Career Development – Six Tips To Help You Look Confident

Career Development – Six Tips To Help You Look Confident

Why is looking confident important?

If you want people to have confidence in you, as well as being good at what you do, you need to look confident. Yes, I know that is a little unfair – surely being good should be enough?  Sadly in the real world, that is rare!
So, do you look confident?
If I met you for the first time, what would I see and what would I hear?  What would your body language tell me?  Would I want to get to know you better? Would I have confidence in your ability to do that job I might have available. Or, would I buy that product or service from you?
The need for confidence goes beyond work, of course. People like others who are confident as friends and potential partners.
When it comes to appearing confident, remember that over 70% of our communication is transmitted by our body language. So, while you are working to increase your  confidence, how do you change your body language to make you look confident?  Here are some tips to help:

Six Tips To Help You Look Confident

      1. Start with your feet.  Stand with them at least 12 inches apart and have your weight distributed evenly between them. Plant the soles of your feet firmly and evenly on the ground – let them give a firm support to the rest of your body. Now, you are rooted but not rooted to the spot! But don’t lock your knees – instead keep them soft and very slightly flexed.
      2. Let you spine be proud. Your spine protects and supports your internal organs! Feel your spine lifting you to the sky – that is what it is there for!  Lift your upper body out of your pelvis and stand upright.  Feel yourself “lengthening your spine” – stand proud!  Try thinking of a piece of string attached to the top of your head gently pulling upwards. But don’t stand rigidly – you are not a soldier on parade.
      3. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Let them drop – don’t lift them high. The shoulders and neck often show how tense we are – let yours relax.
      4. Let your shoulders widen rather than pull back. Open your chest up so that you can breathe freely.  That in itself will make you feel more relaxed.
      5. Smile.  Work on learning to smile naturally at home.   Practice some affirmations giving yourself some positive messages, for example; “relax and smile”, “calm and smile”, “wonderful people make me smile”.  Bring that smile to your eyes and let it broaden to fill your whole body and mind. Practice feeling how it feels.  Now when you meet other people say quietly to your self – “these are the wonderful people who make me smile”.  Now find yourself smiling.
      6. Change your focus.  When we go into a new situation if we lack confidence, we tend to focus on ourselves and how we feel.  You can deliberately change your focus to the people about you. Start to be interested in them rather than how you are feeling. You will look approachable and look more confident.

Finding help

Practice my six tips and you will be surprised at the effect.  You may well find yourself, not just looking more confident, but feeling more confident too.  It helps to work with a coach of course and I just happen to be a qualified confidence coach – so feel free to get in touch!

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

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Five Tips to Help You Feel More Confident

Five Tips to Help You Feel More Confident

This is a post I published a few years ago now but I believe it still useful.

Having a healthy amount of self-esteem and self-confidence is something that helps to make your life happier and more successful. Having confidence in yourself and your abilities goes a long way whether you’re facing a tough decision, adapting to a new situation or facing major change. Here are some tips on how to build your self-esteem.

1. Stay relaxed

Staying relaxed in general can help you see the bigger picture and not sweat the small stuff so much. It’s also a good frame of mind to be in when you’re taking a close look at the things you’re not so good at. There are lots of simple relaxation techniques around that can help – simple breathing exercises are easy to learn and really do help. Try this link.

2. Understand your strengths

Everybody’s good at something, and many people are good at quite a few things. Even if you don’t have a talent or strength that you’re aware of, you probably have some interests you can develop into strengths.Make a list of a few things you’re good at and a few things you’re interested in and would like to be better at. Share this list with someone you like and trust – this is a good exercise to do with a partner who also wants to work on their confidence. They can probably help you find other things you’re good at, too, and help you come up with a plan for developing other skills and interests.

3. Realize your limits.

Remember no one is perfect and no one can do everything. It may not always seem this way, but it’s true. So if you are not the chief executive or a millionaire – that’ is OK! You have a personality and a perspective on the world that’s all your own and completely valuable.

