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Day 30: GET OUTSIDE (OF YOURSELF)

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When we started Confidence Boot Camp 30 days ago, it was hard to imagine that the last day would come so soon, and we would be both welcoming you to Day 30 and saying “thank you” for your participation and your engagement with us on this adventure.

In all honesty, this was an ambitious project for us to take on. Our core production team is just four people—Carol, Haley, Meagan, and myself (Merrilee). We have been planning this for a long time, but when it came right down to it, we realized that we are kind of newbies in this space. It’s been a crash course for us in writing and managing content, recording videos, working with audio, scheduling, editing, coordinating with our guest posters, and keeping everything flowing for all of you who have been following us. I’ve learned more about teamwork in working on this project this past month with these amazing women than in any other group project of my career. We each have a very different set of skills, and we had to lean on each other’s strengths to make it all come together.

But we made a commitment to you, and we were determined to keep it, and I am very grateful to Haley, Carol and Meagan for making this little dream of mine come alive. The group texts to coordinate each day’s post started about 8 pm each evening, 7 days a week, and sometimes continued to 11 pm. If we hit roadblocks, the most common response from the others on the team was, “I think I can figure it out.” For us, the journey of producing each of the episodes was as satisfying as the final product. We didn’t aim for studio-quality perfection, but more for authenticity, connection, and real-life tools that could genuinely be helpful to you.

Looking back, there are definitely things we might change. Sometimes we had to call it “good enough” in order to stay on schedule, but all in all, we’re pretty proud that we produced 30 episodes of Confidence Boot Camp in 30 days, and we hope it’s been a valuable experience for you, too.

We owe a special thanks to all of our guests who shared their time, expertise, and enthusiastic support for our project, and we hope it was a worthwhile investment for them, too. They brought diversity, wisdom, fun, and their own audiences to share in this journey, so we are deeply grateful for their willingness to help us.

And finally, congratulations to you, our loyal followers! We appreciate that you took the time every day to open the emails, watch our videos and read our posts. We hope you’ve benefited and built a repertoire of new skills and practices to sustain you for a lifetime of confidence. And we hope you’ll come back whenever you want to review and refresh, or find a little encouragement or inspiration.  

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AND NOW - THE FINALE: GET OUTSIDE (OF YOURSELF)

We can’t end Confidence Camp without the final episode: "Get Outside (of Yourself)". This topic has evolved over the past month, because we knew we wanted to write and produce something that expanded our focus beyond ourselves. All month, we’ve been encouraging you to look inside yourself, understand your fear and self-doubt, analyze, visualize, reflect, write, re-frame, tame, and practice. Today, we want you to look up and look out—for opportunities to support others, to practice gratitude, and to advocate for change.

We don’t need research to know that helping others gives us a personal return on that investment: We usually feel better about ourselves. Feeling better about ourselves puts us “above the line”, which is the secret garden of confidence. So today’s post is to remind us that working on ourselves includes both self-reflection and selflessness; navigating between what’s inside of us and what is outside of us keeps us balanced and whole. Too much attention in either place makes us lop-sided.

We’ve identified four simple practices that are just a few ways you can “get outside of yourself”:

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Hold the light up for someone else
Every time we learn something new, the best way to ensure that it sticks is to share it or teach it to someone else. Somewhere in your life, someone said to you, “You can do it. I see you. I see your strengths, your talents, and your untapped potential.” They held a light up for you so you, too, could see what you may not have been willing or able to see before, and you took their words to heart, and at some point, started believing them, too. That’s one of the ways you came to be where you are today—with someone else holding the light up to your possibilities, and holding the space for you to shine.
 

 

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Now it’s your turn. Look around and see who needs your guidance, your mentoring, your encouragement, or your support. We have the chance to “pay it forward” every day, if we simply look around and see who needs it. It’s really easy to become consumed with our own lives, our own circles, and our own interests, but in the long run, being completely self-focused doesn’t serve us, and we really don’t grow.

Holding the light up for someone else requires us to expand our scope of awareness, and to literally “get outside” of our own self-interests. It doesn’t take much time, really, to tell someone genuinely, “You are really good at this. I can see your passion and you have a natural way of relating to people. I think you should keep it up.” (What was that, like 10 seconds?)

We all need encouragement, and we all need guidance. Share your wisdom and your experience. Make someone’s day.

Extend a hand: Provide 5-minute favors
As women, we have many opportunities to help each other build confidence, share resources, and lend each other a helping hand. Working together, we can move the needle more quickly toward a more equitable experience for all of us. But how do we help each other when we have so much on our individual plates already? Do you ever ask yourself, "How can I do one more thing?"

We learned about a technique that we love and want to share with you. It’s called “5-minute favors,” and it works like this: Anytime you can do something for someone else in 5 minutes or less, do it! Do it right now. Here are some examples:

  • Write an email introduction connecting two people who can help each other.
  • Send a note of thanks to a team member who put in some extra effort.
  • Share an article with a colleague after a discussion you had on the same topic.
  • Buy an extra coffee on your afternoon run and share it with your teammate in the next cubicle.
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It’s only 5 minutes (or even less) of your time, but the return you’ll get will be much more. You’ll stay on others’ radar, build your brand as a “connector”, and genuinely make other people’s lives easier. And, it’s fun to see what you can come up with every day.
 
Become an activist (or at least an advocate)
Changing the status of women in the world isn’t going to happen accidentally, and at the rate we are going now, it’s going to take about 100 years. That’s too long! But that's the prediction, unless we are all willing to become “activists”. Now, you may think of being an activist as someone who is marching with signs at a protest, getting arrested because you’ve chained yourself to a tree, or becoming a politician and debating on the floor of Congress. These are all some ways of being an activist, and they may or may not be your thing.

Being an activist simply means you are willing to take action, speak up, or express your position on an issue—to participate in the process of change. Activism can take many forms, and you can decide to be an “advocate” as well, being for things, instead of against things.

We need all of us to raise our voices together, to support and advocate for creating better experiences for women all over the world. Your actions can be very small, like expressing your concern about policies or practices that are discriminatory, or they can be much bigger. Think of yourself as an ambassador for change, and activism becomes easy. We simply carry the torch for all of us, together, by standing up, speaking up, and continuing our forward motion.
 
Practice gratitude
One of the best ways to get outside of yourself is to practice gratitude, and you can do it in so many different ways. You may have heard of Shawn Achor, who wrote, The Happiness Advantage, and has one of the most popular TED Talks on the web. Shawn shares the research they’ve conducted with thousands of people, which indicates that we can actually train our brain to scan the environment for positive things (You know--to stay "above the line") by practicing several simple things:

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  1. Start a daily gratitude practice. Each day for 30 days, write down three new things that you are grateful for. At first this will be easy, but as the month goes on, it can be more and more challenging. We have so many things to be grateful for, and by becoming aware of them, we are less likely to get caught up in our own fears, anxiety and negativity.
  2. Every day, send an email to someone expressing your appreciation for them, or for something they’ve done. You can send the note to a colleague, your boss, a team member, your partner, a family member, a friend—anyone. It takes less than 5 minutes (see 5-minute favors above), and you give someone else a boost, and you give yourself a boost. Who doesn’t need that?
  3. Journaling: At the end of each day, write down one positive thing that has happened in your life in the last 24 hours. This does two things: It allows your brain to re-live the positive moment, and it trains your brain to focus more on scanning for future positive events. Some people who don’t use a journal prefer write in their calendar, but if you’ve been working out with us at Confidence Boot Camp, you are certainly in the habit of journaling by now.

PRACTICE ASSIGNMENT

(We could never end without giving you a practice assignment.)

Today, we’ll ask you to choose one of the “practice gratitude” exercises described above, and do it every day for one week. Now that you have completed Confidence Boot Camp, you have a wide-open week to do this. Certainly, look for opportunities to do 5-minute favors, hold the light up for another person, or advocate for changes—big or small. But these opportunities come up at unpredictable times, and we need to be ready to respond when those chances present themselves.

But we can make an active practice of gratitude, because it doesn’t need opportunity. You just do it, every day. Your brain will thank you because it will really like looking for the good stuff in the world.


We’re grateful to you, Confidence Campers. We needed you every step of the way, and you showed up. All we can say now is thank you, from the bottom of our confident, happy hearts.

With lots of love from Carol, Meagan, Merrilee and Haley

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If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here


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Day 29: YOU ARE NOT YOUR THINGS

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Welcome to Day 29 of Confidence Boot Camp. Wow—this is the day before the last day! Are you ready to stand up on the Confidence Camp podium to collect your medal tomorrow? We are so impressed and proud of your commitment and endurance to hang in there with us for an entire month. Here’s the good news: Because you enrolled during this past month, you will have lifetime free access to all 30 episodes of The Villa’s 2017 Confidence Boot Camp, with all the videos and written posts and exercises. You can go back anytime you want to review and refresh your confidence-building skills.
 
Today’s topic is brought to us so eloquently by our dear friend and colleague, Maggy Faddoul. If you’ve ever met Maggy, you knew instantly—as we did--what an amazing treasure of a human being she is. Maggy lives in Montreal, Quebec, but she is originally from Lebanon. If you like music, you’ll love listening to Maggy speak. Her beautiful French accent is engaging and her message today will affirm the subject of our post, “You Are Not Your Things.”

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  In The Chemistry of Confidence, one of our lessons from the Spiritual domain is usually called, “Become less attached to material things,” and we talk about “unhooking” from the parts of our life in which we compare ourselves to other people and often have our Not Enough Button pushed. We all know about this button that sits right over our solar plexus—it twists when we believe we are not smart enough, not thin enough, not rich enough, not pretty enough, not funny enough…shall I go on?
 
Because the main reason we want “things” is because we believe they will make us happier or our lives will somehow be better—or at least as good—as the lives of the people around us. (Don’t worry—there’s no blame or condemnation here. It’s part of the way we were designed to make the social order work and keep us striving for improvement. But that’s for another day, ok?)
 
You see, once upon a time, we were all born. When we came into the world, our purpose was just to “be”--to exist. Our existence probably made someone happy, but the point was just to start somewhere, and the rest of the meaning and purpose stuff was ours to figure out later. But guess what? Our first stop was likely in The Land of Other People. (All aboard!)
 
Because humans are social animals, we most often live in and grow up in The Land of Other People, which consists of Other People’s Agendas, Other People’s Opinions, Other People’s Expectations, and Other People’s Needs. From that first day we opened our eyes and took our first breath, we started learning how to respond to Other People, and how we should live and work and play in this place. Because—bottom line—our survival depended on it.
 
I hope you’re following this, because I could make it longer, but it’s a pretty simple story. We don’t need to beat ourselves up for “wanting” things. It’s our nature. We have neurochemicals in our brain that do the happy dance when we acquire stuff, achieve stuff, or accomplish stuff. But the part that’s really important and has to do with being confident is related more to that Button we just described that makes us collect and feel connected to our “things” in order to feel Enough.
 
You are not your things. And your things do not, and will never, define who you are. It’s a big lie—a story we started believing as we grew up in The Land of Other People while we were trying to figure out how the world works.

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Here’s what’s kind of funny about this whole thing. I’m writing this post on a sunny afternoon, looking out the window as cars race by on a busy street. In the last hour, I’ve had these thoughts (among many others):
 
“I need to check my bank account balance.”
“I need to pick up some dog food and milk from the store on my way home.”
“I should definitely schedule an oil change for next week. Oh, and I need to get the rock chip repaired in my windshield before it gets cold.”
“I hope it’s warm this weekend so I can paint the deck.”
“I should follow up with my new customer to see about our invoice.”
 
(All this, right smack dab in the middle of a post about, “You are not your things.” What’s going on here?)
 
This is the human experience, my friends. We do live in The Land of Other People, and we need to know how to unhook from The Land on occasion, to remember who we really are. If you find yourself struggling to feel confident, ask yourself some simple questions:
 
What am I afraid of losing?
Who am I concerned will reject and abandon me?
What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen?
If the worst thing happens, how will I handle it?
 
Sometimes we’re not really afraid of the “thing” that could happen—losing face, embarrassment, looking foolish—but more afraid that we won’t be able to tolerate our own feelings about it. But most people don’t die from their feelings, and we have many natural resources available to us in these human systems to recover from negative feelings. (Namely: time. And all those Other People in the Land who actually love and care about you, and will be there to pick you up if you fall flat on your face.)
 

PRACTICE ASSIGNMENT

 
Your practice for today is designed to help you “unhook” from your Not Enough Button with a very simple exercise.

  1. Get your headphones on and turn down the lights in the room.
     
  2. Listen to Maggy’s recording in this post while you do nothing else. (I’m serious! No multitasking. Your email will still be there in 15 minutes, and the food picture your friend just posted on Instagram can wait.) You can watch the beautiful nature photographs while you listen, and thank Carol for her amazing gift of capturing them.
     
  3. Reflect on this question: “What is my bliss?”

 
That’s it. Just do that, and observe how you feel at the end. Unhooking from the Not Enough Button takes practice, just like all the other tools we’ve shared with you this month. If you liked today’s practice, do it again tomorrow. And the next day...and the next…and…
 
Sleep well, tonight, Campers! The celebration starts tomorrow. Thanks for joining us.


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 28: BREAK SOME RULES

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It’s Day 28, and time to “Break Some Rules!” Welcome back to Confidence Boot Camp. We are in the final few days of this exciting journey together, and it’s hard to believe we are going to be finished soon. But we will never really be finished, will we? When I was a young adult, I had a Nike poster of a woman running through a redwood forest, with the caption at the bottom, “There is no finish line.” This is the way I think about confidence, too. It’s not a race, and we’ve certainly emphasized that there is not a final landing zone of confidence. It’s a daily practice, and some days you’re on top of the mountain, and some days you are trying to find your way back to the trail.

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We’re especially excited about our topic today, “Break Some Rules”. When I was thinking about who might be the best expert on this topic, I instantly thought of Evelyn Espinal. Evelyn is a VP of HR in Supply Chain for Unilever in North, South, and Central Americas. You’ll see when you watch her in today’s video that she is passionate about challenging the status quo and finding ways to drive change in her organization. But Evelyn always has a methodology, and knows how to break rules that actually result in positive changes. Being “disruptive” requires that you have a pretty good idea where all the pieces will land, and you’re not just blowing things up to create chaos and confusion. We think you’ll love Evelyn and hope that you learn as much from her wisdom as we have.

What do we actually mean by “Break Some Rules”? Of course, you recognize that we’re not advocating for you to break laws, or do foolish things that put you or others in harm’s way. But if you look back through history, you’ll recognize that there are points in time where someone had to step out of the normal flow of life and say, “This isn’t working.” And if nobody listened or got involved, someone had to shout a little louder or do something that drew attention to the thing that needed to change.

