How to look confident

How to look confident

Tips To Help You Look Confident

Why is looking confident important?

How to look confident – if you want people to have confidence in you,  you need How to look confidentto look confident. If you want people to be drawn to you, you need to look confident! It is even more important than looking good or being good at what you do! That might seem a little unfair but in the real world it is only too true!

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 permeates all parts of our lives. 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! 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 sensing how it feels.  Now when you meet other people say quietly to your self; “these are the wonderful people who make me smile.” 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 change your focus to the people about you. Start to be really interested in them rather than how you are feeling. You will seem more approachable and look more confident.

Finding help

Practice my tips above nd 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 Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in 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 her books on Amazon at this link

         

Your Personal Brand Checklist

Your Personal Brand Checklist

Your personal brand checklist will ensure the world sees you as you wish. It will help you reflect your personal brand in all you do. Everything, from the comments you make on Twitter to the way you dress, strengthens or weakens the way the you are seen! Here is your personal brand checklist.

personal brand checklist
Your checklist
  1. Are you sure people believe you know what you are talking about? First of all, does your resume reflect the real depth of your experience – is it up to date? Do the words you use at work reflect the latest thinking on your subject at this point in time? Do you write articles and blog posts on your specialist interest?

What about your “elevator speech”?

2. Can you deliver a succinct description of what you do, how you do it differently, plus the benefit it delivers? Can you say your piece within the time that it takes an elevator to travel one floor?

3. Are you a convincing communicator? Do people believe what you say? Can you influence people? Why not do a market survey? So, you could choose three people you trust and ask them what they think!  Why not, read a book about it, take a class or work with a coach like me.

4. Do you dress for the job at work? Because you do need to know the dress code for your sector? And you would be wise to follow it for success. But what about off duty? If you met you boss in the supermarket, what impression would they get? Think about what is appropriate to the situation. And balance your individual style with clothing that will appeal to those you are trying to impress.

Do you know how to behave at work?

5. By that I mean the etiquette for your organisation and your sector? What kind of business cards do people carry? Most of all, always be courteous. Therefore, always be the one who follows up and says thank you after a kind deed. Remember to do it after sector and professional events.

6. Do you know the people you need to impress? Take time out to build your address book. Collect business cards – make sure yours reflects your image properly! When you have built your relationship, ask contacts for further introductions. Use LinkedIn to find new people.

How often do you nurture your network?

7. Are you working at nurturing your relationships with your contacts? Most of all, are you showing an active interest and do you genuinely care care about them? Ask how they are and what they are doing. But make sure you mean it.  Remember things they tell you – note them down if you need to!

8. What do you do with your spare time? Do you give something back to the community with voluntary work? Or perhaps you help your local sports club? You don’t need to brag about it; news does get around!

Your personal brand is precious. It’s the you the world sees and judges by. Nurture your brand and you will nurture both your life and your career.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in 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 her books on Amazon at this link

         

Job loss – how to stay confident

Confidence after a job loss

Job loss leaves most people feeling less confident. It’s not just about losing the job lossincome but also about your image and sense of yourself. For many of us, the value we put on ourselves is closely tied in to our work. Let’s face it, for lots of us, work is where we spend most of our waking life. It’s often where we find our friends (and even partners) and where we may make out major achievements. So when we lose a job, we feel we’ve lost part of ourselves and we grieve for it.

But you are much more than your job. People who really matter value you for much more than your work role. So, how can you begin to appreciate yourself again after job loss? How can you send that confidence back up the scale? Here are some thoughts.

Understand why it happened

If you have been made redundant keep in mind that it’s not personal – you were just unlucky and you are part of a very large and growing club. You may have suffered job loss for other reasons. Make sure you understand why and learn from it. Have you been sacked (let go)? Think about whether you should change something about yourself to make sure it doesn’t happen again. In all cases, what matters most is going forward, not dwelling on negative things from the past. But ,if there are lessons then learn them

Time for some mind-work

After job loss, the temptation is to ruminate on what has happened. The same thoughts and questions keep going round and round in your mind with no real answers emerging. Sadly, this is happening at a time when you may not have much to keep you busy. So you need to build a new routine.

Make sure you have plans for each day. Making a work routine for your job search is important. I usually advise clients to spend as as much time as they did at work, on their job search.

As for that tape that keeps running round your head, well think of it as an old radio playing in the background. Don’t fight the thoughts, observe them. Try not to engage with them. If the thoughts persist, think about seeking help from a counsellor or coach. You may want to consider taking a mindfulness course, it will help with exactly this kind of thinking.

