Category Archives: Self confidence

What Kind of “Sugar” Can You Contribute?

I can’t stop watching this video.  It just make me feel so good about life and people.  My husband showed it to us a few weeks ago.  Now my kids and I watch it almost every day and dance to it in pure joy. So why am I share this on my career blog?  Well, it made think about the true meaning…

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How to Deal with Stereotypes at Work – 4 Tips

A friend shared this Youtube video with me and I literally cried.  It talks about one stereotype that we all know about and how it affects us.  It’s amazing how stereotypes are so common in our society. Sometimes people use it intentionally in their communication to put down other people out of insecurity and other…

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How to Find More Time and Live a “Why Not” Life

Do you ever find yourself wishing that you had more time to do the things you love?  I work almost full time, have 2 kids, a household to manage, and I write this blog and newsletter in my “spare time.” Since I juggle all of this, I ask myself this question often, wishing I had…

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How to Stop Lack of Confidence

A reader recently asked, via email, “How can one make up for a lack of self-confidence?  How do I beat this nasty character flaw?” Having self-confidence is integral to building Inner Excellence, so I thought this would be a good time to address this question. First, let me start by telling you a story: Gary travels to…

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Trust Yourself and Take Your Own Path

I turned 40 this year.  I don’t know about you, but in my 20s, I always thought that 40 year olds were very responsible people. I also thought that 40 year olds seemed to know what they were doing — they seemed to have life more figured out. They were usually married, with a house,…

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#1 Secret to Career Success

What do you think is the #1 secret to career success is?  You may say good communication skills, people skills, or a pedigree education.  Well, I would argue that there is another skill that is critical to your career success above all else: a self-management skill called Resilience – the ability and courage to recover…

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Inner Excellence and Career Success

I just returned to work 3 months ago after having a second baby.  While I haven’t been away from work too long, I was surprised to find myself insecure – Do I still know how to work? Are my analytical, leadership, and communication skills up to par? Can I still deal with difficult personalities and…

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Don’t be a Perfectionist

“What’s your biggest weakness?”  This is a question often asked in an interview.  One of the most common answers given is “I am a perfectionist.”  You may think yourself clever when you provide that answer, as it’s often thought of as a good, subtle way to talk about another strength of yours in the guise…

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How to Walk Without Feeling Your Feet

Many readers have emailed me or commented on the blog to ask how they can build their confidence, since confidence is essential to career success.  I want to share this story I heard on Monday to see if it can help. After each Yoga class, my favorite teacher, Ryan (female), talks to us about how…

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Ignore Your “If Only” Thoughts

Have you ever noticed that we all have “if only” thoughts that keep us from pursuing our dreams? For example:

