INCREASE YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE IN THE WORKPLACE

INCREASE YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE IN THE WORKPLACE

Have you lost confidence in your ability to do your job?

Perhaps your employer’s expectations are too high or maybe you are your own worst critic.

Maybe your work environment changed and you have a new team, new boss or a new role.

Or you may have been asked to “step-up” or take on more responsibility with fewer resources.

These, and other factors, can impact our self-confidence and often leave us feeling unprepared, unqualified or unable to do our jobs. Unfortunately, most of us feel like this at some point in our career.

While we can’t control every aspect of our work environment, we can work to increase our self-confidence for a more positive work experience. Incorporating the following five steps will help you face workplace challenges feeling prepared, qualified and capable.

Reduce negative thoughts or “self-talk”

You know that little voice that keeps saying, “Are you sure about that decision?” or “You can’t do that,” or “You’re not smart enough for this”? Surprise! We all have that voice in our heads. The important thing is what we choose to do with it. We run into trouble when we let that negative, self-depreciating voice start driving our decision making and choices. What can you do when negative thoughts emerge?

  • First, just notice. What is your little voice saying and what’s behind the message?
  • Second, make a choice about the self-talk you will allow to continue and explore your options.
  • Third, replace the negative thoughts with more positive ones. When the negative thoughts come back, notice for a bit, make a choice and then move forward with self-talk that best serves you.

No situation has meaning until you add your interpretation of the situation with your thoughts. By adding more positive thoughts, your interpretation of the situation becomes more optimistic and eventually, you will become more confident.

Enhance self-awareness

Know yourself and what you are capable of accomplishing. An easy and fun tool for discovering strengths is Tom Rath’s book Strengthsfinder 2.0. It includes a survey that identifies your top five strengths as well as strategies for growing those strengths. It can also be helpful to take a few minutes and think about what self-confidence means to you.

  • Finish these three sentences: “To me, self-confidence means…”“I feel confident when…”, and “I celebrate my self-confidence by…”.
  • Then create and write down your intention about confidence. For example, an intention about confidence might be: “I have all the skills and tools I need to thrive in whatever circumstances are thrown at me.” Use your intention statement as a filter for making choices about how you respond to stresses, problems, and difficult people in the workplace. Use it also to filter your choices about opportunity, abundance and inspiring colleagues! Self-confidence puts you in the driver’s seat to make decisions about how you will respond to situations or circumstances.

Remember that everyone’s self-confidence is tested and put under pressure at some point. It is possible to feel anxiety, stress, and fear AND make a choice about your thoughts and behavior that supports your intention about confidence.

Protect your energy 

Let go of fixing every problem and helping every person. What happens if you view your associates, clients/customers, employees as capable and resourceful people who can fix their own problems? You are able to direct your energy toward the areas in which you will have the greatest impact.

Set realistic goals and celebrate wins

Set measurable goals to monitor your progress. Write them down. Be specific, be realistic, identify a date for completion and include the benefit to you of completing the goal.

When you meet your goals (or meet milestones on the way), celebrate! Acknowledging progress and success is a great confidence booster. Keep a journal of your successes and look back at it when your confidence takes a hit. Remind yourself of all you are capable of and look back at your intentions and your goals to move forward.

Breathe

Breathing is a great tool to relax the body and to push the pause button.

Webster’s dictionary defines confidence as: 1) FAITH, TRUST; 2) a feeling or consciousness of one’s power or of reliance on one’s circumstances; 3) the quality or state of being certain. Often the most observable difference between someone with high confidence and someone with low confidence is how they respond to a situation.

Often all you need to get out of reaction mode and into choice mode is to pause: take a breath, check in with your intentions and make a choice about your next step confidently. You will find when you behave from a place of choice rather than a quick reaction, your self-confidence is higher.