Feeling lonely

After job loss, you may miss the company and the contact with people that you had at work. Now is the time to work on your network. Get out that old address book, look up your email contacts and those on your mobile phone. Find people on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. When you are not at work, social networks can become your water cooler – a way of keeping in touch with what is going on in the world. And you will be surprised how supportive your social media chums can be.

Pick up old contacts and find out what people are doing now. Show a real interest in them. It will give you company but also might give you a lead to the next job. Meet up – have a coffee with them. Tell them you are interested in new opportunities but don’t dwell too much on why you lost the last job.

Keep up appearances

This is a time when it is all too easy to slump around in jogging pants all day. Mind you the jogging, or at least some kind of exercise, is important – as is a good diet. Dress for work in the home office – albeit a little more casually than you did for work. It will help to raise your morale.

Worrying about money

Most of us will feel bad about the loss of income. But there is help – make it a project to find out all the sources of financial support available to you. For people in the UK, here is a link to Citizens Advice Benefits Information. Take time to understand where you might find help, then make sure you take advantage of it. Think carefully about how you and your family are spending money.  Changes may be needed after your job loss.

Living with less money may mean changes in lifestyle for all the family; not so many meals out and subscriptions to clubs etc. Make the changes carefully, particularly if they affect your children. Plan and prioritise just like you would at work but engage the family in the choices you make. If you have a mortgage, now may be the time to consider discussing a mortgage payment holiday.

Time to consider just how competent you are!

This is the time to focus on what you are good at and your passed achievements. Elsewhere on this blog there is advice on writing your STAR stories.  Preparing your STAR stories can be a real boost to your self-confidence after job loss. But they are also a great way to prepare to update your CV ready for your new job search.

Time for some enjoyment

When money is short, it is time to get creative about ideas for family and relaxation time. Even though  it is now about long country walks rather than theme parks, it can still be fun. There are lots of free events and festivals around if you look for them – use that involuntary spare time to find them.

Don’t waste time and energy on guilt

Feeling guilty about job loss doesn’t change what has happened. Spend time looking forward because you can change the future.  Don’t be hard on your self. You are one amongst thousands. In any case, you may not have a job but you do have a project and that is you.

Wendy Smith is a career, life and business coach with depth of experience in 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 the life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact Wendy at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com or find out more hereWendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach

Job Search – Please Write Those Important STAR Stories

Job Search – Please Write Those Important STAR Stories

Today we republish an extract from an earlier post. But I make no excuses because I think writing STAR stories can make such an important contribution to your job search and to your career development, if you want to prove to your employer that you are ready for promotion.

STAR Stories Make You A Star

Writing STAR stories is a way to prepare not only to write your CV but also to answer questions at interview. This will be particularly important if the organisation you want to join, or contract with, is committed to competency based interviewing or wants evidence of what you have done so far! Your STAR stories help to give evidence of just how competent you are.

But preparing your STAR stories can also be a real boost to your self-confidence, particularly if you are going through a difficult period at work.

Writing your stories

The STAR method means that for each of your major achievements you will set out the;
  • S – Situation, the background – when where, who and why
  • T – Task or tasks, you need to be specific here – exactly what was the problem you were trying to solve, you were you required to do and what was the required outcome?
  • A – Action, what did you do and what skills did you use? How did you behave? What obstacles did you meet and how did you overcome them? 
  • R – Result . what was the outcome? What happened and what were the benefits that you delivered. How could you measure them? Can you put a price or some dimensions on the scale of your achievement?  How did the organisation respond?

People like hearing a well told story. And telling your stories well will make sure you are memorable for the right reasons; so long as they are not too long, they stay positive and they are realistic!

You will not put all detail from your STAR stories into your CV, but it really helps to remind yourself of the past vividly when you write it.

When you start, think right back to the beginning of your career;

  1. Use your laptop or simply get a notebook and note down all the good things you have achieved. We are talking here about your personal successes!
  2. Don’t spend time on the things that you don’t feel good about! Remember, a whole programme or initiative doesn’t have to have been a total for your part of it to be something you are proud of!
  3. Now pick at least 10 achievements across your career. For job search, include at least five from the more recent past. But there is no limit to how many STAR stores you can produce.
  4. For each achievement, write a STAR story, setting out what happened and clearly explaining your contribution.
  5. Of course you can write as much or as little as you like about each success but for your portfolio record about one page of A4 for each is usually enough.
  6. Start with your early achievements and work forward.
  7. Do your research if necessary about times, places and events. You are building a portfolio to be proud of so make sure your stories are accurate!
  8. After you have completed each story take a pause and review! Enjoy your success.
  9. When you have completed five lay them out before them and feel proud – I bet you had forgotten how good your were!
  10. When you are ready, type them up and print them out on good quality paper! Then put them in a folder with your name on the front!

