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How to Not to Be Swayed by Others

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swaying 2013-07-26 around ancaster

You know what I think? You should sell up, close your bank accounts and give me 75% of the proceeds. It’s probably best if you throw in a vacation for me too. Somewhere hot and on the water with good shrimp.

You still get 25%, which is plenty enough to start again in a cheaper neighborhood, and I really think I kinda deserve it after everything I’ve done.

Of course, that’s just my opinion.

You make up your own mind, which, I’m sure, you’ve already done.

I may not have been at my persuasive best just then, but I’ll bet there have been other times when you’ve fallen in line with the opinions of others, even when you know that what’s best for you lies in a different direction.

Here’s what happens when you’re swayed by the opinion of someone else:

  1. You have an idea.
  2. Someone else has an idea.
  3. They present their idea.
  4. You go with it, because you don’t want you or your idea to be a failure.
  5. Or, you go with it because you don’t want to be on the hook for your idea.
  6. You feel crappy and small.

It’s a pattern that’s played out over and over again, and it always ends with you feeling crappy and small. The more you feel crappy and small, the more likely you are to be swayed by the opinion of others.

Et voila, more crappyness and smallness

Feeling crappy and small sucks. You need to be done with that. You’re better than that. Just my opinion of course, but if you’ll allow me to sway you, here’s how not to be swayed by others:

1. Know your insides

Inside you, somewhere amidst the spleen, lungs and kidneys, is some pretty extraordinary stuff that tells you what you need to know.

Your mind tells you how far you’ve come, how much you’ve already achieved and shows you how capable you are when you choose to be.

Your heart tells you what truly matters, what you love and shows you how to stand up for what matters to you.

Your gut tells you what’s right for you, where North lies and shows you what you can and can’t condone.

These things you have inside you? They’re rare, tangible and magnificent. And they’re all yours.

Trust them.

2. Know your rights

We’ve all met people who steamroller their way through, using bluster and cheap tricks to get their own way. I don’t have much time for them and their ways (in fact, I patiently wait for when those cheap tricks run out and they come to me for real help), as they tend to believe they have a greater right of choice than anyone else.

You, of course, have rights too.

You have the right to your idea, your opinion,
your experience, your perspective and your voice

Whether someone aims to steamroller you or someone simply tries to persuade you, if you believe that you want to give things a shot your way, you simply have to say “I hear you, you make some great points, here’s how I want to do things.

Above all, you have the right to choose.

3. Know you can be seen

Fitting in line with the opinion of someone else is pretty nifty because of the safety it provides.

You’re safe from being judged a failure.
You’re safe from being responsible.
You’re safe from having you or your opinion laughed at.

Compelling as that safety feels, the more you choose the safety of someone else’s opinion (and it is a choice) over yours, the more your confidence atrophies.

Speaking up, being heard, being seen and voicing your opinion requires vulnerability and feels fucking scary sometimes, but I’d suggest that it’s actually not as scary as the alternative.

Remember this – you’re already good enough to not need to hide. You don’t need to prove yourself worthy first.

Let others see you. You’re already plenty.

Skin and Armour

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Armor - Philadelphia Museum of Art

There was a guy who once loved someone so deeply that he thought his heart would break forever when she went away.

There was a guy who wanted to wrap his arms around the world but got distracted by cynicism and apathy.

There was a guy who once met opportunity with guts and a smile but learned to choose certainty over possibility.

That guy was me (as if you hadn’t figured it out), so I guess the old adage of “you teach best what you most need to learn” is true.

In becoming a confidence coach I’ve learned heaps about where my armour ends and my skin begins.

Armour presses in and makes it hard to breathe. Skin is built to breathe naturally.

Armour asks that you trust in its’ hardness. Skin nurtures trust in the air that moves across it.

Armour deflects blows but bruises what’s underneath deeply. Skin bleeds when pricked but shows you what it is to heal.

Armour keeps the wind and dirt out. Skin is there to feel the world.

So yeah, if I hadn’t learned what I’ve learned I’d be an exemplar for self-doubt with a heart made of what-ifs, but I’d be lying like a bad toupee if I said that I have this nailed.

I keep surprising myself at how I hold myself back or keep myself safe, and so perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned is this.

The point where your armour ends and your skin begins isn’t constant and isn’t obvious. You just have to seek the air on your skin, and not pull back when you feel it.

Where Does Confidence Come From?

