Self- Growth, Realising your Potential and Building Confidence

Like all life you start your existence as a seed in fertile soil, full of potential that may, or may not, be realised

How do you know what you are capable of? What qualities do you possess that lie within you unnoticed and unfulfilled? How are you going to discover these hidden talents? How will these talents manifest in your life? What difference will they make to your quality of life?  How will they affect your confidence?

Seeds of Confidence

Like all life you start your existence as a seed in fertile soil, full of potential that may, or may not, be realised. It is only through life situations that you discover your talents and so grow in confidence. Some you are placed in by chance and others by design. That design can be your own or others.

By chance or design these situations shape you, drawing out skills, qualities and talents that drive you forward, see you grow and make a contribution to the world. Both play an important role in ensuring your growth and improving your confidence.

Growth by Design

It is in design that you take control of your growth. By placing yourself in the path of mentors, teachers and guides you are introduced to new things, made aware of previously unseen skills and encouraged and inspired to step out of your comfort zone and grow as an individual.

I am constantly seeking support from people who can teach me to grow my business, show me new skills to cultivate myself and ways in which to help others. Life is a never- ending classroom that can lead to on- going growth and development of that seed into something magnificent.

There is also self- directed growth. Learning does not need only come from outside of you. It can also come from within. Through exploring a subject you can get beyond text books, courses and external teaching and begin the process of innovation, integration and development. Your unique journey gives you a unique view on all of life. Will you bring that unique vision to life and share it with the world, your community or family? Would you walk the path less travelled and forge a way forward that creates something new for you as well as the world around you?  Can you purposefully step into the unknown and discover what lies in the void?

Growth by Chance

In amongst all of this design there is the chaos of chance. New and unexpected events, opportunities and learnings will come your way that contribute to your growth. Some of it will be painful, much of it exciting and inspiring. This is the nature of growth. Only by putting yourself in the charge of guides and stepping out and creating your place in the world will you grow and open yourself up to chance and chaos and the opportunity for growth, on- going development and fulfilment.

How will you know which direction to go? You can take the advice of other people who have experience in the areas you wish to develop.  You can also follow your Intuition.  What are you drawn to?  What do you get the sense you are inspired to do?  For years I have had a sense that I am drawn to help people discover their life- purpose.  At one time that looked like running a martial arts business.  I helped people with their self- confidence and trust in their own ability and intuition.  That has developed to include life coaching.

I never expected my previous career in science to come in any use once I walked away from biochemistry and neuroscience.  Now I am drawn to using that expertise in helping people with finding their life- purpose as well.  I am currently exploring meditation and seeing how that can be incorporated into movement.  Together they help combat stress, tension and encourage relaxation, self- expression and creativity.  These are all key elements in living your life- purpose.  The journey unfolds one step at a time and help and support comes in many guises, both internal and external.

Now, many of my clients are taking the steps towards living with greater fulfilment. By a combination of trusting their own intuition, creativity and resourcefulness they become empowered to follow their life- purpose and reach out for whatever help and support will get them there.  By living in- line with your life- purpose you ensure continual growth and fulfilment.  See yourself flourish and thrive in such a positive and empowering environment and grow from a seed into a beautiful, healthy and vibrant plant: strong in its foundations; fruitful in its creativity and; unique in its shape and expression.

Over to you

What is your experience of growth? How do you live your life- purpose?  How do you continue to grow?  I’d love to hear your comments and offer inspiration for people who are travelling a similar road.

Pass it on

If you know someone who would enjoy this blog and find it useful why not send them the link? I’d really appreciate it.  May be they will as well?  If you’d like to receive a direct link to the Potentiality Coaching monthly blog into your in- box, why not sign up here and receive a free e- course on Confidence as well?

 

Being in Your Own Skin


Do you feel comfortable in your own skin?

Do you feel comfortable in your own skin? Do you chase external validation and seek praise from others? Does your confidence sink or rise on whether you are accepted? Would you not speak your mind for fear of being ostracised?

