I liked your article about overcoming shyness, but I need help with this at work. I know I am insecure and lack self-confidence at work. I think it is the only place this really shows up. I’m pretty confident at home and with friends, but at work I totally hold back. I play it safe and don’t comment or share my ideas enough. I don’t speak up when things bother me either or when I have a suggestion. At my last performance review my boss mentioned this and said they take my being quiet as being someone with nothing to give or add. How can I speak up with more confidence and not make a fool of myself?
People who are confident at work, speak up and take initiative, always get more opportunities, more raises, more promotions and generally go farther in their careers than people who don't. More doors open for people who are assertive, confident and willing to take risks.
Speaking up shows people that you trust yourself and it makes them trust you too. If you stay quiet in the background, it will eventually make people think you have nothing to give. People could also make incorrect assumptions from your silence about who you are and what you think. You must speak up in order to define yourself and show the boss you are invested.
You may be afraid to speak up at work for one of these three reasons:
1. You suffer from a fear of failure. This means you have fear around being embarrassed or looking bad. You are overly afraid of making mistakes and worried about what people think of you. I believe everyone on the planet battles this fear to some degree on a daily basis, the only question is only how bad you have it.
2. You have a fear of success. This means you play small and shoot low because it feels safer than trying harder. You may be afraid of the responsibilities and commitments that would come with shooting higher. You just want to stay in your comfort zone instead of taking on additional challenges. The problem is, people can subconsciously feel this fear and they tend to honor it by passing you by. If you cannot see yourself handling more responsibility, it won’t be given to you.
3. You have a fear of loss. This means you are afraid of being mistreated or taken from at work. You may have trust issues and see other people as a threat. This could encourage you to hold back and protect yourself, hold onto your ideas and keep them from others. You may be afraid of being walked on or losing control.
You must learn to break through these fears if you are going to reach your full potential at work. I’m going to give you some tips on how to do this, but if this is a big issue for you, I highly recommend getting an executive or life coach. There is also a Fear Assessment on my website I use with business people to help them understand how fear affects their subconscious behavior. You may want to try it.
Here are some tips for being more confident and speaking up at work:
1. Recognize the benefits you are getting from staying in your comfort zone. What do you get to avoid? Who does it punish? What are you afraid of losing if you took on more? Free time? Your excuses? List on paper the benefits you could be getting from your current "chicken" behavior. Then, list the benefits you might gain by changing yourself. What do you really want?
2. Remember that life is a classroom, not a test, which means your value as a person is not on the line.Your value is not changeable and is not determined by your performance at work. This means you have nothing to fear, though you always have much to learn. Work on seeing each situation as a lesson, which is serving your growth, but not attached to your value. Your value is absolute and never changes. This will make you bulletproof and braver at work.
3. Tackle challenges in small doses, one step at a time. Raise the bar slowly. You can handle the next small step out of your comfort zone now. Gear up for that. Take one small step today and then do another tomorrow.
4. Choose to focus on serving others. The law of energy says you can feel only one emotion at a time. If you choose to focus on love and serving others, it is impossible to feel fear. How can you make your work about giving to others and not about you?
5. Gain knowledge. Knowledge often eliminates fear. What skills would make you feel more confident at work? Sign up for a class to improve those skills. Marie Curie said, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that (you) may fear less.” Join Toast Masters to help you with speaking or take a class on better project management.
6. Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. What are you good at? How can you use those abilities to the fullest? Can you use them more?
7. Accept failure as a part of success. Barbara Sher, the author of "Wishcraft," said, “If you try and fail, you won’t feel as bad as you think. You’ll gain experience, education, contacts and self-confidence.” Anyone who has accomplished great things has been through failures. I tell my clients to fail faster instead of playing it safe. Each failure moves you closer to success.
8. Focus on the present. Fear is always about the future. Stay in the present and focus on what you can do today. Who do you want to be in this moment? If you focus on your whole project or your whole career you will get overwhelmed. Just focus on being your best today.
9. Visualize yourself comfortably handling more responsibility. If you can’t see it, you can’t achieve it. Visualize yourself carrying responsibilities with ease and confidence. I can't stress enough the power of visualization.
10. Before you make a comment, check yourself by asking “Why am I bringing this up?"
12. Always ask questions and listen to others first. This will give you more information that is always helpful before you speak, and it will help you know how to say it the right way. It also shows that you are open to their ideas, and it makes them feel respected, and that will make them more open to listening to you.
13. Ask permission to share your thoughts. Would you be open to letting me share a few ideas on this? Asking permission shows people you honor and respect them and it also makes sure you have their attention.
14. Speak up in a respectful and effective way. Explain your motivation for bringing this up. Use "I" statements to explain your position, avoid using "you" statements, which can feel like an attack and are presumptuous. Also, don’t ramble. Keep it short and concise. This shows that you honor everyone's time.