Your portfolio now has its foundations. You can references and recommendations as well as certificates you hold and any awards. From this material you can draw soundly based evidence of your competencies. It can be drawn on for your job applications and used as reminder of just how good you really are when you hit those career bumps that everyone has to endure sometimes

By the way STAR stories don’t have to be confined to paid employment. Have you had a voluntary role? Are there things you have done for your local community? Well write the stories and put them in! They will all serve to show just what a valuable and competent person you really are!

And I would love to hear how you get on and I wish all those starting out on, or a continuing, a job search every success. If I can help, please get in touch.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in 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 her books on Amazon at this link

         

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

Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 7 Learning To Accept Yourself

Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 7 Learning to Accept Yourself

You can find the earlier posts in this series at the links below. In the last few posts I’ve asked you to start thinking about emotions. I’ve explained how identifying your troublesome emotion helps you gain control and make sure things turn out more positively for you in the future. As well as that, I asked you to think about what is most difficult for you, then I asked you to set some goals.

In the last post we thought about challenging and beginning to change those core beliefs we all carry. They get in the way when we want to make a personal change that will improve our lives. Now we are going to think about developing self acceptance.

Everyone who has ever lived has had problems.  Having problems doesn’t make you a better or worse human being – nor does it make you different.  In fact it makes you truly a human being – someone who makes mistakes and sometimes suffers misfortune. You are not what you do or what happens to you.  You are you, and one of us, the vast human race.  But it is great that you want to change or improve something about yourself!

If you accept yourself with what you see as flaws, it means you can concentrate on problem solving.  If you can’t accept yourself you can very easily be distracted by shame and the time you spend putting yourself down.

There is a great way of illustrating self acceptance.  It is called the big i/little i diagram ( Lazarus 1977)

If you look closely you will that this Big I (the self) is made up of lots of little Is. The little I’s are all the things about you; “I’m tall”, “I’m short”,” I’m fat”, “I’m thin”, “I’m good at sports”,” I’m hopeless at maths” etc.  Or they might be things that you have done; “I failed my exam”, “I hurt someone I loved”, “I give to charity”, etc.  Anyone of them may be true.  But none of them makes up the whole, wonderful complexity of you, yourself.

Now, if you can’t accept yourself, you might find this idea difficult to accept as well. But think about it.  And think about what I said in the last post about how to test self beliefs.  Think of all the evidence there is that you are complex with many aspects and experiences.  Then think about how you see other people in their complexity.  Now, think about which is the more helpful way to think about your self.

So suppose you see the things that you need to change as little Is, that you can work on.  They are not the whole big I that is going to do the work. Start to recognise yourself as complex and multi dimensional.

You could draw a large I diagram and then start to put into it all the little Is about you.  The good and the bad – make sure you are even-handed.  Now, circle some of those good Is and really concentrate on them.  Then, think about the things you want to change and let that complex, wonderful Big I you, start to make plans.

Remember, self acceptance doesn’t mean you become complacent and stop trying to make changes.  Self acceptance changes how you see the changes you want to make.  It helps to makes those changes manageable and achievable.  It means you do not waste precious time on putting your self down and feeling bad.

Self acceptance doesn’t happen over night it takes work.  It takes a little time every day thinking about the Big I and focusing on your goals to make the change you want. Work on it because the benefits of self acceptance, in terms of happiness, mental health and achievement, are huge.

The next post in this series will about strengthening and re-enforcing your new self-helping outlook.

I know you can learn how to develop self-esteem and to develop self acceptance and I would like to help you.  Email me now to arrange a free half-hour taster coaching session by Skype.

