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  1. Steps to develop self-confidence when you are a new employee

    November 3, 2014 by Jenna

    When it comes to being new at any role, you can feel apprehensive and even a little bit overwhelmed with what you need to take in during the early days of training and development. You are also in a new environment with colleagues and associates to impress and that will naturally make you nervous. However, this isn’t an ongoing feeling and there are ways you can start building your self-confidence so that you can let yourself shine in the workplace.

    Jacqueline Smith from Forbes outlined ways to be more confident at work and I have chosen to outline nine key steps from this article below:

    Stay focused on you. “Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” – Paul Coelho. Remember why you are here and what it is you want to achieve and don’t let distractions get in the way of pursuing your goals.

    Identify your strengths and capitalise on them. Be aware of what your strengths are and try and utilise them in your role as much as you can. By driving your best qualities, you can feel a greater sense of accomplishment and it helps you maintain engagement and stay energised. Don’t be afraid to outline these strengths with your manager. That way they can extend opportunities that will be beneficial to those skill sets when they arise.

    Identify weaknesses, and work on them. With your strengths there are also weaknesses and it is important to be aware of what they are. At the same time, judging yourself harshly or wallowing in self-pity over mistakes will not help you overcome them. The purpose of identifying weaknesses is to discover ways to improve on issues for the future or avoid repeating bad habits and mistakes.

    Believe in yourself. How will others start believing in you and what you are capable of if you don’t believe in yourself? While this may sound like common sense, doubt will hold you back from taking risks and pursuing opportunities. Set yourself achievable targets, mentally motivate yourself to keep moving forward and don’t be afraid to sell your personal brand to those around you in the right light.

    Closely monitor your successes. Keep track of your daily accomplishments from a to-do list or in writing. It helps you keep track of what you are achieving on a daily basis and as you progress whether you feel you would like to take on more responsibilities. This is also advantageous when reviews take place by management or even once the probationary period is reached to present your written accomplishments.

    Seek encouragement from others. This doesn’t mean that you are trying to seek constant praise. Ask people you trust or management to evaluate you on what your strengths and weaknesses are. You can also ask for feedback and direction on projects to see if you are meeting or exceeding expectations.

    Challenge yourself. As a new employee you will not need to rush this process as you can attempt this over time with baby steps. Accomplishing new challenges can be a great way to boost your confidence. Find projects and assignments that give you an opportunity to use your strengths and projects that stretch you once you feel further established in the role. Don’t be afraid to also raise your hand if colleagues or management need assistance on tasks as it shows initiative.

    Be a role model of positive attitude. By showing a positive attitude you will see how positivity will spread within your working environment. This doesn’t mean you always need to be smiling and acting cheerful. It can also be your attitude when you approach a challenging task and showing resilience at times of change. You need to be wary of how you react to situations as it can affect the outcome of assignments and relationships with colleagues or management.

    Don’t let failure or setbacks take away your self-confidence. Great successors didn’t get to where they are today without failing their first attempts and sometimes second or third attempts. It can bruise our confidence a little bit when things don’t go according to plan. However, the worst thing to do about it is to shrink away, hoping it all blows over and say to yourself, ‘Well I’m never doing that again!’ Admit that you have failed at the time, assess the situation and brainstorm areas for improvement. Taking a step back to review things is sometimes the best way you can move forward.

    How do you set yourself up in a new role? What are some of the struggles that you had to face and how did you overcome them?


  2. Why we don’t do what we say we will do

    June 11, 2013 by Jenna

    Procrastination – that little voice in your head that tells you to do it later, or to re-schedule, or to cancel plans. What often seems like a harmless decision to put something aside or deal with it later could be holding you back from achieving you want to achieve now and into the future.

    It’s the reason you are late, the reason you aren’t prepared, the reason you are tired and the reason you make excuses. And I can only be honest about this because the ability to procrastinate exists within every single one of us, and we are all guilty of it.

    Does this sound familiar?

    Regardless of how many times we actually do procrastinate, I ask you to try and think of a time where making that decision to put something off or changing plans or being late has actually turned out to be of value in the long term? Are the consequences that eventuate really worth it?

    How much does it upset you to take the time to set up a meeting with someone only to have them cancel or re-schedule at the last minute? Well imagine how your manager or other members of our team feel when you don’t put in that effort for them.

    The definition of procrastination is simple – To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness.’

    There are different forms of procrastination, and an article that I found in Psychology Today describes three basic types of procrastinators below:

    • Arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
    • Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability.
    • Decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.

    I find that I can be guilty of the first two categories. I do get an adrenalin rush from last minute assignments and I am concerned with what others think of me, resulting in having a fear of appearing foolish or as a failure. This can result in me taking extra time then necessary to review my task or assignment because I want it to appear ‘perfect’ which is often a ridiculous objective.

    If procrastination often occurs within our minds, how can we talk ourselves into completing the task or doing what we say we will do as opposed to talking ourselves out of it? While we are creatures of habit, procrastination is something you create over time and is not something you are born with, so the ability to change is not impossible.