15. Show that you are open to a discussion on the topic and even being wrong. Be open and willing to bend, hear opposing ideas and learn. You don't think you know everything nor have to be right. If this person disagrees with you, you could go back to step 12 and follow the last steps again. You can do this over and over until you both feel understood and a good solution is found.
If you practice all these, I promise your confidence to speak up at work will increase.
You can do this.
This article was first published on KSL.COM
Help! I read your article about Not Being a Drama Queen and I have a small business full of women that are driving me crazy with drama and fighting. They are constantly against each other and offending each other. I tried to talk with them but it is getting so out of control. Please help me get them back on track and focused on work. Thank you. I am one stressed-out boss.
As the boss, you need to think about creating a more positive corporate culture at work. Corporate culture is not just for big companies by the way, it exists in every company (of every size) whether you officially have one or not. If you don’t define a corporate culture, you will inadvertently create one that is based on you and your employees’ subconscious tendencies, attitudes and reactions. It sounds like the culture you have now is a negative, critical and angry one.
I recommend that you take some time and define your core values and principles on paper. Decide what kind of positive atmosphere you want to create at work. How do you want people to be treated? How do you want conflicts handled? What kind of behavior do you expect from your employees toward each other?
I believe that if you hire people, buy from people, sell to people or serve people (or deal with any other human beings at any level at all) in your business, you need a defined corporate culture that includes policies about people and how they are to be treated, both customers and co-workers.
The way employees treat each other is an often overlooked aspect of business. Most of our policies tend to focus on the delivery of the goods and services. They are more about processes than relationships and behavior. If you will expand your policies to include attitude, communication and interaction with each other, it will create better working environment and more productivity. Studies have shown that the average employee wastes around 2.5 hours a week dealing with office drama and people problems. If you taught your people better relationships skills and made policies about the human behavior part of your company culture, you could increase productivity and make work better for everyone.
We find companies that encourage (and even provide) opportunities for personal growth and development, improving relationship skills or executive coaching, just do better on every level. They are more successful, make more money and retain employees much longer. Investing in coaching, training, seminars or workshops for your people has a huge return on investment.
In the meantime, work on defining your core values and policies around human behavior. Then, put them up where everyone will see them, talk about them often, and live them by example. You may also need to start hiring people that believe in these values and are committed to living them. Make sure following the company’s core values and codes of human behavior are part of each person’s job description and that dishonoring the core values may lead to losing their job.
Here are some questions and suggestions to get you started creating a better corporate culture in your small business:
1. What are the principles and core values that are important to you at work? Here are some ideas: do you value honesty, compassion, work ethic, personal responsibility, respect, creativity, optimism, service, integrity or tolerance? Make a list of all the core values that are important to you.
2. Take an honest inventory of your own behavior and attitudes. Are you living the core values yourself? How can you lead by example and walk the walk, not just talk the talk? Make some specific commitments to improve your own behavior.
3. How do you believe people should be treated at work? What policies could you create to encourage that kind of treatment? Many of the companies I work with use policies like the following:
5. Do you have a policy about honoring commitments and doing what you say you’re going to do? What should this policy include so everyone is accountable for their own performance. What is your procedure for handling poor performance? Make sure you have one.
6. Do you listen to others? Will you take the time to hear their opinions and show them they are valued? Is this important to you? We think this is one of the most important things you can do as the boss. If you are willing to listen to your people they will feel valued and respected, and they will work harder.
7. Are you on time and do you respect others? Is being on time or treating people right a company value? You could institute a program where employees can submit names of other employees who are doing a great job or treating them right for a reward. Encourage good behavior by rewarding and recognizing it.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. I encourage you to start defining policies, procedures, and core values for your small company right away and start instituting them by living them yourself. If you struggle trying to figure out what your policies should be or are struggling to live them yourself, you may want to hire an executive coach or consultant to help you. You may also consider bringing in some outside people skills training for your employees, sometimes people respond better to outside expert.
Start there and let me know how it goes.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and an executive coach and corporate trainer.
This article was first published on ksl.com
Over and over everywhere I work, I end up being unappreciated, taken for granted and mistreated. It’s getting ridiculous that no one appreciates what I do and they seem to find fault in me even though I’m going beyond and above the call of duty. Things always start out good, but soon I can feel that they don’t like me and for some unexplained reason are holding me back, not giving me what others are getting or not supporting me. The more upset I get at this treatment the worse things go. I’m not sure if you can give me advice on this but I thought I’d ask.
Whenever an experience shows up in your life repeatedly, you must start asking two questions.
1) What is this experience here to teach me?
2) How am I creating this and responsible for it?
It is much easier to continue to blame the problem on everyone else, but if you do, you will never get off this merry-go-round and the lesson will keep repeating.
Life is a classroom, and you are here to learn. If the lesson keeps coming back, it is because you haven’t got it yet. I believe you are here in the classroom of life to learn one main lesson (and a whole lot of smaller ones). The main lesson is to get control over yourself so you have the power to become the best you and choose love over fear in every situation. Every lesson is, at its core, about learning to love God, life, yourself and other people. This experience is no exception.
From reading your whole letter, it looks like you are afraid of failure and loss. You are afraid of not being appreciated everywhere you work, because you are probably subconsciously afraid you aren’t good enough (the fear of failure). You are afraid of being mistreated because you are subconsciously afraid that you will not get the life you want and that life is unfair (the fear of loss).
Both of these fears create bad energy that other people can feel from you. All they feel is neediness, selfishness, anger and entitlement coming from you. I’m not saying you are any of these things — but this is what other people feel when you are in fear of failure or loss. Does that make sense?
The bottom line is your fear is making you look bad.
This is what fear does, especially in the workplace. Think of it this way, fear is the opposite of confidence, peace, energy, security, giving and serving. People who show up at work with love energy (something they can only have if they aren’t afraid) are seen as having those qualities. People are naturally drawn to these people and they are appreciated and treated well.
People who are scared they aren’t going to be liked or treated right show up with scarcity, selfish, insecure, needy energy that pushes people away from them.
This is just universal law. The more unappreciated energy you bring into your situation, the more unappreciated you will be. You will get what you are creating.
You are responsible for these result because you are choosing the experience subconsciously. This may take some thinking to get your head around it — but it is very important that you own the responsibility for creating your current situation. It is the only way you will have the power to create something different.
If you don’t own the problem, you can’t fix it. If you give ownership to others by blaming them and casting them as the bad guy, expecting them to change and give you what you want, you are giving away your power.
Everyone reading this article should take a minute and think about destructive patterns showing up in your life over and over. Have you had health problems your whole life, relationship problems, people problems? Can you see a pattern of feeling a certain way in all of the experiences? Can you sum it up in one sentence? I always feel _____________? Can you see a fear behind it? Is it tied to failure, or not feeling good enough or loved? Or is it more about being mistreated or taken from? Are you tired of it?
The good news is you are in the driver's seat of your life.
If you want to create different results, you are going to have to choose to see yourself and your life differently. You are going to need to choose a trust and love attitude towards your value and your journey — and I promise you can turn this whole thing around.
(I’m going to give you some instructions on how, but you may the need the support of a professional to hold you accountable and help you make these changes to your subconscious programming.)
You must choose to trust that you are good enough all the time. Life is a classroom, not a test, and therefore every mistake is a lesson that does not affect your value. Your value as a person is infinite and absolute because you are a one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable human soul who is here to learn. This means you do not need appreciation from anyone to validate your worth. Your sense of worth must come from within so you aren’t needy.
As you practice internalizing this real truth about your value, you will become more peaceful, secure, happy and loving. You will then be able to show up for others with no strings attached and give gifts of service to others (even at work) without needing appreciation in return. The people you work with will feel this. They will know that you need nothing and they will start to appreciate you. I know it sounds counter-intutive that in order to get appreciated you must stop needing appreciation — but that is how it works.
You must also choose to trust that your life is providing the perfect classroom journey for you. So if you are mistreated, it is just a lesson. It is not about your value. It is about giving you a chance to experience the situation and learn something about love from it. This situation may be about learning to forgive others for not being perfect, because in doing so you will also learn to love yourself more fully. It might be about learning how to choose a happy state even when things go wrong, or to trust God more fully, or to let go of your expectations and trust the universe that it knows what it’s doing.
When you let go of needing this situation to meet your expectations, trust the process of life, and choose to be happy where you are, you will show up strong, confident, capable and solid. People will respect this and they will treat you better.
You must stop the neediness for better treatment in order to feel happy and be treated better. (There are some situations, though, where your perfect lesson might be about getting strong enough to leave, but you must even do this in trust and love without any anger or victim energy, fully grounded in love and forgiveness, if you want to stop the cycle.)
This is going to be a battle to change your subconscious programming and stop the destructive cycle, but the answer is simple, it just takes work, awareness and practice to master. The best time to start working on it is today.
(It is hard to get this kind of complex principle from one article. You may want to read my book "Choosing Clarity" to learn more about it.)
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a coach and speaker.
This article was first published on ksl.com
Things at work have been extra stressful lately. With changes in management, policies and procedures I find myself missing important deadlines. This leaves me feeling unnecessarily rushed, stressed and incompetent. Any suggestions for helping me get my act together at work?
In order to properly address your question I would ask if this is an external (work) or internal (you) problem or a mixture of both?
Ask yourself if you are missing deadlines because you are worried you will not measure up to new responsibilities. Are you afraid of looking bad to the new boss? Are you falling behind because you do not like the new management or its rules? Is there any part of you that is resisting the changes you are now required to make? These questions can help you realize if this is an external or internal problem.
As children we were required, encouraged and/or forced to do many things. Now as adults many of us feel resentment when asked to do things we do not want to do. That includes things we know are good for us. We feel rebellious and subconsciously resist being pushed. This could cause some subconscious sabotage at work.
In every dimension of life there needs to be accountability. This means learning to hold yourself accountable, be responsible and to do what is asked of you, whether you want to or not. This also applies to tasks you are trying to force yourself to do that don't involve other people. Achieving personal goals takes time, commitment and dedicated effort. Like an out-of-shape muscle our personal-responsibility muscle needs to be consistently worked on, to keep it strong and in shape.
If missing deadlines is something you have always struggled with consider what Linda Galindo writes about in her book "The 85% Solution."
“You can keep doing what hasn't worked for you in the past if you want to, but it's not going to work for you in the future, either," the book reads. "A lack of personal accountability is at the heart of chronic stress. It saps us of productivity. It wastes our time. It makes us less satisfied with our jobs, our relationships and ourselves.”
On her blog Galindo states. “If you don’t like structure, you probably need it. What will seem counterintuitive at first is the amount of structure required to realize lower stress, greater productivity and the satisfaction of completing each day completely in time.”
Galindo recommends that you schedule each step to increase your productivity.
“When you agree to do something, put on your calendar the time it will require, not only the deadline. If you are going to write a report, for example, block time for research, writing and revision. When you schedule a meeting set aside time to prepare for the meeting and for follow-up activities such as preparing and distributing the minutes.”
Maybe you have generally been able to meet your deadlines in the past and you are now experiencing growing pains in a restructuring environment. Realize these challenges may be temporary but still require you to put in extra time until you are in a workable rhythm with the increased demands.
If you have determined the problem is external and cannot be fixed by becoming more organized or spending more time at the office you may need to get creative to find solutions.
Are there others in the company who would be willing and available assist you with some of your assignments?
Is there anything you have been asked to do that isn’t time sensitive that you can table until the prioritized projects are completed?
Do you need to request extra help be hired?
If the problem is a combination of external and internal factors the most important thing you can do is to be very clear about what you can and can’t reasonably do within the timeframe provided. Often fear of not wanting to be the employee who can’t get it done may tempt you to take on too much. This will cause extra stress and in such an environment you will make more mistakes.
The next important step is to make sure that you follow through 100 percent on any commitments you have made. If snags come up and challenge the deadline or pending results on the projects you have agreed to, speak up as soon as possible. When you do fall short on not getting the job done and done well — own up to it 100 percent.
You brought up feeling incompetent. The way to ensure you can trust yourself and feel confident in what you do, is to accept your wins and your losses are not you and don't affect your value. You must separate your intrinsic value from your performance and work. When you do make mistakes, make no excuses. People will respect you more, and you will respect yourself more when you take your licks, learn from them, and recommit to doing whatever it takes to not let the same mistake happen again.
Our losses teach us much more than our wins ever could. The only man who hasn’t fallen is the one who never got up and tried. Being a person of integrity is being someone who takes full accountability when they mess up.
Pay attention to any thoughts you have along the way that tell you lies such as: you aren’t smart enough, educated enough, experienced enough, etc. Challenge these thoughts and work to see the situation and yourself in the situation accurately. Make the decision to see your life as a classroom with lessons to practice each day you give yourself (and others) permission and space to be a work in progress.
Everyone feels in over his or her head at times, but if you are taking steps to ensure you have what you need to accomplish every task in a workable timeframe and then go about doing everything in your power to make it happen your confidence in your abilities will grow and you will find a new level of success.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. Shauna Jensen, who co-wrote this article, is also a popular local Claritypoint Coach.
This article was first published on KSL.com
I am struggling at work and I don’t know why or how to fix myself. I’m doing enough to get by, but I hold back and drop the ball on occasion. I procrastinate until the last minute and then do a rush job instead of my best work. I know I am the problem, but how do I change this and get more motivated at work?
This is not a motivation problem, it’s a fear problem.
Jon Acuff, author of the book, "Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters," was asked in an interview with Forbes Magazine what prevents most people from reaching their full potential at work. His answer, “The most common trap is fear. Fear never bothers you if you’re average, but the second you dare to be more than ordinary, fear awakens.”
You are either battling a fear of failure or a fear of success at work. In my experience these two fears are always the culprit when you feel like you have one foot on the gas and the other on the break.
