Tag: self confidence

What You Say To Yourself Really Matters

Self-talk has a major impact on who we are and also on who we become, whether the talk is good or bad.  What we say to ourselves has a lot to do with our self-esteem, our self-confidence.

This truth hit home for me recently when I had the horrible accident with my middle right finger, an experience which taught me a lot about my character.  See my blog of January 31, Drawing On Unknown Character Strengths.

Anyhow, to make a long story short, my finger was stuck in a garage door for about 20 minutes, putting my entire person under great duress. And all I could think when that door clamped down on my finger was how stupid I had been to use my hand to try to manually close the door. 

What a weakening thought, which made me feel useless and hopeless, and certain that I would lose my finger all for being stupid, but thankfully, the good self-talk overrode and pushed the menacing thoughts back. It was an accident, the part of me who knew we needed strength to overcome, pointed out and from there,  my confidence to survive the trauma with my finger intact rose greatly.

In our podcast, UIO: Your Confidence Inside Out Cheryl Grace stresses the importance of positive self-talk not only when in a pinch but also on an ongoing basis. To this end, she mentions encouraging herself daily with self-love while getting dressed. 

I love this idea and though I am not disciplined enough to employ this tool every day, there are plenty of days when positive self-talk makes the difference in a good day or a bad one. For example, the other day when I had to get through some work that had lots to do with numbers (a budget for UIO), the negative self-talk got in there first (while I was getting dressed) and reminded me that I was really quite bad at budgeting, thus it was going to be a really horrible day. Why didn’t I just put it off for yet another day or not bother at all.

And just as I was giving in to the chiding, it suddenly occurred to me that though budgeting is not my thing, I am actually not that bad at it and I am married to an accountant who is more than willing to help out with the spreadsheets, the bit I really don’t like.

With this self-talk, I felt myself perk up and as I headed to my desk, I looked forward to getting the task off my plate, a very different feeling to dreading a task. It is done, though the spreadsheet is still hanging. Never mind.

Also, in the podcast Your Confidence Inside Out, Cheryl points out the importance of not saying things to yourself that you would not say to a friend.  A great rule of thumb for self-talk indeed. If a friend had called me up and said my finger is stuck in a garage door, there is no way I would have called her stupid, even if I was thinking it. The point is the nurturer kicks in when it comes to being encouraging to others. This same nurturer needs to stay close to self at all times, on an ongoing basis, if you will.

So, the next time you get the urge to tell yourself how stupid you are or how unflattering you look, think again. And remember that your self-talk has the ability to inform your experience, your day, your life.

In UIO: On Personal Development, Robyn Spens points out the importance of not only believing that you are enough but telling yourself as often as you can.

This rule stands even when you are down. So instead of focusing on the downside, focus on the upside.  As for me, though I am still going through a slow healing process, the upside is that I have my finger, which rightly or wrongly is tied to my confidence to do a lot of things—one of them  is writing.

Thank goodness for positive self-talk. Check out our podcasts Your Confidence Inside Out and On Personal Development for more tips on the matter. Both podcasts are available wherever you listen to podcasts.

One Thing You Can Count on Facing in Life

With autumn in full force, we continue to highlight issues that play an important and sometimes forceful role in the lives of teen girls. Peer Pressure is our pick this week. Though a topic that lends itself to fresh content, it’s also one that has been unchangeable over the years.  To this end, I am republishing Six Ways to Handle Peer Pressure, all tips taken from UIO podcast.  So if you missed the blog last year, check it out now and for further tips, listen to UIO: Peer Pressure Inside Out where ever you listen to podcasts.  Happy listening and happy reading. 

The saying goes that only two things in life are certain—death and taxes. And the latter has become a rather grey area for some. Never mind. But here is the thing: the older I get the more I wonder if there is a third certainty that we all have to reckon with. Yep, you guessed it: peer pressure.

We all experience it throughout life. Ever since I can remember, I’ve known about it. Of course, as a child I might not have known its name or fully understood it, but when one of the kids of my youth encouraged me to hide underneath my great grandparents’ old house, though we had been warned of snakes and other dangers, I couldn’t resist the possibility of an adventure. Others had done it and lived to tell the tale. So did I but not without causing a lot of upset to a whole lot of people.

