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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.

 

Cover photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash

The Ingredients of Developing a Growth Mindset

The Ingredients of Developing a Growth Mindset

Developing a Growth Mindset.
Being successful is everyone’s 
dream but only the ones with a growth mindset get closer to achieving it. While you can wish to be successful, you are not just born with  growth mindset or get it automatically. Being truly successful means you show an aptitude to develop a growth mindset and resilienceIt’s easier than it sounds, so if you don’t know where to start,  you’re at the right place! 


CREATE Your Personal Vision of “Success” 
 

While the literal definition of success may be similar for everyone, it’s 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 successfulWhat 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 
 

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 and similarly, you cannot accomplish your goals overnight either. Make sure you cover all the important things such as wealth, career, personal developmentsocial relationsjoy and physical health 


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 on the park, set aside time to listen to our podcasts or to read articles on the unleashr site. 

Inspiration is everywhere, it can be in the form of words your role model said in an interview or in 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 and will also add to the strength and resilience to keep going each day. 

Routines With a Dash of Habits 

One of the most difficult steps to success is building and being able to stick to a routine. While dedicating 15 minutes a day to an activity doesn’t sound like too much, it is indeed rather difficult if you’ve never stuck to a routine before, or if you are willing to change an existing habitTdevelop 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 

Procrastinati
on 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 inBecause procrastination may turn into a habit before you even recognise 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 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 they can reap the benefits of their efforts? 

 

Say YOU Can  


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 something that is achievable with consistent efforts. Integrate growth 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 interested in the following article:

3 Methods successful women follow to keep their career on track

Cover Photo by David Iskander on Unsplash

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.

Photo by Julian Santa Ana on Unsplash

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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The psychology of positive thinking

The psychology of positive thinking

3-min read

If you have ever applied for a job, you couldn’t avoid spotting positive thinking or positive mindset in the list of requirements. We all accept that having a positive outlook on life helps when it comes to facing everyday challenges even though we might not know precisely how positive thinking works.

So, what is positive thinking all about and how can you train your brain for it? Is glass-half-full way of thinking hardwired in us?

Beyond displaying a positive and upbeat attitude, positive thinking affects how we approach skills’ development and how we decide on allocating our resources to specific activities.

Researchers found that daily experiences of positive emotions, in fact, enable the build-up of useful resources and skills, while negative experiences may even paralyse the individual. It is not difficult to see that without motivation and inspiration your personal energy level is not the same. And experiencing difficulties without encouragement or support on a long-term eats up own energy and may lead to depression.

With a positive mindset, you approach difficulties with a higher level of confidence; in other words, you trust your ability to face the challenges that come your way successfully.

Positive thinking also influences how you explain past events and how you see the outcome of specific situations, what result you predict. Furthermore, a positive outlook on life often helps people see adverse events as atypical and temporary.

Does positive thinking equal to ignoring risks or potential limitations?

Are you fooling yourself? Certainly not.
It means that despite risks and difficulties you anticipate a positive outcome. You do that because you see those potential risks and challenges as opportunities or things you need to deal with in order to accomplish what you planned for yourself; instead of seeing them as roadblocks or showstoppers.

You may fool yourself, but the reason for that won’t be your positive mindset; instead, it would be that you are ignorant about crucial facts or potential dangers in a situation. Sometimes it may not be easy to distinguish between positive and wishful thinking.

If you follow wishful thinking, you form beliefs according to what might be pleasing to you instead of making decisions based on evidence and rational thought. Match your thinking to a perception that better reflects reality, and your positivity will be well-founded. You can use these 5 Ways to support your positive mindset.

Some say, convincing yourself that you will ace that presentation or job interview is basically lying to yourself. It might be unless you are entirely clear about the key messages of your presentation and you, or you prepared for that interview. While positive thinking will give you a great kick start, it is not going to solve the problem.

When wishful thinking is misinterpreted as positive thinking, come the comments about positivity being overrated. People disappointed with the outcomes because they expected something better might blame positive thinking for their unpleasant experience.

What are the benefits of a positive mindset? Let’s see a couple of those benefits:

  • Better health leading to a longer life
  • The ability to handle stress factors driving a more balanced and happier life
  • Better decision making leading to a more prosperous life
  • Healthy relationships

It seems positive thinking has its benefits when it is understood well, and your self-awareness supports it.

Next, I assume you would like to know how you can train your brain to have more positive thoughts. Here are a couple of tips for you.