The fear of failure is the most common, and it is a fear of looking bad, being embarrassed or being found out as not good enough. It is tied to your fear of what others think of you and will make you procrastinate doing things you are afraid you won't do perfectly. It also prevents you from trying new things, taking risks or putting your full effort into projects.
A fear of success (though it sounds counterintuitive) is a fear of achieving more or shooting higher because you lack confidence in your abilities long-term. You are afraid of the responsibilities and commitments that will come with stepping it up and raising the bar. You may be afraid you can't handle the pressures of a higher position, so it feel safer to be average.
Forbes also asked Acuff why most people decide to travel down the average path.
“The truth is that they don’t decide," he said. "The only thing you have to do on the average path is not die. You graduate from high school or college and effectively shift into neutral. Sure, you’re not moving that fast but you’re getting great gas mileage and you are making some progress, if you want to call it that. But you’re coasting. Eventually, you’ll roll your way right into the grave.”
Don’t settle for average at work. There is no reason to let your subconscious fears drive your career. You have the power to change your thinking and do better. You just have to believe it’s possible and do the work to overcome your fears, which isn’t that hard if you know how.
You may want to find a coach or counselor to help you. You may also want to visit my website and take the free Fear Assessment, it will show you on paper which of these two fears is an issue for you.
Here are 14 things successful people do to get past fear and reach their potential:
1. Recognize the benefits you are getting from shooting low. What do you get from keeping the bar low? What are you afraid of losing if you succeed? Free time? Your excuse to be lazy? Would trying harder mean finding out you aren’t good enough? Does it feel safer to play small? Own the reasons your subconscious mind thinks drifting is the best path. Decide you don’t want these benefits as much as you want success.
2. Focus on your assets and what you are good at, not your deficits and weaknesses. We all have both, but successful people focus more on what they have going for them, than what they don’t. Watch out for a tendency to shoot down your own ideas with excuses and negatives. If you catch yourself doing this, stop. Think of a positive possibility for every negative you come up with.
3. Know what your gifts are and focus on those. Don’t waste time trying to be good at everything. What are you best at? Focus all your time and energy there. Delegate or pass off the tasks that you are bad, OK, or even adequate at. Focus on your unique genius as much as you can.
4. Take risks in small doses — one step at a time. Raise the bar and slowly step out of your comfort zone. You can handle the next step. You’re ready for that. Take one small step outside your comfort zone today and do the same tomorrow. All successful people are risk-takers and they can do this because they aren't afraid of some failure.
5. Don’t take failure personally. Jonathon Brown from the University of Washington found that people lacking self-esteem take failure personally. They think failure means they aren’t smart, competent or good enough. Successful people understand that failure is about the issue or the technique. It isn’t about them. You can’t be a failure. Failure is an event, not a person. Many of us attach our self-worth to mistakes. This makes no sense. You are not the idea, the performance, the property or the experience. You are the amazing being who will learn and grow from the experience. Failures do not define you.
6. Accept failure as a part of success. Barbara Sher, the author of "Wishcraft," said “If you try and fail, you won’t feel as bad as you think. You’ll gain experience, education, contacts and self-confidence.” All successful people have a history of failures, but they understand failures are the path to experience. Failures makes you stronger and smarter. People who have tried and failed know more than people who never tried.
7. Gain knowledge — knowledge eliminates fear. What skills would make you feel more confident? Sign up for a class to improve those skills. Marie Curie said “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that (you) may fear less.”
8. Choose to focus on love. The law of the universe says you can feel only one emotion at a time. If you choose to focus on love and serving others, it is impossible to feel fear. How can you make your work about giving to others and not about you?
9. Visualize yourself comfortably handling more responsibility. If you can’t see it, you can’t achieve it. Visualize yourself carrying responsibilities with ease and confidence. This really helps.
10. Don’t blame others. Take full responsibility for what you do and don’t do. This will show you that you’re in control and have the power to create better results. Blame shifts responsibility, but it also shifts power away from you.
11. Cultivate relationships. If you have been a loner because it felt safer this must stop. The road to more success is paved by the valuable relationships you develop in your field. If you aren’t good at this, you may need some executive coaching to work on your communication and relationship skills.
12. Work hard. There are many people who want to be successful, but there are very few who are willing to work hard enough to get it. There is no easy, effortless, short road to real success. They only way is to work hard and not give up until you get there. Do the things others are not willing to do.
13. Create more value than you are paid for. I learned the secret to success from Og Mandino’s famous book "The Greatest Secret in the World." He said the secret is “to render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be.” In other words go farther, work harder and provide more value than your employer expects. So few people will do this, you will stand out everywhere you go.