Every time we have an election, I think about the suffragettes of the early 19th- and 20th- centuries in Britain and the U.S., who had to employ often extreme measures to gain support to secure the right to vote for women in each of these countries. When I have the lazy thought that my singular vote won’t really matter, I’m always grateful that someone posts a picture of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton on Facebook, reminding me that my apathy is arrogant, and someone came before me who worked hard, broke some rules, and gave me the right and the privilege to vote.

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But breaking the rules doesn’t always have to be for big causes or monumental change. You can learn to break rules to challenge your own assumptions, expand your repertoire of skills, learn some new ways of thinking, and gain some valuable insights. Breaking your own rules can be as simple as taking a new route to work, trying a new hairstyle, traveling to another country, or talking to a stranger whom you would normally ignore. Breaking rules means stepping out of your comfort zone to see if there is anything interesting out there, and testing the limits of your tolerance to see what you might be missing.

 Trying new things also lets you see how your neural paths have formed in your brain through learning and repetition (creating “rules”), and giving you the opportunity to see if there could be a better way. Try this exercise: Fold your arms across your chest as you normally would. Look down at your arms to see which one is on top and which one is folded under. Now undo the fold, and re-fold them so they are opposite what you normally do. Feels weird, doesn’t it?

(I am going to assume that if you’ve ever attended a conference or a workshop in which the primary topic was something to do with change, you’ve done this exercise, or some alternative form of it, before. Might be arm-folding, hand-folding, buttoning up/down, etc. The obvious message is that it’s really hard for humans to change, because change is uncomfortable.)

But I would like to venture a bet that while change can feel weird at first, it can also be kind of exciting and stimulating. That’s why breaking rules can also be fun and challenging, if we do it in a relatively safe and measured way.

If we identify what seems obvious now, rule-breaking requires some level of risk-taking, and people are very different when it comes to our individual risk tolerances. If you work with an investor, for example, he or she will usually start with having you complete a questionnaire that measures your financial risk tolerance. Your investor needs to know whether you are comfortable betting on riskier investments that may have a greater financial return (or a bigger loss, alternatively), or if you’re more comfortable with stable, slow-growth investments.

Do you see yourself as more risk-taking/rule-breaking, or more risk-averse and rule-conscious? The first question you might ask me, then, could be, “In what context do you mean?” Exactly. For example, I’m quite comfortable taking risks in getting up in front of groups and facilitating a workshop, but I’m not that adventurous with cooking or trying extremely exotic foods. My daughter-in-law loves to try new ways of teaching and challenging her first graders, but does not love to be in the spotlight on Back-to-School Night with their parents. We’re all different on different stages.

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A SHORT GUIDE TO TAKING RISKS

Whatever your risk tolerance is, here are some simple ways you can push the limits of your comfort zone (in somewhat comfortable ways) and experiment with breaking some rules:
 
1.  See your capabilities accurately
We’ve mentioned before that research tells us women often underestimate their abilities and want to be 100% certain or qualified before they’ll speak up or apply for a new position. Men, for the most part, are often more confident and over-estimate their capabilities. Get a realistic sense of both your capabilities and the situation by using The Frame, asking for Feedback from Trusted Advisors, and Gathering Evidence of Past Success. You have done many things successfully in the past, so you are probably more prepared than you think you are.
 
2.  Evaluate the risk:  Taking vs. not taking it
Breaking big “rules” or challenging policies or practices that are either institutionally or culturally ingrained can have a variety of consequences, so it’s very important that you anticipate the potential outcomes. Every risk you take comes with its own set of cost/benefit outcomes, so it’s important to be thoughtful and determine how you might handle worst-case scenarios. And having a backup plan is a good way to ensure that even worst cases are not potentially disastrous.
 
Here’s an example: Jean has been working as a community prevention educator for more than 10 years. She loves her job because it gives her a lot of autonomy, opportunity for creativity, and contact with children and adults at the “ground level”. She found out accidentally, however, that the new fresh-out-of-school colleague who came on six months ago is earning the same salary as she is. She has asked for a pay increase many times before, but she is always told the same thing: 1) We don’t have budget or 2) You would need to take on more administrative duties to be paid more.

Jean says the risk's outcome is not always clear to her. She understands the budget concerns of a non-profit organization, yet she knows what the new colleague is being paid. (She can’t reveal that she knows, however, because she learned it quite accidentally.) Once when she went to her boss to discuss a raise, she said she wanted to increase his attention to the inequity without threatening to leave. She brought him comparative salaries from other similar jobs in the field, and he said, “Let me know if you’re planning to leave, and then we’ll consider what to do then.”

While she was rather insulted by the insensitivity of his reaction and wanted to quit right then, she realized that the trade off of uncertainty (and his apparent lack of commitment to keeping her) was not worth the risk. She opted to stay and continue to enjoy the flexibility and creativity she was wanted, accepting the reality that she may be at the top of her pay grade in this non-profit job, and she is going to enjoy it until a better opportunity comes along. Are there other things Jean could do to break some rules or take bigger risks? Of course. But she decided not to this time.

3.  Start small by practicing doing easy things differently

Notice your daily routines and see where you can be “disruptive” in your own life, just to practice.

  • Always order vanilla ice cream? Choose chocolate this time, or even spumoni.
  • Do you usually opt for a beach vacation at an all-inclusive resort? That’s fine, but venture out into the local city to try some authentic cuisine or culture on one or two days of your trip.
  • Do you clock in at 8 and leave on the dot of 5 every day from your job? Consider negotiating with your supervisor coming in earlier or leaving later so you can take Wednesday afternoons off, just to get a little “me” time. Go to the movies, read your favorite book, catch up with your friends, or take up tennis.

You get the idea. Shake it up. Break up the routines of your life. Break your own rules.


PRACTICE EXERCISE

We’re going to make this really easy because you’ve been working so hard all month long. It’s just ONE THING.

Look ahead at your plans for the next three days, and find ONE THING you could do differently to challenge your own process, disrupt your routine, or break your own rules. Suggestions are of the magnitude described above in #3 - Start small.

Happy rule breaking! (We hear the glass shattering now.) See you tomorrow, Confident Campers.

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If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 27: DON'T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY

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Hello again Confidence Campers, and welcome back! We hope you are hanging in with us and are committed to make it to the end of Confidence Boot Camp, which is in only a few more days. If not, that’s okay, too. You can always go back and watch the episodes you missed and revisit them when you need a refresher course.

Today’s topic, “Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously”, fits into the Emotional domain in our Chemistry of Confidence. Not taking myself too seriously is something that I have to remind myself of daily. Fortunately, I really do believe that laughter is the best medicine, which is a good thing because I would be a basket case if I didn’t.

Our guest today is Peri Kinder, a woman we met not long ago in our own community. At first, Peri appears to be just like any other Business Development Coordinator for an incorporated suburb of a large-ish metropolitan city. Until she opens her mouth, and you see that this Business Development Coordinator for Cottonwood Heights City, Utah, is surprisingly hilarious, refreshing, and not one bit shy. Peri writes a blog called Life and Laughter, posts thought-provoking, life-altering Facebook queries, and writes a column published in local weekly newspapers. She is also the author of a book, Life and Laughter: A compilation of weekly humor columns by Peri Kinder.

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If you are like me, I often find myself loaded down with obligations, commitments and a long daily list of To Do’s, and I forget to laugh at the inevitable funny things that happen along the way. These funny things may be intentional or not. They might be embarrassing mistakes or clumsy gaffes, like when I fall off my flat shoes. (How do you fall off flats? I have no idea, but I do it all the time.) Not taking yourself or your situation too seriously can also be a literal lifesaver when life is just not going the way you want it to. Today was one of those days.

I had a lot on my mind as I was driving in my car this morning and obsessing about all the things I had to get done, and the mistakes I had already made. I had forgotten to do something important that was causing myself and my colleague extra work and stress, and I was feeling badly about it. As I exited the freeway, I stopped behind a truck that was waiting for the light to turn green, and noticed a homeless man on the side of the street holding a sign that said simply, “Hungry.”

I always feel conflicted in those situations. I have enormous empathy for people who struggle with homelessness, and I know that there are understandable reasons, such as mental illness, substance abuse and just plain bad luck. But in my city, like most cities, there are resources for people experiencing homelessness, and I worry that handing even a few bucks directly to a person pan-handling on the street will not really help, and may even make things worse for him or her in the long run. Regardless, it always gives me a moment of pause when I realize how fortunate I am, and that my problems are relatively insignificant compared to others.

As I sat in my car considering whether or not I should offer him money, the woman in the truck in front of me handed him something that caught my attention. I leaned forward and saw that it was two cellophane-wrapped bundles of cookies, all tied up beautifully with a brightly striped ribbon. The man smiled as he took the gift, and he looked at me and we smiled together, connecting over this kind gesture of humanity.

But that’s not really the point of this story, so stay with me. Now, I was even more curious about this woman and I continued driving behind her, noticing that the truck belonged to an insulation company. We came to the next light and I took the opportunity to pull up next to her, wanting to give her some kind of gesture of recognition--maybe a thumbs up--for her kindness toward the man. I don’t know what I expected, but when I finally saw the generous gift-giver driving the truck, all of my preconceived notions of what an insulation installer should look like went right out my window. She was a 20-ish young woman, heavily tattooed with bright colors, smoking a cigarette. She had her window down, and she was singing and dancing with two friends in the cab of the truck.

I instantly liked her even more, because she seemed so happy and she was playful, both with the homeless man and with me. Then, this wonderful moment happened: I’d had my radio on and, as I often do in the privacy of my car, was singing along to “Let It Be” by the Beatles. Suddenly, this carefree and friendly woman looked at me and recognized that I was singing the same song as they were. They started laughing and gesturing to me acknowledgment that we all knew we were listening and singing to the same song on the radio in our separate cars. When I realized what was going on, I rolled down my window, and we sang together, laughing and connecting in this perfect, serendipitous point in time when we were all stopped at a red light.

The light turned green and this happy, uninhibited lady turned right at the next street, and I continued on my journey home. My day had changed significantly. No longer was I bogged down by my To-Do List. Instead, I was present in the moment, enjoying that brief, but memorable connection with another human being whom I will probably never see again. Mostly, I was grateful for that unexpected playful experience. I needed it and I savored it, as I felt myself caught up in the spontaneity of those few seconds. It was a powerful recognition of joy and its profound ability to reframe my reality in a split second. I find myself still smiling every time I think of it.

Taking this concept a little deeper, let’s look at it from a “Life is not fair” mindset. Who among us has never had that thought? Life certainly is not fair to a homeless person, to someone who finds out he or she has a debilitating disease, or to people in Texas just living their lives when a hurricane decides to blow into town and decimate their homes. How is that in any way fair at all? It’s not, and yet it’s easy to believe that people get what they deserve, until it happens to us. Then we feel betrayed and undeserving of such devastating circumstances.

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Life is not fair. And yet, maybe it is, if you think about it rationally. Research suggests that those people who accept that life is fair, in spite of their circumstances or troubles, suffer less anxiety and depression than people who can’t accept their reality. 

Life happens. Therefore, it’s not whether or not life is fair, it is whether or not we can roll with it in healthy, purposeful and productive ways. We must allow ourselves, and others, to make mistakes, gaffes, blunders and faux pas, without judgment or derision, and hopefully, with humor. We must accept that bad things can happen to good people, including ourselves. Mostly, we must not allow these sometimes unavoidable traumas and wounds to get the best of us. It’s not easy, but it is absolutely possible. If we can work on seeing the humor in situations, no matter how painful or embarrassing, we will be better off. We can learn how to play again. (When did we adults forget how to play?) The happiest people make play just as important as eating and sleeping. If you don’t know how to play, just find some kids to watch. They can be crying one minute and happily playing the next.

WHY PLAY MATTERS

Jason Powers, MD., an addiction and family medicine physician in Austin, Texas, writes about the importance of playfulness in Psychology Today.

Dr. Powers asserts that playfulness forms the basis for a sense of humor that can even help people survive the most horrible of events, and illustrates this with an incredible story about a group of people who were trapped in one of the towers during the World Trade Center attack. The story goes that one survivor reported that this group was trying to escape, running down flight after flight of steps, not knowing if they had the strength to make it to the bottom. By the time they had reached the 11th floor, they were exhausted and many did not think they could go on. Then one woman suggested that they pretend it was New Year's Eve. Together they began a countdown with each flight of stairs and shouted out, “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” This “game” gave them the distraction and energy they needed. Encouraged by the levity, they all made it to the street and to safety. While it is hard to imagine being able to make a game out of such a traumatic and life-threatening situation, they did it, and the story illustrates the resiliency and human will for survival that is deep within our collective DNA.

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Positive psychology research tells us that playfulness, humor, joking, lighthearted bantering, wittiness, self-deprecation, and a thousand other happy behaviors are not just good for our sense of self but also essential for strengthening self-confidence and supporting our resolve and survival during tough times. While we all may know that laughing is good for our emotional well-being, science also informs us that laughing is actually good for our physical well-being, too. It relaxes our muscles, boosts our immune systems, releases endorphins, decreases stress hormones, and increases blood flow to our heart. Even so, as with every part of our complex human systems, we cannot be complacent when it comes to our own happiness. We have to work at it. Dr. Powers encourages us to include humor every day in our lives by:

  • Surrounding yourself with humor you enjoy
  • Learning to adopt a playful attitude
  • Laughing more often and more heartily
  • Telling jokes and funny stories
  • Playing with language puns and other verbal humor
  • Finding humor in everyday life
  • Taking yourself lightly - laughing at yourself
  • Finding humor in the midst of stress

PRACTICE EXERCISE

Now comes the fun part. As we do in our boot camp, it’s now time to take action (i.e., no pain no gain!). This is your homework for today:

  1.  Pay attention to situations as you go through your day that cause you to go “below the line”. It may be something someone said to you that annoyed or frustrated you, something you did that you were embarrassed by, or something that is happening in the world that is driving you crazy. When it happens, stop for a minute. Take a deep breathe, and find something about the situation that is humorous. Let yourself react to the humor spontaneously, keeping in mind that you must be kind to yourself and others.
  2. Do something every day that makes you laugh, whether it is watching funny YouTube videos, telling someone a joke or reading a funny book. Especially do this when you least feel like it. Once those powerful endorphins start flowing, you won’t have any choice but to feel better, and your mood just might change significantly.
  3. Get in touch with your playful side and do something you loved to do as a child. Play with your children, grandchildren or the kids next door. Play with your pets. Tune into your creative self by getting out the crayons or paint (adult coloring books are the thing right now) and let yourself go wild. Pick up that tennis racquet you haven’t held in years and bounce a ball against your garage door, go miniature golfing, get on a swing at the park and let yourself fly, play games. The list is endless.