The expression “being in my own skin” speaks to me of authenticity. I think there is a powerful force in human nature that challenges authenticity and that is the need for conformity.

Conformity

From an early age we conform to family values, patterns and behaviours so that we fit in and feel like we belong to our tribe, the group that raises us, protects us and nurtures us. We fit in to ensure that we are loved and looked after.

Later on we go to school and learn to conform to school rules and playground rules so that we have friends, feel safe and become an accepted member of the community. If we do not fit in with the majority, we find a minority to be with. If we cannot be accepted by some group or other we can feel lonely, ostracised and isolated.

This dynamic plays out into our working life as well. We try hard to conform, work long and hard hours to be accepted by the boss, manager and team. We seek acceptance from those we are surrounded by.

Throughout our lives it is an important dynamic. For all its benefits, there is one huge cost conformity may make us pay: the expression of our unique voice.

Your Unique Voice

In denying our true thoughts and feelings so that we can fit into some group or clique or other, we do not listen to ourself and do not take the time to understand our motivations, feelings and urges. We become a stranger to ourself and do not know what we believe and value at our very core. We feel lost in a crowd, alone at a party of friends unable to explain why we feel as we do when to the outside world we appear to have all we desire.

External conformity can lead to internal estrangement. When people reach a crisis point in their lives it is often a catalyst to looking inward and discovering what we truly think and believe. Much of the inner transformational work is understanding this process and finding your unique voice as part of that journey.

Suddenly, you come to an understanding as to your true self and feel happy expressing your deep thoughts regardless of the crowd. It becomes important to say what you think and feel rather than fit in with the crowd. For some it marks the beginning of a new career, hobby or even a new relationship. For many self- employed people, it is the drive of their unique voice that inspires them to step into the unknown and do what they love, confident in the knowledge that doing what brings them joy will bring with it the motivation, determination and love that will make it a success.

Some people will not like the change in you. Others will love it and many will accept it. At least they see the real you rather than a false image. At least you can express the real you too rather than hide behind a mask.

Comfortable in your own skin

The bottom line is that you feel comfortable in your own skin. A peace and certainty comes over you as well as a confidence. No amount of conformity will allow that. What little confidence and certainty conformity may bring is short lived because you are always measuring yourself against an ever- changing external benchmark. It is the difference between external validation which the conformed seeks and internal validation which the authentic seeker longs for. If you are happy within yourself then you can weather the storm of those that disagree and do not support you. When you are confident in your own skin, the line from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” rings true: “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two imposters just the same …….. You’ll be a man my son”. It is not a question of manhood for this applies to men and women, young and old. It is a quality of selfhood, the challenge to be all that you can be and fulfil you true potential.

Over to You

As ever I would love to hear from you and discover your experiences of becoming comfortable in your own skin.  Do you feel comfortable being yourself?  What is it like for you being on that journey?  Do you struggle feeling comfortable in your own skin?  Please share your experiences so that other people can gain motivation, consolation and inspiration from your words.  It might make all the difference in the world to someone you never meet and inspire them to take the step that makes them feel happy to be themselves.

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Embodied Confidence

What is embodied confidence?

Have you ever felt the confusion of not knowing how you feel about something? Do you sometimes feel blank when events happen?  When someone asks you how you feel, are you able to tell them?  Do you try to work it out in your head and draw a blank?  Do you experience strong feelings sometimes and find yourself unable to find the words to express them?

Have you ever felt the confusion of not knowing how you feel about something?

We are emotional creatures, capable of experiencing powerful emotions ranging from profound love to deep hatred and everything in between. Often however, we become cut off from these emotions and this can lead to us feeling numb, confused and disconnected from our self and others.  By reconnecting the relationship between mind and body, we are able to express the feelings the body experiences, name them, share them, acknowledge them and move forward in maturity and fulfilled living.  When we become competent at this process, we are moving into embodied confidence.  It allows the on- going process of dealing with things as they come up in our lives and managing them in a mature and constructive manner.