14. Write your story now. Sit down with some paper and imagine yourself old and gray at the end of your life. If you could look back and see yourself now at this time, what do you want this next chapter to look like? Write the story the way you want it to play out. Read this daily. This harnesses the power of intention and you won’t believe how powerful it is.
You can do this!
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular coach and speaker.
This article was first published on KSL.COM
Every time I get assigned a big, overwhelming or difficult project at work, the same pattern shows up. I want to start working on it and get it done, but I end up putting it off for weeks or even months. I procrastinate until the last minute and then have to rush it. I never do things as well as I wanted to, either. Why do I repeat this pattern every time? How can I stop getting overwhelmed by big projects and feel more confident and get them done earlier?
Most people think procrastination is a time management issues — but it really isn’t. It is a fear problem. (I know some of you still aren’t convinced yet that almost every problem is a fear problem, but it is.)
Joseph R. Ferrari, an associate professor of psychology at DePaul University, says, "Telling someone who procrastinates to buy a weekly planner is like telling someone with chronic depression to just cheer up."
It’s a little more complicated than that.
The real cause of procrastination is a basic, instinctive, subconscious program that has been with us as long as we have existed as a species, it is our fight and flight response to scary things. This subconscious response is obviously necessary for our survival, but it can cause some serious problems in modern-day life.
Imagine you were walking down the street and a hungry crocodile came running out of the bushes at you. What would you do immediately without even thinking about it? You would run!
You are literally programmed to always run and hide from scary things if you can. If you can’t run or escape, you will fight, but if running or avoiding the scary thing is an option, you will always choose that.
This makes sense when we are talking about wild animals. Avoiding these is a good idea, but you have the same subconscious reaction to big, difficult projects. Your first inclination or unconscious reaction is going to be avoid it, hide or run.
The question is what are you afraid of?
This is the question you must ask yourself every time we feel overwhelmed or catch yourself procrastinating. “What am I really afraid of that is causing this behavior?”
The fear is probably based in one of the two core human fears: failure or loss.
You may be afraid you won’t do the project well enough and it subconsciously feels safer to avoid it than to try to not do it perfectly. (This is the fear that made me procrastinate publishing my book for six years. I was deathly afraid it wouldn’t be good enough and I would be a failure.)
You could also be afraid of losing your reputation, losing the respect of other people or having the failure affect the way others see you, meaning you would lose their friendship or love.
When you are overwhelmed with the size of a project, you might be afraid it’s too big and you will never complete it or that it’s just too complex. It might feel safer to put it off and avoid it so you don’t have to find out that you weren’t capable.
Here are some suggestions for conquering your fears and making yourself take action:
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and is a coach and speaker.
This was first published on KSL.COM
There is a manager I have to deal with in my office who is driving me crazy. She creates problems out of thin air and blames them on me. She sometimes attacks me with ridiculous accusations. I’m apparently the only one with a target on my back, so no one can validate what I’m experiencing. I really don’t know what to do. I can’t leave this job and I can’t have a rational conversation with her because she denies it all. Any advice?
This advice would apply to anyone who has to work (or live) with someone they don’t like and struggle to get along with. We all experience people problems, therefore learning to cope with difficult people is an important life skill.
The famous author J.G. Holland said, “The secret of many a man's success in the world resides in his insight into the moods of men and his tact in dealing with them.”
Here are nine tips for coping with the difficult people in your life:
1) Understand most bad behavior is based in the difficult person’s fear about themselves. Even when they are attacking you or casting you as the bad guy, they wouldn’t be doing this if they weren’t so scared of looking bad or being taken from. Everyone on this planet is scared of failure (looking bad) and loss (being taken from) to some degree, and these two fears are behind most bad behavior. Step back from every situation and ask yourself, “What is this person scared of?” This manager obviously sees you as a threat in some way. Why? Understanding her fear issues will help you with the next tip ….
2) Don’t take it personally. Just because she is blaming you and casting you as the bad guy doesn’t mean you have to take it, pick it up and own it. You don’t even have to be upset by it. You could let it bounce off you and deny her actions any power to hurt, diminish or bother you. You don’t have to attend every argument you are invited to.
There is an old legend that a man started insulting and verbally abusing Buddha. Buddha let the man go on for a while, then asked, “May I ask you a question?” The man responded, ‘What?” “If someone offers you a gift and you decline to accept it, who does it belong to?” The man said, “Then it belongs to the person who offered it. He must keep it.” “That is correct. “ And with that Buddha walked away.
3) Look for the lesson. I recently taught the principle of not taking things personally to a corporate group. One of the "difficult to work with" employees in the group immediately latched onto the idea of not taking things personally to excuse herself from being responsible for her bad behavior. She basically decided to dismiss anyone who had a problem with her. This wasn’t what I meant. When people attack you, complain about you, or are upset over your behavior, you had better step back and check this feedback for accuracy.
In a place of trust, seeing life as a classroom, not a test, where your value isn’t in question, you should step back and look at any and all feedback to see if there is truth behind it. Make sure you are mindful of how your behavior affects others. This experience is in your life to teach you something. What is it showing you about yourself? The easiest thing to change in any situation is you. Is there any way you could behave differently to improve this situation?
4) Try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. What is going on in their world? Are they dealing with a family issue, a divorce or health problems? Are they struggling with their job or clashing with the boss and taking it out on you? If you can put yourself in their shoes, you may gain some compassion and clarity about what’s really going on. Then you might see a way to help them and solve the issue for you both.
5) Don’t react impulsively. An emotional reaction when you are annoyed never produces the best results. Give it a little time and space to make sure you see the situation accurately and are not coming from fear before you say or do anything. But don’t let the problem fester too long, either. It’s better to tackle bad behavior sooner than to dig up something that happened weeks ago.
6) Stop talking about it. If you are talking about this difficult person with everyone who will listen, you are adding negative energy to the problem. Check why you feel the need to do this. Are you doing this to get validation or feel important? Consider focusing on finding solutions instead of gossiping.
7) Treat this person with respect and kindness even if they don’t deserve it. This is the best approach because they will never expect it! Kindness may actually throw them off their game completely. Nothing changes a negative situation faster than refusing to participate in it. It takes two to fight. Look for good in this person and compliment them often. Dig deep and find something in this person to appreciate and be grateful for. The more you thank them for good behavior, the more they will behave that way toward you. Kindness will make it very hard for them to treat you badly in the future.
8) Have a mutually validating conversation. If you decide you must have a conversation with this person about their behavior, follow these steps for best results:
You have more power to change this situation than you think, but a scared, angry, victim mentality will rob you of that power. Your power comes by choosing to act from a place of strength, fearlessness, wisdom and love.
You can do this!
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and is a coach, speaker and corporate trainer.
I work in an office with mostly women and the drama is driving me crazy. Many of them read your column, so I wish you would explain what behavior is appropriate at work and how to stop overreacting, getting offended and causing problems. Also, because I don’t participate in it, I am often the one who is talked about behind my back. If I bring it up and complain, I’d be contributing to the drama so I just silently take it. How should I handle that?
Inappropriate workplace drama occurs everywhere you find human beings … and unfortunately (especially) women. I wish I could say this wasn’t true, but women do have a tendency to create more drama at work than men do.
I believe this happens because most women battle more internal fear (of loss and failure) than men do. Trust me, women have more fear-based thoughts than men. They tend to think too much, and these fears create the tendency for gossip, back-biting, being offended, casting others as the bad guy, being passive aggressive, complaining and blowing things out of proportion.
Let me explain how this happens in your head.
When you are battling a fear of loss, you can become controlling, bossy or overly protective of your territory. When you are battling a fear of failure (the fear of not being good enough) you tend to subconsciously focus on the bad (or perceived bad) in everything and everyone around you to take the focus off you. You may not consciously realize you are doing this. You may subconsciously cast others as the bad guy to make you feel like the good guy and you may get offended way too easy.
When you are afraid you aren’t enough (on any level), you have an easy-to-trigger “sore spot” around being insulted or thought less of. You are then subconsciously on the lookout for any word, look or behavior that could be interpreted as disapproval or an insult. You will also feel the need to talk about these offenses to others to get reassurance and validation. This is a big problem at work because this behavior will hold you back in your career.
Here are eight common workplace behaviors that will hold you back or get you passed over for promotions. (Notice that most of them are fear problems.) You may want to check yourself for bad behavior.
If you have to deal with people who are behaving badly at work, here are a couple suggestions.
You can handle this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "CHOOSING CLARITY: The Path to Fearlessness." She offers free coaching calls every Tuesday night.
I have to give a big talk at work, which could literally make or break my career. In the past, I have had a hard time speaking in front of people without getting nervous and showing it. Hence I’m experiencing some serious anxiety about this. Do you have any advice on how to calm down and speak to a group without fear?
You are nervous because of your two core fears: failure and loss. You are afraid of looking bad and being judged by other people (the fear of failure), and you are nervous because you don’t want to lose opportunities or respect if you aren’t good enough.
The best way to beat these fears is to choose a mindset that eliminates them. You can choose to believe there is nothing to fear, because you can’t really lose or fail. Let me explain how:
1. You can choose to believe you are the same you, with the same value, no matter how this presentation (or performance) turns out. You can choose to believe that your value is infinite and absolute. This means that no situation or experience can change it. You are an irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind soul and your value is based on this fact alone. Every experience you have, is in your life to teach you something, but these experiences cannot and do not change your value. No matter what happens on that stage, you will have the same infinite value at the end of it. Your value is not on the line.
