UNBROKEN: Finding Your Inner Strength to Boost Confidence (Part I) – Overcoming Fear

What is YOUR “inner strength”? Do you know? Have you spent much time thinking about it?

Right now are you thinking of your positive qualities: I am kind, giving, a good listener, generous… ? These are all wonderful! However… these are ‘strengths’ that you use to enhance relationships with others, to support others when they are in need. But what strengths do you use to support yourself in times of unpredictability, uncertainty and hardship? What ‘inner strengths’ do you call upon when you feel off balance, insecure, don’t know what to expect or what to do next?

If you knew that your inner strength(s) could increase your confidence if you were more aware of them, would you want to know what they are? I WOULD!

Who couldn’t use a little more confidence in their life? A little more: courage, assurance, tenacity, fearlessness, daring and grit?

Most of us have endured struggles that have left our confidence levels depleted, left us feeling broken. These hardships may have been:

  • health struggles
  • mental health
  • school
  • work
  • relationship issues
  • dealing with grief
  • abuse
  • parenting
  • goals unmet
  • and many more
The pieces of our life

Where do we find the strength to rebuild, and increase our confidence, our self-esteem, once the pieces of our life begin to fit together again?

Our INNER STRENGTH comes from the totality of our experiences – both the positive and the difficult must be embraced. Our struggles develop our inner strengths just as powerfully as our accomplishments, greatest moments, and sometimes even more so. We can find our strength within ourselves if we know it is there, and where to look. You have to let the fire inside you burn brighter than the fire around you and you will find your inner strength.

This calls for vulnerability and none of us seem to like that word! Being vulnerable means we are opening ourselves up to the possibility of being hurt, so to be vulnerable ‘feels’ weak. But this is where we are wrong, ladies!

Vulnerability is not weakness. Vulnerability requires strength and courage. Vulnerability is where change happens!

You have endured struggles over which you had NO control. Why not ‘choose’ to be vulnerable and show up for yourself, be IN control as you confront your fears and say, “NO MORE!” It doesn’t have to be comfortable in the moment, but with this courage, you will find your “inner strength” and from there, your “confidence” will flourish!

Don’t let your struggles be your side hustles, always fighting with yourself to determine your own self-worth.

  • Be Fearless
  • Be Daring
  • Be Vulnerable
  • Be Courageous

What’s your story? It’s time to get inside it, and own it, girl! Are you ready to be IN control, be courageous and vulnerable, confront your fears and watch your confidence grow? (This is where you yell, “HELL, YA!”) Let’s take the first step toward finding our inner strengths. We are going to kick our fears’ ass together! Let’s do this!

What is FEAR and how can fear diminish our confidence? There are many types of fear that limit us day-to-day, some of them we don’t recognize, or choose not to recognize in ourselves (because why the heck would we want to be vulnerable and do that, am I right?):

  • fear of judgment
  • fear of failure
  • fear of rejection
  • more specifically the fear of public speaking
  • and more

Do any of these fears resonate with you? Do you see any of these in yourself?

Outstanding influencers have voiced their thoughts about what fear is, the limitations fear places on us, and the results of these limitations.

Nelson Mandela declared:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Let’s look at the fear of judgment as an example. Fear of judgment has dramatically increased rates of social anxiety, led to a shocking number of women who avoid the gym or running in public, has had a paralyzing effect on many talented women (and men) who will not action their purpose/business/life goal or embrace their potential for fear of criticism, and has also led to increased debt ratios due to a “keep up with the Jones'” mentality. Perhaps you are affected by the fear of judgment in one of these ways or in another way.

Try these four strategies if you recognize the fear of judgment as limiting you:

  • Do you have the courage to say, “I am enough”? To holler it from the hilltops, “I AMMMM ENOOOUUUGGHH!” To write this affirmation on your mirror, make it your screen saver, place sticky notes around your home that you will see, set pop-up reminders on your phone.
  • Can you let your judgment go? Just catch yourself mid-judgment, and bravely intervene. Recognize your judgmental thought, your judgmental mindset, and choose to let it go. “I would so go to the gym if my ass wasn’t so…” AH! Caught you! Good-bye!
  • You think finding your inner strength might be a challenge, how about owning your inner critic? Bring – it – on! Your inner critic has you doubting yourself, questioning your self-worth, comparing yourself to others.