  • If only I had more time …
  • If only I had more money …
  • If only I had technical skills ….
  • If only I got my MBA …
I started noticing this thought pattern in my head when I joined NextSpace, a co-working rental work space, six months ago.  I decided to rent space outside of my house, since working from home sucked.  Since joining, I started meeting all kinds of entrepreneurs.  I met one entrepreneur, Nick, who is developing iPhone games for kids.  I thought – “How cool is that! He must be an engineer, or knows how to code.  If only I could code myself, I could start a tech company, too.”
You may be nodding at this point, thinking the same thing.  As it turns out, Nick’s background is actually similar to mine: MBA, consulting experience, then corporate experience in Marketing. After we got to talking, I found out that he outsources the coding aspect to a team in the Philippines, and does the design and marketing research himself. Immediately, I thought: “If only I knew how to find good coding resources offshore, I could do the same thing.”
There’s a pattern here — for some reason, instead of thinking of what I want to do, I come up with “if only’s” about why I can’t do x y and z. “If only’s” can be endless, since there is always something we don’t know how to do. I started to realize that I hide behind “if only” statements, and if I keep doing that, all I am doing is playing the victim of circumstance in my career and in life.
So I ask you – do you ever find yourself saying “if only xyz, I would be able to do abc?”  If so, perhaps you can join me in changing the situation, and become the driver instead of the victim.  Say this instead: “I want to do abc.  Now let me figure how I can get there. Maybe there are some skills I can learn myself, and others I can learn how to outsource.”  This new statement assumes an underlying confidence that if I truly want to do something, I can figure out how to get it done.    Do you believe this to be true?
This new perspective can be powerful for a job search, on the job success, or any challenging life situations.
  • Job Search Example – You may find yourself in a defeated thought pattern: “If only I had a better education…If only I knew how to write a better resume…” These are all negative thoughts about things you don’t have. It gives us an excuse not to get a job, because we focus so much on our deficiencies. How can companies see the best side of you if you keep focusing on what you aren’t good at? If you’re thinking this way, it’s time to change your perspective: “I am good at x y and z. How can I get the best job possible with the skills I have already? What job search skills can I learn now to get better opportunities in the market?”
  • On the Job Success Example – You didn’t get the promotion that you were hoping for. You can either choose to blame yourself or others for this: “If only I spoke up more at meetings, like Steve…If only I knew how to play office politics…” Again, negative thought patterns! Focus on what it may take to get promoted next year — learn skills to build your reputation; learn skills to communicate better; learn how to play politics fairly. All of this is possible if you are in action mode.
I guess my point is our inner thoughts can be powerful in motivating or de-motivating us.  “If only” is a phrase that often demotivates.    It is important to cherish our strength, have confidence in our ability to learn and persevere, and have a positive mindset if we want to accomplish anything.   I think these two quotes I found on Twitter best summarize what I want to say in this post:
  • “Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.” Jamie Paolinetti
  • “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you will start having positive results.” Willie Nelson
I hope this post inspires you to have positive thoughts that lead to positive results in your career and life.

Like this article? then check out our Soft Skills Gym, a 24/7, members only learning community for soft skills development and career advancement. Also, help me out by sharing this post on Linkedin, Email, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.

Lei
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Believe in Yourself – You are “Beautiful”

This post is not about external appearances.  This post is inspired by a recent show I saw onVH1 called Storytellers: Christina Aguilera.  It’s in a format where a music artist sings to a small group, and talks to the group about herself, her music, and her inspirations.  Christina’s story about her song “Beautiful” really caught my attention.

The piano player accompanying Christina on the show is Linda Perry, the writer of “Beautiful.”  Linda explains that while she may be a successful rock singer and a famous song writer to others, she also gets insecure about herself and her talent.  She wrote this song in order to inspire herself and others to believe in yourself, no matter what people say.

Christina chose to sing the song, and was able to record it in one take, because the lyrics really spoke to her.  As successful as she is, Christina also gets insecure at times.  She said these lyrics about believing in yourself seem to be written for her.  She wants to inspire her listeners as well – “Believe in yourself, no matter what people say.”  Here are some of the lyrics:

Every day is so wonderful
And suddenly, I saw debris
Now and then, I get insecure
From all the pain, I’m so ashamed

I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words can’t bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring me down
So don’t you bring me down today


I am inspired by this story, because no matter what we are – tall, short, male, female, rich, poor, successful or not, good looking or not, we are all human – we can all get insecure at times.    It is what we do to deal with these low times that makes a difference.  Like Linda and Christina,  I choose to say “I am beautiful, no matter what they say – words can’t bring me down.”  I choose to believe in myself and my ability to overcome.  What about you?

Can you choose to believe in yourself?  That’s the first step in overcoming any obstacle in life and work.  Believing in yourself is a choice you can make any time.  Don’t let careless, scathing words from other people affect you.  No one is perfect.  As you face your job search, career development, or life challenges, you will also feel insecure at times – what will you choose to say?  I hope this song will inspire you to believe in yourself and look at life with hope and confidence.

Like this article? then check out our Soft Skills Gym, a 24/7, members only learning community for soft skills development and career advancement.   In it, there are more real stories like this one, simple workouts to develop your skills, and a community of experts and members to answer your career-related questions. Also, help me out by sharing this post on Linkedin, Email, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.

Best wishes in your career.  I am always in your corner.

– Lei

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Acknowledge Your Effort for Showing Up

“Acknowledge your effort for showing up.” That is what a Bikram teacher used to say to us at the end of every class.   To this day, I still repeat this phrase to myself during class.   It reminds me to appreciate myself for simply making the class, regardless of how inflexible I was, or how imperfectly…

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