Mind- Body Connection

Your body is the instrument that interacts with the world and creates feelings that are interpreted by the mind. Either we allow these feelings to flow in healthy expression or they become bottled up and we express them in unhealthy and sometimes destructive ways.  It is these feelings that we embody and express through emotion either constructively or destructively.  Awareness of what is happening in the body allows us to develop and use a vocabulary over time that permits us to show compassion, empathy, understanding, patience, love, intimacy and honesty in an open and authentic way.  It also allows us to safely express our anger, disappointment, frustration and vulnerability.  To be confident and strong in oneself is to be so in mind and body, the two are inseparable and go hand in hand.

What is strength?

I was brought up in a way that discouraged boys and men to show their emotions. It was thought of as showing strength when you showed no emotion unless it was a mild happiness.  Strong emotion of any kind was frowned upon.  Perhaps you can relate to that?  Yet, it is well acknowledged now that it requires great strength to show your emotions and requires little personal investment to hide how you feel.  What is important is that you choose an appropriate time to share them and with the people it is appropriate to share them with.

In fact, the cost of smothering your emotions is vast. People tend to lack trust in those people that do not share their emotions, ranging from spouses and children to work colleagues at all levels.  Sharing your emotions engenders trust and is considered a powerful leadership quality whether you lead large teams at work or you are part of a small family team.  I am not suggesting regular bouts of tears or profound confessions, but rather an honest sharing of how you feel to the people that matter or would benefit from hearing about how you feel.  It is this honesty that engenders trust and requires a real self- awareness and inner strength to face that process.  It is a very different way of being from the 1950s man who cannot own up to being a little nervous about public speaking or showing how sad he feels at the death of a loved one.  Locking it away does not require strength.  It shows a fear of facing the pain and an unwillingness or inability to do so.  Fear is OK.  Not facing it is a disservice to you and the people that love and want to respect you.  The consequences to your health are also severe.  Stored up emotion can be the cause of many stress related illnesses such as stroke, cardio- vascular disease, anxiety and depression as well as cancer, IBS, many skin complaints, fibromyalgia and more.

How does embodied confidence feel?

Embodied confidence is a new way of being for many people. It is that awareness of one’s inner state in this moment that allows you to be mindful of how you feel and be able to manage it skilfully, compassionately and powerfully.  It will improve the quality of your relationship with yourself and others as well as your health and well- being.  For me, embodied practice helps to give me more confidence.  I am more aware of how I feel each moment and so I am better equipped to walk into situations with more confidence and not have to know every detail and be able to adapt when things change or require flexibility.  I am also better able to remain calm when before situations would have made me more anxious and stressed.  I am also more relaxed, less stressed and more at ease.

I am grateful to the many embodied confidence teachers I have had over the years and proud to be able to share it for the benefit of others in many ways including life coaching, meditation, Moving Meditation and martial arts all of which require some degree of embodied practice.

Over to you

Please share in the comments box below you experiences of living both aware and unaware of your feelings. How has this affected your embodied confidence?  What does it feel like?  How do you react?  What do you do to remain aware of your feelings and emotions?  What would you change in your life today to live with more awareness of your embodied confidence?

Pass it on

If you think this article would be of value to someone you know, why not pass it on? I would really appreciate it and so would they.  Also, you can find similar exercises and more in a free e- course on confidence available here (www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk).

How can I be authentic?

Use your authenticity to animate the masks you wear for roles you have in life

Authenticity is an essential part of confidence. If you’re going to be confident, then surely you want to be confidently your self, not some constructed mask you imagine you should be or others expect you to be? What is authentically you? How can you allow that to shine through and at the same time be professional, mother, father, partner, friend, colleague etc?

When I work with clients I notice they are at their most animated, powerful and confident when they are being their self. They speak about what they are passionate about in a way that expresses that passion. They use words, gestures, body positions and energy that uniquely expresses them. When you tap into that, it animates the mask of professional, father, daughter and partner with your own authentic energy and power.

