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strong confident woman

4 Practical Ways to Build More Self-Confidence for Women in Leadership – Part II

 

Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Christopher Robin

In my last post, we looked at the definition of self-confidence and why it’s so important for women looking to move forward in their careers. If you need more evidence of why confidence is imperative for women, we know that a lack of confidence in millennials can prevent them from  entering the workforce. And since they are now the biggest segment of the workforce, it should be in everyone’s interest to ensure these issues are addressed in companies through women’s leadership training through offering leadership development, mentoring and coaching opportunities for up-and-coming female leaders.

In this post, we’ll introduce four practical ways you can begin working on how to gain confidence, build inner strength and be free of that pesky voice that tells you you’re never good enough!

1. Write down the words of your Inner Bully

Now it’s also important to know the primary job of our Inner Bully. The job of our Inner Bully is to keep us safe. It wants to protect us by reminding us of our past failures and limitations so we won’t repeat the same actions that have caused us pain and humiliation in the past. But although it thinks it’s keeping us safe, it’s unaware of the damage it’s doing in the process, especially to our self-confidence. It’s like the operating system on a computer – it runs in the background so you can’t see it but it runs the entire thing.

 

woman working on herself

 

So how do we control the Inner Bully? We have to update our operating system.

The first step is to identify the voice of our Inner Bully. We are going to bring the Inner Bully into our conscious awareness so we can begin reshaping our beliefs into more positive ones. 

Take a moment now to think about your Inner Bully – what does it say to you? What are the words it uses? What is the dialogue? What are those limiting beliefs? 

Pick the main one, the one that is usually right there, and jot it down in your journal.   

2. Get in touch with your Inner Cheerleader

Now that we have identified the words of our Inner Bully, the next step is to replace those words with the words of our Inner Cheerleader.

Our Inner Cheerleader is the part of us that knows that we are good enough, we are smart enough, capable enough. It is the part of ourselves that is confident. Think about your best friends. Every time you are sad or not feeling particularly confident, you will probably call a close friend or family member and they will remind you of how wonderful you are. And you would do the same in return. What we have to learn to do is to do that same thing for ourselves especially when we notice the Inner Bully becoming loud.

So we are going to get in touch with our Inner Cheerleader as the second step to learning how to boost self-confidence. This exercise is a favorite with women who attend my workshops and keynotes because it helps them immediately connect to their power and authenticity.

To do that, I’m going to ask you to close your eyes for a moment. Bring to mind a peak experience from your past – a moment or a time in your life where you accomplished something big where you felt like you were at the top of the mountain. Really visualize that moment in time and bring it into your mind’s eye.

 

 

Think about the qualities you showed up with to reach that moment. Who were you being? What did it take to get there? Think about the qualities that got you there, and who you had to be to get there. What words come to mind?

 Open your eyes and write down the words that came to mind. What qualities did you exhibit to reach that moment? Write those down in your journal. Then turn those words into phrases or sentences. These phrases will begin to make up the dialogue of your Inner Cheerleader.

 3. Replace the Inner Bully with the Inner Cheerleader

Every time you notice your Inner Bully voice, you’re going to replace it with the words of your Inner Cheerleader from Step #2. I recommend starting out by first:

  • Keep a tally of every time you hear your Inner Bully getting loud.
  • Notice how many times a day it speaks to you.
  • In what situations or contexts does it tend to come up?
  • Do this for at least one week.

woman keeping the balance

 

In the second week, begin replacing the words of your Inner Bully with phrases you came up with from your Inner Cheerleader. You’re going to use this confidence building activity by practicing self-compassion and kindness with yourself. You’re going to talk to yourself like you talk to your best friend and it’s going to help you remember how amazing you truly are.

4. Practice Makes Perfect

As you continue to replace the words of your Inner Bully with the words of your Inner Cheerleader you’ll begin to notice the volume of your Inner Bully go down and you’ll be able to turn up the volume of your Inner Cheerleader. Over time the voice of your Inner Cheerleader will become a part of your inner Operating System. But in order for this to become truly a habit, you will need to practice to get good at noticing each time your Inner Bully rears its ugly head!

If you want further exercises to help you practice, check out the additional exercises I’ve developed featured in my book Leading Gracefully.Leading gracefully

With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world. Dalai Lama

 

What Results Can You Expect?

I usually recommend at least three to six months to begin noting a shift in your inner dialogue. Be patient and realize that it’s taken you a lifetime to develop an Inner Bully, so it will take some time to undo that programming. But if you approach these exercises with the same dedication and discipline required to lose weight, learn a new language, or develop any habit, you’ll begin to see changes over time. The goal is to eventually turn down the volume on your Inner Bully and turn up the volume on feeling more self-confident, have more self-esteem, and more inner trust.

 

happy woman walking

 

As you complete these exercises:

  1. What do you notice?
  2. Does your Inner Bully become less loud?
  3. Are you feeling more confident?

Leave your comments in the feed below and share how these tools worked for you!

