Does your child lack confidence?

Kids display a lack of confidence in many ways. Stressing themselves out/panicking, going above and beyond what is necessary to prove one’s worth, requiring peer approval before taking action, overly-apologizing with soft voice and meek posture, and, of course, avoiding activities they would like to do. Some kids will even act overly confident to hide their doubts and fears. If you ask your kid to share their strengths and weaknesses, and they say “I’m awesome and a genius” and cannot claim any weaknesses, they are hiding a lack of confidence.

Sensitive kids seem to be born with a general lack of confidence, others seem to grow more self-conscious and fearful once puberty kicks in. Either way, it can be hard for parents to watch their kids hold themselves back, stress themselves out, and avoid doing things they would really enjoy. Parents, too, lack confidence in certain areas so watching kids struggle can often bring their own insecurities up the the surface.

According to the brilliant Russ Harris in my favorite book on the subject, The Confidence Gap, people lack confidence for the following five reasons:

  1. Excessive expectations
  2. Harsh self-judgement
  3. Preoccupation with fear
  4. Lack of experience
  5. Lack of skill

I was one of those sensitive kids who seemed to be born lacking confidence. At a very young age, I picked up the belief “I have to say everything perfectly” (#1). Avoidance seemed like a better option than stress so I simply didn’t speak until I was about 12 when my extroverted personality couldn’t take the silence any more. Then I just started beating myself up for all the mistakes I made while speaking (#2) and combined that with my generally fearful demeanor (#3). All this first hand experience helps me move clients past the first three obstacles easily until they feel ready to take action. 

We all lack confidence because we all lack experience and skill in some area. If your kid was born naturally athletic, and has spent many hours cultivating her athletic skills, she probably feels confident in this arena. But getting in front of the class to give an oral report might be an area she has yet to cultivate this confidence.

If you’d like to help your child, and yourself, with confidence, here are a few things to remember.

  1. We all lack confidence in some areas and have it in others. Kids like to know they are normal and it’s ok. Think about things that used to scare you (roller coasters, swimming lessons) but are no longer scary. Overcoming fears comes with time and experience.
  2. You do not need to FEEL confident, in order to ACT confident. This is one area where “fake it till you make it” can be very helpful. Watch this TED Talk about body posture for inspiration.
  3. Facing fears is a part of life and courage doesn’t feel good. But the more you feel the fear and do it any way, the easier it will get.
  4. Commit to having your own back. Promise yourself you will say encouraging things no matter what the result. Be your own cheerleader and reward yourself for taking risks.
  5. Recognize perfectionistic thinking. “If I don’t succeed, I’m a failure”, “If I’m not the best, I’m the worst” “Nobody likes me”. Look out for black & white thinking and start creating shades of gray. “I’ll be proud of myself for trying”, “A B- in a class I hate is a victory”, “I’m learning how to make friends with all kinds of people”.
  6. Make friends with fear. It’s going to be with you your whole life. Make room in your body for it. Learn to recognize what it feels like, looks like, sounds like. Allow it to coexist with you and your life will be a great adventure. You get to choose the relationship you want to have with it.
  7. Parents can use their child’s doubts and fears, as an opportunity to recognize their own. What area would you like to have more confidence in?  How would it change things for you? If you’d like to feel more confident in your parenting, try scheduling an appointment today. 

 

Are you overwhelmed by your calendar and to-do list?

If you feel tired just thinking about your schedule, email and to-do’s, try this Supermom life hack and “Close the Loop”

Do you like to think about things before taking action? When you get an email about a party, a request for donation or volunteering, do you give yourself time to think about it? When someone asks you a question you don’t know the answer to like, “What should we do for spring break this year?” what do you do?

Moms today are often the organizers for the family calendar. When we are asked a question that doesn’t have a clear yes or a clear no, it goes into our mental “think about it” file. The problem is, all these open loops and indecisions drain our energy. It takes energy to remember to get back to that person, do research or weigh the pros and cons. It’s an invisible energy leak that we don’t even realize drains us. If your email inbox is full of things you need to action on, you probably are guilty of keeping too many open loops.