Some people feel more comfortable hiding behind a mask that does not show their real self. I understand that.  To leave your self feeling vulnerable can be very threatening, particularly when life experience teaches you that vulnerability leads to pain, suffering and humiliation.  Some people think they have to be a particular way, fit into a mould because that is the way it should be done.  Perhaps it has always been done that way?  I understand that.  To break with tradition can be threatening, challenging and can lead to change.  Perhaps you don’t have the confidence to do it your way, so you play it safe using other people’s methods.

When I started teaching martial arts, I basically copied my teacher. I did the best to do it the way he did it.  It got good results, even though I felt a conflict inside that I had to be a certain way.  In time I have learned to modify the model, so that my authenticity shines through in the role that I play.  It is a choice.  John Grinder and Richard Bandler, the co- creators of NLP (Neuro- Linguistic Programming), studied the qualities of people with success and found a way to get people to embrace those qualities and at the same time be their authentic selves.  Learning from others is essential, yet you want to take the time to integrate the learning so that you can be you.

How do you access that power and potency?

This is what I have observed:

  1. Be honest. How you feel about something is powerfully authentic. Be mindful how you express those feelings. Needless expression that upsets others is not your best self. Find a way to express your experience of things that shows your human- ness. Your life is full of joy, pain, fear, moments of pride and so much more. Share that.
  2. Live passionately. Find the things that light you up inside. It doesn’t have to be about your career, it can be about any aspect of your life. Passion in one area leaks into all areas. And for those areas that you struggle to find passion in, try and find or create at least one aspect that allows you to feel and express your authentic passion. If that doesn’t work, let the passion from the other areas of your life flood in. That will help to get you through.
  3. Know thyself. This ancient aphorism has challenged people throughout time. Yet, if you can go through the process of getting to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie, you begin to accept your full self and develop a handle on your authenticity. Play to your strengths and work on developing the other areas of your character. Dr. Martin Seligman, a key researcher in Positive Psychology, speaks about working with your innate strengths as a way of developing happiness in your life.  All the other qualities you need to do your job well or be a great parent or partner, you want to nurture, along with your innate strengths.
  4. Be brave. It takes courage to be authentically you. To be visible and vulnerable can be a real challenge. Even to be honest with your self can be hard.       To do so in front of others can be tough. Yet, in my experience, people appreciate and respect you for your vulnerability because they know how brave you have been to be so authentic. The experience can be quite liberating as you step out from behind the false façade and show the truth.
  5. Practice. Like a sapling or a shoot, the first tentative steps in growth can leave you feeling weak and exposed. As you push through the process and continue to grow in this way, you grow in strength, confidence and belief that you have all the qualities required to live the life you want on your terms. Those qualities you don’t have and you require, you will learn your self or you will bring someone else in to do it for you. In that you become a leader.

So on the eve of this new year, please consider your authenticity and share it with the world. Humanity does not need a clone of another person, it needs you.  It wants you to be your greatest and fullest self so that you can contribute something magnificent and unique to the world.  You are doing it already (for more see The Little Signs of Greatness).  I invite you to embrace that and share in your greatest in 2017 and beyond.

Over to You

How do you show up? How are you authentic in the world?  Do you struggle with authenticity?  If there was one authentic act you would do this year, what would it be?  As ever, I would love to hear from you as you offer your experience, advice and thoughts on claiming and expressing your authenticity to create an on- line resource for people who are sharing the journey you are on.  If you know of anyone who would enjoy and benefit from this blog please pass it on.  You can also sign up to the Potentiality Coaching monthly newsletter to get news, views and ideas from the world of Potentiality Coaching.  You can also sign up for my new Confidence e- course which is free and full of exercises, resources and videos to help you do the work to grow in confidence.  You can sign up here.

Happy New Year!!!!!!