2. You can choose to believe what other people think of you is irrelevant. It does not matter what they think. It does not change you or diminish you in any way. At the end of this talk you will still be the same you. Their opinions are just thoughts and they don’t mean anything or do anything. (I realize their opinions could affect your career but even that doesn't change your infinite value.) You must let go of needing their approval and go forward to do your best, show up with kindness and work hard. If you do this, at the end of the day, people will respect you even if you fail or mess up on occasion. It is will also make you less nervous if you don't care.
3. You can choose to trust your journey and the process of life, that this presentation will always go exactly as it is meant to go. You can trust that your life is always the perfect classroom journey for you. So, if your next perfect lesson is to nail this speech and win everyone over, then you will. If your next perfect lesson is to struggle through the talk and not impress them, then there is a reason you needed this experience. Maybe you needed the opportunity to experience disappointment or shame and be reminded what those emotions feel like. Maybe you needed to gain empathy for other people who struggle or maybe this experience will give you a chance to practice trusting that your value is absolute. No matter what happens, this experience will serve you — no matter how it turns out. Life is on your side. It is a process designed to serve you and help you grow. It is not out to get you or crush you.
If you trust the process of life, there is nothing to fear.
(Every time I teach these principles, though, someone leaves a comment saying that I’m delusional and have my head in the clouds to see life this way. If you have this reaction, I encourage you to keep an open mind, step back and imagine what this perspective might feel like, if you chose to see life this way. I promise you, it will make a huge difference.)
Here are a couple other suggestions that will help:
Get the focus off you. This presentation is about the message — it is not about you. Work on having great content and highlighting the message. Then, take a minute and think about the audience. Who are they? What do they need? How can you serve them? Remember that you are here to give to them. You are not here to prove your own value or make yourself look good. This is not about you impressing them, it is about giving to them in the best way you can. The more you focus on other people the less nervous you will be.
Remember your audience understands your fears because they have the same ones.Everyone in that room is afraid of failure and loss. They are nervous when they speak to a group, too. Because of this, they are more forgiving and understanding than you might think. Take a minute and choose to see them as the same as you — struggling, scared human beings in the classroom of life.
Dale Carnegie, in his book “The Art of Public Speaking,” explains that if you want to be good at speaking and overcome your fears, you must do it as frequently as you can. The more you do it, the easier it will become. “You can never attain freedom from stage-fright by reading a treatise. A book may give you excellent suggestions on how best to conduct yourself in the water, but sooner or later you must get wet, perhaps even strangle and be ‘half scared to death.’ There are a great many ‘wetless’ bathing suits worn at the seashore, but no one ever learns to swim in them. To plunge is the only way.”
Trust that giving this speech will make you better, stronger and smarter. It is showing up in your journey to help you grow. Jump in fearlessly (because there is really nothing to fear) and serve those people the best way you can.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of ldslifecoaching.com and claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
I work in an office with mostly women, and the drama is driving me crazy. Everyone is constantly offended or complaining about something someone else did. One of the ladies has problems in her personal life, which make her extremely grouchy and condescending. If I take my concerns to our boss I would be seen as a whiner. Do you have any tips for dealing with the politics, drama and frustrations of working with all women?
I’m so glad you asked this question, because human behavior in the workplace is my specialty. I recommend you ask your boss to do one of two things, either make everyone in the office read this article, or bring in some human behavior training for all employees. (This article can also help people who are prone to dramatic behavior at home.)
I believe a valuable employee is one who solves more problems at work than he creates. The question each of us must ask ourselves is “Do I solve problems and increase productivity in my office or do I create people problems with gossip, complaining, defensiveness and/or personal issues, which decrease productivity?” Be honest with yourself.
The real problem with drama is you can't always see what you’re doing. Most dramatic behavior is caused by subconscious thought processes you aren’t aware of. These thought processes developed when you were just a child trying to get love, validation and attention from your parents. You figured out pretty quickly that when you were hurt, scared or confused you could use those feelings to get attention. When you were sad, you could use that to get love. When you were mad, you could get validation about the injustice. Because these tactics worked, they became embedded as rules in your subconscious mind.
You may also subconsciously need drama to feel alive. Your life may feel empty if there isn’t something dramatic going on. Drama also gives you something to talk about, which makes you feel important. It creates excitement and makes the workday more interesting. You may subconsciously need life to feel like a soap opera.
The problem is, there is no room for a soap opera at work.
I recommend that everyone go through the following steps to eliminate drama and make sure you are handling yourself professionally.
You can do this!
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of ldslifecoaching.com and claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
FOR MORE FREE
Coaching is less expensive than you think - If you need help we can find you a coach you can afford.
Call Tiffany 801-201-8315
These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.