Guess what? No matter what you do or where you go, people will judge you. FACT! But, guess what else? Those who judge others are too busy judging others and doing nothing themselves out of fear. So why do you care what the critics have to say? Are you going to let them be your reason for not being vulnerable, courageous, daring, fucking awesome and living a life with meaning and purpose? (This is where you yell, “HELL NO!”)

Be like Nelson Mandela! That man was the real deal! He had tenacity and grit! He was fearless! He showed courage and triumphed over fear despite being afraid! You can too!

That is some daring shit! But… keep in mind:

“The fears we don’t face become our limits.” – Robin Sharma

If we allow FEAR to control us, and we do not have the courage to contain our fear – we allow it to limit us, our dreams, and our potential. We do not feel we are good enough. Do you see how fear can paralyze us? How the fears we choose not to face can become our greatest limits and defeat us?

Don’t let fear stand in your way!

Fear of failure is a fear many choose to never face, not only because confronting fears is undesirable but because most of us see failure as a huge negative – it is a big, bad direct reflection of our skills, value, worthiness and potential. Yuck! Unfortunately, by not staring the fear of failure straight in its ugly face, we are allowing it to control us, and keep us from progressing in life and from fulfilling our dreams.

Fear kills hope. It can hold you back from something you know you are capable of doing. Fear will paralyze you! But… what if we can change your perception of failure so that you embrace it, rather than fear it? Whoa… this is some daring shit right here!

  • Fear has us believe we are losers if we fail. Even successful people fail (Einstein, the lightbulb, blah blah blah, you’ve heard it a million times) The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is: successful people overcome fear, take further risks, and learn from their mistakes. They continue to grow, and you can too. You are not alone in your experience of fear of failure or your experience of failure.
  • You cannot predict the future. You cannot control the future. Don’t let the unpredictable stop you from trying. What if I fail? But… What if I succeed?
  • Failure leads to expertise! Have you ever wanted to be an expert at something? The best of the best? Instead of fearing failure, view potential failure as an opportunity to become an expert. Try one way, it doesn’t work? Try another way. It doesn’t work? Try two hundred other ways! Stop fearing it! Get out there and kick some ass!

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”

– Les Brown

“Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

Have the courage to be vulnerable and act on fear if you want to begin to find and build your inner strength so that you can increase your confidence!

If it were easy – everyone would do it! You have the courage! Be fearless, be daring, define your own path and choose you, girl!

Check out one of my favorite videos about overcoming fear.

Krista xo

Why Self-Care is NOT Selfish!

Does this sound familiar?

Hectic mornings, kids to school, work, workout, groceries, cook, clean, kids’ activities, spouses’ poker night, pay bills, crazy bedtime, phone calls, laundry, pack lunches, limited time with spouse, finally your bedtime… and REPEAT

WorkingMum_IS-e1362833917975You can switch it up a bit to suit your situation. The question remains: where is the “you” time? There just doesn’t seem to be any time left. We often fail to see how time for ourselves can fit into our daily routine. We are worth prioritizing, so we can be the best version of ourselves.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Do you see what others likely see: A vibrant, always-at-her-best supermom, wife extraordinaire, volunteer of the year, top career woman, the woman who can juggle it all? Or do you see a somewhat neglected, tired, unbalanced and lonely woman, in need of praise, time to pursue her passions, and time to just breathe?

We praise our kids for pooping, because we love them.  So why do we feel guilty asking for praise or praising ourselves for all of the things we do? Do we feel guilty loving ourselves? We deserve and need the same love, reassurance and nurturing that we provide children, to be the best version of our self.  Guilt should never accompany self-love.

What can we do?

We can still be super…moms, wives, volunteers, career women, and an incredible “juggler” who finds time for herself as well, so that we can be at our best emotionally and physically, feel like ourselves again.  We simply need to see that taking time for ourselves can fit into our regular routine, and realize that it needs to… We can’t give from an empty well!

When you hear the words “self-care” what comes to mind?

I’m too busy at work this month; the kids are just starting soccer and baseball season…good luck finding a spare minute for me; once I look after everything and everyone else in my life, I’ll take care of me! Do you think it would be selfish to put yourself before others?