 

Make happiness a priority, as much as you do other areas in your life. Your body will be glad. Your family will be glad. Your boss will be glad. Your dog will be glad. Most importantly, YOU will be...well, HAPPY! And definitely more confident.


See you tomorrow for another amazing day of Confidence Boot Camp. Thanks for joining us.

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If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Boot Camp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 26: GET FEEDBACK FROM YOUR TRUSTED ADVISORS

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Confidence Camp Rock Stars: Welcome to Day 26! This is quite the journey, right? We’re so glad you’re still with us. Maybe you’ve followed along diligently every day, or maybe you’ve completely given up, or somewhere in between. It’s all good! There’s plenty of time to work on confidence every day of our lives, because that’s how it works.

Today’s topic is called, "Get Feedback from Your Trusted Advisors”, and I feel especially privileged to share with you a conversation I had recently with two of my own trusted advisors, Sharon McLeod and Kerry Owen. I hope you’ll take the time to sit down at the virtual table with us to share in a discussion of how important it is to have people in our lives who know us, support us, and truly stand by us—no matter what.

I met both Sharon and Kerry in the same company about 10 years ago. They actually didn’t know each other at first, but somehow we all ended up in the same room together on several occasions. It was not long after that we, along with two other women, started brainstorming about creating a women’s leadership and career development program—by women, for women—and our Chocolate Villa model was born. The story is a little more complicated and more intriguing (Why did you name it Chocolate Villa?) than we have space for here, but worth the quick little side trip.

Kerry is now a Managing Partner, Strategic Facilitator and Executive Coach at vivid connections, a marketing and strategic consulting organization based in Toronto, Ontario. She was a working “mum” (as they say in Canada) with a husband and two young children, just starting her company at the same time we were launching Chocolate Villa in the fall of 2008. When I met Kerry, I was not only deeply impressed by her genuine warmth and creativity, but also by her keen ability to gracefully juggle the demands of parenting young children while pitching her new company to big name-brand companies in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area. I’m almost a local to know that.) Also, by the amazing depth of her dimples. In ten years, she’s not only grown her business and her youngsters to new heights, but she’s become a fearsome, match-playing tennis maven. Watch out.

Sharon is currently a Global Vice President of Dove Men+Care for Unilever. Though she makes her permanent home on The Farm outside of Toronto with her husband and two loving and adorable dogs, she also lives and works part time in New York City, and travels to many parts of the world, because that’s what you do when you have the word “global” in your title. Sharon is a marketing whiz as well as a savvy business woman, and has had her brush in the paint behind many successful brand campaigns. She’s a put-your-head-down, hard-working, bad-ass woman, and was chosen a few years ago to be one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. That said, she’s as warm-hearted, kind, generous and loving as my Aunt Louise was, a rare mix to be found in one person. She claims people have told her she’s intimidating, but I tell her, “Nice try.” We spend a lot of time laughing together.

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Together, the three of us are self-proclaimed geeks. When most women take their “girl trips”, they go to Las Vegas to shop, see dinner shows, or lounge by the pool sipping fruity drinks. Not us. We gather about once a year in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and meet for one day (complete with a prepared agenda) at Kerry’s office, and for another half day at Sharon’s farm. We talk about our lives, our careers, new projects and pursuits. We each bring something new we have learned recently to share with the others. We give each other feedback, challenge and feed each other’s crazy ideas, and try to shed new light on each other’s struggles. We love it. (See? Total Geeks.)

Wait. To be fair, you need to know that the annual Geek Retreat also includes a trip to the spa for a massage, a visit to a nail salon for a pedicure, wherein we select new polish colors for each other (Talk about taking risks!), dinner out with families at the Italian place, and an afternoon at The Farm, complete with kids, dogs, husbands, burnt hot dogs on the grill, and good times together.

It takes time to develop trusting relationships, whether they are personal or professional. In this case, for me, they are both, and I feel extremely grateful for that. Over the years, I’ve learned that there are many good reasons to have trusted advisors in your life, so I’ll list a few here for you, along with the ideas Kerry and Sharon have shared in the video. I got these from my own experience of having cherished advisors like these two women.

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WHY YOU NEED TRUSTED ADVISORS

  1. They see the parts of you that you may be unwilling or unable to see.
  2. They will be honest with you, even if it’s not what you want to hear.
  3. They will be there to help you whenever you ask. And sometimes when you haven’t asked yet.
  4. They will share their experience and wisdom, and they will ask you to share yours, too. And they will be genuinely interested in what you have to say.
  5. They will listen between the lines, and they will know when there is something else you’re not saying. They will ask.
  6. They will make you laugh and will let you cry, and either way it’s just fine.
  7. They will remind you that you are amazing because of who you are, and not because of what you do, or what your potential might be.
  8. If you make a big mistake, they will never let you believe they saw it coming. They’ll just pick you up and set you back on your feet and make you keep moving.
  9. They’ll respect your pace and not pressure you to run faster, jump higher or do anything more than you can do right now. There is no competition.
  10. They’ll make the experience you have together rich and enlightening, because the value for them is as high as it is for you.

 
 HOW TRUSTED ADVISORS BECOME TRUSTED
 
After our first self-hosted Chocolate Villa, we decided that part of the experience could include peer coaching, so we set up what we called “circular coaching” between the five of us. (A coaches B, who coaches C, who then coaches A, etc.) We worked hard to make this model work, and it did, in some ways. Ultimately, however, we ended up choosing each other as advisors on different areas of life, and we didn’t always stick to our original coaching assignments. And, as often happens, our core group changed: Some of the original women moved on and or moved away from Chocolate Villa, and Kerry, Sharon and I began to rely more and more on each other. Chocolate Villa went through its growing pains and evolved into Villa Leadership, Kerry’s business blossomed—but not without threats of its own—and Sharon stepped into new roles and new opportunities in her company and her personal life that challenged her previously-held beliefs about what she could do and from what location.

But through all of our changes, we continued to grow in our support for each other. Trust develops over time, and—as you’ll hear in the video—it’s a “feel” thing. It grows out of consistent care, commitment and willingness to show up for each other, to have each other’s backs, and to stand up for each other with encouragement, belief, and support for each other, no matter what.


PRACTICE ASSIGNMENT

  1. In your journal, write down the names of people who come to mind when you think of the term, “trusted advisor”. Next to each person’s name, write what you rely on that person’s expertise for, i.e., professional or career guidance, interpersonal relationship-building, financial advice, etc.
  2. Now think back to see if you can determine the point in time in which you felt that you could trust him/her. What was the circumstance? What, specifically, made you trust them?
  3. Finally, send a note (email or handwritten) to one of the people you’ve been writing about, thanking them for their position in your life as a trusted advisor. Tell them why you rely on their wisdom or expertise, and what you value in the relationship you have with them.

Trusted Advisor relationships grow stronger with time, as long as there is continued re-investment in the relationship. Sometimes people fulfill their TA roles in your life for a long time, and sometimes things change and people move on. It doesn’t mean they weren’t valued and trusted for the role they played in your life at that point in time, and we can be grateful.

Thanks for being with us for another day at Confidence Camp. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Cheers to you, Trusted Campers!

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If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 24: STRIKE A GOOD BALANCE

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Welcome to Day 24 of Confidence Boot Camp. It’s hard to believe we are in the home stretch of our month-long commitment to building core confidence and resilience. We’re happy that you’re still with us, and we hope that you’re finding this journey helpful.

Today our topic is called, “Strike a Good Balance”, and it actually fits into all the domains of The Chemistry of Confidence—physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual. We think you’ll see why by the time you reach today’s practice exercise.

There is a great deal written today about how to achieve “work/life balance”, how to be happier, and how to be more successful. Clearly, these are all areas that grab our attention, mostly because they seem so elusive. If we could actually achieve balance, happiness and success all at the time, who wouldn’t want that? Happiness is one of the most studied topics today in psychology, and seems to have been our human pursuit since the beginning of time.

But the questions most often asked are, “How do you define happiness?” “How do you define work/life balance?” and “How do you define success?” It appears that our answers may vary as widely as the number of people responding to the questions.

In our Villa Leadership programs, one of the exercise sequences we do is centered on each person developing her own definition of success, integrating three common areas of life. These areas are the “big buckets” of work/career, “tribe” (family, friends and community), and self. When we define success from the perspective of these three areas, it helps us design a career or life plan that actually balances all of our needs in these domains. Quite often, women tell us that doing this simple exercise gives them the ability to prioritize their decisions and allocate their energy in a more balanced way, and alleviates the anxiety and guilt they feel from believing they have to be a superwoman in all areas of life.

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Since the 1980’s, the study of happiness, optimism and positive psychology has exploded, and most of this work emphasizes helping people focus on what is going well in their lives, as opposed to what is wrong. Dr. Martin Seligman is considered to be a pioneer in the field of positive psychology, and published several books highlighting his research, including Learned Optimism, Authentic Happiness, and Flourish. He continues to do research, teach, write and speak on these topics, and has now influenced several generations of psychology professionals, educators, students and general populations around the world.

Another contemporary “happiness guru” is Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage. Achor’s research on happiness carries forward the groundwork laid by Seligman, and his premise is that happiness is essentially a daily practice, and not an endgame, as we are inclined to believe. He promotes the notion that you don’t become happy once you’re successful; you become successful once you’re happy. He also shares several practices that he claims have demonstrated increased levels of happiness, positive emotion, and optimism in large numbers of research participants from all walks of life.

“But what does all this have to do with confidence?” you may ask.

If you have been practicing with us every day, learning new skills, and trying some new approaches, you’ve probably discovered that our premise reflects the same notion we see in studies of happiness: Confidence—like happiness--is not simply an endgame or final destination. It is an everyday practice. Confidence gets stronger when we develop skill sets to manage emotions, see situations differently, find support, or recover from confidence shakes, rattles or quakes. Becoming confident is a journey with ups and downs, slips and slides. But the more you build your skills to know where that confident place in you lives, the better you’ll be able to pull it up when you need it, call on it when the situation demands, and lean on it when you feel the pangs of fear and self-doubt.

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Today, we want to share with you an approach that brings together many of the ideas that we’ve been working on throughout Confidence Camp, and connects the dots in such a way that you can see how all of these things work together to help you feel more confident, whole, and balanced.

Dr. Seligman’s work continued beyond his original studies from the 80’s and 90’s. As he studied groups of people in different parts of the world who seemed to be happy, he identified five elements, or characteristics that each of these groups of people had. The more they had of each of these factors, the happier they were. He broadened his study from simply “happiness” to calling it “well-being”, because he also discovered that the groups of people who had these five characteristics were also healthier and lived longer than people who had fewer of these factors present in their lives. Seligman first published these findings in his book, Flourish, in 2011.

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The PERMA Model

Seligman’s framework is commonly known as the PERMA model, because the 5 elements of well-being are represented in the acronym, “PERMA”. Below is a brief description of each of these elements, followed by a short list of our Confidence Camp topics you’ve already completed.

1.  Positive emotion: This is the ability to create positive emotion for yourself (like being “above the line”), no matter what the circumstances of your life may be. This includes having skills to feel good more of the time than not, approaching life with optimism and a positive outlook, and managing negative feelings in such a way that you limit their disruptions to your life.

  • Tame Your Lizard Brain
  • Journal Your Feelings
  • Live Above the Line
  • Use the Frame
  • Harness Positive Emotions
  • Find Your Rhythm
  • Hit the Reset Button

2.  Engagement: This is having activities, work or hobbies that are so engaging to you that when you are doing them, you experience a “flow” state, wherein you may lose track of time. During high engagement, you are “all in” or totally present with what you are doing, not worrying about the future or fretting about the past. Having time in our lives where we are highly engaged in this manner allows the brain to function optimally, and releases neurochemicals that heighten creativity and openness to learning.

  • Practice Mindfulness
  • Use Your Breath
  • Let Go of Control

3.  Relationships: Having positive relationships is another important element of well-being. As social creatures, having people in our lives who accept and encourage us is essential. These may be family members, partners, friends, colleagues, teachers or mentors—people who will support us and “have our back” no matter what. And we don’t have to have hundreds of people to get this benefit. If we have just one person who will stand by us and whom we can lean on for support, that’s enough.

  • Speak Assertively
  • Practice Vulnerability
  • Build Trusting Relationships

4.  Meaning: Having purpose or meaning in our work or other activities is another factor that builds well-being. As humans, we need to know that our existence in the social order matters, and that we can contribute and make a difference—even in small ways. Having meaningful work or life activities increases our sense of contribution, and helps us feel part of something bigger than ourselves.

  • Define Yourself
  • Use the 10/10/10 Rule
  • Step into the Mystery

 5.  Accomplishments: Setting and achieving goals, completing tasks, finishing projects, or reaching milestones fulfills the final part of the PERMA well-being model. We are designed to improve ourselves, and we are fueled by dopamine—a “feel-good” neurochemical when we are in pursuit of goals or on a path of self-improvement. Accomplishment gives us data to validate our purpose, and helps us recognize that we do matter, and are significant—to the people in our lives, to our companies or organizations, or to the good of mankind.

  • Build Your Expertise
  • Reach Your Most Challenging Goals
  • Do Something that Scares You
  • Gather Evidence of Past Success

Achieving “balance” in our lives can be tricky, because the nature of balance is that it is not a static condition (just like happiness or confidence are not), and requires continual adjustment, focus and re-prioritizing to find the sweet spot. We have to recognize that balance, just like confidence and happiness, requires us to make choices and develop skills that help us return to center when we get out of balance.

We like the PERMA model because it gives us a framework and criteria for measuring our well-being, and the more well-being we have, the more balance we will likely have as well.


PRACTICE ASSIGNMENT
 
Your assignment today is to do a brief self-assessment, using the tables below.

1. In the first table, “Flourishing at Work”, fill in the boxes of each corresponding PERMA category under “Where I get it now”. Your answers will reflect the sources of each of the categories.

  • For example, under “Relationships”, you might put, “great team” or “supportive supervisor”. Under “Accomplishment”, you might put, “promotion to Director” or “increased revenue by 30%”. Do the same for each category.

2.  Then complete the row below, “Where I need more,” filling in your ideas of where or how you could get more of what you need in that category.

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3.  Now, repeat the above steps for the table, “Flourishing Outside of Work”.

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4.  Finally, answer these questions:

  • Where am I getting my well-being needs met most consistently?
  • Where do I need to invest more attention and energy to get more of my well-being needs met?
  • What easy thing could I do first to get a “quick win”?

 

The ironic thing about trying to achieve balance is that if you try to do too much all at once, you will almost ensure that you’ll tip yourself way out of balance. Just choose one thing that you could do to get more of what you need in one category. What is the easiest, most straightforward action you could take today to fill just one of your boxes?

Do that. Today.
And we will see you tomorrow. Great work, Campers!


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 
 
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Day 23: HIT THE RESET BUTTON

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Hi everyone!  It is Day 23 of our Confidence Boot Camp, and we hope you are learning and practicing all of our great information and tips about increasing your confidence. Today, we are talking about how to “Hit the Reset Button”. Reset techniques are the coping skills that we need to have in our toolbox for the inevitable things that happen every day that cause us any kind stress. They come from the Physical realm of The Chemistry of Confidence

Yesterday, for example, I had a very busy work schedule that included writing this post for today’s Boot Camp session, editing photographs to go along with it, and seeing clients in my psychotherapy practice. The first thing I felt when I woke up was a little bit of panic. How, I wondered, would I get everything done in time? I was also feeling the beginning of a head cold coming on (which didn’t help), and my son asked me to help him out today as well. My stress level was beginning to skyrocket! I desperately wanted to go to the yoga class that I love on Friday mornings, but I wasn’t sure I should go with all I had on my plate that day. My lizard brain activated and whispered into my ear and said:

“You don’t have time to take care of yourself.”

“You’ll never get everything done if you go to yoga.”

“Don’t go to yoga!”  

Fortunately, I recognized that Murphy (my lizard’s name) had sensed I was stressed and, out of her genuine desire to help me, jumped in to save the day. “How kind of her,” I thought (admittedly with a tone of sarcasm). Except that her solution was not what I needed. I needed to do something that would help me cope with my stress, not make it worse.

I needed yoga, and so I told Murph that while I appreciated her, I was going a different direction. I went to yoga, and--guess what--it worked. I left my class calmer, more centered and confident, and managed to do everything I needed to do. This also prepared me for some unplanned and unexpected complications, which always happen. (Murphy’s Law?)

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There are many techniques and practices that you can use to reset yourself. I know that every day I need to exercise, eat healthy food AND eat a treat (chocolate anyone?), read good literature (social media doesn’t count), connect with the people I love, and, because I am an introvert, have alone time, even if for only 30 minutes. I have found if I do all of these things every day, I am a much happier and centered person. Also, in my repertoire of coping skills are other techniques that I can grab onto when and if I need them. I can do deep breathing if I’m anxious, grab my camera and go out the door and photograph, hike, do yoga, take a walk around the block, get into my hot tub, or have lunch with a friend. Any and all of these things significantly support my busy and often stressful life.

Here is how to develop your own set of reset techniques:  

  • First, it is important to understand your own daily energy levels. For example, are you a morning or night person? I am a morning person, and I know that if I don’t exercise first thing in the morning, it’s probably not going to happen. Also, consider that some days you will feel more energetic than others.
  • To ensure that your energy level is where you want it to be, there are some absolutes we all need, such as ensuring you are getting enough regular sleep. This is often the one important thing that we deprive ourselves of most, yet is really one of the most critical things we need every day.
  • Absolutely nourish your body with healthy food. Refer to Day 3: #donteatcrap
  • Get some kind of exercise every day. We know by now that the more we move our bodies, the more energy we have.
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PRACTICE ASSIGNMENT

There are many ways to make a plan for yourself.  Velvet, in her video suggests this:

  1. Open up your childhood “dream closet” where you have stored all of those wonderful, imaginative dreams you had as a child.
  2. Make a list of all of them, regardless of how impossible or daunting some of them may seem. Write them down on a piece of paper and tape it to your bathroom mirror so you can read them every day. Identify the ones that you need to do daily (e.g. exercise, eat healthy, listen to music) and those that you are future-oriented (e.g. go to Italy, learn to speak Spanish, go back to school).
  3. Begin the very next morning with at least one of those of the everyday dreams. As it becomes more comfortable as a daily practice, add another one, and then another one. As you find success with your daily goals, the larger dreams will seem more doable.
  4. Don’t be hard on yourself if there is a day when you can’t do all of them. Focus on those that you can, such as eating one healthy piece of fruit even when you’re on the run and making a pass through McDonald’s!

Why is this so important? There are too many reasons to count.  

But here are two:  1) As Velvet says in her video, it is important to have your own set of reset tools to “remind you that there are other things in your life than what you are dealing with in the moment”, and 2) It’s important because if we don’t have these tools we won’t go for our dreams. And if we don’t go for our dreams, life won’t be as much fun or interesting. 

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So, start now...today. Remember that as with anything new we decide to do, practice makes perfect. And, since perfect is not what we are shooting for, there is no possibility of failure. Your reset techniques are your practice...not anyone else’s. So be kind and gentle with yourself, and just keep trying. We think you’ll be glad you did.
 

 

Thanks for joining us today at our Confidence Boot Camp. See you tomorrow!
 


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Boot Camp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 22: Gather evidence of past success

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It’s Day 22 of Confidence Boot Camp, and we are still here with you every day, working out to build those confidence muscles, and we’re happy you’re still with us, too. We’ve got a great topic for you today, and a special guest who will demonstrate a very simple technique for boosting your confidence, especially when you’ve had a confidence shake or a below-the-line day.

Our topic today is “Gather Evidence of Past Success”, and it comes from the Cognitive/Psychological domain of The Chemistry of Confidence. We learned this technique specifically from our colleague and inspiritor, Stormy Sweitzer. Last year, we were conducting a Villa Leadership program in the UK, and in our discussions of building confidence, Stormy shared an exercise that has helped her considerably in her life.

A little background: We met Stormy some years ago and started working with her shortly thereafter. She is a self-described “socialpreneur,” and lives a life of curiosity, contribution, exploration and adventure. We recently featured her here on our blog in our Spotlights, and will soon be sharing her full story in Aluminaria. (To list her achievements, contributions, experiences and ventures in this post might crash our site, so you'll have to read the story.) One of the things we love about Stormy, however, is the way she can blend big, lofty ideas (she writes and speaks about “wonder”) with practical, down-to-earth, do-able approaches to make life better. When she shared her idea of the evidence log or journal, the women in the program quickly embraced the idea, and many report they have been using it consistently since last year.

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HOW TO KEEP AN EVIDENCE LOG

It’s quite simple: You keep a small notebook and designate it as your “evidence log”. Each day that you accomplish things that boost your confidence, take action to move you closer to your goals, have positive interactions with people, gain insights into yourself, or just have a good day for whatever reason, you record those experiences. These can become the building blocks of self-regard later on when you need them. When we’re feeling stuck or our confidence is rattled, it’s easy to forget that life has ebbs and flows, and it can be tough to remember how ecstatic you felt last month when you closed a big sale, when today all you did was deal with customer complaints.  

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Keeping an evidence log or journal allows us to maintain a more realistic view of ourselves over time. Research indicates that one of the challenges we frequently face as women is seeing our capabilities accurately, and then being able to talk about our accomplishments without feeling as if we are promoting ourselves. While the evidence log may not necessarily make us more comfortable with self-promotion, at least it can help us track the things that are working in our lives. Looking back over our successes can both help us see ourselves more clearly, and pump up our confidence to take on the next challenge.

CONNECTING THE DOTS

In his famous 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford University, Steve Jobs reminded the graduates to look backwards and “connect the dots” of their learning, and trust that whatever they pursue in the future will somehow connect back to the experiences of their past, whether they were positive or negative experiences. In other words, if we look back and see how our experiences have taught us and shaped us, we will be better equipped to leverage those experiences in the future. In order to measure progress, we have to look backward from whence we came. In our moments of fear, frustration, anxiety and uncertainty, we can easily forget that we already have a track record of good performance.

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We hope you will watch Stormy’s brief explanation of how she uses the evidence log, and then challenge yourself with some of the practice exercises outlined below.


PRACTICE EXERCISES

1.    Get a small journal that is separate from your other writing notebooks. It’s best if this journal is small and can travel with you in your bag. It needs to be visible to you—not stashed under a pile of papers on your desk or otherwise stored “safely” away.

2.    Start by thinking back over the last week of events you might call your “victories”—big or small. What did you do that made you feel capable, strong, confident, or happy? Record it in your journal. “Seed” the journal with two or three entries if you can.

3.    Commit to writing something down at least three times in the coming week. (If you can do it every day, it’s better, but don’t set yourself up for disappointment or accept your Lizard’s invitation that you can’t be consistent with any new habits.)

4.    At the end of the week, look back over your evidence log, and note how reviewing your successes makes you feel. Then record that in the journal—another success!

5.    If you really want to challenge yourself, try this exercise. It is a great way to reframe some of our past negative experiences into a positive light, and connect the dots for future success.

  • Start by selecting the first negative experience that comes to mind that you’ve had in your life. It could be a childhood experience or a more recent one. It doesn’t matter if the situation was in or out of your control.
  • For each experience, you follow this simple formula:

“Had I not _______________________ (negative experience),

I would not have __________________(positive experience)."


Here are some examples:

"Had I not been fired from my job for challenging the company’s policy, I would not have earned my law degree, and would not now be working in labor law advocating for employee rights."

"Had I not broken my ankle on the ski slope last winter, I would not have met my now-fiancé in the emergency department at the hospital."

"Had I not been raised in a family with very little money, I would not have learned to work hard and be financially independent."


If you gather evidence of your past successes, you’ll see more clearly how capable you are, and you can feel more confident in your own competence. And, as we discussed on Day 18: Define Yourself, you’ll be able to more easily talk about your accomplishments without feeling like you are bragging, because you have the evidence in your log to back you up.

Thank you, once again, for following our daily tips and tricks here at Confidence Camp. We’ll see you tomorrow!

Your loving Confidence Camp Crew

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If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 21: find your rhythm

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Welcome to Day 21 of The Villa’s Confidence Boot Camp. They say if you’ve been practicing new behaviors for 21 days straight, you begin to form a habit. If you’ve been following along with us in Confidence Camp and practicing the tools and techniques we’ve shared, we hope you are seeing some changes in your own thinking, feeling and actions. Has anyone else in your life noticed? It may be subtle, but even if you’ve been practicing just one thing, like Power Posing, for example, you are building your core confidence and resilience.
 
Today’s topic comes from the Physical Confidence domain, and is one of our favorite practices of the entire month. It’s called, “Find Your Rhythm”, and we aren’t just talking about learning new dance moves or metaphorically marching to a different drummer (although these are also good things to consider). Finding your own rhythm is about tuning into your own body rhythms, and learning some techniques to help you keep them working for you so you feel calm, in control, and ultimately, more confident.

A little background: We are essentially “poly-rhythmic” beings. Our hearts beat in rhythm, our breathing is rhythmic, we speak in cadences that vary by language or region, and we walk with our own individual rhythm. Many of our body-rhythm functions are indicators for us of changes in our stress response or exertion or reactions in other body systems. If we feel nervous, for instance, our heart rate increases, our breathing becomes shallower, and we may speak faster or have difficulty focusing our thoughts. Nervousness or anxiety is simply the body deploying needed resources to the systems that may support a fight or flight response, and taking them from less important functions (at least in that moment). Conversely, heart rate and respiration rates slow when we rest or sleep, allowing other systems in the body to do their repair and restoration work.

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ENTRAINMENT

But one of the things we may not always be aware of is that our body rhythms often “entrain” to other rhythms that are in our proximity. Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch mathematician and scientist from the 1600s, is credited with first describing the phenomenon of entrainment. If you place two pendulum clocks on the mantel side by side, after a very short period of time, the clocks will swing in cadence with each other. In this same way, we often “entrain” to other elements in our environments, whether we realize it or not.

For example, if you work in a fast-paced office with stress-inducing deadlines or demands, your internal rhythm is likely to entrain to the fast pace of the office. If your internal rhythm is naturally slower, you may go home at the end of the day feeling exhausted because your systems aligned with the environment, and drained your batteries faster (aka “a train wreck”). If you are naturally a more active, goal-focused person and you work in a quiet, slow-paced environment, your internal pendulum may get out of whack, and you wonder why you can’t feel excited or enthusiastic about a new project.

Everywhere we go, there is a rhythm, or a flow, to whatever is around us. Whenever I visit a new city, I like to take long walks and wander purposelessly, just to get a feel for the rhythm of the city and the culture. Entrainment to our environments isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless it causes us to feel unconsciously out of alignment and less in control of our thoughts, feelings and actions. And as we’ve learned previously, an important element of confidence is feeling more in control of ourselves and our experience.

HOW TO FIND YOUR RHYTHM

Today we have a special guest to teach us some techniques about managing our own internal rhythms. Gary Klein is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a private practice in Salt Lake City, Utah. Gary is also a drummer, and has taught many young students to play both hand drums and full sets. He uses rhythm approaches with many of his clients to help them with managing anxiety, depression, ADHD and other life-disrupting conditions.

In the video above, Gary explains how he uses drums or smartphone apps to help people manage their symptoms by tuning in to their own rhythms, and then using one of these tools to either increase or decrease the tempo. He also demonstrates the technique with Meagan, and you can see how it works.

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MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

This may sound like a testimonial, but I want to share with you my own personal experience with this technique from just a few weeks ago. Gary shares office space with us, and we’ve known each other a long time. (In fact, he’s my Best Guy Ever, if you must know.) One morning recently, I was in the office and had a lot to do, but very little focus or mental capacity to do it. You know when you have so many different things going on that it’s hard to practice mindfulness and do just the most important things? That was me on this particular day. I was going from one task to another without finishing the first, interrupting myself, and staring blankly when someone asked me a question. I was indecisive and misdirected, and I guess it was obvious to the others, but I didn’t have the wherewithal to realize that I was hanging upside down below the line with my Lizard holding on for dear life while having a hay day. (One of my Below-the-Line “Indicators” is that I become unfocused and indecisive. Duh.)
 
Gary took me by the elbow and sat me down in a nice comfy chair, turned on the metronome app on my smartphone, and increased the tempo until I said, “Right there.” He then turned it down about 10 beats per minute, turned the volume down so I could just barely hear it, and put it in my pocket. He told me to turn it down 10 BPMs every 10 minutes until I felt better.
 
If I was on a late-night infomercial trying to sell this technique, I could probably make the phones ring off the hook with my endorsement. I was stunned by the rapid response I had to the metronome. Within about 15 minutes, I felt calmer, I felt clearer about what I had to get done, and I became more decisive and directive. (“Bossy” might be the way my team members would describe it.) I ended up having a significantly more productive day than I had in a long time.

FREE IF YOU CALL NOW!

  ProMetronome  app

ProMetronome app

Actually, we’re not selling anything. You can get many free metronome apps wherever you get your apps. I use ProMetronome because I like the variety of instrument options and the big buttons that make it easy to use.

