Karen Foyster | Life, Work & Small Business Coaching
Working with women running small businesses. Helping them to put life into their business. Be at your best in life and at work. Coaching to help you find your purpose and achieve your personal and professional potential.
If you want to do something – do you do it no matter what?
Some people have a laser focus.
What they are doing is what get’s done.
And other people have to fit around them.
Is that you?
Or do you put everyone else’s needs before your own?
Perhaps you decide you’d like to get fit, eat more healthily, give up alcohol, start a new hobby, get up at 5 a.m. to meditate every morning, change career, do a challenge or just do something differently.
You’re worried about rocking the boat.
You might disturb the equilibrium.
You think about how it will affect other people.
You’re bothered about what people will think.
You would need to put yourself at centre stage and you’re not used to that, you’re more used to being the support act.
So you talk yourself out of it or put it off until later.
Let’s think about why you might not do that thing and put your needs first.
Well, it let’s you off the hook to start with. You’ve got an excuse for not doing it.
It means you’ll have to explain yourself and say what you want – and you’re not used to that.
You’re worried that people will scoff.
So what can you do about it.
Make a start
Be singleminded about something you want to do and follow it through.
Start small if you want, or go mega!
It can be anything from setting aside some time every day to read a book, to planning a cycle challenge across a Continent or something in between.
Make a list of things that might get in your way and be ready to deal with them upfront so you don’t get derailed.
If you start to talk yourself out of it, ask yourself why.
Is it something you really want to do?
How important is it to you?
Are you doing it for yourself or someone else?
What difference will it make to you if you achieve it?
How will it make you feel?
What will happen if you don’t persist?
And how would that make you feel?
I can help you be more singleminded.
You can have 45 minutes of my time for free and we can talk through how you can achieve something for yourself.
You’ve decided that this is the week when you won’t let work take over, you’ll be organised, get to the end of your to do list, go to the gym, cook healthy food, not be grumpy when you get home from work. You want to feel more like your old self.
You get organised at the weekend. Early to bed Sunday evening. The week starts well.
But then it happens.
That feeling overtakes you. It’s all slipping through your fingers again; your head is ready to explode; you can’t think straight. It feels like you’re wading through concrete.
And it’s only Monday lunchtime.
I know that feeling and so do many of my clients.
You’ve probably tried to sort it out for yourself – bought self-help books and read copious magazine articles to try to snap out of it.
You might have found yourself googling
How to make life better
Hacks to improve your life
Stressed at work
Unhappy at work
What job should I do
Yes, me too! But none of that gave me the clarity I was looking for.
I looked at other people and wondered how they managed – and why I couldn’t. Everyone else looked like they were doing o.k.
I realise now that I probably looked like I’d got everything sorted. And you probably do too.
I was looking outside for the answer – for the magic solution.
But what I needed to do was to look to myself for the answer.
I spent the best part of a year trying to figure it out myself.
Things will be better when ……
Then I found someone to talk to about it. Someone who listened to me, didn’t judge, but also didn’t just tell me everything would be o.k.
If you’re feeling like a bit of elastic that lost it’s stretch;
Like you’re in a maze and you can’t find your way out;
or that you’re not living, but playing a bit part –
then get in touch to find out how coaching can help.
Coaching changed my life. It could change yours too.
Book a free introductory call here to find out more.
*There’s no right and wrong to the segments in your wheel. Everyone’s wheel will look different. But as an example your wheel segments might be something like : money, work, family, friends, relationship, health, travel, learning.
I’m an introvert so I live in my head a lot, with Derek, my inner critic.
Derek is like a broken record and I often have to turn the volume down.
Derek wants to keep me safe, not let me look foolish, embarrassed, get things wrong or be irresponsible.
It usually shows up when I’m planning to do something new or ‘dangerous’, when I might be pushing myself physically or doing something that’s outside of my comfort zone.
It tells me I’m too old, too slow, too quiet or that I’ll get it wrong or look stupid.
If I listened to Derek I’d probably never go out of the house or do anything new.
I can’t just ignore it and it’s no use arguing with it. So we regularly do a deal.
I listen to it, examine what it’s telling me (to see if there’s any evidence to support it), and then I put it away somewhere, or to the back of my mind. (That last bit is a bit tricky and takes a bit of practice).
We all have self doubt and an inner critic – some are harsher than others.
Our inner critic :
is a narrator telling a version of a story that’s based on instinct and emotion, not evidence.
is all about survival
knows all about our vulnerabilities and fear of failure
focuses on problems not solutions
sees things in black and white
takes inspiration from other critics in our life – now and in the past – even the well meaning ones
BUT your inner critic is not you!
(Which is why I’ve given my inner critic a name – although I’ve no idea why it’s called Derek)
So, how about you?
When does self-doubt show up for you in the shape of your inner critic?
How does it show up?
What do you criticise yourself for?