 

I encourage you to see how positive thinking, increasing self-awareness, protecting your energy, achieving goals, celebrating wins and remembering to breathe can transform negatives into career opportunities. I am confident that incorporating these five steps will increase your self-confidence in current situations and throughout your career.

 

 

May Your Wisdom Guide You on Your Way to Success & Freedom

SANDRA BRAVO

#1 Best Selling Author ☆ Entrepreneur ☆ International Speaker ☆ Women Empowerment

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5 Ways to Speak More Powerfully

5 Ways to Speak More Powerfully

“It’s been impossible for me to get a job,” the woman tells me, having just been introduced by a mutual acquaintance at breakfast. “There’s just nothing out there. Absolutely nothing.”

Although I have no way to validate her situation, my strong sense is that it is not impossibleand that there is something out there. She just hasn’t found it. As I encourage her to stay proactive, I can’t help but think how easily her words could create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The words you speak hold power. Power to create new possibilities or to close them down, to build relationships or to damage them, to lift people up or to pull them down.

Too often we don’t realize just how impactful our words are—both on ourselves and others. If we did, we’d do far less complaining and far more encouraging. You would also hear a lot less of “It’s impossible to…,” “I’m totally hopeless at…” or “I had no choice…”—all phrases which undermine our power and limit our future.

Psychologists have found that our subconscious mind interprets what it hears very literally. The words that come out of our mouth create the reality we inhabit. Unfortunately, it’s often a negative reality because we unconsciously sabotage our success simply by using language that undermines our opinions, amplifies our problems and chips away at our confidence to handle them.

Whatever direction your words lead, your mind, body and environment will inevitably follow.

If you use positive language about yourself and your ability to learn new skills, achieve your goals and handle pressure, then that’s what tends to show up externally. Conversely, if you’re continually saying things that affirm incompetence, echo hopelessness, nurture anxiety or fuel pessimism, then that will also shape your reality. Over time your world will morph to mirror your words.

Therefore, it’s extremely important to be thoughtful about the words you use and deliberate about speaking in ways that empower and expand rather than devalue and deflate.

The truth is that most people grossly underestimate the power they possess to effect positive change. This is echoed in the words they use to describe themselves and their circumstances. By painting themselves as helpless victims of forces beyond their control, devoid of the power and influence to improve their lot, they render themselves just that. It’s a vicious cycle as they gather more and more evidence to confirm their powerlessness.

Tapping into your personal power starts with building self-awareness of where you are, using what psychologists call “out of power” language. To that end, below are five ways you can change how you speak in order to build your confidence, grow your influence and improve your ability to get more of what you want and change what you don’t.

1. Speak possibilities into life.

Orville and Wilbur Wright didn’t get an aircraft off the ground by focusing on what they couldn’t do, but by continually extending the boundaries of what they could. It’s the same for you. Focus on the things you want and you’ll spot opportunities you might have otherwise missed. Focus on the negative aspects of your situation, what you can’t or don’t want to do, and it will only amplify pessimism, triggering more negative emotions and channeling time and energy that might otherwise have been used more constructively.

For example :  If you want more

  • time, talk about the important things you will schedule into your day, week and year (not about how crazy busy you are).
  • success, talk about your aspirations and what you can do to make them a reality (not about how big your problems are).
  • power and influence, talk about what you’ll do with the influence you already have (not about how no one takes you seriously).

2. Don’t “try” to do something.

If President Kennedy had said, “Let’s try to get a man on the moon,” we’d probably still be trying. There is real power in making a committed declaration about what you want to change, achieve or become. Saying “I’ll try” resonates with hesitation and ambivalence. Saying “I will” declares to yourself and anyone listening that you’re serious about changing the game and what you most want is already a done deal. It’s just waiting to be completed.

Committing with a confident can-do spirit shifts the energy you bring to a challenge and rallies people around you in ways that trying, wishing and “hoping for the best” never will. Try it!