Supermoms who want to accomplish a lot in a day, and still have energy at the end of it, close as many loops as possible. They have learned to book that dentist appointment 6 months from now, say yes or no to that evite (you can always change your mind), give a clear answer to volunteering or donating (they will always ask again). Making decisions clears our energy. When we “put it in the back of our mind”, it keeps us energetically tied to that person and that future event. Too many of these open loops and our energy resources get depleted.

Let’s say you need more information before you can make a decision, respond with “I will let you know by 3/1” and put that date on your calendar. Then pick a day and time to “research family camps” and put that action on your calendar and out of your mind. When you calendar your to-do’s, the only thing you need to remember is to check your calendar.

Your energy goes where your attention goes so if your attention is being pulled in 50 different directions, you will feel exhausted. As you learn to rely on your calendar and can trust yourself to follow through, you will increase your energy and accomplish more in a day.

Emilia felt busy and overwhelmed all the time. With two young children, a part time job, a dog, a house, and a husband who traveled, she could barely make it through the day. She knew there were highly productive people in the world who were WAY busier than she was and got a lot more accomplished. It bugged her knowing it was possible to do more with more energy, but she didn’t know how to do it.

Emilia stopped writing her to-do lists on paper and started putting them on her google calendar. Her calendar was synced with her phone and laptop so wherever she was she had access to her calendar. Whenever a question came up she couldn’t answer right then, she would put it on her calendar whatever the next action step was. “Ask Sophie if she wants to go to girl scout camp. If yes, fill out form. If no, recycle.” Some days she didn’t want to do what the calendar told her so she would just move it to another date or decide not to do it. It took getting used to, but she felt like a superstar with all she was able to accomplish and found herself able to say yes to more fun things.  

Remember to write “actionable steps” on your calendar: write email, call Mom, schedule appointment, research mortgage rates for 15 minutes, etc. If you just write “summer camp” or “dog” on your calendar it may be hard to remember what you planned to do. Any time you schedule “research” or “plan” or other internet related perusing, be sure to put a time limit on it. The internet will suck all your time and energy up like a black hole if we aren’t focused and clear on our goals.

Not sure what’s draining your energy?  Imagine you wake up every morning with a fully charged battery. Where does most of your energy go?  Are you at 10% before 10:00am?  Kids take a lot of our attention and therefore a lot of our energy, but see if you have any other “open loops” that need closing. Sometimes a negative relationship with a loved one can be a big energy drain but a 15 minute “close the loop” conversation will recharge you back to 100%. A job or commute you hate but feel trapped in can take up a lot of your personal energy. Cluttered rooms, a cluttered schedule and a cluttered mind are silent, secret energy drains. Making time to close these open loops will have tremendous payoffs in your energy.

Not sure where to start? Go to www.lifecoachingforparents.com/work-with-me and together we’ll create an action plan you can be motivated to tackle.

Want to shake things up?

Do Something Scary

Everything is going well in Anita’s* life. Her kids are happy and healthy and keeping her busy driving them from one activity to another. Her home, marriage and job are all stable and fine. Even her puppy has grown up, calmed down and is less demanding. She’s busy, content, but a little bored.

We need to create challenge in our lives because we are meant to constantly grow and expand. If we don’t create it in reality, our minds will create drama and fear to keep us interested and on edge. Before I found life coaching, I could walk down the street and imagine myself being robbed, kidnapped, raped, or other horrible scenarios happening. This was stressful and unproductive but it certainly kept me awake and alert in my life! Today it’s easy to find drama and fear by watching the news or reading a Facebook or Twitter feed. This keeps us from getting bored but it, too, is stressful and unproductive.

If you want to feel truly alive and purposeful in your life, don’t just think about scary things, DO something that scares you.
I was listening to a podcast of Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams beer talking about the difference between something being scary vs. something being dangerous. As a rock climber, Jim Koch was used to taking risks and facing fears. When people asked him about it, he would explain with all the safety measures in place, it’s not dangerous but it is scary. He used this same reasoning to leave his corporate job and start his own beer business. He wanted to do something scary, but not dangerous.