4. Stop criticizing yourself. Now!

This is one of the things that stop us achieving our goals and feeling good about ourselves. You are a mixture of strengths and weaknesses just like everyone else.Concentrate on the good bits! If you don’t do well at a particular project or task the first (or even the second time), it doesn’t mean that you never will. Perhaps you weren’t prepared or the time simply wasn’t right. It doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or that you’ll never succeed. It is natural to feel disappointed but don’t get hooked on it – let it go and move on. You’ll be that much closer to achieving what you want if you do.

5. Celebrate the good things.

Notice all the good things you do in a day even the small things.Everything – the favor you do for a friend – the help you give a relative – it’s all good.Notice it and give yourself a big pat on the back.Get hooked on feeling good about what you achieve – it will become a habit. You could always keep a celebration journal to reflect on when you are feeling down.  Don’t be afraid to treat yourself when you do something good.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach.  Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

Stress-Reducing Techniques to Help Cope with School or College

Stress-Reducing Techniques to Help Cope with School or College

Today we have a guest post from Isaiah Banks who is a full-time graduate student studying health care administration. During his undergraduate studies, he realized academic stress was overtaking his life. He investigated stress-reducing techniques, which allowed him to study effectively and, he hopes, will eventually prepare him for healthcare management jobs. 

Image provided by Sara V. from Flickr’s Creative Commons

It’s no secret that school can be stressful. Pursuing a degree requires a student to perform at his or her absolute best. If this stress is left unchecked, it can be devastating to a student’s overall success, not to mention their entire well-being.

Fortunately, there are numerous ways to keep stress in check. Each technique will work differently, depending on your preferences as well as your mind and body. Take time to thoroughly practice each to find one, or even several,  that will work best for you.

Techniques to Reduce Your Stress

The can significantly below reduce stress. Explore these strategies until you find one that is right for you.

  • Meditation The state of your body and mind have a profound effect on your ability to handle pressure and conflicts. Pressure from professors, as well as internal conflicts, are a major source of stress. Regularly meditating can prevent stress from building up. Take time at the beginning of each day to sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Attempt to clear your mind by focusing entirely on your breath. Count the length of your inhales and your exhales. This will provide your brain with more oxygen, and you’ll start the day with a clear head.
  • Time ManagementOne of the biggest sources of stress in a student’s life is worry. They worry about not getting everything done, worry about upcoming projects and worry about fitting in an active social life. However, this source of stress can be entirely eliminated by enacting a time management strategy. At the beginning of each week, create a schedule with everything you are required to complete. Include studying, classroom hours and projects that are due. Now, you can clearly see how the week ahead of you will transpire.
  • Proper NutritionAccording to the Mayo Clinic, having a well-balanced diet can alleviate stress by providing your mind and body the nutrients they need to function. When you do not receive required nutrients, your body goes into panic mode. This is aggravated by the external stresses of school. Depending on your degree, you may be aware that nutrition has a profound effect on a person’s ability to think clearly. Someone pursuing a master in health administration or a similar degree has likely covered this phenomenon in their studies.
  • Leisure TimeSchedule time to do whatever it is that you enjoy — whether this means relaxing on the couch, sitting by the pool or spending time with friends. Leisure time can help you process and release accumulated stress. Make an effort to not think or talk about your studies to maximize the quality of your leisure time.
  • Disconnecting from ElectronicsThe modern world is one of constant connection. It’s important to take time out of your day to disconnect. Turn off your laptop, smartphone and tablet. Don’t turn on the TV, either. Simply relax by yourself without having to process any external stimuli. This will significantly allow you to reduce and release stress.

Stress Can Be Avoidable

Carefully explore the above techniques to become a considerably less-stressed student. You’ve taken time to study, completed projects and done everything in your power to earn high grades. You owe it to yourself to put this same amount of effort into finding a way to reduce stress throughout your education. Not only will mastering one or two of these techniques help you make the most of your studies, it will also help you in your career and personal life. Forming a lifelong habit to cut down on stress can lead to a longer, happier and altogether more fulfilling life.

About the Author: Isaiah Banks is a full-time graduate student studying health care administration. During his undergraduate studies, he realized academic stress was overtaking his life. He investigated stress-reducing techniques, which allowed him to study effectively and, he hopes, will eventually prepare him for healthcare management jobs. 

Management – Staying Fit To Manage.

 So the Olympics and the Paralympics had inspired most of us but what does staying fit mean for managers?

Well, managing people is never something to be taken lightly.  Being responsible for other people requires something beyond basic competence, you need to be motivated, alert and committed to the goals  of your group.  Motivation and alertness require energy and in order to stay energetic you need to be fit in both mind and body.

Too many managers feel too tired and stressed out to stay fit. But that is something of a vicious circle because  feeling too tired to eat properly or to take exercise in turn leads to having even less energy.  On top of that lack of sleep, as a result of stress, means we are  on a downward spiral.  As responsible people and responsible managers we need to have the confidence to a halt.

Some simple changes can make a huge difference to how we feel and our ability to do the things required of us.

You will find lots of advice and tips on diet including a Heathy Eating Assessment test at this link http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/eight-tips-healthy-eating.aspx

As for advice on physical activity and exercise – you will find advice at this link http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults.aspx

If you are not sure what’s causing your fatigue?  There are some common energy zappers that may be to blame – and here are some tips on how to overcome them. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/causes-of-tiredness.aspx

My own simple tips (and I’m still working on getting fit) – never leave home without breakfast and never spend more than four hours in an office environment without taking a short walk in the fresh air. Now I’m off to practice what I preach.

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

Poor work-life balance?

 Poor work-life balance?

Do you think you have a  poor work-life balance and is it stressing you out? I’ve been there and got the tea-shirt in coping with work-life balance problems and I know that I can help you.
You know you have a work-life balance problem when you
  • Don’t have enough time for everything and spend what time you have handling scheduling conflicts,
  • Feel stressed and overwhelmed by trying to balance your different roles.
Find out more on  WiseWolf’s Your Happiness Factor Blog at this link

Are you stressed-out by your poor work-life balance?

Working with a coach really can make your life zing! Get in touch at the email email address below.
Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business CoachWendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

Are you stressed-out by your poor work-life balance?

I’ve been there and got the tea-shirt in coping with work-life balance problems and I know that I can help you.
You know you have a work-life balance problem when you
  • Don’t have enough time for everything and spend what time you have handling scheduling conflicts,
  • Feel stressed and overwhelmed by trying to balance your different roles.
Find out more on  WiseWolf’s Your Happiness Factor Blog at this link

Are you stressed-out by your poor work-life balance?

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason @wisewolfcoaching.com

 

Job Search and Motivation – when the motivation vampire strikes!

A screenshot of the 1922 film, Nosferatu. Thou... 

 

 

At last I’ve heard from Dave.  You can find his latest news at this link and it is a sad tale.  Poor June has been in the wars and Dave has done his best to help but all isn’t well.  Apart from anything else I think the motivation vampire has struck.

It is very easy to become depressed when you have been out of work for a long time.  Your motivation seems to just drain away and you may feel you can’t be bothered any more.

You stop expecting to find the right job and begin to wonder if you will get any job at all.

You can feel depressed and hurt that you can no longer support yourself and your family financially in the way that you believe you should! You may feel you are letting people down.  This in turn can lead to stress and anxiety.

So what do you do?  First and foremost, talk to your family about what is happening and share the problems and the responsibilities with them.  I bet they don’t feel half as bad as you think and perhaps they can help share the financial load. Seek help in managing your finances if you need to and talk to your bank before you get into real financial difficulties.
As for motivation, well yes there are things that you can do to help!
  • Make sure you are working to a routine Monday to Friday. Set yourself some working hours and stick to them
  • Dedicate a space in your home to working – even if it is the dining room table make it look different during working hours.  Spend your working time there apart from lunch and coffee breaks
  • Get some time out of the house each day – go for a walk at lunch time – but get out and take some exercise
  • Revise your CV and your marketing material to show any voluntary work you have been doing
  • Do some voluntary work – it will be good for you, them and your CV
  • Set some targets for yourself in terms of networking meetings (coffee meet-ups etc), sending off CVs etc each week and stick to it
  • Share your targets with someone else and give them permission to challenge you about their achievement – they will enjoy helping you.
  • Enquire about local jobhunter clubs and meetups – here is a example if you are London UK based   London Jobhunters Meetup Group

Above all think though your options again – just like Dave you may have a “hobby” skill that could be the basis of a new business and a whole new, and better, way of life! See that old vampire off – somewhere out there is the right future for you!

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence.
If you would like to work on developing your own confidence, Wendy has a Learn to Be Confident Program at this link
You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

Unemployment – looking after your mental health!

Depression (emotion )

Losing a job is one of the most difficult things we have to deal with in life.  It ranks right up there with losing someone you care for or going through divorce.

“It’s a serious fracture in one’s world view,” says Robert London, M.D., a staff psychiatrist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “It doesn’t matter if you’re an executive or a bus driver–your identity is very much wrapped up in your job. And to suddenly be without that identity can be devastating.”

That is why it can make you feel down in the first few weeks and seriously depressed if unemployment stretches over months.

It is all too easy to start believing that there must be something wrong with you personally or that you lack some vital characteristic that the rest of the world seems blessed with.

Sometimes you may not realise you are depressed.  You just want to sleep all the time, you don’t want to mix with other people and/or suddenly you start feeling mysterious aches and pains.

Now that you are depressed, of course, finding a job becomes even less likely and you may not feel you can make the effort.  If you do feel like this, then please do seek help from your doctor, coach or counsellor.

But how do you intervene before things become quite that bad?

Well, first, recognise the risk! Then, you need to take responsibility for looking after your own mental, as well as physical, health.

Being jobless can make you feel you have no control over your own life and that makes you feel insecure and unhappy.  So start to take control by giving yourself a set schedule for every day of the working week.

Make finding your new job your new job.  Set a time to start each day and make sure you are showered, dressed and in your new work space (allocate a space at home for this, if you don’t have a home office) by that time each day.

Work to a flexible but firm timetable for the day.  Explain that you will be working at home during the day to family and friends.

Each morning and evening allocate a time to check and revise your work-search “to do” list.  Make sure you build in some networking time – either by telephone, face to face or on social networks – social contact with others will be refreshing as well as part of your job search.

Make some time as well for your own personal development – are there new skills you would like or need to acquire?  The internet and your local library will help you to find free or at least inexpensive resources.

At the end of your working day, if you can, close the door on your working space or at least make it look different.  Then spend time with family and friends doing what you usually enjoy.

Resist the temptation to hole up in your house and wait for the world to come to you. As Dr London say “Isolation is a dangerous thing. When you live in your head, you ruminate and feed your depression,”

Try each day to find either something to be inspired by – nature is great for that – or something to laugh at.  Laughing at old comedy programs should probably available for us all as part of public health services.

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence

If you would like to work on developing your own confidence, Wendy offers the Wisewolf Learn to Be Confident Program at this link

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

  • 12 Tips for Confident Interviews (leavingthepublicsector.blogspot.com)
  • 6 Tips for Confident Networking (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • “Gratitude Moments” (heatheregartshore.wordpress.com)

The ability to bounce – coping with life's problems

Bouncing Boy
Image via Wikipedia

Losing your job can be a major blow to your self confidence and it can be difficult to bounce back.  This can be much worse if you are someone who has found it difficult to cope with life’s problems in the past

Coping with life’s problems successfully needs you to have realistic expectations. Psychologists call these expectations, and the judgements you make based on them, ‘appraisals’.  Things that happen to us aren’t a problem unless we judge them to be.

Life is never perfect and problems, including losing your job these days, are a part of normal, everyday life. If our judgements (appraisals) are realistic, we’re much better able to deal with them and not let them throw us off-balance.

The appraisals we make come from our belief system. If we hold unrealistic beliefs, then our judgements may not be the best for the situation.

Sometimes we have unrealistic beliefs about what we must or should do.  We want to be “perfect”.  “Everyone must like me “or “I’ve got to be good at everything” for example. If you think about these for a minute, they are irrational beliefs. Who do you know who could really achieve them?

Another approach!

When you are aware of this, it is possible to substitute an irrational judgement with something more positive?