3. Never say never.

Up until Roger Bannister ran a mile in under 4 minutes in 1954, it was collectively believed to be a physical impossibility. So few people bothered to try. But within six weeks of Bannister doing the “impossible,” John Landy broke the record by nearly a second.

Most of us have no idea about what is actually possible. Likewise, when we use absolute terms as descriptors, we fall into what’s known as a “linguistic trap”—confining ourselves to the walls our words create. Hence, words like always, never and impossible can be very self-limiting and should be used cautiously.

4. Never apologize for having an opinion.

Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin coined the term “double voice discourse” to explain the phenomena where people prefaced their statements to minimize the chance of a negative reaction. For instance, “I know I might have this all wrong, but…” or “I apologize if anyone disagrees, but I was thinking, maybe,… ”

It’s little surprise (to this woman at least) that women, who excel at forming relationships but are loathe to disrupt them, are four times more likely to do this than men. But regardless of your gender, devaluing your opinion serves no one and deprives everyone of the value your perspective brings.

5. Beware of labels. They limit.

When used on pantry containers, labels can be very helpful. But they can also hem you in because you subconsciously comply with them. For example, just because you are sometimes lazy doesn’t mean you can’t choose not to be lazy. Just because you failed at something, doesn’t mean you’re a failure. And just because you’ve had a lousy fashion sense doesn’t mean you can’t improve it.

Although changing habitual ways of speaking isn’t done overnight, neuroscientists have found that with repeated practice, you can rewire your brain. That is, your innate neural plasticity enables you to replace negative patterns of thought and behavior with positive ones. How you speak included. Of course, when you slip back into default habits, as you inevitably will, don’t beat yourself up or label yourself as a lost cause. Rather, accept your fallibility and refocus on the positive changes you want to make.

You can kick-start your efforts by asking your favorite three people to call you out each time they hear you use “out of power” language. It could be the most powerful thing you do all year!

 

 

May Your Wisdom Guide You on Your Way to Success & Freedom

SANDRA BRAVO

#1 Best Selling Author ☆ Entrepreneur ☆ International Speaker ☆ Women Empowerment

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Use The 4 Levels Of Customer Satisfaction To Build Customer Loyalty

Use The 4 Levels Of Customer Satisfaction To Build Customer Loyalty

The ability to satisfy your customers to gain customer loyalty is the critical determinant of your success in driving sales and growing your business.

There are four levels of customer satisfaction, all based on the degree to which you meet customer expectations. The higher the level you achieve, the more you will build customer loyalty and the greater your success.

Level One: Meet Customer Expectations

The minimum requirement to simply stay in business—to survive—is to meet the expectations of your customers.

At this level, your customers have no complaints. They are satisfied for the moment, but at this point, customer loyalty doesn’t exist.

If a competitor demonstrates that it can and will do more than merely meet their expectations, your customer will very quickly become an ex-customer.

Moreover, if you fail to meet their expectations, they will leave and give their customer loyalty to someone who can.

It can be helpful to observe your local merchants, the true entrepreneurs.

Level Two: Exceed Customer Expectations

This higher level of customer satisfaction is reached by surprising your customers. You must go beyond what they expect.

Fast, friendly, and good customer service, followed up by a phone call to ensure customer satisfaction, might put you into this category.

The second level of customer satisfaction moves you beyond mere survival. Exceeding expectations builds a measure of customer loyalty and gives you an edge over your competitors.

It can also increase your profitability.

Customers who experience the kind of service that exceeds their expectations are often willing to pay for it. This enables the supplier to raise prices and thus improve profit margins.

Level Three: Delight Your Customer

Have you ever experienced a level of good customer service that not only exceeded your expectations but actually brought a smile to your face?

A customer served at this level is truly delighted. Not only have the customer’s basic needs been met or exceeded, but they have been touched emotionally.

Once customers have enjoyed this experience, you will gain customer loyalty. It will be very difficult for a competitor to pry them away.

When you delight your customers, you are on the way to creating an exceptional and highly profitable business.