Gary also recommends a practice breathing app called My Calm Beat that uses animated lungs to help you train yourself to breathe more deeply in a paced rhythm. In just two or three minutes of training every day, you can quickly get better at “finding your rhythm”, and able to calm yourself.

 

 PRACTICE EXERCISE


1. Try a few of these exercises first to see if you can identify the various rhythms in your body:

  • Sit quietly in a chair, and tune into your breathing. Don’t alter it in any way; just pay attention to it. Observe the pace of inhaling/exhaling, how deep or shallow each breath is, and whether there is anything affecting it—thoughts, worries, stressors, etc.
  • Take your pulse with two fingers on your wrist or beside the carotid artery on either the right or left side of the front of your neck. Relax and pay attention until you find a consistent pulse. It’s not necessary to count; just tune in and see what your heart is doing.
  • Take a walk outside on a flat sidewalk or walkway. Walk at your normal pace, and swing your arms as you might normally do. Pay attention to your gait; if you have a shadow, watch your shadow to get an “observer” view. What is the rhythm of your gait?
  • Ask a friend or partner to walk with you. Intentionally walk together, with one of you mirroring the other’s gait. Then try to walk together while one of you intentionally disrupts the gait by walking faster, using shorter steps, or walking slowly. Notice what happens in your internal rhythm system in response to the misalignment.

 

2.  If you have a smartphone, download a metronome app, and try the exercise as Gary and Meagan demonstrated in the video. If you don’t get instant results, don’t give up! Try it once or twice a day for a few days. Experiment with different tones and different tempos to find what fits for you.
 
3.  Demonstrate the metronome practice to a friend, colleague or family member. (The best way to learn is to teach.) Then invite your friend to practice every day and share their experience and insights with you.
 
Practicing with the metronome or a breathing training app isn’t the only way to find and manage your rhythms, and it may not solve everything every time. Tuning into the rhythms around us and the rhythms inside us will, however, give us the edge when we need it, which may translate into yet another way to build that unshakeable confidence.
 
Thanks for staying with us today, and we can’t wait to share what’s in store for you tomorrow.

Cheers! Your Confidence Boot Camp Training Team

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If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!


Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 20: build trusting relationships

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Welcome to Day 20 of Confidence Boot Camp! This month is flying by and we are in our last week. We hope you are learning valuable tips and real life practices to support your confidence-building.


Today, we are asking a vitally important question to consider to strengthen confidence: How do we build trusting relationships?

The topic of trust is one of the most researched topics on the internet. Why is that? It may have something to do with our own experience of betrayal by someone we trusted. Whether the betrayal came from your most intimate relationship or a professional or casual relationship, trust is integral to building any successful relationship.

We all know this, and most of us agree with this. We also might intuitively understand that there is an unspoken agreement between ourselves and the people we trust, whether they are spouses, friends, doctors, therapists, or coworkers. The agreement is that they will protect our trust and treat us honestly and with respect. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

Relationships are fluid and humans are resilient. A silver lining is that trust violations can increase our own self- awareness that we, and others, have the capacity to hurt someone else,
which is also an opportunity for personal growth, such as in learning to forgive and compromise.
— Carol Storey

The reality is that all of us will undoubtedly feel betrayed by someone, or many people, at some point in our lives.  Conversely, it is important to accept that we also will betray other people, whether intentionally or not. Understandably, we want to avoid the emotional wounds that result from betrayal. However, it is unrealistic to believe we can create a life where we will never experience betrayal.  If we expect others--or ourselves--to never commit an act of betrayal, we may be setting ourselves up to be unwilling to take risks and engage in deep and meaningful relationships.


For example, we all know someone who has felt betrayed by their significant other that may have led to a breakup, estrangement or divorce. It's not unusual to hear that person then declare out of hurt, “I will never trust (insert type of person, i.e., men, women, attorneys, siblings, etc.) again. Well, that sounds like a lonely and isolating life.

Here are some words of advice to think about:
 
1. Get to know the other person as much as possible before deciding the level ofcommitment you are willing to give to him or her. 
This includes sharing with each other your values, beliefs, lifestyle preferences, dreams, and emotional needs. Sharing these important parts of ourselves requires vulnerability and, as such, it also takes time for us to be willing to show those vulnerabilities.

So what about first impressions? Can we trust them?

Research conducted by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov suggests that “all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face, and that longer exposures don’t significantly alter those impressions (although they might boost your confidence in your judgments).

To be honest, I’m a little taken aback by this finding. Does this mean that we can always trust our first impressions? I would venture to say no. I would encourage you to be aware that we do it, and wary of trusting it 100% of the time, for the reason that we might unconsciously make decisions based on those first impressions that may or may not be in our own best interest. So be aware of that tendency, and use it wisely.  Allow yourself the time you need to get to know that person.

For example, if your first impression of your latest Bumble coffee date is, “That guy is great! I’m going to marry him,” you might want to take a deep breath... and slow down. When interviewing for a job, do your homework beforehand. Social media provides us with an opportunity to to research out the company and the person who will be interviewing you. Ask questions in the interview. Pay attention to body language. We are all intuitive beings. Trust your instincts, but also keep in mind that you have unconscious biases. With time, you will come to know if your first impressions were correct. Or not.

 

2. Know your Bottom-Line Positions
Bottom-LIne Positions (BLP) are not ultimatums or conditions.  They are emotional and relational measures that we use to evaluate our decisions in regard to this person, this job, this vacation, or...you get the point. Some examples are:  Am I willing to be with someone who won’t introduce me to his friends?  Am I willing to take a job for this salary because I believe this person will look out for me? How much am I willing to spend on this vacation, and do I trust that those who are going with me will pay their fair share?

Defining your BLPs takes time. Sometimes you realize that what you thought was a BLP was actually not. You decide you can accept your partner’s junk food habit. You decide to take the job with the lower salary because you believe you can trust their promises of your bright future (but also accepting that your understanding of “bright future” may be different than what he or she meant). Again, we humans are usually quite flexible with most things. But there are always a few things where we are not.

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 3. Start with trust and assume good intentions. Once you have decided to invest in the relationship, trust that you and that person may really be compatible and on the same page. I tell my clients to trust the person you’ve decided to let into your life until they do something that violates your trust. Even then, since we all can unintentionally violate someone’s trust, continue to trust them if they are willing to accept responsibility and repair the trust violation.
 
In terms of our differences, sometimes you can learn to accept and accommodate that big difference, and sometimes you can't.  We human beings are built to be flexible. But we usually have one or two Bottom Line Positions. It might be in the area of lifestyle (e.g. I want a monogamous relationship, he wants an open relationship), religious beliefs, substance use, work ethic, family choices, money management, etc. With professional relationships, if you find yourself in personality clashes or having ethical differences that you just cannot accommodate no matter how hard you try, you may not be able to continue. Regardless, it is vital to know what your BLPs are. 

4. Take responsibility if you do violate someone’s trust.  Repair it with ownership, apologies and behavior change, remembering that it is your job to make yourself a safe person for them. If someone has violated your trust, be open to continuing the relationship if they take these same steps for repair. It most likely will change the relationship, even if it is a fractional change, and that is okay. Relationships are fluid and humans are resilient. A silver lining is that trust violations can increase our own self- awareness that we, and others, have the capacity to hurt someone else, which is also an opportunity for personal growth, such as in learning to forgive and compromise.
 

Finally, it is also important to know that some breaches of trust may not be resolvable. Those breaches differ from person to person, and it's not up to us to determine what is right for someone else. What might be irreparable for one person isn’t to another, and that, too, is acceptable. Every person has the right and responsibility to know themselves and their limits. 

 

PRACTICE ASSIGNMENT

1.  Think about a relationship you currently have or have had in the past where you feel like you were betrayed in some manner. How did you handle it?

2.  Using the tools discussed here, think about what you would do differently next time. Which of these tools might help you see the situation differently or respond differently if you decided you wanted to make a change?
 
That’s it for today.  Thanks for joining us for this episode of Confidence Boot Camp.  See you tomorrow!


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 19: Practice vulnerability

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Welcome to Day 19 of Confidence Boot Camp! Today we are going to delve into an aspect of vulnerability that many of us sometimes struggle with, but hate to admit. That is the need to always be “right.” This need, or what we may think of as need, can cause all kinds of complications for ourselves in our relationships. This topic falls into the Cognitive domain of The Chemistry of Confidence.
 
Needing or wanting to be right, or believing that we are right, is something that most of us can relate to on some level. Who doesn’t want to feel or believe that the way we see an issue is correct? Most of us can recognize that we aren’t right all the time, and therefore are willing to listen to other people’s viewpoints and ideas. Some people have more difficult time, truly believing that they are right all or most of the time. Why do we struggle with this, and what does it have to do with vulnerability?
 

WHAT IS VULNERABILITY?

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 Dr. Brené Brown, researcher and bestselling author, describes vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” What does that really mean? The dictionary defines vulnerability simply as “open to attack, either physically or emotionally”. Many of us have an instant negative reaction to the thought of being vulnerable, and we may believe that vulnerable people are weak, insecure, or have low self-esteem. The truth is, we all have vulnerable parts of ourselves, and your vulnerabilities may be different from mine.
 
For example, I feel vulnerable and insecure when I am on a ski slope. Even though I’ve skied my entire life, I don’t ski very often and therefore never really progressed past being an intermediate skier. Growing up in Salt Lake City, everyone skied and there was a lot of pressure to ski and be good at it. Every Monday morning at school was a one-upmanship show of who had the best ski goggle tan. I remember feeling embarrassed and even ashamed that I couldn’t compete. For one thing, my family couldn’t afford those kinds of extracurricular activities. I was lucky if I skied once or twice a year. I carried that insecurity with me well into my adulthood, until I realized that my vulnerability around that issue had more to do with the shame I felt that my family was not as financially well-off as my peers, than it had to do with my lack of skiing prowess.
 
Let me now tie this into the need to be right. We can surmise that some people are so ashamed of their “weaknesses” that they cover them up by being “right” all of the time. The problem is, being right all the time turns people off very quickly! These are the people whom we see walking down the hall at work, and we quickly turn around and pretend that we are going somewhere else to avoid conversation with them. These people tend to have little self-awareness, and while they believe that they are pulling off their cover-up, they’re not.
 
And, let’s face it. It feels good to be right, RIGHT? We feel competent and smart when we are right, and who doesn’t like to feel competent and smart?  But if we’re truly honest, we’ll also admit that we enjoy that feeling of self-satisfaction once in a while. If we want people to like and respect us, or be interested in our opinions and ideas, we need to be okay with not always being right.
 
Besides reducing our friend pool, being right all the time has other consequences. Think about it. If you are right about everything, then you apparently know everything. If you know everything, then you don’t need to learn anything new. If you don’t need to learn anything new because you already know everything, then you stop growing. If you stop growing, then you die.
 

PRACTICE EXERCISE

 
How to Practice Not Being Right All the Time

  1. Consider the “big picture” in each of your interactions. Ask yourself: What is my goal with this person or these people? Do I want to develop mutually healthy relationships?  Is my goal to progress in my job or career? Needing to always be right will have a negative effect on each of these goals.
     
  2. Bite your tongue!  If it turns out you actually were right in a disagreement and the facts prove it so, avoid saying, “I told you so” to the now “wrong” person. The outcome will not be worth the momentary satisfaction you may get when saying it. Instead, tell them you value their point of view and that it made you think and broaden your own views.  Remember how you felt when someone has said to you, “I told you so.”  Not so good, I’ll bet.  Empathy is the most important emotion in guiding our behavior. Tune into your empathy before saying something you might regret later.
     
  3. Sometimes it is often better to be kind than to prove that you are right. People will trust and respect us more, people will enjoy and like us more, and people will feel that we respect and value them. The strongest and happiest people are those who can admit they are wrong, and they move on, apologizing if the situation warrants it.

Core confidence grows when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and we stand up to conflicts without needing to “win”. Building and maintaining trusting relationships with other people is far more valuable than being “right” all the time. The end result is a HAPPIER LIFE AND HAPPIER RELATIONSHIPS.
 
Thanks for tuning in today, and we will see you tomorrow for another day of Confidence Boot Camp here at The Villa. Practice, practice, practice!


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 18: define yourself

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Welcome back to Confidence Boot Camp for Day 18, and yet another enlightening technique you can use to help build your confidence. We’re really proud and happy to have you following us, and we sincerely appreciate the feedback many of you are providing to us about how things are working for you.
 
Today’s inspiration comes from the Physical Confidence domain of The Chemistry of Confidence. We love building physical confidence because it feels so actionable (to borrow a buzzy phrase from business-speak). Just tell me what to DO, and I can just do it, right? That’s exactly what we’ve got in store for you today.
 

WHAT’S YOUR BRAND?


A little context: Most of us are aware by now that we each have a “brand”. If you think of a product brand, for example, it’s most often a well-designed identity that we come to know over time because we have a consistent experience of it. Without often being aware of it, we develop preferences for one brand or another, because the brand represents something to us that is aligned with our own values—taste, quality, monetary value, trust, service, etc.
 
When we think about a personal or professional “brand”, it’s very much the same thing: The identity that you project and the experience others have of you. Our brand can be “by design”, meaning you have carefully crafted your persona and style to influence others’ opinions of you, or “by default”, the way you are naturally without much attention or concern about how others see you. It is not that one is right and the other is wrong; awareness of how others see us and experience us is simply helpful if we want to increase our authenticity, our confidence, and our “comfort in our own skin”.
 
You can read in nearly every trendy fashion or business magazine how to design a “brand” that will impress others in one way or another. A personal brand actually consists of many verbal and non-verbal elements that communicate to others who we are and what’s important to us, including the energy we project, our style of dress, our stance, our voice tone, volume and quality, our mood, our facial expressions, our word choices, and our warmth and openness to others.
 
The more we can be both purposeful and authentic in the “design” elements of our brand, the more comfort and confidence we can feel in our own ways of being. We all have parts of our brand that we can certainly manage more effectively to be more influential with others. And we all have natural “default” elements that we can invite out from their hiding places to help us connect more authentically with ourselves and with others.

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DEFINE YOURSELF WITH AN ELEVATOR SPEECH

 
Today we are going to highlight one specific portion of our brand development that actually impacts several others, and ask you to define yourself—your work or your activities and why you do them—by writing an elevator speech.
 
If you’re not familiar with the concept of the “elevator speech”, the phrase is credited to Ilene Rosenzweig and Michael Caruso, editors at Vanity Fair in the 1990’s, who encouraged their staff members to be prepared for serendipitous meetings with executives on elevators. Their aim was to encourage staffers to prepare a brief but memorable introduction that could be delivered during an elevator ride from the lower floors to the top-level C-Suites. They wanted to give their team members visibility and the chance to pitch new ideas or report on new projects quickly to get the attention of senior executives.
 