Are you familiar with the adage, “Take care of yourself first or you will have nothing left to give others,”?  If so, why do you feel selfish or guilty putting yourself first?

Our behavior and emotions impact everyone around us, our children included. We might think that those around us: our children, friends, co-workers, and loved ones, are oblivious to how we really feel, if we “act” positive and relaxed.  How we feel, and our actions, affect them, even at a young age; they can feel our stress and our need for rest and rejuvenation.

If you need more convincing, think of it this way:

Your heart pumps blood to itself first, then it pumps blood out to the rest of your body.  This is how it keeps you alive. It serves itself first, then the other organs. It needs to take care of itself before it can take care of others, or you wouldn’t be alive.

You need to take care of you first.  Then, you can take care of others.

You deserve to take care of you. Those you care about, deserve it as well. You will be nourished, rejuvenated, the best version of yourself, and your well will be full and available to the important things and people in your life.

Love yourself.

Your Coach,

Krista

Self-Reflection: Dare to be the Ideal You!

We are half way through another year… Does it feel like it has flown by? Are you wondering where the time has gone?

Time itself, doesn’t slow down.

However, we must allow ourselves to:

  • reduce the rush
  • slow down in life
  • and, get to know ourselves better

or, we can become emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally frazzled.

To most, it feels like our society is fixated on a “go, go, go” mentality; a fast-paced environment that leaves little time for rest and introspection / self-reflection.

What is Self-Reflection?

Self-Reflection is:

  • a practical way to use a few minutes a day to work on yourself – even when busy
  • asking yourself thought-provoking questions to help develop a deeper level of understanding yourself
  • allows you to absorb, process and organize the information you take in all the time
  • emphasizes balance and mindfulness (active, open attention on the present), allowing you to have a clearer picture of your true desires; who you really are
  • remove inner roadblocks and release emotional tension and stress
  • promotes positive change, self-awareness
  • it allows you to become more proactive, than reactive

iceberg You often do not have a clue why you are doing a certain thing and why you feel the way you feel.  The subconscious mind, which makes up 90% of your brain function, is on autopilot and can trigger certain behaviors in certain situations.  These triggered behaviors don’t necessarily lead to the desired outcome.

Self-Reflection helps with that!

Through self-reflection, you can:

  • change how you see yourself
  • how you feel about certain situations
  • how you act

“Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”                                            – Eleanor Roosevelt

The Benefits of Self-Reflection include:

  1. Keeping you focused on the bigger picture!
    • It is important to have a clear vision of where you see yourself in the future – write it down if you have to or create a vision board, to continuously remind yourself of what you intend to accomplish!
    • By keeping an overall goal in mind, your daily tasks become more meaningful and less frustrating
  2. Allowing you to define your own happiness!
    • Recognize the positive events and activities in your life, and apply these to future endeavors and goals
    • Ask yourself: When am I most happy? What am I most proud of and why? Who do I most enjoy spending time with?
  3. Preventing you from worrying about things out of your control!
    • Self-reflection allows you to direct your energy toward self-improvement, rather than trying to improve others, and change things you have no control over
    • Why worry about traffic jams, or those with odd opinions, when you can be improving yourself?
  4. Noticing negative patterns in your life!
    • Self-reflection enables you recognize negative patterns; understand how and why they have a damaging effect on your emotions; allow you to consider alternative approaches and alleviate the stressors.
    • ie: toxic relationship or work environment
  5. Increasing self-awareness for improved results!
    • With increased self-awareness, you are more likely to trust your gut when making decisions, and you will feel more confident in your choices!
    • You will have the courage to face fears and challenges, because you are confident in who you are!
    • You will be more aware of who YOU are, and what YOU truly want in life!

Other benefits include: developing better critical thinking skills, communication skills, social awareness, empathy, tolerance, creativity, emotional awareness, …

What is an immediate, short-term goal that you have right now?

Do you have a goal to spend more time with family, exercise more, start a new hobby (painting, ping pong, golf, paddle boarding, …)?