Perhaps having Trump as president is dangerous, but it isn’t scary because it’s not personal enough to you. Standing your ground with peace and unity with your argumentative relatives can be very scary, so learning to stay peaceful and open minded when others are not, might be an area where you can grow. Changing who you are and what you do is always a bit scary, but this is how we keep life exciting.

Think about things that are scary for YOU, but not dangerous. Sending your child to summer camp, trusting your teen to use snapchat wisely, or letting your 12 year old hangout downtown with friends, isn’t dangerous but it might be scary. When we do things that scare us, we grow and expand ourselves, making us feel a greater sense of mastery over our lives. When we THINK about scary things happening but avoid taking action, our lives shrink, making us feel more vulnerable and fearful.

Joining a direct selling company is scary, but not dangerous, and it would encourage you to grow and expand yourself, keeping life exciting. Joining a team for a sport you love to play, writing a book or selling art are all things that are scary, but allow for LOTS of growth, expansion and excitement. Have you thought about changing careers or going back to school? Owning your own business is the most lucrative form of therapy, making you face fears everyday. Taking a risk on yourself is super scary but makes you feel wide awake and excited about life.

How do you know if something is dangerous? Look at the “statistical probability” of something really bad happening. Texting while driving is dangerous, but not scary, so skip it all together. Teaching your teenager to drive on an uncrowded freeway on a sunny day with seat belts on, is scary, but statistically not dangerous. Letting your teenager drive on a two-lane road, in fog and pounding rain, with three friends in the car, increases the danger.  

My son wants to go to college in England. This scares me to death. What if he hates it and wants to come home? What if he loves it and never comes home? What if he gets sick and needs his Mommy? What if terrorists attack while he’s riding the Underground? It feels scarier than going to college closer to home, but it’s hard to pretend that it’s dangerous.
I spent so many years thinking about scary things happening instead of doing scary things. Now I’m hooked on DOING scary things, even if they seem silly to others but are important to me. Hiring people on elance felt scary to me, buying a real estate investment property was scary, but my life feels ridiculously fun and free because I believe I can create whatever I want.  What have you longed to do that you’ve been scared to? I’d love to know. Email Torie (at) LifeCoachingforParents (dot) com, or post it on my Facebook Page. Let’s face our fears together. If you want help overcoming your fears and taking a scary leap, sign up for a discovery life coaching session. 

 

 

*name has been changed to protect the restless 🙂

Staying optimistic in a negative world

After spending time at my vision board party last weekend, and the march for human rights this weekend, I am filled with positivity and optimism for the future. But just like anytime you feel really joyful and happy, that little doubt-filled, scary feeling shortly follows. As I was walking the streets with a crowd oozing with love and support for all people, I couldn’t help but think, “Why couldn’t we have done this sooner? Why didn’t I show my support before the election?”

Staying in positive emotions is hard for many of us. Brene Brown calls it “foreboding joy”, the immense love and joy we feel with our precious newborn baby, followed quickly by the fear that our baby could stop breathing and that love could be taken away at any moment. Happiness and love makes us feel vulnerable. Appreciating what we have and dreaming about a positive future makes us feel naive or ignorant. We worry about being blindsided by something bad happening. The fear of “getting the rug pulled out from underneath us” keeps us on alert. Instead of enjoying all the wonderful things we currently have, we “wait for the other shoe to drop” so we can at least say we saw it coming. Or, if you are like me, you go to feeling guilty for not doing enough.

But here’s the thing, foreboding joy DOES NOT WORK! Worrying about something does not keep it from happening. Feeling guilty does not motivate positive action. Getting mad at yourself or others only creates more anger and an avoidance of love and positivity.

Sometimes we use negative emotion to motivate like calling oneself fat and lazy to get ourselves to the gym. If you get stuck in negative emotion try asking yourself “What immediate action step can I take today?”  If you are angry about the steps our new President is taking, call a Senator, join an organization, or donate to support your cause. If you feel guilty, forgive yourself. If you are worried about your health, make a dr. appt. If there isn’t a clear action step to take, then it’s not helpful and it’s time to let it go.