What is your inner critic saying?
Where has that story come from?
Is what the voice saying true?
Do you have any real evidence that it is true? All of it or just in part?
Have you been told that you’re quiet, low key, reserved, or that you need to speak out (or up) more?
Do you need to spend time alone to recharge your batteries?
Introverts recharge by spending time alone and lose energy when they’re around too many people for too long. (On the other hand – extroverts gain energy from other people – their energy is sapped when they spend too much time alone).
If you’re an introvert you probably don’t make a song and dance about things and don’t feel the need to make a lot of noise.
I’m an introvert – I’m not noisy, but I’m definitely not shy, and if I appear to sit back it’s probably because I’m listening and thinking things through.
And I get stuff done.
Management might not be at the top of the ‘place to be’ list for many introverts – but introverts can be really good Managers and are often natural leaders.
So, what does it mean if you are a Manager and an Introvert?
You’re a good listener – which can be a great asset as a Manager. You prefer listening to talking.
You’re probably not into small talk, chatting or gossip – this could appear a bit stand-offish – so make a conscious effort at some point every day to look up from what you’re doing, have a walk around the office, and have a chat.
You live in your head a lot and you can concentrate for long periods. But you sometimes zone out so much that you might respond blankly when someone interrupts you.
It can take you a few seconds to get out of your head and back into the world.
Be mindful how your concentration can look to others. Susan Cain author of Quiet calls it thinking about how to “arrange your face” – referring to the frowning and various facial expressions of the deep thinking introvert.
You prefer to think things through and like to take your time to make decisions.
You prefer one to one problem solving rather than throwing it open to everyone.
But make sure others don’t feel excluded from the decision making process. Colleagues won’t know what you’re thinking about or what stage of the thinking process you’re at – so be sure to involve and update others on where you’ve got to in your thinking. – even it it’s just to say “I’ll get back to you”
You’re not particularly interested in self-promotion.
But don’t forget that your team might be – and they might like your help with that – so remember to recognise and celebrate what goes well.
You prefer to meet colleagues one to one or in small groups. You find meeting with large groups of people exhausting.
Managing a team could be exhausting if you don’t get enough time to yourself to recharge your batteries. Think about how you manage your diary with high and low energy activities so you’re not wrung out at the end of the day.
If you’re working in open plan offices a lot then you’ll need some time to yourself during the day – go off for a walk on your own at lunchtime or find a place to escape too.
There will be times when you need to step outside of your comfort zone and jostle a bit for attention.
And if you want career progression for yourself then make sure not to get overlooked. Find ways to get noticed. Build some networks, get yourself out there.
On your own terms of course.
But above all “have the courage to speak softly” (Susan Cain again)
I’ve generalised from my own experience as an introvert and as a manager – there are different types of introverts – you can find out more about personality types here
For more information about introverts see Susan Cain’s book and the HBR article – The Power of the Introvert in Your Office
Or if you want to talk about your personality type at work you can book a free 45 minute introductory call with me here
When I was in my twenties I had a great job working for a multinational company. I enjoyed everything about the job. But, every time I was away from work on holiday I always felt my boss or colleagues would find me out.
I was convinced that while I was away they’d discover I couldn’t really do the job and I’d been faking it all this time.
Or, they’d find out I’d done something wrong with catastrophic consequences.
So much so that I dreaded going back after my holiday.
I would creep through the door on the first day back with my head down ready to be told I’d got the sack.
It never happened. They always seemed glad to see me.
When I look back, I’d got the job on my own merit.
I’d survived a tough interview and practical test and worked there for a few years.
I always had great feedback (apart from my poor filing habits – but that’s another story) and was promoted and given more responsibility.
Despite all that I still didn’t believe that I deserved to be there.
I felt I’d just been lucky – the other candidates couldn’t have been much good.
It was all a bit too good to be true.
Does this ring a bell with you?
Might you have imposter phenomenon?
Imposter phenomenon isn’t just feeling nervous about doing something new, going somewhere for the first time, or starting a new job.
Imposter phenomenon is when you don’t recognise what you’ve achieved; when you minimise your successes; focus on what you can’t do rather than what you can; when you don’t think you’re as good as other people seem to think you are; and worry that you are going to be found out.
I’m not sure where my own imposter phenomenon started and it still crops up every now and again.
But now I recognise it.
There are lots of ways to deal with Imposter Phenomenon.
One of the practical approaches that I’ve used with my coaching clients is The Confidence Wall which I heard about at a conference*.
Make a list of positive things – like your experience, qualifications, strengths, successes you’ve had, positive feedback you’ve received.
Each thing in your list becomes a brick in Your Confidence Wall.
Build Your Confidence Wall.
When Imposter Phenomenon rears it’s head, take a look at Your Confidence Wall and reaffirm the positives.
If you want some help in building Your Confidence Wall I’m offering you 45 minutes of my time for free.