We think that developing an “elevator speech” (or elevator “pitch”, as some prefer to call it) helps you clarify for yourself and others briefly what you’re doing, why you’re doing it or why you love it, and what you hope to achieve by doing it. By making it brief and to-the-point, and by knowing it well so you are prepared under any circumstances, you raise your confidence a few notches because you don’t find yourself fumbling around for words while your Lizard Brain whispers in your ear, “You don’t know what you’re doing.”
 
There are many different approaches to elevator speeches, some simple and straightforward, and others designed to engage the other person in a longer conversation. The most important thing to consider is, “Who is my audience?” You’ll likely give a different introduction to the person sitting next to you on an airplane than to your neighbor at a barbecue, or one of the senior executives at your company, or a potential customer you’ve just met for the first time.

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Here are three simple formulas that can help you get started:

 

#1     SIMPLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD

 

This approach may be best for brief introductions, networking events, plane-seat companion conversations, or any interactions that are short and sweet. You are simply introducing yourself and giving some context.

 

“I am a _______________ (describe your current role—not title)

working with ______________________ (who are your customers or colleagues?)

to __________________________ (what’s the purpose of your work?).”

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Here’s an example:

“I am a work-at-home mother, raising two pre-school children and operating my own medical-billing service business, to balance my personal goal to be the primary caretaker for my own children and my professional goal to keep my skills sharp and provide for my family.” 

 

#2     PROMOTE YOUR ORGANIZATION

 

Use this approach when you are representing your company or business, and you need to both introduce yourself and highlight what your organization does.

 

“My name is________________.

I am with ___________________.  (Insert name of company you work for)

We work with _________________ (Insert X)  who __________________ . (Insert Y)

We help them ______________ (Insert Z)  so that __________________.” (Insert W)
 

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Example:

Hello, my name is Jessica Jones. I am with Smith and Taylor Family Law.

We work primarily with victims of domestic abuse and children who need legal services and advocacy in the court systems. We help them gain access to all the services they need to help them rebuild their lives and become independent, self-reliant and productive.

 

#3       START A CONVERSATION

 

Use this approach when the person you are speaking with may not have the slightest idea what you mean when you say, “I work for a marketing research company.” (They’ll usually just nod their head and pretend to know what that means.)
 

“Do you know_____________________?”

(Describe a situation that identifies the pain or need that your product or service addresses.)

“What I do _______________________”

(Describe your service.)

so that___________________________.”

(Describe the benefit it delivers.)

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Example:

“Do you know how they come up with new ice cream flavors, and how they know which flavors people will buy?”

“What I do is marketing research for consumer products. Before a company releases a new product, there are several phases of consumer testing they go through. I conduct focus groups, and product sampling procedures, then gather and report my research data to the company, so that they know whether to move forward with branding and marketing the product, or returning to the lab for adjustments.”

 

PRACTICE ASSIGNMENT

  1. Think of an upcoming situation in which you might need to introduce yourself with an elevator speech. Then select one of the above approaches you think might work best for the situation.
  2. Write out your elevator speech, using one of the simple formulas above. You don’t have to follow every word exactly, but make sure you cover all the parts of that formula.
  3. Find someone you trust, and share it with him or her. Get feedback on your word choices and how you describe yourself. Be authentic and don’t either underplay or overplay yourself. Imagine yourself saying this to a real person, so you don’t need to be perfectly polished or sound like a robot.
  4. Once you are comfortable with your “script”, take your cell phone and make a selfie video. (We know you hate to see yourself on video, but just do this.) If you’re not comfortable with the selfie, ask your trusted person (from #3 above) to record you.
  5. That’s it! (See? We didn’t ask you to post it or share it. This one is all for you.) All we ask you to do is watch it every day for a week to see if it “fits”. Is it what you want to say to define yourself to others? What about your delivery—do you seem warm, authentic, assertive (or however you want people to experience you)?
  6. If it’s not what you want, do it over. You’ll find as you watch it every day, you’ll feel if it’s the right thing for you, and you’ll get more comfortable with hearing yourself say it.

 
Defining yourself with an elevator speech is a very simple thing to do, but will actually give you a pretty good return on the brief investment of time. Not only will others get a clearer picture of you, but every time you introduce yourself, you are actually reconfirming to yourself the what and the why of the things you are doing. The clearer we get with ourselves, the more confident we become.
 
Thanks for staying with us, and we will see you tomorrow for Day 19. Big hugs from your Confidence Boot Camp Trainers.


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 17: learn the 10/10/10 rule

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Hello Campers! Welcome to Day 17 of our Confidence Boot Camp. If you’ve been hanging in there with us every day, or even most days, we hope you’re beginning to see some subtle shifts in the way you think, feel, and act in situations that require courage and confidence. As we’ve said many times before, the key to change is PRACTICE. Practice works because it affects our neural pathways, and lays tracks for more automatic behaviors. Think about a baby learning to walk, or a child learning to read. It is through constant practice, pattern recognition, failure, course correction and finally, success, that make these skills easier as time goes on.
 
Today’s topic is all about perspective, and comes from the Spiritual domain of The Chemistry of Confidence. Remember, Spiritual Confidence is connected to our values, or “the long view” of our lives. What matters right now? What matters in the big picture of our lives? Today, we are introducing a tool called “10/10/10”, which comes from a book by Suzy Welch, which we think has valuable applications to building confidence.

The 10/10/10 rule, as Suzy Welch describes it, helps us manage short-term emotion to determine if our decisions are sound. Short-term emotion, as we’ve discussed before in some of our other tools, can sometimes hijack the brain and inhibit the reasoning that comes from our pre-frontal cortex, and may cloud our ability to forecast the impact of our decisions. The 10/10/10 rule is simple. If you’re facing a situation that creates anxiety, fear, or nervousness (and therefore quashes your confidence), you ask yourself three simple questions:
 
“How will I feel about this in 10 minutes?”
“How will I feel about this in 10 months?”
“How will I feel about this in 10 years?”
 
Putting some time frames into our decision, or our response to a situation, gives us the ability to step back and get some perspective. It also allows us to get our best thinking back when we feel impulsive or when our emotions may be in the driver’s seat.
 
Let’s look at an example of how this might work.
 
Imagine that you have a colleague who has been repeatedly missing deadlines that everyone on the team agreed to in order to deliver a project for your customer. You feel you need to have a conversation with her because everyone is frustrated, but no one has had the courage to confront her. She’s a valuable member of the team, but her delays are causing everyone else’s work to be caught in the bottleneck, and they have to work extra hours to catch up. You’re feeling anxious and not fully confident that it will go well, because she has a tendency to become defensive and blame the problem on others.
 
To apply the 10/10/10 rule, you first imagine yourself having this difficult conversation with her, and then asking yourself the 10/10/10 questions:
 
How will I feel 10 minutes after the conversation?
I will probably feel relieved that it’s over and proud of myself for stepping up.
 
How will I feel 10 months later?
Since the project deadline is in 30 days, I will feel satisfied that I took care of the problem when I did, and didn’t wait until we missed our deadline because of her delays.
 
How will I feel 10 years later?
I doubt that I will remember the specific conversation, but having done what I did, it will probably have increased my confidence and assertiveness, and I would likely have been able to address similar situations more easily whenever they came up.
 
With this perspective, then, was it a good idea to have the conversation? Yes, definitely!
 
You can also use the 10/10/10 rule to recover more quickly when you’ve had a confidence shake. Imagine you have decided to build your network of career allies, and you approach a senior leader and ask him to be your mentor. He seems surprised by your request, and then says curtly, “I don’t really know why you’re asking me. I don’t have the time.”
 
Such a sharp response might quickly wake up your Lizard Brain, and you may feel like shrinking into the shadows for having made such a request, promising yourself that you’ll never ask anyone for anything again. But with the 10/10/10 rule, you give yourself a way to cool the emotions, leash the Lizard, and get some perspective.
 
How will I feel 10 minutes after this interaction?
Probably still shaken and upset.
 
How will I feel 10 months later?
My emotions will certainly have settled, and I may see this person in a new light, recognizing that it wasn’t my failure in asking, but either I needed more information, more political savvy, more input from someone else before asking, or I simply needed to find a mentor elsewhere.
 
How will I feel 10 years later?
Likely, at this point, I will be the person whom others will be seeking out as a mentor, and I will remember this incident simply as a valuable learning experience. I will recognize how hard it is for a junior person to ask for help, and I will respond with compassion and clarity about my availability to work with him or her.
 
The 10/10/10 Rule is a simple, straightforward way to help you increase your confidence by giving yourself time to see the bigger picture of your decision. A wise friend of mine described an idea she uses sometimes which she calls, “Going to the moon.” She says she imagines herself sitting on the moon, looking down at her life from a distance. It gives her the ability to take herself out of the minutia and everyday stresses of life, and get a new perspective. Because she can see it all at once, she feels that she is better able to make decisions that will be the right ones for her in the long run.

PRACTICE ASSIGNMENT

  1. Identify a situation you may be avoiding, a decision you may be delaying, or a conversation you’ve been putting off because it makes you uncomfortable to think about dealing with it.
  2. In your journal, apply the 10/10/10 Rule, imagining that you have already done the thing that you have been avoiding, and answer the three questions:
    • How will you feel in 10 minutes (after you’ve done it)?
    • How will you feel in 10 months?
    • How will you feel in 10 years?
  3. Given this practice, now what will you do? When will you do it? How will you do it? What preparation or support will you need to follow through and do it?

 
Taking “the long view” of our life can build our confidence because we allow ourselves time and space to move out of short-term emotion and into more balanced, wise-minded thinking. Experiment with the 10/10/10 Rule, and feel free to change the time frames to whatever works best in your situation. How will I feel in 10 hours from now? How will I feel in 10 days from now? How will I feel in 10 weeks?
 
Thanks for staying with us in Confidence Boot Camp, and we hope you’re having as much fun and learning as much as we are. How do you think you’ll feel in 10 days, when we are nearing the end of our 30-day adventure together? Cheers!

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If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 16: harness positive emotions

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Welcome to Day 16 of Confidence Boot Camp. We are so happy that you have tuned in today for our next installment of confidence tips. Today we are talking about the power of harnessing positive emotions. 

We are pleased to welcome Tara Wood as our guest poster. Tara is a freelance writer, wife, and mom of 7 children. She writes about the day-to-day comedies of being a WAHM with her sizeable brood, and funny stuff she encounters in the world. She has a humorous and irreverent outlook on life and we can see how that helps her stay positive and enjoy each day.

We absolutely love Tara's fun and salty approach to life, and hope you do, too.


The Power of Harnessing Positive Emotions

By Tara Wood

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You know those people who seem to be perpetually happy? Like, even on Monday mornings or at funerals they still manage to find something about which to be positive? Blech. *Insert eye roll here* The thing is, though, I’m one of those people and I dig it. So what gives? How can some of us have the same or similar experiences as contented people but have a much more negative reaction?

There are those who are naturally wired this way. More often, however, people who tend to have a ‘feel good’ attitude about life have learned there is great strength in deliberately choosing positive emotions; even when a negative emotional reaction to situations or circumstances feels the most instinctive.

Although I’m a typically joyful person, to tell you that I’m always carefree and skipping across rainbows with puppies in my pockets would make me a lying liar.

In truth, I decide to make happiness, fun, and positivity my reality. I have just as many negative emotions and reactions as anyone else (I have seven children so you can imagine, right?) but instead of allowing pessimistic thinking determine my reactions, I choose to remind myself that negative feelings exist so help me recognize that positive emotions feel better.

When negative emotions show up, I acknowledge they’re there but I don’t allow myself to give power to those thoughts. I sever negative self-talk as soon as it makes its appearance. Contrary self talk should indicate to us that something isn’t right, that there is resistance. We can use our recognition of unfavorable emotions to identify what we don’t want. It is in knowing what we don’t want that the understanding of what we do want becomes clear.

Understand that you cannot get to where you want to go while you’re focused on where you are not. Apply your attention to that which you want instead of that what you do not yet have. To do this will likely require that you make peace with where you are now, with what is.Practice who you are: the creator and dictator of your thoughts and reality. You are not powerless over your emotions. In fact, you control them.

Choose your thoughts and reactions based on how you feel. If you’re struggling to dismiss negative emotions, ask yourself “Is this something that I want?” If it’s not, take a step back and let the situation lie dormant if it doesn’t feel good or right. Focusing on something negative only breeds more negativity. You cannot focus on negative things and positive things at the same time. One thought process will win. I’m pretty sure you’ll want it to be the one the makes you feel good.

And hey- give yourself a break. Remember that nothing has to remain as it is. Every morning offers a new beginning to start anew, to crush self-doubt, to think lovelier thoughts, to live a more joyful life.

It is your right to feel valued and worthy and deserving...because you are. YOU are.

Let that be enough. Let that satisfy you. When you learn to harness the power of positive emotions and allow affirmative and optimistic self-talk to overpower those negative emotions that try to steal your bliss and distract you from this fun and beautiful life you were created to live, then you can have your happily ever after.

Understand that you cannot get to where you want to go while you’re focused on where you are not.

Tara's post is a great time to connect the dots on the many tools we have learned so far in Confidence Boot Camp. Let's put some things into practice, shall we? Make sure you record these thoughts in your journal.
 

PRACTICE ASSIGNMENT


1. Think about a recent time in your life where you felt really good. What had you done to put yourself in that frame of mind? Write your experience in your journal.

2. Now think about the last few days. Was there a time you let your lizard get the best of you? What could you have done to nip that negative self talk in the bud? Did you use a trampoline to boost yourself above the line? If no, what could you have used for a trampoline? How could you have harnessed your positive emotions at that time?

3. Think forward to something you have coming up in the next week-something that you want to go well and be a positive experience. Think about what kind of energy you want to bring to that event. Make a plan for how you will prepare to bring that energy.

For example: Let's say the weekend is coming up and you are planning a barbecue with family and friends. You know that you have a few guests in your group that can sometimes bring the energy down with negativity and topics of discussion that cause people to feel defensive. You know that you and others are frequently affected by this and you don't want this to disrupt your event. What will you do to manage your own positivity?

I might make sure that I plan my day out so that I am not already stressed out when the event time comes up. I also put myself in the mindset that no matter what happens I will have a good time and enjoy my company.

I will also make sure that I address any negative conversations in a friendly and non-confrontational way. I have a very wise friend that will do this in the loveliest way. She says, "Oh, no, no, dear, let's not go there. That puts distance between us and I want us to be close."