Love casts out fear, but it also motivates you to take positive action. What motivated you to play with your adorable one year old? LOVE! What motivates our young athletes to sweat in a stinky gym and get beat up by their peers? Love of the game! What motivates us to throw cutely themed birthday parties for our toddlers who won’t even notice or remember? Love! Who would you rather hire to babysit your kids: A worried, stressed out perfectionist who feels guilty if she does something wrong, or a joyful, loving person who adores your cute kid?

Love gets you hired. Love draws other positive people to you like a magnet. When you raise the bar on how much joy you can tolerate in your life, country, and planet, it shows other people how to do the same. My clients and children need me to stay in joy and optimism, but not denial. I don’t watch the news or listen to our new president talk, because it’s not helpful or productive and it makes it too easy to fall into fear. I maintain a positive Facebook feed and surround myself with kids and uplifting adults. This optimistic state allows me to coach my clients, inspire my children, support organizations I believe in and create a vision of a positive future.  When I slip into “not doing enough” guilt, or fear and anger, I catch it and coach myself on it, so I don’t have to go into my bubble and hide. Listen to your body and let it show you what actions are healthy for you, and which are toxic. If all you can think is what you DON’T want, it’s time for a negativity detox.

If there are certain topics or people you can’t listen to or tolerate, or if you are stuck in negative emotion, it’s worth taking the time to “clean it up”. Our country is going through quite the evolution and we need as many carriers of “love and light” as we can get. Schedule a life coaching session with me today, www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me

This video helped me focus on creating a vision for our country I’d like to see. Someday, I’d like to see an advertisement like this for the United States. Enjoy!

Overcoming the fear of being your authentic self

Okay so I’m freaking out a little bit. Safeway just asked me to advertise my life coaching business on their shopping carts. Me? With my PHOTO!?!? Me? The girl who always sat in the back of the room and never raised her hand. The girl who HATED Halloween because people look at you (no matter what you wear, people still look, it’s a lose-lose!). I made sure I was never too smart or too dumb, too fast or too slow, too shy or too friendly. I found safety in blending in and I LIKED it that way.

But here’s the thing….staying small and invisible started to become boring. I became irritable, restless, itching for something new. We aren’t here to live a comfortable, easy life that looks the same as everyone else. We are here to GROW and growing requires us to overcome our fears, and I had a lot.

A friend of mine came to my “Talking to Kids about Sex” parent ed night last week. (The next Time for The Talk class starts Jan. 21, sign up with your kid today!). She had such a great time she told everyone she knew about it. As a naturally gregarious person with a career in sales, people can’t help but become enthusiastic whenever she talks. HOWEVER, as soon as she started talking about HER business, HER passion, she got quiet. She belongs to a travel club that she loves and wants to get more of her friends to join, but when I ask her about it, she deflects, “Oh, well, it’s just a hobby I do on the side.” I convinced her to give me her pitch me on joining her travel club and she stiffens up and switches to a more formal, less passionate presentation. I ask “Why did you tell more people about MY business this week than YOUR business? Her answer is simple, FEAR.-Do one thing every day that scares you.-

Fear of rejection. Fear of people thinking I’m pushy. Fear of people not liking me. Fear of being different. Fear of being seen for who you really are. When you are trying to be authentically you, you are going to separate yourself from the pack. We are social animals so this fear is natural, but rarely helpful. She could talk about my business because it wasn’t personal or important to her. Overcoming these fears gets easier the more you do it.

The first time I admitted that I “sorta, kinda, wanna be a life coach”, I started crying. I nearly had a panic attack writing my “about me” page on my website and could barely breathe the first few times I pushed “publish” on my blog. I’m so used to fear now it’s turned from a scary lion about to attack to an annoying house cat that pounces on your head once in awhile. When we do things that scare us, we don’t just accomplish our goal, we build a meta-skill that we can use every time fear shows up.

I no longer think putting my face on a shopping cart will endanger my life (I seriously believed it could). I’m sure someone will draw a mustache and boogers on my face but I think I can handle it now. I can’t say I will ever be able to shop with my face staring back at me from my cart, or even shop at that particular Safeway, but overcoming one fear at a time is enough for me.

The best books I have read about overcoming fear are…

Playing Big by Tara Mohr

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers