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Kirsty writes regularly here

Posts Tagged confidence

The Confidence Rollercoaster!

I was talking to a friend and she said, “How can you be so confident all the time?  You are such a ‘go getter’. I wish I had more confidence and self-belief like you.”

This dialogue got me thinking, and this was my response:

My definition of self-belief, or self-esteem, and confidence are: liking and feeling good about me enough to know that I am doing the best I can; and if I am determined enough, and work hard enough, and I trust my abilities, then the right results in the right order will follow. 

My sense of confidence and esteem does change constantly depending on various factors, including my day to day mood, appearance, ability, others opinions or the situation. So, as you can see, it is not something that you begin to act like and then ‘voilà’ all is well!

I have found that regularly checking in on how I am feeling about myself leads to a direct reflection of how I perform and present myself to the world. If I need to adjust my thinking, eating, or doing, I am on it. I make sure that I am consciously making choices on how I want to be, rather than letting the ups and downs of emotions, events and energy levels take control of my decisions, moods and actions.

The main mistake I witness a lot of people make is relying on others expectations and opinions and daily performance statistics to dictate who they are and how good they are.

All things change, you live and learn, you make mistakes and you have wins. We all have ups and downs, good and bad days. This is no reflection on your worth, rather a testimony to you living life.

The best way to overcome the rollercoaster of self-doubt, highs and lows, and judgement of your abilities is to have a strong sense of self-value and self-respect. Take a pause and when you are feeling less confident and a bit shaky, check in with you, adjust and get back to doing the best you can do.

You will then move into a space of making productive choices rather than staying longer than you need to in less than comfortable situation, entertaining draining emotional turmoil, giving too much time to listening to your inner critical voice, or worse, heeding another person’s views, and entertaining self-sabotage behaviours.

Trust yourself, respect yourself, do the best you can in any given moment, and you will find the confidence and self-belief rollercoaster can become fun rather than terrifying.

Until next time, K 🙂

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Developing self confidence and an I can do attitude in your child

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A lot of parents have concerns about their children’s self confidence and their children’s ability to not give up if something is proving a little difficult.

I often have parents come to me asking questions like:

  • “How can I get my child to stop saying they can’t do it without even trying?”
  • “My child has such a low opinion of themselves, what can I do?”
  • “How can I help my child be more outgoing and happier?”

All these questions lead to the parent’s concern that the child is showing a lack of self-confidence. The parent usually feels this isn’t right and isn’t going to be beneficial for their child in the future.

We have a saying in our house, “O’Callaghans never give up”. It arose from Joseph, our youngest child, going through a stage of saying, “I give up.” He was about four and must have picked it up from day care or his older siblings as I’m sure I never said it—well, fairly certain anyway.

Joseph would be building blocks, carefully placing one on top of the other, and then a large crash would be heard. I would enter the room to see him standing defiantly looking at the pile of blocks, angry face on, and he would be repeating, “I give up, I just give up, I give up.”

The possible enormity of the situation hit me—that if I don’t come up with something soon to change his attitude, it would turn into a life limiting habit. I wanted my son to be mentally and emotionally strong. I wanted my son’s cup to be full, not half-full, not half empty, FULL.

We started saying, over and over again, “Try again because O’Callaghans never give up.” This mantra has grown to include all of us now, and we have developed a very strong culture in our home of never giving up, thanks to those damn blocks.

I believe that self-esteem is the value one puts on them, and confidence is a self-belief that they can do it.
So one is how you feel about you, and the other is that you have practised and know you can do it. Therefore confidence is gained by doing and self-esteem is gained by knowing (or being encouraged) that you are valuable and capable. One cannot go without the other.

Children come into this world full of worth and asking for what they want. As parents it is our role to keep this sense of self worth healthy. Below I have outlined some suggestions of how we, as parents, can direct this in-built determination and persistence in tact, guiding it around appropriate boundaries and safety rules as our children grow. This then will allow your child to believe that they are capable of achieving many things as long as they show determination, practise and commitment – because they are worth it and super clever in their own way.

Modelling is the primary way to teach children good habits. They watch their parents and listen to them constantly, often when the parents are unaware. They watch and listen for verbal and non-verbal reactions to everything everyday. Children feel when situations are happy, sad, threatening, stressful and joyous. The child picks up on all the actions and reactions, even non-actions, to all situations by their parents and learns how it should be done and begins to develop certain belief systems.

Begin now and for the next week observing and listening to how you and your family:

  • Show your confidence,
  • Show your self-worth, and
  • The behaviours and reactions day to day you are showing (teaching) your children.

It is important to remember this is not for you, or anyone else, to negatively judge these behaviours or put another layer of parenting guilt on yourself.

It is for you to become the best parent possible, which is the parent your child needs – which is what most parents ultimately want. You get so many things right by practising what doesn’t work first.

I really resonate with the saying, “making mistakes is proof you are trying.”
You can then move on to supporting an affirmative belief system for your child. This is telling them often:

  • You love them
  • How important they are just the way they are
  • They matter and that their presence in your world and the world of others makes a difference
  • You have caught them out more times being great, and not less than expected, and
  • Each day how grateful you are for them and congratulating your child for big and little milestones reached or achievements.

I like to also make sure that there is a habit of paying it forward to others. My children hear me, and are encouraged to, praise others or speak of them in a positive and supportive way. It really does come back to the saying, “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.”

Next is putting it all into practise with an I Can Do It attitude.

I Cant’s just need proof that this is not true. How do you get this proof? Just do it – with guidance, encouragement, a bit of patience and support, then repeat, and repeat again. Let your child do as much as age appropriately possible:

  • Packing up toys
  • Helping in the kitchen
  • Packing bags
  • Making beds
  • Getting dressed
  • Creating, making, playing, building blocks, dressing dolls, writing
  • Cleaning teeth, brushing hair, tying shoelaces

There are many things they can do things even though it may be quicker for you to do it. However, if you can be patient and encouraging, the smiles, celebrations and hugs are so worth it when they get it. Praise each time they get it right, redirect and start again with enthusiasm each time they make a mistake. Mistakes don’t call for punishment; they are the opportunities for improvement and building a determined attitude – the attitude of winners.

On a final note – It is not being able to do everything right or perfect; it is doing our best and doing what brings joy and laughter to our hearts that insights greatness. Listen to your child with your ears, eyes and heart, just as they do to you. Find what brings light to their eyes and excitement to their voices – then practise, practise and praise, and repeat.

Kirsty 🙂

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Speak Easy – Book Review

Speak Easy 3 Ebook CoverThis week I reviewed Speak Easy by Maggie Eyre for Exisle Publishing.

From the first page of the introduction I felt like I was there, being supported by Maggie, and taken through her proven program step by step.

This book is written in a warm and encouraging way, thoroughly explaining each skill and concept. Whilst reading I really felt how generous Maggie is with sharing her knowledge and was convinced she really wanted me to succeed.

I have been professionally speaking since 2009, and have done a lot of ‘learn as I go’ in that time – so I wish I had of read this book many years ago. Speak Easy will set you up for success and covers all you will need to know to be an excellent speaker – not just a good one.

Thanks Maggie Eyre.

Kirsty 🙂

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A Problem Shared is a Problem Halved…. Or Is It?

I was just thinking today about how many people find it hard to share their thoughts and beliefs, ask for help and even let others know they are finding it tough.  I have even been in this position myself where I would censure what I said to attempt to be accepted and not judged.  After all ‘experts’ or ‘professionals’ have all their sh#@t sorted don’t they?

Let me tell you, after living my life and sharing in so many others that I care for and help, personally and professionally; we all have stuff, we all have made mistakes, we have all had horrible thoughts, we have all done something that we would rather nobody ever finds out about.  We have all had stuff happen to us and participated in situations we wouldn’t wish on anyone else.

Think about it, do you think, including yourself, that anyone has gone through life to date and not made a mistake, an error in judgment, thought an awful thought?

We are living in a world that is filled with perceptions of perfection, how we should do things, how we should think, how we should live, how we should raise our children, how we should make decisions, how we should….  I think most people of forgotten that life is a collection of moments of learning, growing and developing.  Life was always meant to have mistakes as part of that so that what was learnt has more impact.  How do you think the most amazing discoveries happened? Usually by working out how not to do it first then building on that.

Judgement of others is like a disease in our society today, I believe.  Instead of asking for help, owning our own shortcomings and being able to weather the storm, we look outside of ourselves for justification.  “There is people worse off than me, look at that mother, look at that teenager, look at that boss, how can they do that, etc” So this has led to more people wary of sharing their load and asking for help because what if they are then judged.  So a problem shared could turn into a problem doubled.  What a shame!

I have learnt a secret that may resonate with you.  Those judgements are just reflections of what you think about yourself.  If you are judging a parent for the way they are bringing up their children is there something in you that is feeling guilty for an act of parenting you aren’t feeling good about?  If you are judging someone for what they wear, is there something in you that isn’t comfortable with how you present yourself to the world, or even jealous that they can wear what they want?  If you are judging someone because they are suffering with depression and you think they should just get happy, is there something in you that is crying for help because you would like to be noticed once in a while for all your efforts?  If you are judging someone who you think isn’t doing enough, was there a time you felt that you weren’t doing enough?  What is that judgement showing you that you could be healing in yourself?

There is a story I love that illustrates how we can not only lead by example; then we can be more aware of what we judge and what we can heal in ourselves first.
“There was a young boy who had become addicted to and obsessed with eating sugar. His mother decided to get help and took the long journey with her son, walking many miles under the scorching sun, until she finally reached Gandhi. She asked him to tell her son to stop eating sugar because it wasn’t good for his health. Gandhi replied, “I cannot tell him that. But you may bring him back in a few weeks and then I will talk to him.” The mother was confused and upset and took the boy home.

14 days later mother and son returned. This time Gandhi looked directly at the young man and said, ”Boy, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for your health.” The youth nodded his head and promised he wouldn’t. The mother was puzzled. She asked, “Why didn’t you tell him that a fortnight ago when I brought him here to see you?”  Gandhi smiled and said, “Mother, two weeks ago I was eating a lot of sugar myself.”

So instead of telling, instead of judging, instead of attempting to look perfect to everyone else; why not get honest, get real about your life.  Make changes if you want to or need to.  Trust what works for you.  Most of all heal that within you that is remembering and keeping a score card of your wrongs.  There is no right or wrong, there just is.

If you can do this, imagine how open you will be to moving forward, listening and helping others, making your own choices, improving your life and getting happy.  Imagine being able to say, I’m not doing this right or feeling good about this, can I talk it out with you or can you help me. Then knowing that help is there, you can half the problem and no-one, especially you, is judging.  There is only co-operation and support.  What a wonderful thought.

Another note on judgement.  Apart from it being hurtful and harmful, when judgement is present a self-punishing cycle will happen, not might, will!

There is no-one who can hurt you, discipline you or punish you more than yourself, consciously or sub-consciously.  There have been many times my children have done something wrong, something that they have felt really bad about.  They await punishment, knowing I wasn’t happy with their actions.  After a few hours of no consequence being made apparent on some occasions, they have said “so what is my consequence?”  My response has always been, “tell me what you are feeling and thinking about what you have done?”  Always they will launch into how bad they feel, what an idiot they were, how upset they are and the like.  I then say, well there is your punishment, no-one can ever punish you more than yourself, no-one can ever hurt you more than you can do.  So let’s now look at how to fix this and don’t lose the lesson…. As they become adults there will be a time when their brains are fully developed that I hope they can take those thoughts and ideas and put them into practise.  I see my daughter is sometimes doing it already, being very aware of how emotions and thoughts affect her health, thinking and actions.
So those of us with already fully developed brains, let us now, from today, from this moment, move forward from our own judgements and prejudices.  Let us move into being honest, learning and improving.  Most of all let us make a decision today to be open to our own mistakes of the past, let them go, and help others also do the same.  Listen with your heart, offer anything you think will help, and respect their journey; their way of doing things. That is a problem halved.

Kirsty 🙂

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