Picture attributed to PlusLexia.com.
Go visit them and see that their mission is to build the 'go to place' for young dyslexic for finding positive stories, about life with dyslexia, to motivate them to succeed in life.
For years now, I have observed many athletes who focus only on their fitness and technique to improve their performance. Unfortunately, they’re missing a critical piece. Improving fitness and technique works well at the lower and intermediate levels, but it’s clearly insufficient for high-performance. The greatest athletes in the world agree that “the mind is what separates the competition.” Obviously, athletes at every level need to take care of both the physical AND the mental. But how is an athlete supposed to DO mental training? It’s an important question.
Think about it for a second – what do you do to overcome issues like slumps, burnout, performance anxiety, nervousness, anger, choking and underperformance? As you will probably agree, the answer is not simple and the challenge is not minor. There are 10 “maxims” athletes can use to start overcoming these problems:
1. When you have a big enough “WHY” the “HOW” becomes easy. Do you know why you do what you do? Why do you practice so many hours? Conversely, why don’t you train as hard as you should?
2. If you do not know to which port you are sailing, no wind is favourable. (Seneca). You have got to have a clear path to reach your goal. I find most athletes do not know what they want or how to get there. They just hope that by setting off in any direction, they’ll somehow arrive in a favourable place. It doesn’t often happen that way. They end up making too many mistakes and are more likely to miss their opportunity to succeed. Worse, they copy other athletes – if you follow someone else’s dream you will only end up frustrated.
3. Process, Performance and Outcome goals are necessary parts of an effective Roadmap. Process goals are fully controllable actions you take daily that tend to cause you to perform in a way that increases the chance of attaining big outcomes. You need a combination of 3 types of goals – Process (highly controllable), Performance (moderately controllable) and Outcome (barely controllable). The Outcome goals can inspire you, the Performance goals can motivate you, and the Process goals can direct you.
4. Believe it to see it. It’s tough for most of us to believe something before we’ve seen it. Hundreds of runners had to watch Roger Bannister break the 4-minute mile, something thought to be impossible for over 2,000 years, before they could believe it was possible for them to do so as well. By the way, they all did it within 1 year after seeing it done. Bannister believed it BEFORE he saw it. Someone out there has to be the first believer – whether it’s in yourself or in a new goal, you have got to believe you can do. Confidence is the key to belief.
5. Visual imagery prepares your body to perform successfully. Every time you clearly imagine the action you intend to take, you increase the chances your body will successfully do it. Imagery is one of the most tested, reliable techniques to improve confidence and enhance performance.
6. Awareness is power. The only way you can change something for the better is to first become aware of the problem, and then become aware of the solution. Most athletes allow harmful thoughts (the crazy self talk) and images to stay in their mind because they don’t recognize them in the moment, or don’t know how to change them.
7. Recognize, Replace, Rehearse. We all have harmful thoughts and images that come into our mind at times. The key is to recognize the thought, know it’s not helping, replace it with a strong thought you’ve prepared prior, and then rehearse the process until it is a habit. It is what the best athletes in the world do – you can benefit from this 3-step process too!
8. Thoughts affect emotions that affect performance. Every athlete has an ideal emotional state that produces their best performance. The most reliable and effective way to create that emotional state is by learning to control thoughts. Use ideal thoughts to change your emotions so you perform better.
9. THE ZONE does not only come to athletes randomly. Athletes can enter the zone because of very specific reasons, and those reasons can be controlled. Athletes can be taught to apply mental skills that increase the chances of their Zone occurring. Bet you thought the ZONE was random??? Guess what, it’s not. Start by thinking back on the last time you were in the Zone. How did you prepare, what were you thinking about, what emotions do you remember? Use what worked before to build your own Roadmap to the Zone!
10. When describing how they feel when “in the zone”, athletes of all sports often use words like: carefree, effortless, automatic, powerful, energized and simple. If you HAVEN’T experienced the Zone recently, you can learn from those who have. Find ways to care less about the outcome while still trying your best. Keep things simple and let what you’ve practiced occur automatically in competitions.
And finally, guess what?
The best thing to read about right now is that in 2018, there is an innovative company coming to you that looks specifically at helping athletes master the mental approach. New ideas, state of the art technology and proven techniques will enhance every athlete and even business person’s ability to be truly ‘on top of their game’. That company will be the difference that makes a difference.
Keep tuned for more news!
Everyone would like to be a mentally strong person, but mental resilience can be extremely hard to achieve when life gets on top of you.