There are countless cost-effective ways to delight your customers and build your customer loyalty. It can be as simple as a follow-up phone call.

To delight your customer is to show that you care about them. No wonder it brings a smile to their face!

The greater your success in delighting your customers and providing good customer service, the greater success you will enjoy in your business.

Level Four: Amaze Your Customer

This fourth level of customer satisfaction is what will propel your business above and beyond.

It requires you to not only to meet and exceed your customer’s expectations but delight and amaze them.

When you are able to amaze your customers regularly, you will be in a position to dominate the marketplace.

You will achieve remarkable rates of revenue growth and profitability.

Examine Your Own Business

Examine your own business. How might you amaze your customers? What things could you improve?

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​May Your Wisdom Guide You on Your Way to Success & Freedom

SANDRA BRAVO

#1 Best Selling Author ☆ Entrepreneur ☆ International Speaker ☆ Women Empowerment

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Kids teach us great lessons

Kids teach us great lessons

Kids teach us great lessons

A little girl visited a farm one day and wanted to buy a large watermelon.

The farmer said, “That will be $3.”

“But I’ve only got 30 cents,” said the young girl.

The farmer pointed to a very small watermelon in the field and said, “How about that one?”

“Okay, I’ll take it,” said the little girl.  “But leave it on the vine.  I’ll be back for it in a month.”

Now there’s a young girl who is destined to succeed.

Children teach us many lessons.  For example, kids are more creative and are more imaginative.  Children don’t know what is and isn’t possible.  To them everything is doable.  They don’t have the mental blocks that many adults have and haven’t been curtailed by rules and regulations.

Similarly, kids also dream more and dream bigger.  If they can dream it, children believe they can do it.  They are more ambitious and enthusiastic.  

When I speak to business audiences, one of my messages is to believe in yourself, even when no one else does.  No one does this better than children.  They believe they can do anything and everything.  

Children are fearless.  They don’t fear rejection or what people think of them.  They don’t think about the future.  They are carefree.  Tomorrow is simply another day.

Children start every day anew.  They are not afraid to try new things.  They don’t worry and, possibly most importantly, are happy.  And they strive to do what makes them happy.  Shouldn’t we do the same as adults?  You can be as happy as you decide to be.  It also helps that kids laugh a lot.

Children forgive and forget.  If they get upset they are typically on to something else soon and they forget what was troubling them.  They don’t hold grudges.  It is far better to forgive and forget than to resent and remember.

Children make friends easily.  They understand that the best vitamin for developing friends is B1.

Long gone are the days of “children should be seen and not heard.”  Children of today are not just tech savvy; they are creating apps that will pay their college tuition.  

That’s pretty amazing for a whole sector of society with no control over most areas of their lives.  Someone else is telling them when to eat, sleep and go to school.  They can’t choose their living arrangements, make their own vacation plans, or set their own rules.  They are essentially powerless.  And yet, they manage to survive and thrive.  What are we adults doing wrong?

Perhaps we have set aside the childlike qualities that keep us excited about getting up every morning.  Remedy that problem pronto.  If enthusiasm and creativity are lacking, it might be time to reread some Dr. Seuss. 

Children are incredibly perceptive.  They can spot a phony with dizzying speed, and while tact isn’t always among their strongest attributes, their blunt honesty is hard to argue with.  

Let me tell you the story about the father of a very wealthy family who took his son on a trip to the country with the purpose of showing his son how poor people live.  They stayed with a very poor family.  When they returned, the father asked the son what he thought of their trip.

“It was great, Dad.”

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yeah,” said the son.  

“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered:  “I saw that we have one dog and they had four.  We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.  We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.  Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.  We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.  We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.  We buy our food, but they grow theirs.  We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them.”  

The boy’s father was speechless.  

Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”

Isn’t perspective a wonderful thing?  Through the eyes of a child, the father learned wisdom beyond the ages.  

