueless about HOW you are going to achieve that goal. 

So, what is a plan?  

A plan is basically your path to success. It is a series of steps to take you to the destination. Knowing what steps you have to make is helpful. Not only because you can think about how you can progress, but because you can account for potential limitations and barriers. Planning takes you to the plane of the HOW and transfers your mind from the DESIRE to the realm of ACTION. 

How come so many people struggle with achieving their goals if planning is so straightforward? 

 

Tools you can use to plan 

What comes to mind when you think about planning? Some instantly see their vision boards, others visualise detailed spreadsheets.  People often tell me plans should include only a few steps and I also often hear that they must be specific.  

So, what is the best way to make a plan, and what tools can you use? 

Before we get into the top 10 planning tools lists and the time spent on comparing apps and solutions, let’s think about what you can expect from a good plan. More precisely, what do you want to get out of a good plan? 

To me, a good plan is clear & simple, action-focused and realistic. It includes all the guideposts I need to get to my destination. I don’t need to add all the tiny bits, but I want to know the links and dependencies between my action items.  

Where does it leave you? Which tool is the best? 

The choice is ultimately yours. Based on your thinking style and discipline around performance. 

A vision board is a useful tool for dreaming, and you can use a visual tool to make a plan. Such a visual tool is a mind map. A mind map is an easy to follow method to account for all you need to achieve a specific goal.  

You can also use the ©Change Manifesto Tiles (©CMT). It is a simple tool that aids you in concentrating on the new elements you need to bring into your life to achieve your goals. 

The ©CMT takes you through the journey of building up what you need to deliver on a specific goal. You focus on the components that are not in your life yet so you can achieve clarity around the challenge you might face.  
The tool includes guidance, a template and an example, too. You can download the ©Change Manifesto Tiles tool here free for your personal use. 

 

If you prefer a detailed plan, you can use a spreadsheet, and some prefer using task management apps. 

 

The critical elements of a good plan 

You might think that putting together a plan is complicated. While some initiatives require complexity, you can focus on a few essential components. Make sure 

  •  all critical components are included,
  • your plan is easy to make, understand and follow; and
  • your action items are specific enough for you to act on them

A good plan consists of all the components you need to be conscious about to achieve your goal. It is structured, and it should be easy for you to link which action links to which goal or goals. A good plan also enables you to find dependencies between your actions. The latter gives you the benefit of finding out where and how you can save time or money, which essentially helps with your resource management. 

A plan itself is a documented version of your vision. Without action, it remains just that.  If you looked at your goals, realised it is already May, and you have a long way to go, the ©Change Manifesto Tiles tool is a quick way to build up your capability and pump new energy into your efforts. 

3 Things to do to Make Sure You Achieve Your Goals This Year

Achieve Your Goals

Have you been following the goals you set out for yourself this year? Have you taken a glance lately at where you are in the process?  
It is still not too late to have a think through and make changes, if necessary, so at the end of the year you may see more positive outcomes and you will achieve your goals.  

 

Break down your goals into small steps 

First and foremost, you can break down the goals into steps. This way, you can move steadily, step by step, towards accomplishing your goal. Every time you achieve a milestone, you have a chance to stop and review whether or not you go in the right direction.  
At such times you may also reach out for help, or re-arrange your priorities and implement changes in light of your goals. I highly recommend you to download an app to your phone to help you keep track of your goals wherever you areSet notifications, so you won’t even have an excuse to avoid working towards your goals. 

 

Make a note of your goals 

Another way to maintain your perseverance is by writing down your goals on a daily basis. I will be the first to admit that for many years I thought this was a pointless activity. I thought it was simply a waste of my time.  

Then results didn’t come as expected and  I wasn’t even sure what my original goals were months ago…. I was way over my head. And that is when I decided to change and take a note of my goals.  

Since then, I write down my goals every single day with the steps needed to implement them. Every word I put on the paper, I thoroughly think through and envision the results I want to see. I know and can see, based on the results, that devoted and consistent efforts are key. Self-discipline is also essential 

We need to be consistent in our endeveours every single day to achieve our goals. 

 

Maintain your dedication 

How are your eagerness and dedication?  
Hmm, yes, I know, people often look past these traits at this time of year. In the beginning of the year, we are full of enthusiasm. New year new goals.  

Then the dull weekdays creep in and as months go by your keenness to make efforts decreases significantly, unless you consciously pay attention to it.  
The decision is in your hands. You can still change the curve of your progress, or keep things as they were before. Are YOU the driver of your car or are you a passenger allowing someone else to drive your car? You have got to decide.  

It is vital that you take your life in your hands. If you do not take responsibility, someone else will do it for you.           

                                                                                                                                      

And what is the benefit?  