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outlier by Robert S. Donovan, on Flickr
If you could pick up a carton of confidence at the store, along with your coconut water and granola, you’d soon be a confidence-guzzling giant.

Need a boost of confidence to push through? Just mix up a confidence smoothie. Trembling in the face of challenge you don’t think you’re a match for? How about grating some confidence into a salad for a instant hit of go-get-em. Trying to make a decision but filled with second-guessing? Spread some confidence onto your bread instead of butter or mustard for the best damn sandwich you’ve ever had.

Sadly, you can’t buy confidence at the store any more than
you can a rainbow or Diplodocus

So, just where the flippin’ heck does confidence come from?

From something you’ve already done

You’ve done it, achieved it, nailed it. Well done you.

Whether it’s negotiating a contract, making an omelet, painting a kitchen or running a department, you now have evidence to support the fact that you did something.

Being able to say “I did it” counts for a lot. Through your intention, will and efforts, you made something happen, meaning that by applying those things further you can make something else happen.

From sucking it up

You’re standing toes-over-the-edge of a 1000ft drop.

How do you feel?

I don’t know about you, but I’d be palm-sweatingly, pant-wettingly, don’t-fucking-tell-me-to-jump scared.

Taking a leap will always be scary. That’s how you know it’s a leap.

But if you want to cross from where you are right now into something unknown, something that could be glorious, a leap is what’s needed.

So you close your eyes. Take a breath. Steel yourself. And jump.

This moment of sucking it up—of summoning your best in the face of your worst—gives you the boost you need to take that leap.

Where’s my bloody boat?

Like like navigating a choppy sea without a map or compass—or a flippin boat-—it’s not quite that simple though. There are a handful of problems:

Problem 1

Just because I’ve made a hundred omelet’s doesn’t mean that I can successfully complete the Mongol Rally or pitch an idea to a room full of Exec’s. It doesn’t even mean that my next omelet will be a delicious one.

Sometimes, the fact that you’ve already done something doesn’t stop you from doubting your ability and second-guessing your next move. You start concluding that just because you’ve done something before, doesn’t mean you can do it [successfully] again or get similar results elsewhere.

Problem 2

Sometimes, this thing you’ve done can be repeated to the point where it’s pretty much automatic. You keep doing it, embedding it as a behaviour so it’s eminently repeatable and frictionless.

Research shows that your brain can encode a behavior after just 3 repetitions, and once embedded it can be activated with little or no deliberate thought. These rote, encoded behaviors are just trotted out when needed, regardless of how confident you might be.

You know those people who seem completely confident in their work but have zero confidence everywhere else in life? This is how that happens.

Problem 3

Thoughts are tricky little blighters sometimes. They appear like bubbles on the bottom of a simmering pan, appearing and disappearing in a moment. Some of those thoughts however, are a little more sticky and pernicious.

Thoughts like I can’t. Thoughts like I’m not good enough. Thoughts like I don’t deserve it. Once these have arrived in your head they’re prone to re-appear at the times you’d really rather not hear them, clamouring for attention when you’re on the edge of something new.

So, it seems like we’re a bit screwed then

If confidence comes from doing something hard, solving a problem, achieving something you didn’t think was possible and from taking those leaps of faith, but is hindered by the problems we’ve just explored, what chance have we got?

Fortunately, there’s a secret weapon…

Confidence as absence

Confidence doesn’t come only from things and from promise, it comes from the absence of things that prevent it.

This doesn’t mean you need to eliminate the thoughts that make you feel small and hold you back – that’s an impossible task.

Like that pan of simmering water, your brain always has bubbling thoughts that prevent you from confidently expressing who you are, so natural confidence is the place where the power those thoughts have over you is absent.

It’s there that you’re free to choose your behaviour.

It’s there that you’re free to trust you’re enough.

It’s there that you get to put your dent in the universe.

Wanna hang out there?

ActionPoint > Great Expectations

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GREAT EXPECTATIONS
People are like nitrogen or traffic jams – we’re everywhere.

At home, at work, in the store, on the street, in traffic, in meetings, in restaurants – people all over the place. To help navigate through the sea of people you encounter in an average day, you have a bundle of expectations about what they’ll do and how they’ll act.

He’ll be wanting to leave soon. She won’t give a damn. I’ll get laughed out of the room. You won’t even notice.

Unbeknownst to you, some of those expectations will affect your decisions, actions and feelings, taking you down a road based simply on how you think they’ll think, feel and act. And often, those expectations are just made-up stories.