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with professional women who want to make that jump to senior level while having a life outside work. 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 face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more athttp://wisewolfcoaching.com

Coming shortly – Getting There With WiseWolf, the Career and Personal Development Programme – if you would like to know more emailwendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

Earlier Posts in this series

    • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 1 Admit A Change is Needed

    • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 2 Be Clear About The Change You Want

    • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 3 Be Clear About What Is Troubling You

    • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 4 Identify what is most difficult for you

    • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 5 Select Your Goals for Change
    • Be Successful -Making A Personal Change – Part 6 Change Your Core Beliefs

Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 6 Change Your Core Beliefs

Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 6 Change Your Core Beliefs

You can find the earlier posts in this series at the links below. In the last few posts I’ve asked you to start thinking about emotions. I’ve explained how identifying your troublesome emotion helps you gain control and make sure things turn out more positively for you in the future. As well as that, I asked you to think about what is most difficult for you, then I asked you to set some goals. Now we are going to think about challenging and beginning to change those core beliefs we all carry. They get in the way when we want to make a personal change that will improve our lives. As I’ve said before, success depends on being very honest with yourself.

We all carry unhelpful beliefs about ourselves, about other people and about the world about us. We gather them up as we go through life from our parents, our teachers, others about us and from things that happen to us. We learn to think, for example, that we are lazy or stupid. May be we think we are bad people, unworthy of happiness or success; or that people like us just never succeed! Most of these belief are not founded in anything real but we go on believing.

We may have failed at something once but that doesn’t mean we will not succeed this time or that we are less worthy of happiness.

There are three tests that we can apply to our core beliefs to see if it is worth letting them spoil the rest of our lives. They are

  • Logic

  • Reality-Testing

  • Helpfulness

Logic

If you have been unlucky enough to experience some kind of failure in life, such as, losing a job or a relationship, it isn’t logical to think of your self as a failure. Stop for one moment and think how you would judge a close friend or relation if they came to you and told you they were in the same place. What would you think and what would you say? So, why are you different? Is it sound, logical or consistent to apply different standards to you, to those you apply to the rest of the world? You are worthwhile even if you have failed lots of times – my word yes – you had the guts to try!

Reality-Testing

Does you core belief match with objective reality? Think of everything you have done throughout your life. Has every single thing been a failure? I doubt it. We all succeed at some things and fail at others. Think quietly about the good things you have done; things you have enjoyed and the things other people have liked and thanked you for. Gather evidence like a forensic detective. Where is the hard cold evidence that your core belief is really true – where does the balance of your life-long evidence lead you.

Helpfulness

What is carrying this core belief actually doing for you? Does it help you overcome your problems and feel better? Are you a “better” person because you carry this self belief? Some people do see calling themselves failures or unworthy as motivating them to do or be better. But for most of us, it just saps energy, erodes our self-esteem and makes us feel bad.

Coming to terms with the consequences of our core beliefs often helps us to have the confidence to get rid of them.

The next post in this series will about self acceptance. Accepting ourselves as we really are, is key to making that lasting change that is going to lead to real fulfilment and success in the future.

I know you can develop the confidence you need to change your core beliefs and I would like to help you.  Email me now to arrange a free half-hour taster coaching session.

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with professional women who want to make that jump to senior level while having a life outside work. 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 face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

Coming shortly – the WiseWolf Career and Personal Development Programme – if you would like to know more email wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

Earlier Posts in this series

  • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 1 Admit A Change is Needed

  • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 2 Be Clear About The Change You Want

  • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 3 Be Clear About What Is Troubling You

  • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 4 Identify what is most difficult for you

  • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 5 Select Your Goals for Change

 

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3 ways you can develop the confidence you need to become self-employed

confidence

Today we have a guest post from Antoinette Oglethorpe.  Antoinette  specialises in helping business leaders and professionals take control of their careers and realise their ambitions. Her special report on “How to become self-employed confidently & successfully” is available at www.takingtheplungeseries.com

3 ways you can develop the confidence you need to become self-employed

To move successfully into self-employment you need to believe in yourself, your capability and your ability to make things happen.  In essence, you need to know you can make it a success whatever happens.

No-one is going to be totally self-confident all the time.  As a very successful business man once said “If things are going really well you can’t get over-excited because you’re not a genius; but if things get difficult you can’t get too downhearted because you’re not a fool either”

Sometimes the biggest risk is doing nothing and without risk there is likely to be no reward.

Here are 3 ways you can use a simple 1 to 10 scale to develop the confidence you will need to become self-employed.

  1. Personal reflection.  Thinking about a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is that you have total confidence you can make a success of self-employment and 1 is no confidence at all, where would you put yourself today?  Now the typical inclination of most people is to then focus on all the reasons they’re not at 10.  Instead of that, I’m going to suggest that you think about all the things that put you as high as you are – however high that is – and not lower.  What knowledge do you have that will help?  What skills do you have that will help?  What experience do you have that will help?  What aspects of your personality will help?  What other transitions have you made in your life in the past?  What helped in those cases?
  1. Feedback from others.  Think about all the feedback you have had from others – friends, family, colleagues, and previous bosses.  What do other people know and say about you that gives you confidence?  Ask them for their honest answers to the above questions.
  1. Focus on small steps.  Focussing on trying to get to 10 can have the opposite effect to the one you’re trying to achieve.  It can seem such a far way off that it paralyses and demotivates you.  So don’t worry about 10 for now.  Instead, think about what would be different if you were just one point higher up the scale.  Would you have developed a particular skill? Would you have obtained feedback from other self-employed individuals?  Would you have researched your business idea or something else?   What needs to happen to increase your confidence by one point?  What small first steps could you take to move towards that?

By thinking about what’s already giving you confidence, getting feedback from others and focussing on small steps you can break it down to some immediate, manageable actions that you can take to make progress.

Antoinette Oglethorpe specialises in helping business leaders and professionals take control of their careers and realise their ambitions. Her special report on “How to become self-employed confidently & successfully” is available at www.takingtheplungeseries.com.

Building your portfolio – STAR stories can make you a star

If you want to find work, directly employed or as a contractor, you are going to need to describe your achievements so far. Getting ready to do that can be a real boost to your self confidence, if you go about it in the right way.
Writing STAR stories is a great way to prepare not only to write your CV but also to answer questions at interview.  This will be particularly important if the organisation you want to join, or contract with, is committed to competency based interviewing  or wants evidence of what you have done so far!  Your STAR stories help to provide evidence of just how competent you are.
But preparing your STAR stories can also be a real boost to your self confidence, particularly if you are going through a difficult period at work.
Read more in today’s new post at http://wisewolftalking.com/2011/03/17/building-your-portfolio-star-stories-make-you-a-star/

Building Your Portfolio – STAR Stories Make You a Star!

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Tom Hanks walk of fame star  Hollywood Boulevard

I hope that we are going to provide you with lots of resources here to help you move into your new life, including advice on writing your CV.  

If you want to find work, directly employed or as a contractor, you are going to need to describe your achievements so far. Getting ready to do that can be a real boost to your self confidence, if you go about it in the right way.

Writing STAR stories is a way to prepare not only to write your CV but also to answer questions at interview.  This will be particularly important if the organisation you want to join, or contract with, is committed to competency based interviewing  or wants evidence of what you have done so far!  Your STAR stories help to provide evidence of just how competent you are.

But preparing your STAR stories can also be a real boost to your self confidence, particularly if you are going through a difficult period at work.

Writing your stories

The STAR method means that for each of your major achievements you will set out the;
  • S – Situation, the background – when where, who and why
  • T – Task or tasks, you need to be specific here – exactly what were you required to do and what was the required outcome?
  • A – Action, what you did and what skills you used, how you behaved
  • R – Result – Outcome, what happened – what were the benefits and how could you measure them?   How did the organisation respond?
People like hearing a well told story.  And telling your stories well will ensure you are memorable for the right reasons; so long as they are not too long, they remain positive and they are realistic!

You will not put all detail from your STAR stories into your CV, but it really helps to remind yourself of the past.

At this stage I want you to go right back to the beginning of your career. 
  1. Use your laptop or simply get a notebook and note down all the good things you have achieved. We are talking here about your personal successes
  2. Don’t spend time on the things that you don’t feel good about!  But a whole programmeor initiative doesn’t have to have been a success for your part of it to be something you are proud of!  
  3. Now pick at least 10 achievements across your career. It will help you later if you include at least five from the more recent past.  But there is no limit to how many STAR stores you can produce.
  4. For each achievement, write a STAR story, setting out what happened and clearly explaining your contribution.
  5. Of course you can write as much or as little as you like about each success.  But at this stage about one page of A4 for each is usually sufficient.
  6. Start with your early achievements and work forward. 
  7. Do your research if necessary about times, places and events.  You are building a portfolio to be proud of so make sure your stories are accurate!
  8. After you have completed each story take a pause and review!  Enjoy your success.  When you have completed five lay them out before them and feel proud – I bet you had forgotten how good your were!   
  9. When you are ready, type them up and print them out on good quality paper!  
  10. Put them in a folder with your name on the front!  

You have begun – your portfolio has its foundations.

By the way STAR stories don’t have to be confined to paid employment.  Have you had a voluntary role? Are there things you have done for your local community?  Well write the stories and put them in!  They will all serve to show just what a valuable and competent person you really are!

And I would love to hear how you get on.  
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
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