Help is at hand: experienced individuals have shared their tips on how to power through when times get tough, posting advice on answers website Quora.
In order to be mentally strong, you must prevent yourself from getting carried away by emotions to the point where you can’t see logic.
This involves dealing with difficult tasks one step at a time without getting overwhelmed, and also means balancing positive and negative thoughts in a way that advantages you – not getting carried away with one side or the other.
Mentally strong people will keep their eye on the prize, and won’t let their need for instant gratification or the approval of others get in the way of what they really want.
Find your motivation
“Viktor Frankl endured the terrors of the concentration camps in World War II, only to return home and find that he had lost his wife and family.
“During his time in the camps, he discovered that those who had a purpose to keep on going outlasted those who seemed to have given up. He himself kept a burning desire to see his wife and family again, and that kept him going.”
Balance positive and negative thinking
“Positive thinking is important because when you believe good things will happen, you tend to work towards making them happen, and you also notice good things happening.
“Negative thinking is also important, because it allows you to anticipate what could go wrong, and plan how to deal with them.”
Be kind and compassionate
“By being kinder to yourself and others, you reduce the number of negative emotions in your life. By reducing negative emotions, it opens up a space for positive emotions to flourish.”
Take things ‘one brick at a time’
“Mental toughness refers to people who have gone through tough times, and tough times can be overwhelming. How do those who have made it through do it? They take it one brick at a time
While keeping their eyes on the final goal, they break down this goal into smaller, achievable steps, so that they don’t feel overwhelmed.”
Take responsibility for things you can control, accept what you can’t
“It should come as no surprise that mentally strong people take responsibility for their lives, but they don’t take responsibility for everything. That would drive anyone crazy.
“Instead, they accept that there are things outside of their control. The weather, the market, other people. If they try to take responsibility for those it would just be futile.”
Stop taking everything personally
“Much of what happens in life is completely impersonal yet the need to reference oneself in nearly every situation is a deeply ingrained habit. If you step back and see that much of what goes on has nothing to do with you, it can free you from this trap of over-personalizing, which leads to suffering.”
Don’t ‘need’ – want
“We all want to be liked. We all want approval. Problems arise when we start needing it- when we cannot function without it.
“Mentally strong people want everything everyone else on this planet wants. They just don't need it.”
Ask for help when in need
“Being strong doesn't mean that you won't need help. It means when you do, you acknowledge it, and ask for help.”
Don’t succumb to self-pity
“Self-pity eats away mental energy and keeps you emotionally drained forever. It also adds to your current misery for something that happened in the past.”
See the past as valuable training and nothing more.
“Don't spend a lot of time dwelling on the past. Instead, write down what you’ve learned, objectives, and how to avoid pitfalls in the future. This usually works much better than wallowing. It is a great resilience tactic as well.”
Balance emotions with logic.
“Mentally strong people understand how their emotions can influence their thinking. In an effort to make the best decisions possible, they balance their emotions with logic.”
Article by Elsa Vulliamy 2015
Here's a thought provoking article written by Jack Singer, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Sport Psychologist which I thought would be of interest to all.
As they get older and put more mileage on their bodies, proactive thinking professional athletes look for an edge. Much of the training and coaching that professional athletes receive works on the logical brain, the left brain. Game plans, strategies, knowing what to do in a specific situation…all fire up the left brain.
Frequently, the right brain is ignored. Balance, music, emotions, visualization and self-hypnosis all involve the right brain.
The smart athlete practices skills that tap into both the left and right brains.
I receive calls weekly from professionals who recognize that their bodies will not always be able to support the wear and tear and therefore, they would like to learn mental skills to compensate. There are many techniques that Certified Sport Psychologists use to help such athletes, but by far the most powerful technique in my arsenal is Hypnotic Sport Psychology.
Those Sport Psychologists who teach hypnosis and self-hypnosis to athletes help them with such skills as intensity, focus, consistency, concentration and anxiety and anger control. Moreover, hypnosis can be used with teams to enhance team dynamics, intra-team communications, mutual goal setting and intra-team cohesion.
A favorite technique that I use with huge success, I call the hypnotic mental toughness game plan. I use this technique with athletes whose sport involves going up against an opponent(s), such as football, basketball, boxing, motor sports, tennis, soccer, wrestling, hockey, etc;
I ask the athlete to describe in detail everything he/she knows about her/his opponent. For example, for an NFL football player, I want to know what specific techniques and moves the opponent has used in the past against my athlete. Accordingly, what specific techniques and moves has my athlete used with success against him? For a tennis player, I want to know how the opponent has won games from my athlete in the past, what she/he does in certain game situations (such as moving toward the net), and what strategies have worked for my athlete against this specific opponent (even if only a few games were won against him/her).