You take control of your goals. You become unstoppable and achieve your goals and everything you set your mind to. Your confidence and self-esteem keep growing day by day. You become more perseverant when facing difficulties. You focus better, become more result-oriented and move forward faster; like a riverYou effortlessly overcome obstacles in your way and create the life you have always wanted for yourself.

Bonus Tip: We have an article dedicated to How to track your goals. Have a look at it.

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Inspiration for women who want to achieve more

cover image for inspiration for women who want to achieve more

How do we become high achievers? Learn from successful women. Inspirational video of high achieving women.

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more you are an excellent leader.”

Dolly Parton singer-songwriter

How does a woman become a high achiever?

inspirational image for high achieving women

First, according to a study about Harvard Business School MBA graduates, some years ago, women and men had similar values regarding their hopes for achievements in life and career.

Secondly, women rated factors such as a satisfying work that is meaningful. Also,  professional achievements and accomplishments are key dimensions of their professional lives. Furthermore, career growth opportunities and development programmes were of as much importance to them.

In addition, while some work in corporate jobs and others find job satisfaction and fulfilment in other professional areas, achievement and the desire for inspiration & growth are formed parts of our lives.

Whether we work in business, as artists or in public services, there are behavioural patterns that enable us to higher achievement. Such behavioural patterns are:

  • seeking clarity about her own self and the world around her
  • finding and generating energy in almost any situation
  • being courageous and bold, trusting her own abilities
  • continuously improving herself and her capabilities

We could continue this list, do some research and find that there are unique views on this topic. Instead, why don’t we view the following video and think about these amazing women? Moreover, every high achieving women is inspirational for their hard work, dedication and spirit. How did they do it?

Finally, get more inspiration by reading How do women do business? Also, you can learn about How do high achievers really think?

The power of now and how you can harness it

If you catch yourself dipping in your perceived past failures or getting lost in the ‘what if this or that happens tomorrow’ labyrinth, you have already lost your connection to the present; you stopped being in the now. You create illusions for yourself and make yourself believe those illusions are real. How can one accomplish being in the now? Harness the power of now.

I am no Yoda or a Jedi Master for that matter, but when it comes to being in the now, I definitely am more than just a padawan. Being in the now is not easy, I have been practising the power of now and developing my skills in that field for many years and still learn about myself.

What is so special about being in the now? Why the fuss?

If you catch yourself dipping in your perceived past failures or getting lost in the ‘what if this or that happens tomorrow’ labyrinth, you have already lost your connection to the present; you stopped being in the now. It may just be a matter of seconds, and your mind starts drifting toward the sea of what was or what could be. From that point on, you don’t think about solutions anymore; you stop being creative. Instead, you create illusions for yourself and make yourself believe those illusions are real.

Being creative and being able to see clearly what resources you have available is essential for managing your life and making sure you stand victorious in the face of adversities. You will face challenges, we all do.

Being in the now means that you are free from illusions, it means that you see life for what it is and live it when it happens. You don’t miss opportunities and don’t run from the difficulties either. The latter may not sound so good, I know.

So, how can one accomplish being in the now? I have tips for you how to harness the power of now.

First, breathe.

Yep, you heard me well. Whenever you feel anxious about tomorrow, breathe in and breathe out, slowly.

Be conscious of your thoughts.

They can act like funny little elves and cause trouble in your mind in no time. Be aware that you are not your thoughts, be mindful that you have power over your thoughts and you and only you can teach them how to behave.

Spend less time judging.

It may sound a bit harsh, and you may think you are not judgmental, I am not saying you are. I mean that we all spend a significant amount of time setting expectations. We want things around us to happen in specific ways. We visualise things happening in particular ways. While I do believe in the power of visualisation, expectations make things harder. Here you can find 5 useful tips to successfully change your habit.

Stop overthinking your performance.

Don’t stop adding or creating value and don’t stop being demanding when it comes to the quality of your work. However, stop freaking out about your performance and how others see your performance or how certain things look.

Walk with your eyes open.

Have you ever had a walk in the park and had no idea whether the leaves on the trees were green or amber? I bet you were so deep in your own thoughts that you forgot to enjoy the nature around you. The very nature which could have instantly lift you up.

Being in the now also means that you dedicate time to connect with your surroundings. I love taking long walks in London. I love the buildings, the architecture and the people.

If something is bothering you, accept it.

Not the thing that bothers you. Accept that it exists. Accept that it found its way to your mind and started to dance around in there like your mind was its very own ballroom.

Once you acknowledge the existence of a problem that bothers you, you give yourself a chance to think about solutions and bang; you are in creative mode again.

More importantly, enjoy every single day because you only live once. Well, according to some theories.

To live your life with less stress, read How to combat our everyday challenges effectively.

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