So this ActionPoint has you stepping outside of the normal narrative, looking for a new opportunity to do something that matters and building confidence as a result.

ActionPoint >

  1. For today, notice when you have an expectation about what somebody else should do. Whether it’s something you’re expecting them to do, something you expect them to think or perhaps even something you expect they want you to do, gently notice it.
  2. Accept that your expectation is just a thought in your head, and leave it be. Don’t let it determine what you think or do next.
  3. With that expectation off to one side, over in the wings so to speak, what can you do now to help, enhance or delight (either the person you just had the expectation about or the situation you’re in)?
  4. Do it.
  5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 each day for the next week.

In the comments, let me know what you find.

How to Deal With Rejection

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rejected
My romantic history reads like Cliff Notes from all of Shakespeare’s’ tragedy’s. And most of his comedy’s. Not entirely successful then, with a smattering of jealousy and rejection by the ladle full.

Rejection’s out there all the time. In your relationships, in your career and with your friends, and it hurts like nothing else, right?

It’s tempting to cast “rejection” as the enemy, the thing that makes you feel small, unwanted and not good enough, and the thing that destroys your confidence.

So, here are 3 ways to deal with rejection the next time you find yourself in the midst of it.

Don’t Make It Yours

Rejection is a concept, an idea we’ve developed that infers that we’re not wanted. It’s something done by someone to you, or maybe by you to someone else. Sometimes it’s intended—at the end of a romantic relationship, for example—but sometimes it isn’t intended to be rejection at all.

It could simply be that someone’s pre-occupied and doesn’t have time or space right now. It could be that they’re in a place where they’re not ready or able to go further. Or maybe they’re just really selfish and don’t consider how their actions come across.

They’re reacting to their circumstances in a way they think is best for them, loaded with all of their own context, nuance and history.

It’s a response to where they are in their life, not a response to you

“Feeling rejected” is taking their response to where they are and making your experience one of being rejected. But it’s not your experience. It’s theirs. Don’t make it your own.

It’s Not Truth

Being rejected isn’t how things are. The experience doesn’t speak to your worthiness, your capability or your place in the world. It’s just something that happened.

Choosing to interpret rejection as a statement about the value of who you are will riddle your life with more holes than a barn full of moonshine after an FBI raid. It’ll keep you fearful, make you small and strip you of your confidence.

You haven’t been rejected, you just have a feeling of rejection

Rejection is not truth, it’s just a transitory feeling you experience. And as it’s a feeling, manifested by thoughts in your brain, you get to choose what you do with it.

Sometimes a little mourning or grief can be an appropriate, healthy and useful thing to experience (but even then you can be fully aware that you’re in a process that has an end). Other times you’ll be ready to chalk it up to experience, let go of any hurt or blame and get right back in the game.

You always get to choose how you relate to events in your life; all you have to do is to make choices that allow you to flourish rather than see you atrophy.

Don’t Build Higher Walls

Hands up who protects themselves from rejection?

If you didn’t raise your hand, you’re a big fat liar (in a lovely fluffy way), because we all do.

Sometimes it really fucking hurts to feel that you’ve been rejected, damaging your confidence and seeing you create defences that make it harder to get hurt next time around.

While building higher walls in response to feeling rejected is natural in some ways, it will only keep you at arms length from life, becoming more distant and disconnected as time goes on.

And going about your life with your armour on and your defences up makes you more attuned to being rejected, paradoxically having you experience it more often while simultaneously lowering your confidence even further as you stop living fully.

The only real alternative then, is to deliberately keep your arms open, to take off your armour and to remove bricks from your defensive wall rather than building it higher.

It feels dangerous and even foolhardy to do so, but it’s the only way for you to live confidently and completely.

I’m curious, how have you dealt with rejection?

Curiosity Is Ready

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curious by woodleywonderworks, on Flickr
Let’s say there’s something you’d like to start (and chances are, there is). Could be getting back into the dating world, starting up that creative project, making that career leap or moving to a different part of the country.

It’s just that the timing’s a little off. The pieces aren’t all in place. You just don’t feel ready.

So you wait.

You wait for the timing to be right. You wait for the pieces to align. And you wait until you feel ready.

Bullshit.

You can remain stuck and wait your whole life for a mythical state of readiness to arrive, always checking to see if you have any more answers and how ready you feel.

But you don’t need all the answers. Like Sasquatch, cold fusion and self-cleaning ovens, I’m not sure that “all the answers” really exists.

“All the answers” is a made-up place

All you need to start is the curiosity to see what might happen.