The same data that would be obtained in breaking down film is very valuable for me (utilizing the athlete’s specific language) in designing a hypnotic program aimed at overcoming the opponent when they next meet.
This hypnotic technique goes well beyond “visualization” that is often taught to athletes. While under hypnosis, my athlete is not only visualizing success in his next game, but he is planting optimistic seeds in the beautiful garden of his subconscious mind that are each related to specific moves and strategies that are designed to work against a specific opponent, whom he can visualize defeating.
So, with the athlete’s help, we design a mental toughness game plan each week and (if the athlete is not local) I fed ex a CD series of that game plan each week for the athlete to master. This certainly gives the pro athlete an edge and I refer to it as the athlete’s “unfair advantage!”
(Obviously, these techniques are not simply reserved for professional athletes, but the use of game films, for example, to design my game plans are harder to come by with junior athletes. In such cases, I rely on the athlete and coaches to give me the information I need.)
Here we find ourselves again, at the end of a year, ready to start the next. How time has flown by!
About 45% of all of us will be getting ready to set our next Years resolution. The rest of us will not bother. It’s easy to see why so many people opt out of making resolutions, because statistically only 8% of people actually achieve their goals. As with most ventures, solid preparation in setting goals and resolutions will help people follow through on their goals. By the way, that figure of an 8% hit rate for achieving goals, applies to athletes and sportspersons as well.
In some ways this is the coaches domain and they will know that the process of setting goals guides athletes to understand their current level of skill and achievement and their ability to progress. Establishing goals may seem simple, but to do so effectively requires an understanding of the types of goals, especially related to athletics, and the process to set, monitor, and accomplish an objective.
Types of Goals
Outcome Goals are related to the big picture of athletics and competition, such as winning a game or making it onto a particular team. It is important to realize that oftentimes, athletes have very little control over the external factors that could affect their outcome goal. This type of goal is important as it can serve as motivation for an athlete as they may encounter obstacles in accomplishing the performance and process goals, which we describe below. An outcome goal is the “prize” in the saying, “eyes on the prize.” An example scenario for this would be for a young woman who decides she wants to be on her high school basketball team.
Performance Goals are excellent benchmarks for mapping one’s progress as they strive to meet their outcome goal. Let’s follow the illustration of the young basketball player who wants to be on her high school’s team. Tryouts involve a variety of challenges, such as running a mile in under 14 minutes or being able to make a certain percentage of free throws. The athlete would establish these measurable targets as her performance goals.
Process Goals relate to the everyday aspects of meeting the larger outcome goals, and they are the “how” in accomplishing performance goals. Unlike outcome goals, athletes are typically able to have complete control as they strive to accomplish process goals. In the case of the young basketball player, her stance when on the free throw line or her form when running, can impact the performance goals that will allow her to make it on the team. This is where practice, determination, and sometimes frustration come in. An athlete may feel discouraged if they have difficulties making progress with these goals, and that is why it is always important to help them realize these are steps in a bigger picture.
Preparation and visualization are two essential elements in successful goal planning. Dr. Steven Ungerleider, founding board member for GSD and sport psychologist, has spent over 35 years working with athletes to identify and achieve their goals. About his experience he says, “Since Olympians are very focused and disciplined, it was usually easy to write out a visualization plan, how to do it, when, practice, and implementation. Usually athletes reported good short-term and long-term results.”
Experts and researchers have identified an effective process in goal setting which can lead to more success. They’ve even come up with a clever acronym to help us through the process: SMART. Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time specific. Keeping these guidelines in mind, there are also steps one should take in identifying each goal.
1 Write it Down – Try expressing your goal in present tense, for example, “I run two miles in under 14 minutes.” Doing so allows you to shift your reality and actualize your goal. Also, focus on positive and affirmative language, rather than negative tones. Instead of saying what you won’t do (“I won’t stay up late.”), write down what you will do (“I will be in bed by 9 pm each night.”).
2 Determine Measurement for Goal – In order to track success, it is imperative to define what “success” means. Whether you want to eat more nutritious meals before games and practices or if your goal is to be prepared for practice each day, there is a way to measure it. For example, if your goal is to eat better, you can track your nutrition by the numbers. If you want to be prepared for practice each day, set your measurement to be how early you arrive to practice or how long it takes you to get ready for practice.
3 Set a Time Limit – Sure, if your goal is to make the US Olympic swimming team, then your timeframe could be many years. But for EACH goal (outcome, performance, and process) set a deadline to meet it. Not only does this keep you on track, but it creates a challenge AND sense of accomplishment as you meet goals in succession.
4 Identify Obstacles – For the athlete whose performance goal is to be prepared for daily practice, what kinds of hindrances might he encounter? After-school club meetings, overwhelming school projects, illness, etc. In a perfect world our schedules would run without interruption. But reality requires us to recognize situations which could possibly get in the way of us reaching our daily goals.
5 Overcome Obstacles – Okay, so now you know that your lack of knowledge about the proper form during running is a bit of a hindrance to you shaving off some time from your two miles. How will you get around this? Several options await you, such as consulting a coach or professional to help you, researching on the internet, video recording yourself run to examine your current form, etc. With each hurdle you recognize, create a plan for leaping over it and moving forward.
6 Review Goals – Now that you’ve written everything down, read over it. Do the goals align and make sense? Is there anything missing from your list of obstacles?
7 Monitor Progress – Track your measurable objectives and evaluate your progress. If you are trying to reduce your two mile run time by 3 minutes, write down your time for each run. Figure out a reward system if that helps, too.
Other Tips for Setting Goals
• Prioritize goals
• Challenge yourself
• Be specific
• Involve others – tell your coach, parents, or teammates about your
Goal – maybe they can also help you achieve them
Keep it Together
Okay, you may be feeling overwhelmed at this point. Identifying the types of goals, working through all of the steps, and keeping other tips in mind – it is a lot. But it’s worth it. Coaches, parents, teachers, and teammates can be helpful in organizing your plan.
Give it a try, and see if your success is different when you map your goals out in a careful fashion, and above all: Keep your eyes on the prize, and do associated with the statistics at the beginning of this article.
“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment” Dorothy Nevill
Many people, at some point in their working lives, have to have a difficult conversation with someone. It might be about a performance issue or something more personal. It can be with a peer, a subordinate or indeed a boss.
Very often people are anxious about having this conversation. They either avoid it for so long that when they do tackle the issue, it comes as a complete shock to the other party, or they rush at it like a bull in a china shop just to get it over with. Here are my 10 tips to help produce the result you're after.
1 Be clear what you are trying to achieve
You need to be clear in your own mind why you are putting yourself through the trauma of having this conversation, and what you hope to achieve.
2 Be clear what you are listening for
Being highly anxious can make us so focused on saying everything we have planned to say that we fail to hear the other person. So, stay alert to the first signs that you have made your point and be prepared to switch modes to ‘Ok what next’ even if you haven’t said everything you intended.
3 Be clear what gives you the right to initiate this conversation
Understand how the conversational intent aligns with your values. For instance, you may have to tell someone that they didn’t get the promotion, and give some hard feedback as to why. The clearer you are that giving this feedback is, for example, helpful to them then the easier it will be to say what needs to be said. Fobbing them off softly is easier but less helpful to them in the long run.
4 Give thought to how you set up the meeting
There are pros and cons to giving advance notice of wanting to have a difficult conversation with someone. The downside is a potential drop in productivity and the danger that their anxiety will drive them to push you to ‘just say it now, let’s get it over and done with’. On the other hand, springing it on them unexpectedly can lead them to feel ambushed or tricked. You’ll need to make a judgement depending on the situation and circumstances.
5 Look for the positive in the situation
Sometimes bad outcomes are the result of good intentions. Was the behaviour caused by a strength in overdrive? Was there an honourable intention behind the behaviour? Be alert to any good consequences that occurred in the situation you want to address, as well as the problematic outcome.
All of these give you a way to approach the behaviour that make it more likely the other person can own it, still feel good about themselves, and be open to making changes.
6 Listen first
Once you have outlined the area, topic or incident that you want to discuss, give the person a chance to give their view on the situation. Often you’ll find the other person is only too aware that there is a problem and they have been making themselves miserable over it.
7 Offer reassurance
There is an art to building and maintaining the relationship bridge while trying to convey information or a perspective that the other person might find hard to hear. Think about an opener such as ‘I feel this conversation may be difficult, but I am confident it will be to the benefit of both of us.’
8 Be honest about the effect on you
Authenticity and integrity tends to produce better responses in others. So say something like ‘to be honest I felt really embarrassed when...', and 'I like to feel proud of my team when...', 'that’s why I want to...’. This isn’t about trying to 'guilt-trip' anyone; its about being honest about your investment in this as well as the favour you are hoping to do them.
9 Use descriptive not evaluative language
Try to stick to an account that articulates what you saw and the consequences in a way that is factual and could be verified by any other observers. For example; 'you were speaking in a louder than a normal speaking voice, leaning in very close to B. Your face was going red. I also noticed B leant backwards and raised her hands. Later B came to me and said she felt intimidated by you in that meeting.' Here you can add your concern, 'My concern is that if B feels like that we will lose her input to the discussion. I know you are very passionate about this topic. Let's see if we can find a way where you both feel able to make your points.'
10 Look forward to solutions, not backwards to blame
The aim of the discussion, if possible, is to create a common agreement about the situation now without getting too lost in counter-arguments about blame in the past. It doesn't have to be complete consensus, just enough to allow the conversation to move productively to the next stage of finding ways forward that are acceptable to you both.
By considering these points before embarking on a difficult conversation you can reduce your own anxiety and help to generate a positive and productive outcome for all parties involved.
Apathy is simply being indifferent to someone or towards a cause. This happens when the person displaying apathy can’t see how anything of what is being communicated to him/her makes sense or how it is going to benefit him/her in any way.
After all, there are several other pressing concerns which require his/her immediate attention.
Are you being apathetic yourself?
Interestingly, this is one of the root causes of failures in communication. It is easy to blame others for not showing interest in what is being said, but the speaker too could be guilty of the same, an apathy towards the listener. Unless you find a way to ‘connect’ to your listener, you are in error for thinking that you and your cause/what you are talking about is all that matters.
You can hardly expect others to be empathetic towards you if you cannot do the same to yourself. Respect is always 'give and take', and ‘give’ comes before ‘take’. You need to respect your listener’s time.
Find out why it would be important to him/her
Unless you do this, there would be no reason for him/her to think of it as anything but a waste of his/her time. And that is the one thing that people tend to be short on these days. This requires you to come out of your comfort zone and put yourself in his/her shoes. Find out how his/her life would be changed for the better, no matter how small. The more it is capable of changing his/her life in a positive way, the more attentive your listener would be.
Are you communicating in a distant, detached way?
When you do this, such as by opting for email when you can have a face-to-face conversation, the contents of the email are not going to strike a chord with him/her in any way, because that only demonstrates that what you are talking about is not that important enough to you either.
This could also be because of the so-called generation gap. Millennials (those born in the 1980s and 1990s) use technology more often, and if you are one, your preference for email is only indicative of the generation you belong to. Baby boomers (those born in the 1960s and 1970s) are more used to the in-person approach when it comes to communication. So you need to tailor the mode of delivery according to your listener(s).
If your intended audience consists of both groups, for instance at the workplace, you need to respect both of them in the way they expect to be respected. Millennials might like to be left alone and think there is a greater value when you send them an email that outlines what you are trying to communicate, but with baby boomers, it is the opposite. They expect to be told in person, and you need to do this before you send an email, not after.
A seemingly innocuous question like “Hey, didn’t you get the email?” can come across an insult to this generation. Yes, they got it, and they read it too, but they can’t understand why you couldn’t have let them know about the content beforehand. For them, emails are like office memos – a detailed plan of action on what has been agreed upon after due consultation with them.
However, for millennials, you need to approach them after you have sent out the email. They expect to agree to something only when they learn about it in detail and not in principle because there are multiple ways of achieving the same objective. And this matters to them, every single one of them has his/her opinions on whether the process is as foolproof and/or efficient as it can be. They also expect you to listen to them when they raise their objections later. Meeting them before you send out the detailed plan of action, to them, is like garnering support for what you think is best. That doesn’t cut much ice with them because the indication is that it is probably faulty at present, which is why you are unwilling to elicit their opinions at a later stage.
This understanding could radically change the way you perceive and approach others.
Is there a common meeting ground?
Yes, there is. Quite literally too, the meeting room. You need to get both generations into one room, explain in brief what the subject of the meeting is, and then get into the specifics. Baby boomers would have no problems with this, and when you are finished, you need to throw the floor open for any questions. If none of the millennials have anything to say at the moment, let everyone know you are going to be sending them all an email and they can reply at a later stage (provide a realistic deadline) after they have had a chance to study it. This is how you can win over both generations at the workplace.
It might not always be possible for you to get everyone together into the same room. You might be in a mid-to-junior level role, and your intended audience could include people higher up in the corporate hierarchy or in different departments altogether. For instance, an IT support executive might face this problem when trying to implement an updated version of the software used by the company. If he/she faces apathy from say, procurement, a meeting might still be the best way of breaking the logjam. He/she would do well to talk to his/her boss or the head of procurement directly, let him/her know of what advantages there can be by streamlining the system and let the Procurement Head call a meeting to discuss this with the employees of his department.
There is always a way you can put your point across gently, and expect your listener(s) to act on the same. As long as you do it right, you can always be assured of results, with support coming in from all quarters. And that is what the art of communication is all about.
“Humility is not thinking less about yourself, it is thinking less of yourself” C S Lewis
Humility and inner peace go hand in hand. The less compelled you are to prove yourself to others, the easier it is to feel peaceful inside. However, ask yourself the question, how often are you trying to prove yourself in front of others?
Humility makes us aware of our personal limitations and the limitations of humanity more broadly. We acknowledge that there is much we do not know, that certainty is impossible and that our understandings of the world are provisional at best. Humility opens us to growth and love and to accept change where necessary by going with the ‘flow’ as a normal everyday occurrence. We most certainly do not need to be anyone else other than true self.
Proving yourself can be a dangerous trap. It takes an enormous amount of energy to be continually pointing out to others about your accomplishments, bragging or even trying to convince others of your worth as a human being. Bragging actually dilutes the positive feelings you receive from an accomplishment or something you are proud about. To make matters worse, the more you try to prove yourself, the more others will want to avoid you, talk behind your back about your insecure need to brag and at worst perhaps even resent you.
I personally got to learn about humility following my abortive attempt with a colleague to row across the Indian Ocean nearly 15 years ago. We did alright, in that we rowed unsupported for almost 2000 nautical miles from Western Australia en route to Africa, until a tropical storm damaged both me and the boat. This meant we had to stop and abandon our world record attempt. Up until that point, I will admit, I was full of it – telling the media and anyone else in my earshot how great a feat this was, and therefore how great I was! And that lack of humility lasted after we returned to the UK, and accompanied me throughout the next couple of years giving public talks and chatting to friends and strangers alike. Then one day, I realised that I was fooling myself and started to look at the deeper messages of that expedition and how they had changed my outlook on life. Lessons like tolerance, awareness of the world around me and a good dose of humility developed my inner being and ultimately my inner happiness.
Ironically, however, the less you care about seeking approval, the more approval you seem to get. People are drawn to those with a quieter, inner confidence, people who don't need to look good, be ‘right’ all the time or steal glory. Most people love a person who doesn’t need to brag, a person who shares from his or her heart and not from their ego.
The way to develop genuine humility is to practice. Practicing is good because you get immediate inner feedback in a way of calm, easy feelings – in other words you feel good about yourself. The next time you have the temptation to brag about something, resist it. Instead, listen hard to what the other person is saying and calm your inner talk.
So, when we are humble, we can laugh at our self importance and sometimes, even set it aside. We can see our own faults and the strengths of others, and we recognize how much we have been given, unearned. It is but one step in finding out more about yourself and finding an inner peace that leads to a much happier being.
To be blunt if you want to succeed at anything, you will need to have a certain level of confidence. This does not mean that you need to boldly and fearlessly attack every aspect of life. There certainly may be areas where you lack confidence. You need to identify, however, the areas of life where you need to be confident in order to succeed.
The first thing you need to do is to identify where you need more confidence, and where you do not. For example, you maybe nervous of public speaking (most people are), and you need to get over those nerves in order to succeed. In this case, you will need to gain confidence in speaking in front of people. If you lack confidence in cooking a good meal however, that more than likely will not affect to your speaking ability. So, you need to identify where you need to gain confidence, and where a lack of confidence does not really matter. This does not mean however that you cannot gain confidence in other areas, though.
One of the dangers of a lack of confidence is that it can fuel failure. Failure then leads to decreased confidence, which leads to failure, which leads to well… you can see it is a self fulfilling circle. Lack of confidence and failure feed on each other, and they will drag you down. So, the first key to gaining confidence (could be obvious this one!) is to succeed rather than fail.
Your first successes do not need to be major successes. You just need to succeed at something to start lifting yourself up, and break out of the failure/lack of confidence cycle. Choose a small goal to achieve. It could be anything you want, and does not necessarily need to be seen by others – you just to pick on a goal that you want to achieve. Focus and set your mind on achieving this goal. Give yourself a realistic time frame, and then determine what you need to in order to succeed.
Once you achieve this goal, you will start to see that you can succeed. Keep setting yourself goals, and work towards achieving them. Success will lead to confidence, which will lead to more success, and so on. Before long, you will be able to attack those identified critical areas where you lack confidence. If you fear public speaking, you can now start working on that lack of confidence. Find mentors to help you along. Seek out someone who does it on a regular basis and watch them. In NLP we call this modelling - seeing, hearing and feeling what they are doing to be able to do what they do! Also find groups and organizations that deal with the specific area will help you to build confidence.
Do not confuse confidence with arrogance. Being confident is a good thing, being arrogant is a bad thing. Confidence is the idea that you can achieve something that you can succeed. Arrogance is the idea that you are better than others.
Confidence is the key to succeeding in any aspect of life. Whether you want to succeed in business, creative endeavours, fitness, weight loss or family, you need to have a certain degree of confidence. Start by setting yourself small goals, and find small successes. Build on those successes and you will find yourself gaining confidence in all areas of your life. Once you have confidence and success, then you can start helping those who lack confidence themselves. That's a great thing to be able to do!
What exactly is motivation? Not all people define motivation the exact same way. Some people describe motivation as a mental force that drives a person to accomplish an end such as finishing a project or task. Some people say that motivation is why some individuals do one thing and others do something different all together. Motivation has also defined in terms of feelings/emotions that push a person beyond what they think they are capable of to achieve a given objective.
In the realms of psychology, motivation is closely connected to our behaviour (s) in terms of the initiation as well as direction, intensity and persistence of something that ‘invades’ our psyche. Motivation, however, is not the same as emotion or personality. Motivation is, I believe, a temporal and dynamic state of mind. One can literally ‘switch on’ the personal motivation button, and then switch it off just as quickly!
A person who ‘feels that way’ can be motivated to accomplish a long-term goal or a short-term goal and both have value. Sometimes a motivated individual will break a long-term goal down into a series of smaller short-term goals in order to make the end result easier to reach for and attain. Motivation to stay on course if the path is broken down is, for some, much easier to achieve. An example would be the interview that Sir Bradley Wiggins gave prior to his world record one hour cycling attempt. In this interview, he was very clear that in order to achieve the long term goal and remain motivated throughout the hour, he needed to break the time down into 12 minute slots (small step goals). For him, the important part of the record was to focus on a 12 minute effort – having passed that, his mind would then look to the next 12 minutes. In that way he knew he would not be mentally overwhelmed by the 60 minutes that he had to cycle in order to achieve for the overall task.
The motivation to work towards any given goal can change and often circumstances make it necessary for a person to modify their level of motivation. An individual's personality on the other hand is basically a permanent part of the characteristics of the person that does not change.
Aspects of a person's personality include such things as whether the person is extroverted or introverted, modest, conscientious, shy, loud and so on can affect their motivation.
Emotions are temporary states that a person finds themselves in in order to cope with immediate circumstances, such as feeling sad, happy, frustrated, confused, anger and being in a state of grief. Emotion does not automatically correlate with behaviour whereas motivation does.
Motivation is often broken down into two categories, that of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.
When the desire to do something comes from within a person and there is no obvious external incentive for it to take place, intrinsic motivation occurs. Engaging in a hobby for pure enjoyment such as painting, making toy models, stamp collecting, scrap bookings etc. are all examples of intrinsic motivation.
Extrinsic motivation on the other hand is when there is an external factor present that serves as an incentive for behaviour. This is commonly viewed in workplaces where their superiors motivate employees by being offered tangible rewards such as extra money or a promotion.
In the next article on Motivation, we shall look at Team Motivation and how to get out of a rut.
It is something that we all dread – dealing with difficulty and more specifically, difficult people related issues in the workplace. The first step in dealing with an issue is to understand what and why it was caused. Art Bell (2002) and Brett Hart (2000) suggested between them, 8 causes for workplace conflict, those being:
Looking more closely at these one can very easily see these impacting in our lives outside the workplace as well. Let us look at each one in more detail:
Cause 1. Conflicting Needs
Whenever employees compete for limited sources, recognition, as well as power in the company's "chain of command", problems can happen. Given that everybody requires a share of the company resources (office space, products, leaders time and attention or even additional budget funds) to complete their jobs (Hart, 2002), it should come as no surprise when the "have-nots" gripe and also plot against the "haves" (Bell, 2002).
Cause 2. Conflicting Styles
Considering that people are people, they will differ in the interaction with each other and any existing issues. We all do things in different ways, believing that we are doing is the right thing! Understanding your unique style as well as learning how to cope with conflicting styles of others can be achieved through a plethora of psychometric tests, such as MBTI and MTQ48. An instance of conflicting styles could be where one employee enjoys working in a structured atmosphere whilst another worker does things very much in an unstructured way. These two workers could quickly drive each other insane if they constantly operate in conflict with each other and do not discover how to allow and accept the one another's way of doing things.
Cause 3. Conflicting Perceptions
Equally, as two or even more employees might have contrasting styles, they can likewise have contrasting perceptions. We all see the world through different eyes! They see the exact same issue unfolding in dramatically different ways (perceptually). Bell (2002) gives an example of what might happen if a brand-new administrative assistant arrived into the company. One fellow employee could see the brand-new hire as an advantage (an extra set of hands to help get the task done), while another employee may see the very same new hire as a danger (an clear message that the existing employees are not carrying out their work effectively, or possibly being brought in to replace an existing employee).
Memoranda, individual and team performance appraisals, company reports, corridor comments (the ‘whispering cliques’) and also customer comments are sources for contrasting messages. Exactly what was meant gets lost in a storm of ever conflicting reaction (Bell, 2002). Animosity and conflict can additionally occur when one department is deemed more valuable to the organization than others (Hart, 2002).
Cause 4. Conflicting Goals
Employees could have different point of views about a case, strategy or department objectives and goals. Problems in the workplace can happen when employees are responsible for different obligations in achieving the exact same objective. Take for example the needs of a marketing campaign. A member of the marketing team has been told by the Head of Marketing that quality customer service is the key to a successful campaign, whereas the Head of Sales emphasizes the need for speedy service and sales, regardless of the quality in actually dealing with the customer. One can imagine how quickly problems could arise between the heads of Marketing and Sales if speed is sacrificed for quality time with the customer. Both objectives are important and necessary, but may cause conflict (Bell (2002).
Cause 5. Conflicting Pressures
Conflicting pressures could happen when 2 or more employees or departments are responsible for different activities but with the very same due date/time for action to have been completed. For example, Supervisor A requires Employee A to complete a report by 3:00 p.m. This coincides with the same time that Employee B needs Employee A to have a piece of equipment fixed. In addition, Supervisor B (who is not aware that the device is broken) now wants Associate B to use the broken device before 3:00 p.m. What is the best option? The extent to which we depend upon each other to finish our work could contribute greatly to dispute and conflict (Hart, 2002).
Cause 6. Conflicting Roles
Conflicting roles can occur when an employee is asked to perform a function that is outside his/her job requirement or expertise or another employee is assigned to perform the same job. This situation can contribute to power struggles for territory and ‘one upmanship’. This causes intentional or unintentional aggressive or passive-aggressive (sabotage) behaviour. Everyone has experienced situations where employees have wielded their power in inappropriate ways.
Cause 7. Different Personal Values
Conflict could be created by differing individual personal values. Segregation in the work environment can result in gossiping, suspicion, the formation of ‘cliques’ as well as ultimately, dispute (Hart, 2002). Employees should discover how to accept diversity in the work environment and also to function together as a team, not adopting a ‘them and us’ attitude. Values should be set in the company/department and everybody knows and accepts them - personal values will not necessarily match organisational ones, and this can be a source of conflict.
Cause 8. Unpredictable Policies
Whenever company policies are changed, inconsistently applied, or even non-existent, misunderstandings and potential conflict are likely to occur. Employees need to know and understand company rules and policies; they should not have to guess. Otherwise, unpredictable things can occur such as employees dressing inappropriately or giving out wrong information. The absence of clear policies or policies that are constantly changing can create an environment of uncertainty and conflict (Hart, 2002).
The next time a conflict occurs, take a moment and ask yourself this series of questions:
Once a cause is established, it is easier to choose the best strategy to resolve the conflict. Dealing with conflict should it arise will be the subject of a separate article.
Bell, Art. (2002) Six ways to resolve Workplace Conflicts, McLaren School of Business, University of San Francisco.
Hall, Brett. (2000) Conflict in the Workplace, Behavioral Consultants P.C.