 

 

​May Your Wisdom Guide You on Your Way to Success & Freedom

SANDRA BRAVO

#1 Best Selling Author ☆ Entrepreneur ☆ International Speaker ☆ Women Empowerment

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Appreciation increases your Value

Appreciation increases your Value

A man attending a seminar on interpersonal relationships became convinced of the need for him to begin showing appreciation to people.  His family seemed like an appropriate place to start.  So on his way home, he picked up a dozen long-stem roses and a box of chocolates.  This was going to be a real surprise, and he was excited to begin showing his wife how much he appreciated her.

Arriving home, he walked up to the front door with his hands full, rang the doorbell and waited for his wife to answer.  Immediately upon seeing him, she began to cry.

“What’s the matter honey?” asked the confused husband. 

“Oh, it’s been a terrible day,” she responded.  “First, Tommy tried to flush a stuffed animal down the toilet, then the dishwasher quit working, Sally came home from school sick, and now … now you come home drunk.” Oops.

Maybe this husband had bad timing or he should have shown more appreciation in the past.  Or maybe he was suffering from the taking-things-for-granted syndrome.  Many of us are comfortable with our lives and we often fail to appreciate our loved ones, friends, people we work with, our health, and on and on.

Whether spoken by you or to you, two words are among the most meaningful in our language.  We teach them to tots learning to talk, to get them in the habit of showing gratitude.  We write them when we receive a gift or a special favor.  We say them when we remember to, which is often not enough.  

“There are two words that, when spoken, have the most unfathomable power to completely change your life,” wrote Rhonda Byrne, author of “The Secret.”  “Two words which, when they pass your lips, will be the cause of bringing absolute joy and happiness to you.  Two words that will create miracles in your life.  Two words that will wipe out negativity.  Two words that will bring you abundance in all things.  Two words which, when uttered and sincerely felt, will summon all the forces and vibrations in the Universe to move all things for you.  The only thing standing between you, happiness, and the life of your dreams is two words … THANK YOU!”  

William James, psychologist and philosopher, said, “The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated.”

Studies by other psychologists reflect this as well.  Psychologists Michael E. McCullough and Robert A. Emmons performed several studies in which participants were asked to practice exercises of “counting their blessings” either on a weekly basis for 10 weeks or on a daily basis for a couple weeks.  Participants were asked to record their moods, coping behaviors, health behaviors, physical symptoms and overall life appraisals.  Their research is one reason many people believe appreciation is the most essential and powerful constituent of well-being.

The cost of praising someone is nil – but a recent study has found that the payoff can be huge.  Employees want to be seen as competent, hardworking members of the team.  Good managers want satisfied, motivated, and productive staff members.  What better motivation than thanking employees for their contributions to the company’s success? 

Showing appreciation also generates respect and builds relationships.  The keys are to be sincere and specific.  Whether it’s in person or in writing, it’s always good to praise others in public, which raises morale.  Just keep it genuine – going overboard can have the reverse effect.

Fortunately there are many simple ways to show appreciation to people at work:

Take note of a talent or skill they have and compliment them.Ask co-workers about their lives outside of work.  Show a genuine interest.  Everything doesn’t have to be about business.Give recognition for a job well done.Offer to help if you know a co-worker is in a bind.Buy lunch.  Tell their boss what a good job they did on a project.

Little things mean a lot … not true.  Little things mean everything.

Just remember:  You get what you give.  When you give appreciation and acknowledgement, you are showing that you value the people around you. You might be just one person, but hearing a simple “thank you” may be all it takes to turn someone’s day around.  I guarantee that you will get something in return – the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a difference for someone.  And that’s all the thanks you need. 

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​May Your Wisdom Guide You on Your Way to Success & Freedom

SANDRA BRAVO

#1 Best Selling Author ☆ Entrepreneur ☆ International Speaker ☆ Women Empowerment

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sandra bravo amasssing leadership

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