You can use whatever wording works for you!

Make sure to follow Tara Wood on her social media accounts for her amusing real talk. She tells it like it is and isn't afraid to laugh at life's zaniness.

FaceBook Page: @TaraWoodWriter
Instagram: @tara_wood_writer
FaceBook Profile: @Tara.Rountreewood

We will see you tomorrow! You've got this, Confidence Campers!


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 15: use the frame

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Hello hello—can you believe how quickly this month is flying by? It's Day 15 and we’re halfway through Confidence Boot Camp! We hope you’re starting to see the results of your practice. As we’ve been saying all along, the most important thing you can do is practice, because we build confidence and resilience through increasing our awareness and practicing new thinking and feeling patterns.

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Today we’re going to learn about a concept to help you build more cognitive or psychological confidence. It’s a tool called, “The Frame”, which we use in our coaching and development programs to help us “see” and interpret situations more clearly.
 
You might have heard of the idea of “reframing,” where you simply try to look at a situation from another point of view. The Frame is similar to this, but brings in some other important elements. I’ll show you how it works.
 
We all have a world view—the way we see and interpret the world, and make meaning of the situations that we encounter. Our worldview is shaped by our experiences as we grow up—and influenced by our families, teachers, culture, peers, and environments. But sometimes we forget that we’ve all had very different experiences as we’ve grown up, so sometimes our view and our interpretations of the world are very different. It’s not a bad thing—it’s just different.
 
The Frame helps us understand the relationships between our thinking/interpretations, our feelings, our actions, and the results we get. Let me show you how it works:
 
See: Our beliefs, our interpretations, our values—our “story” of why things are the way they are.

Feel: The way we see triggers a feeling response—an emotion. Sometimes the feeling comes first, and we then assign a reason, or a value to it. For example, if I wake up feeling below the line (remember The Line?) then I might start to search my memory and remember the argument I had with my colleague yesterday that left me feeling frustrated and angry. Ah ha! That’s the reason.
 
Do: Feelings usually prompt an action—something to DO. We either try to address the story or the feeling by doing something in response. Maybe we want to change the feeling or the situation, so we do something.
 
Get: When I do something, I get a result—an outcome, a product or a new situation. This result then confirms or challenges my original story.

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Here’s a simple example. We usually try to think of a situation where we’re not getting the results we want. I’ll use a recent example from my own life.
 
My neighbor has been doing a remodeling/reconstruction project on his home for most of the past year. When he started, he said it would take 2-3 months, and he apologized in advance for the disruption to the neighborhood. All good.
 
However, it’s now 11 months later, and it’s still not finished. At times, the construction workers play loud music, use noisy equipment, and work late at night, and it’s very disturbing. Often, my neighbor is traveling, so he is not home to know what is going on. He has provided me with his phone number in case I have any concerns.
 
Let’s try the frame here:
 
Think: It would be really easy to think that my neighbor doesn’t care about the impact of his construction on the rest of the neighborhood. That has been (sometimes late at night) my “story”.
 
Feel: When I believe this, I feel annoyed, misled, frustrated, and sometimes helpless. The loud music playing at 11 pm really grates on my nerves.
 
Do: Most of the time, not much. Because I want to maintain a good relationship with my neighbor in the long run, and I know it will be temporary. Sometimes, I politely ask the workers to turn it down. Sometimes, I text my neighbor and let him know how bad it is.
 
Get: Some change, but the pattern usually repeats. This reinforces my belief that my neighbor doesn’t care.
 
So in the frame, we have what we call “power corners”. These are the places where we could change something—either the way we see the situation, or how we respond. Most of the time, people just try to do something different, without considering that if we look at the situation from a new perspective, it might actually change our feeling response, our action response, and ultimately, the result we get.
 
In the example, if I consider that my neighbor might be having difficulty finding consistent labor because there is a lot of construction going on in our area right now, I might feel more empathy and compassion for him. Can you imagine how frustrated he might feel with this long delay?
 
If I feel more empathy or compassion, I might then choose to act a little more patient. If it goes beyond my limit, then I’ll text him to let him know what’s going on, because he might be traveling.
 
The result I hope I’ll get from this new approach is what I wanted from the beginning—to keep a friendly relationship with my neighbor. Who knows—maybe someday I’ll be doing a remodeling project and need him to be patient with me.
 
An important aspect of using the frame is understanding that it’s a good way for you to unpack your own point of view, feeling and behavioral responses. But keep in mind, that whenever two or more people are interacting, we have multiple frames going on, with multiple points of view, feelings, and action impulses.
 

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Try the frame with a situation you’re facing where you might be feeling stuck, or not getting what you want. Walk through it with another person. You don’t have to solve it the first time around—just understand your own Frame.
 
What does the Frame have to do with confidence? Sometimes our confidence suffers because we don’t see things accurately. We may judge ourselves too harshly or allow negative thinking to get in the way of trying new things, or speaking up for what we need, because we have an inaccurate perspective.
 
The Frame gives us a way to stage a reality check for ourselves. The more accurately we can see a situation, the better our chances of addressing it in a way that enables us to feel empowered, in control, and ultimately, more confident.
 
Thanks for being with us again today, and we look forward to the next few days together as we head into the home stretch of our 30-day Confidence Boot Camp.


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 14: do something that scares you

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Hello Confidence Campers! Welcome to Day 14. We’re nearing the halfway mark in our Confidence Boot Camp, so we want to give you all high fives for sticking with us and working every day to build those confidence muscles. We hope you are giving yourselves plenty of positive feedback and kudos for taking on this challenge.
 
Today’s topic is one of our favorites: “Do Something That Scares You”. It comes from a famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt (who, by the way, has many good quotes about dealing with fear, self-confidence and self-respect) that says, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
 
Why would we want to purposely do something that scares us? Doesn’t it seem more reasonable to avoid triggering our adrenaline in order to remain calm and comfortable?
 
One of the things we understand about building confidence is that in some ways, it’s like building muscles. To build body strength, you often have to stretch beyond your current level of comfort and fitness, and push yourself in a reasonable and measured way. By stretching our current strength levels, we ultimately expand those limits. We all understand this from our own experiences, right?
 
By purposely pushing out the limits of our comfort zone to do something that makes us fearful, we sometimes have to pull up the bootstraps of our courage and step into the confidence that may already be there, but that we may not feel at that moment. Confronting something that scares you and dealing with it, either successfully or unsuccessfully, gives you a reality check. Either it wasn’t as scary as you thought it would be and you get a confidence boost, or you discover it wasn’t as disastrous as you imagined, and you have more accurate information about what you’ll need to deal with it next time. Likely, you’ll recover quickly from the temporary confidence rattle, and thus increase your confidence, even if you think you failed.

So, sometimes in order to gain confidence, you have to step into the situation with courage, and you gain confidence as a result of your experience. The next time you face a similar situation, you can consciously reduce your fear by recalling your previous confidence-building experience.

WHAT SCARES YOU?

Everyone is afraid of something, but we are not all afraid of the same things. If you simply search the internet for “Top Ten Fears”, the same basic list appears over and over again. With minor variations, we see similar fears from people all over the world—but not always for the same reasons:

  1. Public speaking
  2. Heights
  3. Going to the dentist
  4. Snakes
  5. Flying
  6. Spiders and insects
  7. Enclosed spaces
  8. Mice
  9. Dogs
  10. Thunder and lightning 

(Funny, “death” is on some lists, but doesn’t make all of them. Does this mean that many people feel like they will die if they have to stand up in front of people to speak?)
 
What we may not see on the above list, but are also common fears:

  1. Giving negative or constructive feedback to a colleague.
  2. Asking for help.
  3. Shopping for a new car.
  4. Confronting inappropriate behavior from a co-worker.
  5. Applying for a bank loan.
  6. Talking to a stranger.
  7. Calling the cable company to dispute charges on your bill.
  8. Complaining to a neighbor about his barking dog.
  9. Being ridiculed for offering a new idea.
  10. Asking someone out on a date.
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Many of these everyday situations make us feel anxious or vulnerable because we fear rejection. And if you remember from Haley’s post on Day 11 on Reaching Your Most Challenging Goals, our DNA is wired to make us strive for acceptance in our tribes, because if our ancestors were rejected or banned from their tribes, it meant loss of protection, food, and certain death.

Our guest post today is from Kimberly Bowsher, a young entrepreneur we met several years ago in our work. Kim is an outdoor adventurer, a mother of two young children, and small-business owner. She is currently the Executive Director of the Ogden (Utah) Downtown Alliance, which sponsors weekly community events more than half the year. She also has her own marketing and PR firm, runs a co-working office space with her business partner, and recently launched a box delivery service that sends coffee samples right to your door. We met with Kim at her office in downtown Ogden, and she spoke with us about how she takes on fears to gain the confidence that keeps her moving toward her goals. We hope you love Kim and her video message as much as we do.

“I think the only way you can get over your fears is to push through them. Keep showing up. Keep pushing in. Keep pushing forward.”

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PRACTICE CHALLENGE

  1. Make a list of 7 things that scare you, or things you find extremely anxiety-provoking or uncomfortable. (Not necessarily watching horror films or telling ghost stories, but more like everyday situations you would rather avoid than deal with.)
  2. Choose the easiest or smallest thing on your list, and take an action to address the situation TODAY.
  3. Tomorrow, choose the next easiest thing on the list, and plan what you will do to deal with it, then DO IT.
  4. Follow this same pattern for as many days in a row as you can without skipping a day. If you take action on all 7 things, reward yourself by doing something you love—not a “have-to”, but a genuinely enjoyable activity. Go to a movie, play tennis with a friend, go out to dinner, take an afternoon off to read—whatever activity you really enjoy.
  5. It’s a good idea to record your fear-attacking actions in your journal, or write them on your calendar. Especially pay attention to the way you feel AFTER you’ve done the thing that scares you.

Confidence comes from purposefully facing your fears, pushing out the limits of your comfort zones, and trying some experiments to test your own confidence strength. Of course, take on your fears with healthy caution. Your fears are partly there to protect you from danger, so we don’t encourage you to do foolish or dangerous things. It’s the irrational fears or the fears that hold us back from following our dreams that we need to challenge. Do that.
 
Stay with us, fearless Campers. More tomorrow…

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If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 13: let go of control

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Welcome to Day 13 of Confidence Boot Camp. We are very pleased to welcome Carolina Millan, entrepreneur, digital business coach, and speaker from Chile.

Over the past 9 years Carolina has been training herself in the art of being an entrepreneur. She quit her corporate job in 2010 and started her journey. Although she failed at first, she continued to pursue her dreams and her purpose. She's invested in her own education, traveled the world, met her role models and become one herself. She's built a following of tens of thousands of people from all over the world. From speaking on stages in front of hundreds of people, to working one on one with her clients, Carolina is passionate about helping you create the Life and Business of Your Dreams through your Passions!

We asked Carolina to share her tools and tips for letting go of control. She was gracious enough to accept our request and shared her wonderful story below. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

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How Let Go of Control and Live a More Prosperous Life

By: Carolina Millan

Although I’ve never considered myself to be anywhere near a control freak, learning to let go was a huge lesson for me, and it changed my life and it’s currently changing my business. I learned this lesson the hard way though, just a couple of years ago. To give you some background, I’m an entrepreneur, I live in Chile, and I’ve been doing business since 2010, when I quit my job in Human Resources after just two years in the real world, in order to pursue a life with more passion and purpose. It was my first and last job. That was one of the most exciting things I ever did, and probably my first approach to letting go of control. I would no longer receive a paycheck every month, or have a work schedule. I was so tired of living my life on someone else’s agenda, and most importantly, making someone else’s dreams come true instead of mine. So, I decided to go into the unknown and today I’m doing very well for myself, I’m slowly building a team, but more on that in a minute.

You might find yourself in a similar situation, and whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, I hope you find this article useful. There are many areas in our lives where we need to let go in order to grow and live a stress-free life.

Tony Robbins says we all have 6 human needs:

Certainty
Uncertainty
Significance
Love/Connection
Growth
Contribution

 
He also says that we all rank these needs differently, and that there are always two of them that are the most important ones. People who rank the need for Certainty at the highest, are those who tend to suffer the most. The need for certainty is a need for control, not just to control ourselves, but a need to control others and our surroundings. And let’s face it, that’s nearly impossible.

So the first step for you to start the process of letting go, is to find out which are your top two needs, and if the need for certainty is at the top, you need to actively change that. In my case, certainty was never at the top, or I wouldn’t have quit my job and go into the unknown. However, it was still my third need, and I had to work on myself to change that. The good news is, it is possible.
 
They say that the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. In my case, I realized that I was having a hard time letting go of control in my love relationship, which then created a crisis that almost destroyed it. It wasn’t my fault and it wasn’t his fault. Love relationships aren’t 50%-50%; they are 100%-100%, you have to give it your all for it to work, and too many people think it’s just half and half. Anyway, we spent a couple months apart and during that time I discovered the Tao Te Ching, a Chinese text of wisdom written thousands of years ago, that dedicates a couple of chapters to the topic of control. I want to quote a chapter here for you, that I know for a fact will help you see life differently, just as it helped me.

“Do you think you can take over the Universe and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.
Everything under heaven is a sacred vessel and cannot be controlled.
 
Trying to control leads to ruin.
Trying to grasp, we lose.
 
Allow your life to unfold naturally.
Know that it too is a vessel of perfection.
Just as you breathe in and breathe out, there is time for being ahead and a time for being behind; a time for being in motion and a time for being at rest; a time for being vigorous and a time for being exhausted; a time for being safe and a time for being in danger.
 
The Master sees things as they are, without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way, and resides at the center of the circle.” – Chapter 29

 
I remember reading this and nodding my head. Especially the sentence “trying to control leads to ruin.” I began to realize, and I hope you do too, that the more I tried to control things and people, the less they would end up the way I wanted them.

On the business side, I realized that if I wanted to grow my business, I couldn’t do it alone, and neither can you. In order to succeed in the long term and make an impact, you need to build a team of A-Players. Personally, I still struggle with letting go of certain tasks that I perform, thinking that no one else will do them like I would do them. Can you relate? The secret is to learn to live with that. It’s true, nobody will do things the way you would, but guess what, they might do it better!
 
Start by letting go of smaller, administrative tasks in your business that are repetitive, and that aren’t directly connected with the value adding aspects: accounting, database management, web design, and anything technical that can be easily outsourced to someone that will do it faster and better.
Every time you’re working on something, ask yourself “is this the best use of my time?” “Is this a money generating activity, or can I outsource it?” Asking the right questions can change everything for you!
 