Being honestly curious to start exploring because there’s a chance for Something Wonderful to happen is plenty.

Have confidence in your own curiosity and your ability to explore.

To be curious is to be ready.

Fuck it. Do it for you.

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Fuck it
I recently asked the good people on my Facebook page which way I should go with a decision.

I won’t recap the choices here, suffice to say that one would push me physically further than I’ve ever been pushed before in aid of a cause I care about, while the other is a solo creative endeavor that I’ve been putting off forever.

I felt like I needed to do the first out of some kind of duty.

I felt like I needed to the second because I wanted it.

Both things matter to me in different ways, one of them being for other people and one being, essentially, for me.

And that’s where I got stuck.

I write a whole lot about doing what matters, and how making value-based decisions brings confidence right along with them. In exploring and writing about this I try to hold myself to a high standard. I always try to walk the talk. I don’t always succeed but I’m buggered if I won’t give it my best shot.

So in wrestling with a decision that like this one, a decision that could see all kinds of things happen for good or for ill, I struggled to make sense of this particular decision making onion.

There’s what I want to hold myself up to.
There’s the example I want to set.
There’s the story I want to tell.
There’s the impact I can have.
There’s how I honour the things that matter to me.
And then, there’s what I bloody well want to do.

All that stuff rattled around in my 42 year old noggin without anything happening. Then, pretty much immediately after I asked for input, I saw that I was actually asking for permission.

Permission to put the ideals, examples and “oughts” to one side and do something for no other reason than I wanted to do it.

Permission to say “fuck it, I’m doing this for me.”

Bishops can keep their piety. Oaths can keep their solemnity. Armoirs can keep their rigidity. 

Earnestness makes me want to dress up like Fozzy Bear and dance a jig to “If I Could talk to the Animals”, but there I was, falling into the trap of thinking about duty, expectations and outcomes rather than fun, ease and texture.

So, I’m going back to my novel without any clue what will happen with it and without any pressure to have it make a difference to anyone but me.

Sometimes, that’s perfect.

Fuck it. Do it for you.

ActionPoint > Reboot Your Intention

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Reboot by Tim Lossen on Flickr
Your intention is an instance of conscious determination upon some action, purpose or context.

With one, what you do has pillars of meaningful engagement supporting it. Without one, you’re just kind of flapping around a bit.

An intention is the difference between disappointment and hope;
drifting and flourishing; apathy and engagement

So, what’s your intention today? Do you even have one?

Here’s what I want you to do:

ActionPoint >

  1. Take a moment to notice the quality of your intention today. How is it? Does it honour, represent or demonstrate what matters to you? Is it lean and purposeful (even if that purpose is simply to have fun and be silly, as mine often is)? Or is your intention flabby and full of wind? Is it focused on the wrong things, like irrelevant details or maintaining appearances?
  2. If you were to set an intention that made you feel alive, one that fitted with what matters and one that brought out your best, what might it be?
  3. Write down the words, themes and pictures that come to you, then wrap them up in a sentence that starts with one of these:
    Today, I intend to…
    Today, I’m honouring…
    Today, I show up as…
  4. Deliberately choose to step into and own that intention, for today, for this week or for however long works for you (at which point you can set a fresh one).

Share your rebooted intention in the comments, and let me know what happens.

How to Deserve a Good Life

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Paratiisisaari - bottom up view
Oh, the good life, full of fun
Seems to be the ideal

Cracking out Tony Bennett’s The Good Life at the top of my lungs in the shower while pretending I could show Michael Buble a thing or two is bloody awesome fun.

You know the song?

It starts off with a bang, a feel good opening that always makes me smile. But I went a few years without really hearing the lyrics, which basically just descends into a heart-broken rant of loneliness and empty hope for a better life.

Bummer, right?

But let me ask you, have you ever dreamed of something better, dreamed of something you wanted to have, do or be, dreamed of a good life, only for that voice in your head to come along and stamp all over that stuff like a fat Bavarian stomping grapes for a late harvest Gewurtztraminer?

If your answer to that question is “Yes“, read on my friend. If your answer is “No” then one of two things is happening.

Either you’re the first human to live without a fear that they don’t deserve a good life, have somehow cracked the meaning of life and are quite possibly the next step of human evolution, or you’re a big fat liar who’s terrified of admitting the truth. So you might want to read on too.

Expecting the worst…

Brene Brown tells the story of how she returned home from a wonderful date night with her husband, feeling truly blessed. Walking up the path to the front door of the family home she loved deeply, she turned to her husband and said, “What if there were bad guys with guns hiding behind the bushes here? We’d be shot to pieces before we ever got to the front door.

Another story she tells is of a late-forties mother who told how she used to take every good thing in her life and imagine the worst possible disaster, simply so she could try to control all of the outcomes and variables. The woman said, “Unfortunately, I’ve passed that way of thinking down to my daughter. She’s increasingly afraid to try new things, especially when her life is going well. She says she doesn’t want to ‘tempt fate.’”

And then there’s the story of the man in his early sixties, who explained that he’d gone through his life believing that if you go through life expecting the worst then you’ll be prepared for it when it happens, and pleasantly surprised if it doesn’t. When his wife was killed in a car accident, he found that he wasn’t prepared at all. “And worse,” he said, “I still grieve for all of those wonderful moments we shared and that I didn’t fully enjoy.

Gulp.

What if he thinks I’m a terrorist?

While sitting on flights at the start of fantastic trips, I’ve sat in my seat and thought “What if the floor of the plane just fell out now?”"

I’ve driven over the Golden Gate Bridge and wondered, “Shit, if an earthquake struck suddenly this whole thing would collapse and I’d end up in the drink trapped inside a crappy rental.

On seeing an armed police officer on the streets of London, I’ve thought, “Holy shit. Don’t make eye contact. What if he thinks I’m a terrorist and shoots me?”

I know you do this too. You conjure up scenarios of everything that could tear your life apart, simply because it’s feels safer than opening up and saying “thank you” for the imperfect moment you find yourself in.

This “beating vulnerability to the punch” is wired into us as human beings as a way to keep us safe. There are other mechanisms too.

There’s the voice that tells you that “you’ll only fuck this up eventually“. The one that tries to persuade you not to bother trying because “I don’t want people to see me screw this up“. And, of course, there’s our old friend who says, “Even if you did want this (which I doubt), you’re not good enough to get it“.

Your capacity to turn away from joy needs to be softly, consistently counseled

These fears, doubts and second-guessings are mechanisms that can’t simply be erased. You can’t push them away, ignore them or outrun them.

Doing so only creates more fear, doubt and second-guessing.

The answer, I think, lies in acknowledging them with gentle, non-judgmental eyes, and moving with them towards what matters to you.

You have untold capacities and unfathomed depths, and
you’re plenty good enough to live a good life

It sounds trite like a rerun of The View to say that you already deserve a good life. But you do.

I know you know it, so let me ask you this.

What if you could nurture something ten thousand feet down inside you that made it okay to be vulnerable, and what if that same quality helped you lean towards the good?

What could that mean for you?

3 Big Reasons You Wonder If You’ll Ever Be Good Enough

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The Art Of Pretending... by Enkhtuvshin's 5DmkII, on Flickr
You think Nelson Mandela never thought to himself “This is too hard, there’s no way I’m ever going to get through this“?

You think Captain Kirk never looked at the fleet of weapons-primed Klingon Warbirds on the viewscreen and thought “Shitting hell, we’re fucked. Why didn’t I just get a desk job?”?

You think Erin Brockovich never thought “Crap, I’ll never beat these guys, I should quit now“?

You think Jesus never looked at the number of people he had to cater for and thought “Shit, why the hell didn’t I order in“?

You think Jessica Fletcher never saw a dead body and thought, “I don’t have the foggiest idea who did this. I’m going back to Cabot Cove and retiring“?

Yeah, feeling like you’re not good enough is something that’s common to all of us, whether you’re fictional or not.

It’s that thought in your head that never really goes away, making you wonder if you’ll ever be good enough, pulling you back from being seen and sometimes making you believe you’ll always be less than you hoped you could be

I’m assuming you’re not fictional (and if you are, shouldn’t you be off saving the galaxy, getting into a goofy scrape or running through the rain to tell someone you love them?), and there are some very good reasons why you keep on wondering whether you’re good enough. Here are 3 of them.

You Confuse Belonging With Fitting In

We’re hardwired to seek connections with others, programmed to clump together in groups and designed to develop personal relationships with one another.

We can thank Mother Nature for that, and that’s all peachy, but in our media-consuming, product-munching, always-on, gotta-compete society people are running round in circles trying to do the right things in the right ways, and the need to keep those plates spinning and hold it all together is piling on the pressure to fit in and conform to society.