  • When you are preparing to deal with a complicated matter, picture a positive outcome. In fact, picture several positive scenarios and think about what steps you should take to make one of the favourable situations happen.
  • When you expect that a challenge is coming your way, instead of thinking about the event itself, spend time thinking about the causes of that unpleasant event you predict, and the means you have to reduce the negative impact or to eliminate it altogether.
  • Fill your day with words that make you feel that you have control over your life and strength. Focus on words that suggest competence rather than the ones that indicate failure or mistakes.
  • Redirect your thought. If you remember, we were talking about how your energy level is affected by negative thoughts. You have the opportunity to choose your thoughts. Uplift yourself by concentrating on things that make you happy. Use this to achieve the mindset that enables you to take action. Once you are in action mode, focus on finding solutions to your primary problem.
  • Use positive words during the day. You may not tackle the ‘positive talk’ game right at the beginning but with practice, you will use more and more encouraging words and will feel how it affects your self-confidence.

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5 tips to successfully change your habit

change your habits cover photo

1-min read

Tips to ingrain new habits quickly and successfully. Introducing a new habit is a challenge at any point in life with the practical tips in this article you can do it more effectively. Learn how to change your habit successfully!

Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution you want to keep, or whether you simply want to bring changes into your life, use these 5 tips we collected for you to successfully change your habit and ingrain a new behaviour.

1. Make it easy

Don’t overcomplicate it, just choose a goal you really want to achieve and write it down with a plan.

Be specific: answer simple questions like why do you want it, when, where, how, how much, and give details about the habit you’re going to change. Include what you think will be the positive impact on your life if you keep going with the habit.

2. Keep it simple

Focus on only ONE habit at a time and stick with it at least for 30 days. Start with small steps and spend even just a small amount of time a day on that specific activity.

Even if you’re extra busy or overwhelmed with your current life situation, we can all agree, it is absolutely possible to find at least 10-15 minutes for it per day.

3. Find a trigger

The best you can do is trigger the habit you want to form by activities you have already included in your daily routine.

Set implementation intention (‘if-then’ plans) and link the new habit with an existing one. For instance, if you’d like to meditate every day, you can aim for “When I wake up, I brush my teeth and then I meditate”. Use these 9 Ways to improve your self-discipline to support your habit changing progress.

4. Reward yourself

Celebrate every milestone, no matter how small it is. Rewarding yourself is great positive feedback, but the reward needs to be immediate. Learn more about The power of now and how you can harness it.

5. Be positive

Positive thinking helps you to maintain motivation, be confident about your success, and support you in sticking with the new habit. Keep trusting ‘you can do it’.

Various visualisation techniques help you to place yourself in ‘your destination’. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Everyone can have a difficult day, so don’t give up if you weren’t successful; learn from your failure by figuring out the obstacles.

Cover photo by Gustavo Spindula on Unsplash

Is glass-half-full way of thinking hardwired in us?

glass-half-full way of thinking article cover image

I read an article a couple of years ago about research. that found biological evidence which proved there are negative and positive people in the world. It sounded interesting.  At least I found it interesting because I have always believed that I have a choice. Even following a positive or a negative mindset. Learn how glass-half-full way of thinking can help you.

A study performed in the Michigan State University, involving 71 women. Some participants of the survey struggled to put a positive spin on difficult situations which they had to observe. The participants of the study looked at various photos and provide their opinion about a potential outcome of a situation they saw in the picture.

As much as I find the results interesting, I still like to think that I have a choice. Even though some people might find it more difficult to view certain situations in a favourable light, adopting a positive attitude is possible.

Of course, I am not saying we should convince ourselves that whatever happens in our lives is positive and beneficial to us. However, I believe that being a glass-half-full person is in fact rewarding.

Let me share with you a couple of reasons why glass-half-full way of thinking is helpful:

  • Expecting a positive outcome and good things to come will lead you to take actions. That result in progress and more often than not in positive outcomes unless your positivity is somewhat naivety or irresponsible behaviour.
  • Expecting negative results or that bad things will come your way will slow you down. Or even worse will keep you from taking steps, and you will deny yourself of the steps that might have helped you prevent or reduce the adverse outcome you feared.
  • I often say that where a pessimist sees a problem. I find an opportunity. Have you seen anyone solving a problem by complaining about it? I haven’t.
  • Expecting positive things to happen is also helpful with closing the gap between where you are now. Even if you are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and where your desired destination is. With the positive mindset, you will take the courage to step outside your comfort zone and do something you found challenging before. It is undeniably an excellent way to stretch yourself because it builds self-confidence in a specific field and improves your overall self-esteem.

Problem-solving is a creative process, and while it requires us to think about the problem itself. It also includes an analysis of the problem which then leads to solutions; given we are dissatisfied with the current way of doing things.

Some would argue that willingness to solve a particular problem also depends on the level of dissatisfaction and discomfort with the problem we are trying to solve, and I somewhat agree with that opinion. But beyond the willingness, being able to reframe the situation and view it from a different angle is as much important. To get more proof of it, read The psychology of positive thinking.

If you change the way you look at your situation, and the challenges in it, not only your view will change but the problem itself. Your mind will suddenly shed light on a rich array of opportunities to discover inner resources, ways to grow. Comment below if the glass-half-full way of thinking is the way how you approach problems.

Cover photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash