Recently I won a book call – The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.  
It’s about the science and art of self- assurance – what women should know.  
It’s timely for me as I coach people to move forward with greater confidence.

Although written for women, there were a few good insights to share —

“When people are confident, they think they are good at something, regardless of how good they actually are, they display a lot of nonverbal and verbal behavior.

They tend to speak early and often in a a calm, relaxed manner. They do a lot of things that make them look very confident in the eyes of others…whether they are competent or not is kind of irrelevant.”

It’s confidence that sways people. We may not realize it but we all give confidence inordinate weight and we respect people who project it.”

In business I’ve seen less competent people often promoted over more able colleagues.  
It can be infuriatingly that confidence without competence had no negative effect.  
They were admired by the rest of the group and awarded high social status.  Why? 
Because their confidence didn’t come across as narcissistic.  Sometimes overconfidence can be read as arrogance.

“Confident people who don’t alienate the others are NOT faking their confidence. They genuinely believe they are good, and that self-belief was what come across.

Fake confidence just does not work in the same way.  We can see the ‘tells’.  
No matter how much bravado they muster, when people don’t generally believe they are good, we pick up on the shifting eyes and rising voice and other give aways.

We’re not always conscious of it, but most of us have a great BS radar and can spot fake confidence a mile off.”

Good leadership means being an efficient decision-maker and not wishy-washy with decisions. If asked to give your opinion give it!  It can be frustrating to have somebody say, “I don’t have time for that.” 

Confidence involves action- Doing. Mastering. And deciding.

A few terms to consider that are connected to confidence:  

If you have high Self-Esteem and believe you are intrinsically valuable, you won’t assume your boss thinks that you’re not worthy of a raise.

It is easier to keep going if you’re optimistic about the outcome. 

If you have Self-Efficacy in one area, and use it and you will certainly be more creative and have general confidence.

And if you fail, Self-Compassion will give you the chance not to be rate yourself, but to take your failures more lightly.

This year I am focused on Self-Compassion. 
The central precept is that we should all be kinder to ourselves because doing so makes us healthier, more for filled and more successful in the pursuits we choose. Indeed, often the people who are most compassionate towards others are the least for giving of themselves.

Self – Compassion 
– Be sure to forgive yourself if you fail. Don’t beat yourself up.
– Put yourself in the broader human condition, and accept some failure. 
– It is OK to be average sometimes.

Self-compassion isn’t an excuse for any action – it’s supports action, and connects us to  being human, with all the strengths and weakness that implies.

Yes, Confidence is linked to DOING. Not letting doubts consume you. 
It is a willingness to go out of the comfort zone and do the hard things. 

Confidence is hard work. Mastery. It’s also about having resilience and not giving up.
Confidence is the stuff that turns thoughts into action. 
If the action involves something scary, then that’s called Courage!

Take the confident code quiz

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To Love and To Work

“What should a well adjusted person be able to do well?”

Sigmund Freud’s answer:  loving and working.

1. Love.  Love the achievement of intimacy with another person, the sense of being cherished for who you are. 

2. Work. Work is the experience of competence,being admired for what you can do.

Love and work. If we lose them, how can we cope for our well-being?

Harold Kushner, author of Conquering Fear offers this insight.

First, realize that sometimes smart people make mistakes.
It may have been the result of someone else’s limitation, not yours.  Sometimes you deserve to be chosen and cherished, but other people’s blindness kept that from happening.

Secondly, sometimes smart people get it right even if we don’t like the result.
If you don’t get the job, it’s not a rejection of you as a person. It may mean that your skills were not what the interviewer was looking for or what the job required, or that, impressive as you may have been, someone was more impressive.
No one has ever done anyone a favor by giving them a position that is not right for them.

Third, and most important of all: Do Not ever let your opinion of yourself be shaped by someone else’s opinion of you.

No one has the right to make you feel like a failure by dumping their problems on you.  You can ignore one person’s rejection as stemming from her problems more than yours, but if you keep getting the same message time after time, there might be a reason to take it seriously.

In life, we will experience rejection.  For me, it helps to remember the enduring truth by Viktor Frankle in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning:

You cannot control what other people do to you, but you can always control how you respond to what they do.  You can make the rejection serve as a spur to increased competence and self-awareness. I’ve learned to get over rejection by realizing I don’t have to do it alone. I do not hide what’s happened out of a sense of embarrassment.  I reach out to friends and let them help me. They always reassure me that I am worth cherishing.
My friends and family deliver to me the unspoken words: You’re good, you’re capable, and you are someone we care about. 

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Frankle

I know I can’t solve other people’s problems, but I like to think that the time I spent listening and encouraging them made their problems easier to bear until circumstances changed for the better.

Hang in there. I am on your side.

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Feedback as a Gift

How do you accept constructive feedback?   Is accepting critiques difficult for you?
It doesn’t have to be.  Think of it as receiving a gift because those who venture to constructively criticize us are performing a remarkable act of friendship.  There are benefits of constructive criticism and techniques for handling it in a productive and professional way. Here are a few tips for accepting and seeking critiques.  

Expect it – Life is full opportunities to grow, if someone points out a mistakes and explains how to improve, hey, that is a gift.
“Your attitude determines your altitude.” –Zig Ziglar

Seek it – Ask your boss, your employees, and your significant other what you’re doing right as well as what your doing wrong.  Ask the question, how can I can improve?
“Constructive criticism is not only to be expected, but sought.” –Margaret Chase Smith

Be open to it – Critiques or constructive criticism is not personal.
There’s no need to get defensive. Relax—it’s all good.
“Take things seriously, but not personally.” –Bill Clinton

Listen to it – Really listen; actively listen by paying attention to what is being said.
Don’t think ahead about how to respond.  Seek first to understand before being understood.
“Criticism my not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” –Winston Churchill

Change it – Make the change, perform and apply the recommended action as soon as possible. See if it works better for you.
“I take compliments and I take constructive criticism. I use it all to make me play better.” –Timothy F. Cahill

Practice and Prove it – Assess yourself and/or check with a trusted partner or colleague. Did I make the improvement correctly?
“…if you’re not trying to make something better, then, as far as I can tell, you are just in the way.” –Ani Difranco

Analyze it – Use the feedback experience as an opportunity to reflect on your progress and your performance.
Am I prepared for the meeting?
Did I practice the presentation?
Am I asking the right questions?
Am I clear about my goals and what it takes to reach them?
The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” –Norman Vincent Peale

Integrate it – Think about ways you apply the feedback and solution to other situations.
Focus on how what you learned relates to your work with clients, family relationships.  How will this feedback help me be more successful, not only at work, but also in a social environments?
“In order to excel, …you must be prepared to work hard and be willing to accept constructive criticism.” –Willie Mays

Appreciate it – Always say, “thank you.”
Constructive feedback is a gift that will help you grow and be the best you can be.

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Woman to Woman

I believe, as a woman, we are here for the sake of other women – above all, for those upon whose smile and wellbeing our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a unique bond of sympathy.

Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow-women, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.

It’s important to know that at the end of the day, it’s not about the money, awards or metals.  What I’ll remember is the process – what I learned about myself by challenging myself, the experiences I share with other people, the honesty of what transition, training and commitment demands – those are the things nobody can take away from me.

May each of you dream high and go for it by surrounding yourself with people who believe in you, and ignore those who try to pull you back.

Never give up, never give in and no matter what — this journey makes you STRONGER.

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Day 11 – Remembrance and Challenge

Thursday, September 11

I find myself reflecting on this day of remembrance.  What were you doing on 9/11/2001?
On this date in 2001, I dropped off my son at daycare and was rushing to get to work…no time to listen to whatever chatter was happening at the school.  I had my agenda and needed to be focused on getting to work.
Upon arriving at the office, I watched the unthinkable and unbelievable tragedy.  I could never image the horror of terrorism and lack of respect for human life.  My world did changed.  Yet, I did not think of this transformation as a “Problem”.  Problem sounded like a victim.  For me, it became a Challenge, to confront boldly the days ahead and live my life without fear.  I remained focused on family and faith for survival.  May God bless all those who were true victims.

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Wise Words

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.  – ALBERT EINSTEIN
One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. – ANDRE GIDE
You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no results. – GHANDI
There are only two mistakes one can make along the way to the truth; not going all the way, and not starting. – BUDDHA

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Dear Friend,
May I have a few words with you?  I’ve been thinking of how words can have an impact on our relationships with others and our relationship with oneself.  The words we choose to speak in our general conversation have a profound effect on the quality of our lives.  One word can have the greatest power when we accept it as being the truth.  The words we chose can be affirming without realizing that we are doing so.

Let’s think about it for a minute, when we use negative or limiting words, we are affirming that this is the truth for us.  However, we can break away from any negative cycle by thinking positive thoughts, by speaking positively.  Imagine the difference this would make in yourself and your relationships.  Simply begin paying attention to your thoughts and your words, and make a conscious decision, a commitment, to be compassionate when you communicate.


Be ‘Compassionate’ with all the words you think, say, and write to yourself and to others.

You will discover how that ONE word can transform the way you think, express and communicate, and thereby guides you to create the events and relationships you desire in your life.

Give it a try.  Select One word to inspire you in the choices you make throughout the year.  One word.  Simple.

Today truly is the first day of a new beginning for You.
A fresh start.

Enjoy the journey of discovery.


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