  • these goals could be unrealized (not met) because of lack of self-awareness
  • you need to know how to direct your behavior, in order to know how to pursue your goal
  • self-reflection helps you make progress on the goals that will improve the quality of your life

Self-Reflection Tools, Activities and Methods:

  1. Self-Reflective Journaling:

Self-reflective journaling is not about jotting down your days’ activities, but rather:

  • your thoughts, your perspective, your feelings, your actions, the feedback from your environment throughout the day
  • It is about becoming aware of your actions and behaviors, and the results of those actions and behaviors.
  • You will think about everything that happened throughout your day, and WRITE down (journal): why it happened, how you felt, why did you feel that way, how is that affiliated to your beliefs and values, …

The purpose of self-reflective journaling is:

  • to get things out of your head and clear your mind, allowing you to relax
  • allow you gain insights you may otherwise miss
  • useful problem-solving tool

Three ways to keep your self-reflective journal:

  1. Notebook – the best! (Your hand is connected directly to your brain and handwriting with no blinking lights, popups, distractions … is the best way to go!)
  2. App – on tablet, phone, laptop, etc (notepad or journaling software, even something as simple as Evernote)
  3. Private Blog – not the safest option

Some journal prompts to get you started.

2) Empathy Map

empathy mapAn Empathy Map helps you:

  • identify your needs
  • identify the disconnections between:
    • what you say
    • what you do
  • practice identification of your feelings/thoughts/attitudes
  • analyse yourself from a 3rd person perspective

Empathy Map activity 

3) Six Thinking Hats

Edward de Bono’s, The Six Thinking Hats, is a simple, effective method that helps to increase productivity, focus and mindfulness.   The main idea is that by “mentally” wearing and switching “hats”, you can easily focus and redirect thoughts, a meeting or a conversation. sixhats-1

This process allows you to look at situations and yourself from a different perspective.  It can also help you when practicing self-reflection by providing new insight.  It is also quite fun!

Are you going to wear a blue, white, yellow, black, red or green hat?

The Six Thinking Hats activity

4) Why? Why? Why?

Did you know that asking yourself “why” repeatedly, helps you get to the root of a problem by encouraging analytical flow?

Try it:

  • think of a situation: (I didn’t get the promotion, I rocked that presentation today, that hatrick I scored was unexpected, I failed the exam,…); OR a certain feeling: (I was distracted all day, I am in a bad mood, I am unusually upbeat today,…)
  • once you have a situation or feeling in mind, start asking yourself WHY
  • do it 5 or 10 times
  • you will gain new insight into yourself
    • ie: I was distracted all day
    • Why was I distracted all day?
      • maybe I was thinking about the kids activities tonight and the upcoming vacation and having to get immunizations and what to do if the dog gets sick again while we are gone
    • Why was I thinking about the kids activities tonight?
      • I may need to get someone to carpool Sally so I can pick up Joe…
      • Why? because there isn’t enough time between the two
      • (take steps to arrange this… why be distracted all day?)
    • Why was I thinking about the upcoming vacation?
      • I should be making packing lists and determing what we will be doing each day
      • Why? to ensure we have appropriate clothing for weather and in case we need to buy passes in advance
      • (set aside some time in your schedule to do this… avoid future distraction)
    • Why was I thinking about immunizations?
      • these need to be scheduled
      • (schedule them! avoid worrying about it any longer)
    • Why was I thinking about if the dog gets sick again?
      • I need a plan in place, or decide I can’t control this
      • Why? because it is causing me stress and really is out of my control
      • (decide to have a back up plan for the dog or let it go)

Another Why? Why? Why? exercise

5) Meditation

One of the best ways to connect with yourself, and observe your thoughts is the method of self-reflection, meditation.

meditation

Some great apps when first trying to discipline your mind with meditation are:

Headspace with Andy Puddicombe

Deepak Chopra Meditation Experience

Calm

6) Life Fulfilment Chart

This chart is a visual representation of 10 key areas of your life.  It allows you to self-reflect and determine how fulfilled or satisfied you are currently in each of the areas.  You will assess each area on a scale of 1-10. Then highlight certain areas in red and others in green, and ask yourself “why” for all 10 areas of life.

Life Fulfilment Chart

self reflection

Self-reflection can change the course of your life simply by better understanding who you are, and what you are.  It is all about YOU: your whys, your desires and what you want in life.

Self-reflection is about understanding, tolerance of self, increasing your capacity of love for yourself and others, becoming more aware, and noticing things about yourself and your past that may be contributing to current life patterns and emotional states – positive or negative.

Take time to self-reflect.  Dare to be the ideal you!

Krista