    I found a very interesting article on WikiHow that provides steps on how to improve your procrastination using self-talk. I tried to review it to see what applied most to my procrastinating faux pas and I chose the following:

    1) Focus on starting, rather than finishing – Forget for a minute about the finish line, just concentrate on giving your first step. Bring your focus from the future to what can be done right now. Starting — all by itself — is usually sufficient to build enough momentum to keep the ball rolling.

    2) Don’t place too much pressure on yourself – Perfectionism fuels procrastination. Overcome this mental block by simply giving yourself permission to be human. Allow yourself to be imperfect with the next small task. You can always refine your work later.

    3) Stop thinking about the way things ‘should’ be – You focus not on what is, but on what could have been. Misused ‘shoulds’ can elicit feelings of failure, depression and regret. The solution is not to focus on how you feel now, but on how good you will feel after you begin to take action.

    4) Break a long project down into short tasks – Dwelling on the size and difficulty of a looming task will overwhelm us, and thus promote procrastination. The trick is — with each step along the way — to focus solely on the next, achievable chunk of work. Ignore the big picture for a while and just tackle that next small task. Make sure you can easily visualise the outcome of your small task. Don’t write a book; write a page.

    By just starting the task I tend to find that the task is actually a lot less daunting than what I originally created in my mind. Not only that, but by actually getting started, I finish faster, resulting in better results for me, my team and my organisation. Just by getting started you can be recognised for having a more proactive approach to handling tasks. How are we expected to advance if you spend most of the time procrastinating?

    And last but not least, try and make taking on a difficult task enjoyable and fun. If your attitude is dread or lack of enthusiasm, most likely the result will be just what you have expected. Keep a positive mind to achieve positive results.

    How do you overcome procrastination? What keeps you motivated?

     


  3. Are you really THAT busy? What is your routine?

    April 15, 2013 by Jenna

    Do you ever find that the common reason behind many cancellations and postponed meetings is because people are too busy? In today’s world it is hard to find anyone who doesn’t have work commitments, family commitments, social commitments, bills to pay, side projects to run etc.

    Why is it when we all have the same hours in a day that only some of us are finding the balance that we need and others barely have the time to get anything done?

    Is it psychological? Is it poor time management skills?

    And what sacrifices are you making when you are too busy?

    We are all different when it comes to dealing with busy or stressful situations. Some of us thrive on the adrenalin rush of a short deadline and others require more preparation and may crumble under pressure.

    Know your limits

    There is also some of us, like myself, who have difficulty switching off and like to take on multiple projects at once, whether at work or in your personal time. But the best advice that I can give to this crowd is know your limits, because at the end of the day, if you are overworked and too busy, no one will be impressed by the amount of projects that you have on if you are unable to accomplish them because you have over-committed!

    Not sure what category you lie in? Well here are some common symptoms of those that are overworked and stressed:

    • Memory problems
    • Inability to concentrate
    • Poor judgment
    • Seeing only the negative
    • Anxious or racing thoughts
    • Constant worrying
    • Moodiness
    • Irritability or short temper
    • Feeling overwhelmed
    • Sense of loneliness and isolation
    • Nausea, dizziness
    • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
    • Frequent colds
    • Eating more or less
    • Sleeping too much or too little
    • Isolating yourself from others
    • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
    • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

    As individuals we need to be driven, we need goals and projects and challenges to keep us going. But we shouldn’t need to put ourselves in situations where we have ‘too much’ on our plates. And if it is too much, we need to say so. Admitting early on that you are not able to complete a task does not make you a failure, it allows you time to let management know what you are doing and it allows them to effectively delegate tasks amongst members of your team. Or you can even ask a team member to help, because working together as a team is important for development.

    Now I’m not saying that if you cut down on your workload that you won’t ever experience stress or feel overworked at some stage of your career. But if this is a daily habit then you have to consider the facts that it’s unhealthy for your physical being and your personal life.

    And if you keep using the line ‘I’m too busy’ as an excuse, it tends to fall in the same category as ‘my dog ate my homework’ when you were at school. Everyone is in the same boat and we are trying to make the time to see you, and they will only fall for that excuse so many times.

    Set a plan of attack

    A work routine can be like a fitness routine – We follow strong for the first few months then we can start to either lose motivation or we start to lose track of our initial goals. But at the same time a routine is so vital in order to achieve results! Especially when we are balancing multiple tasks, if we don’t set out the important/urgent tasks at the beginning of our day we will most likely get distracted and end up unprepared, disorganised and incomplete. In fact, we probably save ourselves more time setting out a plan for the day rather than entering our day worrying about everything we have to do and not having any sense of direction.

    Not only that but how can we expect to move up the corporate ladder or be trusted to manage tasks if we are unable to manage ourselves?

    So what goals have you set so far that you might have strayed away from this year? Do you think it may be time to re-evaluate these goals to find more of a work-life balance?




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