Fast forward, as a middle-aged woman (gulp) the pressure is still on daily, also known as keeping up with the Joneses, not something that I consciously engage in. While peer pressure can be far more elusive at this age, it’s there. For example, when considering strong encouragement from a peer on what outfit to wear for a celebrated occasion, for example, I find myself tempted to give in to what others are doing or to make comparisons that leave me feeling glum.

Make no mistake about it, I know all talk about grooming isn’t about peer pressure. I receive lots of handy advice with no pressure at all and have been known to give out some too, but when peers, people around us, pressure us to do things that make us uncomfortable that might have negative consequences mentally or physically, it is important to see it for what it is—peer pressure.

My examples are small things, don’t sweat them, but there are bigger ones that can be quite intense during the teen years such as pressure to stay out beyond a curfew, drink, smoke, cheat on an exam, get up to shenanigans online, engage in violence, have sex and so on.

Many of these big topics gain momentum in the name of youth or because they are billed as a rite of passage and/or because everybody else is doing it. And if given in to, the consequences can be life altering.

Thankfully, there’s plenty of wonderful advice out there to manage peer pressure. Hence, I have taken six top tips from UIO’s podcast series:

  • Keep self-confidence in tow – ‘Just like we put on coats and gloves when we go out into inclement weather, we need to put on self-confidence when we step out into the world.’

  • Show yourself some love and take care of yourself – ‘Your body serves you now. It really is your temple. Look after it.’

  • Don’t worry what everybody else is doing – ‘Try to avoid making comparisons, you are unique.’

  • Know yourself, what you really value and hang onto it – ‘The thing that you want to dull because you are not fitting in. That is your bit of uniqueness. Own it. It is your superpower.’

  • Dare to be different – ‘It takes a brave girl or woman to say wait a minute, I think I am worth more. I have infinite worth and value.’

  • Think about who you hang out with; who you choose to trust – ‘Those that matter won’t mind; those that mind won’t matter.’

All good stuff from the ladies of UIO. Now about that adventure; it was a hiding to nothing and hardly worth the admonishment I received from my father. As for bagging the right outfit for a special occasion, now is the time to dare to be different. Feeling less stressed already.

Planning for future you

Our latest podcast, On Personal Development, the last in our second series of UIO, the podcast for teen girls , got me reflecting upon my own personal journey thus far—the importance of gaining self-confidence and self-awareness early on in life, as well as finding role models.

And though I can’t pinpoint a place in time when suddenly I knew the importance of developing personally, I do remember how much I wanted to be a journalist as a teenager and what I did to get the show on the road, at least from a personal perspective. From reading the announcements at church as if reading the news on NBC to behaving like an investigative reporter when I truly had nothing to investigate, I took a rather naïve yet enthusiastic approach to pursuing my goals.

My family might recall that I always had a question for you no matter what the situation. How could they forget?

In my mind’s eye, all I had to do was hone my natural skills and for sure I would get whatever job I pursued. Peter Jennings, who dropped out of high school but still served as anchor of ABC World News Tonight from 1983 until his death in 2005, was doing so after all.

You see, though I was born in a different era, a different gender, a different race to Jennings, it never occurred to me that I might not have the same breaks, same opportunities that he had. And as it turned out I didn’t, but I did have the desire to pursue my dreams and the confidence to act. And while I didn’t end up on ABC, I have enjoyed some wonderful success as a journalist, a writer and now a podcaster but not without a challenge or two.

To this end, On Personal Development special guest Robyn Spens, a coach and rapid transformational therapist, points out that confidence is key, particularly when in an unfamiliar situation or facing challenges. Here, here to that.

I will never forget feeling as though I was going to drown during a re-branding project, which I was leading, as a major organisation’s interim communications director. And suddenly in a particularly confident moment, it hit me that I knew more than anyone else, even if I didn’t know everything. Thus, it was confidence that saw me through.

It really matters in developing one’s full potential, but it is not the only thing that matters. Robyn talks about the importance of nutrition and sleep, for example, something I am still getting my head around.

One thing that I have learned along the way is that personal development is for life, even if there are stages in life when some bits are more relevant than others. For example, when I first moved to New York, I knew very little about table etiquette. Sure, I knew the basics and had pretty good manners, but when I found myself at a posh event at Tavern On The Green, acting as publicist to the CEO of my organisation, things got really personal.

Since then, I have resorted to my investigative journalism skills. When in doubt find out. Check out On Personal Development for more hot tips from Robyn Spens.

The Power Of Self Talk

With the re-release of our first ever podcast, UIO: Your Confidence Inside Out with Cheryl Grace, I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of encouraging words and the impact they have on building self-confidence.  In the podcast, Cheryl points out the importance of positive self-talk.  Don’t say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a good friend, someone you respect.

Out with the ‘I can’t do anything right, I am a complete failure, I’m stupid and so in.’  And in with, ‘I can do this. I am good enough and so on.’ This is a truth that I have not always understood but upon reflection, negative self-talk definitely influenced my confidence, hence some of the decisions I made earlier in life.

For instance, when I was a teenager, I bought into the old saying sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.  In short, I didn’t get into many physical brawls, if any—not much of a fighter but almost always there was a war of words going on with another person or inside of my head, whether it had to do with not liking my looks or not thinking I was good at something like standardised testing.

On the latter, I now know it was believing in discouraging words of others and the negative self-talk that stood between me and my confidence to crack the tests.  Following the first low score I received on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT), I took a big hit in the area of self-esteem.

Until then I had been pretty evenly matched with those around me, those in my class, in literal arts subjects in particular. Admittedly, I started lagging behind others, mainly boys in Maths around fourth grade. That was the year of integration of the schools in the US, which is an entirely different story to be told another time but does have commonalities with this one, regarding encouraging and discouraging words. Know the power of both.

Anyhow, back to the PSAT, there was the smart boy, who most likely was a genius, who was miles ahead of everyone, who achieved an unbelievable score but I had not necessarily felt inferior to him or any of my other peers until the first low score came, which influenced my standing with teachers and peers, their outlook on my future.

Though I can’t remember a moment where I sort of shrank within, I remember vividly losing confidence, feeling less than others and going into over drive on negative self-talk. This denigration of myself combined with being told that I would need to dream smaller about college and university would haunt me for years to come.

For years as a writer, I didn’t have the confidence to believe in my views, even if they were rejected widely. Thus, I started hating constructive feedback and really didn’t grow as a writer until I started believing in myself again. This began with other wonderful writers and acquaintances propping me up and encouraging me to get on with it. I had a gift.  Then I started sharing my work and reminding myself all the time that I had a gift and even if big publishers didn’t see it, I would still write a novel or two, maybe even three.  We’ll see about that one.

Anyhow, the point is this:  don’t underestimate the power of encouraging words, not only from yourself but also from others.

Discouraging words can be a confidence buster whether from you or from others. Where you are in control, remember that negative self-talk is denigrating and limiting and positive self-talk is affirming and inspiring.  That is why affirmations are so powerful. Stay positive.

And when others speak negatively to you, don’t believe them.  Keep in mind that it is hurt people who tend to hurt others and during the teen years, life can be fast and furious. Sometimes it pays to stop, think and wait awhile before saying things to yourself that will not serve you or take on board the negative words of others.

As for that old saying about sticks and stones, don’t believe it!  Words are powerful and not only can they defend you, they can also offend. For more hot tips, check out UIO, the podcast for teen girls. 

What Dating Has To Do With Self-Discovery?

When we talk about dating, we often hear about either the romanticised version of it—finding a happily ever after—or the complexities—not finding a happily ever with all the pitfalls in trying too.

There must be a somewhere in between, right! And as I think back to my teen years and consider the insightful information from relationships counsellor Cat Williams in our latest podcast, UIO: On Dating Inside Out, I’ve had a lightbulb moment.

This middle ground must have to do with self-discovery. Great, you might tell yourself. I think I know a bit about me. Of course, you do. But here is the thing: anytime we venture into something new, there are oodles of opportunities for growth and in this growth, we often have revelations, that we might not have otherwise discovered.

And with these revelations, if you don’t like them, you can use the experience to change. And if you do like what you learn, use it to get even better.

Thinking back to my teen years, I had a few experiences that fit the bill. It took me only once to discover that I didn’t like the idea of someone believing he had the right to touch me because we were dating. At a basketball game, my boyfriend thought it would be a good idea to sit behind me, giving me little choice but to lean back on him and from there he proceeded to touch me completely inappropriately.

First of all, I felt humiliated and then mortified. I hadn’t had any physical closeness with him and had no intentions of doing so. Yet he assumed that he had the right to touch me. What gave him that idea? What does he think of me? Next, all I could think was if my mom and dad hear about this, there goes my cheerleading days and rightly so. Somehow, I wriggled out of the tortuous situation and broke off the relationship at the first opportunity, probably the next day. But what I didn’t do was tell him why I broke it off, at least I don’t remember telling him.

So, what did I learn? First, there was the bit about self-confidence. I didn’t have the confidence to speak out on the matter, then and there. This came as a shock to me because I had no problem speaking out at home. Next, I learned how important reputation was to me and still is. In addition, I learned about the importance of family. I felt that I had somehow violated a trust between me and my parents. And it suddenly dawned on me that I wanted to be a trustworthy person, not only with my parents but in general.

For years afterwards, I had a guilt about the experience with loads of questions. Why did I let it happen? Why didn’t I do something about it, then and there. Why did I think it was something I did that made him behave badly and so on? And later, as I was talking to an acquaintance who was in her teens about the experience, I recounted the positive lessons I had taken away, too. I remember how moving forward I escaped such situations by taking responsibility for where I sat and how I sat.

And I left school with my good name in-tact and with my family values in tow and a desire to go off to New York City someday. And I did with the lessons of confidence and much more close to my chest. Fast forward all these years later and I am still learning from the experience or re-learning, that is.

As Cat Williams points out in On Dating Inside Out, objectification has nothing to do with the person being objectified, nor does bullying. What has to do with you is how you handle it. It’s all about self-discovery. For more hot tips, check out the podcast on iTunes as well as Soundcloud or subscribe on this site to hear more about how to navigate dating for the best possible outcomes right in the space you are in. Oh and yeah, don’t forget to have fun. A lesson I stumbled upon, too.

Kicking the Comparison Habit

Today while with my personal trainer, Laura, I noticed a younger woman with her trainer lifting some pretty heavy looking weights. And suddenly I felt guilty for moaning about the seven kilogram (15 lb) weight I had used to do split squats, but the rush of emotion didn’t stop at guilt. It hurried to something else that can be even more of a confident buster than guilt. Yep, you guessed it—the comparison narrative.

“She is much younger than I am,” I said to Laura.

“We don’t do comparisons in here,” Laura replied on automatic pilot.

Only then did I realise that as confident as I can be about many things that I do, whether working out, writing, podcasting or even driving, I find myself falling into a comparison narrative, even if it is only with myself. I thought I had squashed this narrative years ago.

When I was a teenager, I remember entering the 100-yard dash race during a field day at school, favoured to win. Back then I was quite a flier and could out run just about any boy or girl my age or even a bit older. But when the whistle blew, I stalled. I didn’t have the confidence in my ability to win. I have never forgotten.

And now that I look back on it. I think it had to do with comparing myself to the other girls in my class. Those who were athletes were arguably competitive and rightly so. They were confident in their games, whatever that was. But I, who had only displayed my athletic ability at church picnics, at home and so on, compared myself to them and didn’t measure up. There went my high school, college and life interest in becoming an athlete.

And over the years, when the comparison narrative has cropped up, pushing me away from something, I have managed to put it in check, particularly to do with writing. It was only today that I realised that though it doesn’t rear its pushy head aggressively the way it used to, it turns up subtly and in the slightest way can knock my confidence.

So just remember teen girls, when you find yourself comparing yourself, your abilities to someone else, put it into perspective. There’s only one you and all you can do is be the best you can be. No one else can do that. That takes trusting in your abilities, whether that’s in academics, sports, drama, life. That takes confidence.

Wear it and wear it well, like you would protective gear for inclement weather, to paraphrase Cheryl Grace, guest on Episode 1: Your Confidence Inside Out. Listen on iTunes. As for me, so much for paying attention to others while training. It’s all about me next Tuesday. But don’t tell Laura. We wouldn’t want her comparing, now would we.

 

Six Ways To Handle Peer Pressure

The saying goes that only two things in life are certain—death and taxes. And the latter has become a rather grey area for some. Never mind. But here is the thing: the older I get the more I wonder if there is a third certainty that we all have to reckon with. Yep, you guessed it: peer pressure.

We all experience it throughout life. Ever since I can remember, I’ve known about it. Of course, as a child I might not have known its name or fully understood it, but when one of the kids of my youth encouraged me to hide underneath my great grandparents’ old house, though we had been warned of snakes and other dangers, I couldn’t resist the possibility of an adventure. Others had done it and lived to tell the tale. So did I but not without causing a lot of upset to a whole lot of people.

Fast forward, as a middle-aged woman (gulp) the pressure is still on daily, also known as keeping up with the Joneses, not something that I consciously engage in. While peer pressure can be far more elusive at this age, it’s there. For example, when considering strong encouragement from a peer on what outfit to wear for a celebrated occasion, for example, I find myself tempted to give in to what others are doing or to make comparisons that leave me feeling glum.

Make no mistake about it, I know all talk about grooming isn’t about peer pressure. I receive lots of handy advice with no pressure at all and have been known to give out some too, but when peers, people around us, pressure us to do things that make us uncomfortable that might have negative consequences mentally or physically, it is important to see it for what it is—peer pressure.

My examples are small things, don’t sweat them, but there are bigger ones that can be quite intense during the teen years such as pressure to stay out beyond a curfew, drink, smoke, cheat on an exam, get up to shenanigans online, engage in violence, have sex and so on.

Many of these big topics gain momentum in the name of youth or because they are billed as a rite of passage and/or because everybody else is doing it. And if given in to, the consequences can be life altering.

Thankfully, there’s plenty of wonderful advice out there to manage peer pressure. Hence, I have taken six top tips from UIO’s podcast series:

 

  • Keep self-confidence in tow – ‘Just like we put on coats and gloves when we go out into inclement weather, we need to put on self-confidence when we step out into the world.’

  • Show yourself some love and take care of yourself – ‘Your body serves you now. It really is your temple. Look after it.’

  • Don’t worry what everybody else is doing – ‘Try to avoid making comparisons, you are unique.’

  • Know yourself, what you really value and hang onto it – ‘The thing that you want to dull because you are not fitting in. That is your bit of uniqueness. Own it. It is your superpower.’

  • Dare to be different – ‘It takes a brave girl or woman to say wait a minute, I think I am worth more. I have infinite worth and value.’

  • Think about who you hang out with; who you choose to trust – ‘Those that matter won’t mind; those that mind won’t matter.’

All good stuff from the ladies of UIO. Now about that adventure; it was a hiding to nothing and hardly worth the admonishment I received from my father. As for bagging the right outfit for a special occasion, now is the time to dare to be different. Feeling less stressed already.

Recap of UIO Confidence Inside Out Week

Mid-week last week we kicked off our UIO marketing campaign and what a week it was, featuring inspiring quotes and a hot tip from Episode 1 UIO: Your Confidence Inside Out with Cheryl Grace. What a great opportunity it was to feature such a celebrated business woman.

We launched with lots of cheer from the cheer team of Dougherty Comprehensive High School, Albany, Ga, and proudly put one its very own, Zaria Davis, in the spotlight during the week.

Zaria Davis @ Homecoming

Finally, we joined a couple of key conversations online. From Priyanka Chopra’s conversation on being confident to the highlights of Miss Amazing’s pageant for girls and women with disabilities.

See our week in review @uiopodcast on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and join us in #tuningintogirls.  Oh and if you missed the podcast, it’s not to late to listen right here on our webpage or on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Soundcloud.  Just search UIO: You Inside Out podcast and tune in.

UIO Gets Dedicated Twitter Page

So many exciting things in the pipeline for UIO: You Inside Out, the new #podcastforteengirls. From the launch of ten episodes over the spring and summer to the unveiling of our first dedicated social media page on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, UIO is growing.

This week, we introduce UIO Twitter, user name @UIOPodcast, on which we look forward to joining important conversations to do with teenage girls and leading on some too.

Via our social media, we aim to celebrate what it means to be a teenage girl today while advocating and campaigning on their behalf. Thus, whether it’s to do with self confidence, values or peer pressure, we’ll be talking about it and listening, too.

In addition, we’ll highlight great inspirational quotes and hot tips from our special guests—women featured in the podcasts: Cheryl Grace, Judit Ressinka, Jenny Hawkins, Laura Miles, Joy Miller, Jane and Molly Goldberg, Jenny Garrett, Rachel Gardener, Helen Lewis and Natalie Savvides.

So join us, follow us, re-tweet our tweets. Message us directly @UIOPodcast or email UIO@sonjalewis.com. See you on Twitter.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for more UIO news.