We’re becoming more and more connected to all the stuff we should do in order to fit in and be successful, and more disconnected from the things that have personal meaning. The resulting sense of disconnection and struggle creates a space where you second-guess whether you’re good enough to be accepted as you are.

Fitting in requires that you shape yourself to what you think will make you fit into a system, whereas belonging requires that you present yourself as you really are in order to be a part of something meaningful.

And that’s the thing with belonging—it requires unfeigned participation in order to exist.

You can’t keep a puppy in a small box under your bed and expect the little guy to flourish, and you can’t keep who you are behind a wall and expect to belong to something beyond it

And that, of course, is the tricky part. Belonging is only manifested through unfeigned participation, requiring natural confidence in order to be willing and okay enough to participate as you are, in ways that expose you to the risk of being hurt.

You Observe Success From the Outside

That media-consuming, product-munching, always-on, gotta-compete society I mentioned? It’s driven by the desire to push and succeed.

It’s a perfectly understandable desire that’s been woven through human history. We push at the edges of our knowledge, seek out problems to solve, innovate solutions, push some more, connect ideas and make gigantic strides forwards.

It’s arguably the defining trait of humanity (you don’t see buffalo or squid doing it, right?) and the results of this are all around us—medicine, flight, skyscrapers, education, smartphones, cronuts. Okay, maybe not that last one.

This works on a personal level too. You want to get a great result, you want it soon, you want to win, you want to “make it”. And there’s the rub.

You observe the success that someone else appears to achieve and
perceive a gap between you and them, a gap that’s interpreted as
a disparity of status, achievement and even ability.
A gap that makes them better than and you less than

Processing “success” is something that’s hardwired into us, with a 2002 study into primates showing that monkeys who were higher in the pecking order had lower baseline cortisol levels (the stress hormone), living longer and being healthier.

While (hopefully) not as hairy, we’re not so different. Your brain is wired to figure out where you sit in the professional and social pecking order against others, with your brain using similar neuronal circuits as it does when processing numbers to calculate a “score”, but also to seek to elevate or reinforce your position in that pecking order. Yep, we’re hardwired to be assholes sometimes.

Of course, any perception of success is purely subjective. What we don’t see is the journey to a “success event”, how long that took, the effort expended, the sacrifices or compromises made, or the degree of personal meaning, resonance or difference derived from the event.

We’ve conflated success and self-worth to the point where you routinely question whether you’re as good as everyone else appears to be, but true success can only ever be about how meaningfully engaged you are in your life and the difference you make as a result of that engagement.

Natural confidence provides the foundation and tools to pierce through the fog of perceived success, and removes the perception of better than / less than by making you enough, right now, no questions.

You Don’t Want to Let People Down

God knows I have high standards. A pretty damn good reputation too. And I hate letting people down. I’m guessing you can relate.

In your professional life in particular, your reputation counts for a lot. Screw stuff up, piss someone off or don’t deliver what you said you would, and you never know when that’s going to pop up and bite you.

That’s a lot of pressure; pressure that’s exacerbated at those times in life when all eyes are on you. Perhaps in a new job, maybe with new responsibility, or perhaps even in a new relationship—when the attention’s focused on you, along comes the additional pressure of expectation.

Your expectations of what you think you can do or deliver.
Your expectations of what your next move is.
Your expectations of what other people expect you can do or deliver.
Your expectations of what other people expect your next move is.

These first-party and third-party expectations fly around in front of your face, but instead of swatting them away like fruit flies you breath them in and make them your own.

Assumed and often conflicting expectations create stories in your head, stories that inevitably make you wonder what happens when others’ high expectations aren’t met.They’ll think less of you. They’ll see you fail. They’ll see that you’re not good enough.

You’ll be exposed as not being good enough.

Creating expectations around what others expect of you is an exercise
that only results in self-doubt, and can even make you
behave in ways that create the appearance of being good enough
to live up to expectations, when the way you feel is, in fact, the opposite

So, if putting your focus on not wanting to fall short of first and third-party expectations creates feelings of not being good enough, what about putting your focus on having things be easier?

Surely an easier way through is to focus on your best, and to trust that your best is enough.

Once again, this requires that you cast-off the things that make you feel protected (yes, as damaging as they can be, expectations make you feel protected) and engage with things as you really are.

Story-telling, pretending and protecting are all understandable habits, particularly in a world like ours. They even feel good for a while. But soon enough, the walls they create and the feigned participation they lead to will have you feeling as though you’ll never be good enough.

So, the choice really is a simple one.

You ready to make it?