The Importance of Sisterhood

Photo Credit: Margot Duane

Two weeks ago I had the honor and privilege of attending the WisdomWomen Visionary Gathering together with 150 women from around the world, held at one of the most beautiful and energetically powerful places in the world, The Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA. When I first heard about this weekend retreat, I knew it was somewhere I needed to be. Not only did it exceed my expectations, it reminded me of why sisterhood is so important for the advancement of women at this time and why we need so much more of it in our lives. As I continue to integrate the learning, the deep, meaningful conversations, and the beautiful connection to the Feminine and to Mother Earth, I wanted to share some of reflections with my readers and followers.

WisdomWomen was birthed at the Wisdom 2.0 conference back in 2013 by founder Michelle Stransky. Over 100 women attended an open discussion about what women need to be able to step into their leadership more fully and change the world. It was a moving discussion that led to the eventual creation of the WisdomWomen gathering that took place at Esalen.

The invitation for this gathering was clear—if you feel called to make an impact in the world, then join us to co-create a new reality together! With 200 women on the waiting list, clearly there was a need for this type of gathering, a sort of collective yearning amongst women to come together as a tribe, to support one another and connect with each other in a meaningful way. It was the same yearning I’ve felt for quite some time as an executive coach and trainer specializing in empowering women—women are aching to come together and make a difference in the world.

However, for many, the path to changing the world can sometimes feel like a very lonely one. And it’s not because there aren’t amazing women in the world doing some amazing things. There are a ton of them. It because changing the world often feels like a struggle, feel difficult, and often times keeps us isolated from others. It’s also not because there aren’t hundreds if not thousands of amazing women’s networks, associations and circles available to women. There are a ton of those too. There is something else that is holding women back from really dropping into a connective place with one another. It’s something that can be difficult to put a finger on, but nonetheless palpable.

As emotional beings, women take on far more than men in terms of self-doubt, self-criticism and other negative baggage. It begins with a small whisper and if left unchecked, can grow into a loud roar. Those saboteurs tell us lies like other women are better than me, and gosh, I don’t really have anything to offer. So we hold back from introducing ourselves to that woman or to that network of women. We hold ourselves back from expressing our gifts and our ideas. We hold back our greatness.

At the WisdomWomen though, it felt like most of us were able to break free from the barriers that hold us back, whether its our feelings of inadequacy, not being good enough, feeling left out, not supported, competitive or jealous. For myself and I suspect for many women at this gathering, those barriers slid away into the night sky as we came together to perform a ritual around the blazing fire, giving thanks to the four directions, North, South, East, West, and Father Sky and Mother Earth. As we honored our planet, we honored one another, because when we treat nature as a part of ourselves, we become whole again. We come back to the truth that resides within our hearts that we are all One, all connected, interdependent beings of Love. As we entered our sacred space and sat in circle with one another, connecting with our voices and hearts, it was clear that barriers weren’t invited. And for two whole days all of us were able to operate from a place of pure connection and love, and were given the gift of experiencing what it is like to be in pure Sisterhood.

From this place we came together to connect with each others visions for the world, what our hearts know is possible for our planet and for humanity, and we shared our projects and ideas for changing the world. We began to form relationships and connections that will lead to collaborations that are yet to be known. We shared our longing for the world and what we hope we can co-create as women leaders who feel responsible for the future of our planet. We bathed together in the therapeutic waters of Esalen and engaged in healing conversations. We came together in song and dance and expressed the truest parts of ourselves. Most importantly, we came together as Sisters celebrating one another.

Upon returning back into my real life, back to my husband and to my friends and family, I found myself more openhearted than usual. I felt freer to be my true self—more soft, more feminine, more loving. I was sweeter to my husband and in turn he responded with more affection and attention. I felt more creative, compelled to express myself through writing. I was able to drop down into my intuition and felt more connected to my inner sense of knowing. In turn, I was able to give more to my clients, to my friends and family and be more present with all of them. I felt renewed, energized and invigorated. In essence, I felt more ME.

This beautiful experience led me to me to realize the importance of Sisterhood and why it is so integral we come together to support one another during this time in women’s advancement. In our crazy 24/7-wired world we can get so wrapped up in the logistics of our lives, forgetting that which feeds and nurtures us. We forget the importance of slowing down, taking stock and taking care of ourselves. We forget the need to connect with our Sisters and fill up our cups with inspiration. It’s just so essential to who we are as women!! And we need more. We need more women in the world who are able to consistently vibrate from this higher state of being. When women are able to sustain this frequency, we are a force to be reckoned with. There is no mountain we cannot move. There is nothing we cannot manifest as we step into our feminine power. Absolutely nothing.

The challenge is finding ways to form supportive circles of women sans barriers, even when we aren’t in beautiful places like Esalen. What do you think is required to do that? How can we as women approach one another and be in community and connection from an authentic and honest place? I would love to hear your thoughts and reflections as we continue the learning together and continue holding this beautiful container for each other.