If someone treats you rudely, you could think what a rotten person they are.  Or you could think “See, everyone does dislike me!”  But another view could be.  “I wonder what happened to that person today to make them behave like that?”

But it is important to follow up these ‘primary appraisals’!  We need to ask ourselves afterwards if there’s anything we can do about a particular event that has caused distress – a “secondary appraisal”.

If we feel helpless to change things, or incompetent when facing challenges, then we’re less likely to come up with a suitable way to handle things.

Self-efficacy

People who have a confident belief that the responses they make to life’s challenges have a meaningful effect (self efficacy), are able to face problems with energy!  This means they bounce back easily.

But how do you develop this belief?

Self-efficacy comes from life experiences and being with others who already have the belief. It’s built up over the years by responding to challenges with action, flexibility and persistence.

But how can we increase our self-efficacy?  Well here are some suggestions:

  1. Set some goals for your life. If we don’t have goals, how can we succeed? Set some goals for your life, and give yourself credit when you achieve them.
  2. Make your goals challenging but realistic enough so you’ll be able to reach them. Set some simple goals to start with, that are fairly easy to achieve and then build on them.
  3. Find some good role models. They don’t have to be someone you know, but find someone you admire and you could learn from.
  4. Talk yourself positive. Take time to observe how you think about yourself.  Start praising your success in your own mind and make a decision to stop putting yourself down.  Admit that, like all of us, you have faults and stop belittling yourself for them.  Instead build yourself up for the smallest successes.
  5. Remember it takes energy and effort to succeed.  Be like an athlete, train yourself to win

Support

People with a good support system are more successful at overcoming life’s problems.

Are there people you can count on to listen to you when you need to talk? Can you speak to them frankly, without worrying about what you say? And are there people in your life you can count on to support you in major decisions?

Why not arrange to see old friends and family members.  You will find most people will take an interest in you if you show a real interest in them first.

Don’t wait for things to get better, take the first step – taking action gives us an increased feeling of competence and self-esteem. Taking action raises our self-efficacy!

Are you a resilient leader?

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity.  We need it in our personal  lives and we certainly need it at work! It means we can “bounce back” from difficult experiences.

Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. People usually show resilience but that doesn’t  mean they don’t experience difficulty.

Resilience isn’t necessarily something you are born with it – you learn how to show it.  Relationships that create warmth and trust, that provide role models, and offer encouragement and reassurance help bolster a person’s resilience.

Several additional factors are associated with resilience, including:

  • The ability to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out
  • A positive approach and confidence in yourself
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving abilities
  • The ability to handle your own emotions

Not everyone reacts the same way to challenges.  An approach to building resilience that works for one person might not work for another.  A person’s culture probably has an impact on how he or she communicates feelings and deals with adversity

But here are some strategies for building your own resilience and encouraging it in those you lead.

  1. Develop strong connections with others!  Good relationships with other people mean that you can support each other.  This is particularly important in organizations going through difficulties – sometimes it is only team work that can pull you through!
  2. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You may not be able to change what has happened but you can change how you respond.  As the leader, this will affect how others respond. Keep your eye on the bigger picture and look beyond the present to how future circumstances will be better.
  3. Accept that change happens. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.
  4. Move toward your goals. Develop some realistic and short term goals and start to move towards them.  That will inspire confidence in your ability to move towards your bigger goals and towards a time beyond the present problems.
  5. Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can and take decisive actions.  Don’t let people detach completely from problems and just wish they would just go away.
  6. Encourage people to look for opportunities for self-discovery. People often learn something about themselves in difficult circumstances and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of the challenge.  Many people who have experienced difficulties have reported better relationships, a greater sense of strength (even while feeling vulnerable) and an  increased sense of self-worth.
  7. Encourage people to nurture a positive view of themselves. Developing confidence in their ability to solve problems and trusting their instincts helps build resilience.
  8. As the leader keep things in perspective and maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you and them to expect that the good times will come back.  In turn that probably will speed the time it takes to resolve the problem.

I am Wendy Mason and I work as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger.  I have worked with many different kinds of people going through personal  and career change. If you would like my help, please email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439.  I will be very pleased to hear from you.