In case you’re wondering, I have a Digital Marketing company, we provide Coaching services for entrepreneurs who want to grow their business, we also provide design services, web development, social media management and growth, advertising services, and more. You can learn a bit more about me by going to here and here.

At the beginning, I was doing a lot of these tasks, and so, I couldn’t take as many clients as I wanted. Now that I’m training myself to let go, I’ve hired 5 people so far to take care of different parts of the business. And I’m just getting started. Now I can get clients and rely on team members to do the heavy lifting, that way I can go out there and get more clients.

It’s time for you to focus on the only thing you can truly control: your thoughts, your attitudes, and your behaviors. You can take a decision today to stop trying to control what others will say or do, and let everything unfold naturally. Let things be. That’s what helped me rebuild my love relationship too, and now we’re getting married!

The first thing you need to control is your thoughts, because your thoughts lead to imagination, and imagination leads to a stronghold, and that leads to reality. Change your attitude; face the world with gratitude and your life will never be the same again.

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I’d love to hear from you, please feel free to connect with me on Twitter: @carolinamillan and Instragram: @carolinamillan and tell me what you thought of this :)

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PRACTICE ASSIGNMENT

For today’s confidence-building practice to “Let Go of Control”, we’re going to ask you to do something creative and fun. You’ll need a notebook (your journal) and your favorite writing instrument. It shouldn’t take too long, but make yourself some time and space for this one, because you can get some valuable insights from this exercise.

1. Write your own story

  • Sit down and let your imagination run wild. Act as if you have no limitations, no worries about money, or how this is all going to happen, or what people are going to think.
  • Just write a story of your future life—the story that you want to live. Allow yourself to be in the playground of your mind, and see where it takes you.

2. Who else is in your story?

  • Think about who else could be part of your story. None of us can do this by ourselves. We all need support, help from other people, and the willingness to let go of things we don’t want to do, or someone else may be better at them.
  • Ask yourself, “Is this really worth my time to do this particular piece of this thing I want to do?” If it’s not, write someone else into your story who could do it for you.

3. Finally: Surrender

  • Healthy surrendering is literally getting out of your own way. We are usually our own worst enemies, and if we can get out of our own way, who knows where that will lead us?
  • When you inevitably have negative thoughts, like, “Who do you think you are?” or “You can’t do this!” when you’re writing your story (Recognize your Lizard Brain?), you can try a technique called “thought stopping.” It’s very easy and almost too simple, but it works. When your mind is flooded with self-doubt and negative self-talk, you simply shout out, “Stop!” (Of course, not necessarily during a group meditation or a funeral service.) Saying, “Stop!” out loud disrupts the flow of negative thinking, and is one way to practice getting out of your own way.

We hope you have fun with this exercise, and we encourage you to follow the tips that Carolina has shared. Building confidence requires practicing from many different angles and you build those confidence muscles over time. Stay with us—there’s lots more for you in the next two weeks.


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

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Day 12: USE YOUR BREATH

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Hi everyone, and welcome to Day 12 of Confidence Boot Camp. Thanks for joining us again today. We hope you are learning a lot of helpful information and strategies to support your efforts in building up your confidence. Today’s topic, USE YOUR BREATH, falls into the Emotional and Physical domains of The Chemistry of Confidence.
 
Did you know that most of our breathing is shallow?  And, we tend to mostly use shallow breathing throughout the day, AND we are almost always unaware of the condition.  Shallow breathing can result in or be symptomatic of rapid breathing and hypoventilation.  Unfortunately, we are inclined to do it at times when we most need to breathe deeply such as when we are anxious, stressed out, or struggling with breathing disorders such as asthma.
 
But there is good news. According to The American Institute of Stress, our bodies have an effective and natural way to combat stress by activating the body’s natural Relaxation Response. This response was discovered and the term coined by AIS Founding Trustee and Fellow, Dr. Herbert Benson, an American cardiologist and founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Benson is also a professor of mind/body medicine at Harvard Medical School.
 
The Relaxation Response is a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress. Although this state might sound like sleep, it is not. It is breathing. But not just any kind of breathing. Remember, our normal breathing tends to be shallow. We do it by using FOCUSED BREATHING. When you elicit the Relaxation Response, wonderful things start to happen.
 

  • Your metabolism decreases (but only temporarily--exercise will amp it up again, and exercise is another excellent stress reducer).
     
  • Your heart beats slower and your muscles relax.
     
  • Your breathing becomes slower.
     
  • Your blood pressure decreases.
     
  • Your levels of nitric oxide are increased. (This nitric oxide is not the “laughing gas” you get at the dentist.) It is a molecule that our body produces to help its 50 trillion cells communicate with each other by transmitting signals throughout the entire body. Among other things, it helps our memory and behavior transmit information between the nerve cells in the brain. It boosts our immune system. It regulates blood pressure, improves sleep quality, and increases your recognition of your senses, like your ability to smell.
     
  • Your body releases powerful feel-good chemicals called endorphins.
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PRACTICE EXERCISE

 
Here are the steps for FOCUSED BREATHING to elicit The Relaxation Response

  1. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.
     
  2. Close your eyes. This is important because it removes distractions from your awareness and helps us to come inside of our body to focus on our breath.
     
  3. Do a quick body scan. Notice what your body is doing. Is it tense? Are your shoulders clinched up by your ears? Are you slouching? Do some gentle movements to loosen the tension and find a comfortable position. If you’re lying down, wiggle around a bit until you feel comfortable.
     
  4. Place your hands on your lower abdomen. This may feel awkward at first because we are not used to doing it, but keep your hands there and begin to tune into the sensations. As you naturally and gently palpate this part of your body, take a deep breath and notice where your breath normally stops, which is typically only about 1/3 of your lung capacity. Breathe in more air, allowing your belly to swell out and into your hands. Exhale slowly.
     
  5. Let your hands drop gently to your sides or the floor.
     
  6. Take another deep breath and as you do so, try to take in more than you think you have the capacity to do so. Expand the belly to, as Lucy says, “tickle those fields of the nerve receptors at the lower lobes of the lungs.”
     
  7. Practice for 5-10 minutes, or even less if you don’t have the time. You will instantly feel a little “softening of that amped up feeling” as your body releases endorphins. Your pulse and heart rate will slow.
     
  8. Practice 1-2 times daily for ultimate benefits.

 
Remember, this is a new practice that could lead you to a new habit. There are many ways to develop a practice. Try a yoga class. Every yoga class includes deep breathing and meditation. Or find an app to download on your phone or laptop. Here is a link for you to explore. 
 
Mostly, just keep at it. Research suggests that new habits can take up to four months to fully integrate into our lives, so don’t be discouraged if it feels hard, or if you skip a few days. Just get started again and trust the process. Eventually your breathing process will become as necessary as other things you do in your life, like sleeping and eating.
 
Thanks for joining us today. We will see you tomorrow for our next Confidence Bootcamp experience. Remember to breathe…

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If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 11: REACH your most challenging goals

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Hello and welcome to Day 11 of Confidence Boot Camp!  Today’s topic, Reach Your Most Challenging Goals,  falls into the Cognitive component of The Chemistry of Confidence.

I’ve put a lot of thought into this topic and this post. I think we can all agree that when you set a challenging goal, work hard for it, and then accomplish it, your confidence grows to incredible new heights.

If that’s such a given, though, then why do so many of us still struggle to set and hit challenging goals? That’s what I want to talk about in this post. I’m going to go over the greatest mental obstacles faced in hitting challenging goals and the 5 things you can start practicing immediately to overcome them.

I’ll give you an assignment at the end (a “challenge”, if you will ;) ) so you can start working on action steps towards accomplishing your biggest goals ASAP.

But before we jump in, I hope you don’t mind me getting personal for a moment. This post makes more sense with some back story and context. My name’s Haley Fields. I’m a 25 year old single mom entrepreneur who enjoys traveling the world and running half marathons. I feel very blessed and grateful to be living my dream – but it wasn’t always that way.

About 5 years ago, I made the very wise decision to get married at the ripe old age of 20. I was raised in a very religious family and was thus married in a private religious ceremony. About 2 years into the marriage, not long after the birth of my beautiful daughter, I decided to trade in my fear of rejection in exchange for an authentic lifestyle. I admitted openly to my husband that my spiritual beliefs were more aligned outside of this particular organized religion. I assured him that I’d still fully support his beliefs and even attend church with him; I simply wanted to be authentic about my own beliefs.

My worst “fears” became reality – but remember, I had left my fear of rejection at the doorstep. Genuine authenticity had become my North Star and guiding light. As long as I was living wholeheartedly, I knew I could handle whatever came next.

My husband’s family shunned me. I was blocked from their phones and social media profiles and banned from coming to any family events. My husband became more abusive. He constantly used fear and belittlement to coerce me to re-believe in his religion. He would often hide the car keys, rendering me unable to leave the house, and tell me I had “nothing, no one, nowhere to go”. Despite attempts at marriage counseling, it only got worse.

Eventually I fled with my daughter to my brother’s house for safety. My husband came to my brother’s house in the middle of the night and took my car (we had 2 cars). He also, without warning, turned off my cell phone and cut me off from our bank account, leaving me with no money, no phone, no car, and one very sweet little girl to care for.

And he eventually took her, too. About 2 weeks later, he kidnapped my daughter. He disappeared with her and would not tell me where she was, who she was with, or when I would get her back. 9 VERY LONG days later, the judge signed a restraining order against him, ordering my daughter to be returned to me. I will never, for the rest of my life, forget that night when I finally had my daughter back in my arms. Before that point, my 18-month-old had never been away from me for more than a few hours. 9 days felt like an eternity.

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At that point, I had my daughter back, and that was the very best thing I could hope for. But I was still broke, homeless, car-less, and now thousands of dollars in debt from a nasty legal battle that was going to continue on for another year.

After I got her back, I had a lot of time to think. I began to see my life falling into pieces as an opportunity to put the pieces back together – but this time on my own terms. I realized I could do and be anything I wanted, and I promised to never put myself in a position where I could be abused and left with nothing ever again. Though I had no previous experience running a business, I became determined to pursue my lifelong dream of being an entrepreneur.

Here is a snippet from my journal entry in January 2016, not long after this all happened:

“It is ironic how, at a time when we have next to nothing, I have never felt so alive – so thrilled and ecstatic to wake up every morning to the adventure of living. Physically, I don’t have much. But the suffocating artificial limits and superficial boundaries that have kept me confined for years are gone. I am limitless. Everything is in my grasp. I can finally be me – free of guilt and shame. I can embrace all the complexities that make me me and know to my very core that I am good. I am strong. I am capable of all things. This is my beginning! This is where my life finally begins, here where the rope that kept me bound ends, where I’m finally free & able to embrace the unknown confident that I can cross the uncertain waters and always get to my destination – happiness, success, love, family, friendship, and adventure. Even if I get lost sometimes – and I will – I’ll always have that confidence that I’ll find my way back. I am good, I am strong, I am capable. I feel so empowered here, in this moment where I have so little, in this moment where I get my beginning.”

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A lot has happened in the past 2 years. It took a lot to get from that point (fresh out of an abusive relationship with nothing to my name) to now, living comfortably with a successful business under my belt. While I still have a long, long way to go, it all started in that moment back in 2016 with that mental shift. It changed everything and gave me the steadfast fuel I needed to face all of the ups, downs, failures, and struggles it took to get my business off the ground and build my dream life from scratch. There were 5 key principles that played into that mental shift and those 5 principles are what I want to go over in today’s post.

1.      Be Authentic

It all starts with a commitment to being authentic. This means being clear on who you are and what you want most out of life. This will then become your guiding light for determining action steps and behavior.

Often, the biggest fears people face regarding authenticity are fear of rejection and fear of being selfish. Part of choosing to be authentic is accepting that you cannot please everyone. You will attract those that resonate with your genuine self and those relationships will be more meaningful and genuine because of it.

 In your journey for gaining clarity on who you are and what you want most, you will likely come to discover that showing love, kindness, and gratitude towards others is a key facet of a fulfilling and genuine lifestyle. Once you make this mental shift, you will be free to be kind to others out of genuine authenticity – rather than out of fear of rejection.

This is why being authentic is by no means synonymous with being selfish. In fact, it is often quite the opposite. Being authentic enables you to become more genuine in your key relationships while putting an end to any artificial or inauthentic relationships that are unnecessarily sapping your time and energy.

For me, going on long hikes, walks, and even multi-day trips in foreign cities and countries completely on my own helped me to get really clear on who I am and what I want most out of life. Even if all you can manage to do is take a couple hours to yourself walking around a park or going on a hike, take a journal with you to write and help you process your thoughts and feelings.

This process requires shedding all of the cultural pressure that have been put on you since birth, all the fear of social rejection (even if just momentarily), and being able to look yourself in the eye and say “This is who I am, this is what I want to do most with my life, and I know that my intentions are good.”

If you’ve never read Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” on living wholeheartedly, I highly recommend it.  Making the shift to authenticity is the first important step towards accomplishing big, challenging goals.

2.      Trust in your capabilities

Once you get clear on your authentic values, ideals, and goals, the next step is to re-organize your life to align with your authentic self and your authentic goals. This is almost never easy, especially if you’ve been allowing societal pressures and artificial expectations to determine your lifestyle up until this point. However, once you’re able to trust in your capabilities, the challenges that arise along the way simply become opportunities to learn and grow your confidence.

As human beings, societal and familial acceptance is a key driving factor of our behavior. It is literally a survival mechanism built into our DNA. In the times of early humans, rejection by your tribe meant certain death. Though times are not so harsh and dire anymore, the possibility of rejection can still tend to feel like a life or death scenario. You can, however, learn to process this in a way that leaves you empowered and moving forward rather than scared and stuck.

Trusting in your capabilities means trusting that either:

1)      You have the skills necessary to readjust, rebuild, and figure out your next steps, no matter what results from your shift towards an authentic lifestyle, or

2)      If you don’t currently have the necessary skills, that you are capable of finding the right resources, people, and opportunities to learn the required skills necessary to progress forward

Even if chasing after your authentic dreams and big life goals means upsetting people and shedding toxic relationships along the way (which it almost always does), trust in your capability to handle conflict, surround yourself with the right people, and make new friends and partners (those who share your same values and vision) along the way. Expect struggles and challenges as you go, but trust in your capability to do whatever it takes to always find your way back to equilibrium (happiness, clarity, and confidence in your next steps towards your big life goals). You don’t have to have all the answers now. You can step into uncertainty boldly, trusting that you are capable of handling whatever challenges arise along the way.

3.      Change how you view and experience failures

As a kid, I was TERRIFIED of failure. I avoided situations where I had low self-confidence and thus could see myself failing. The possibility of failure meant the possibility of having to stare my deepest, darkest demons straight in the face, an outward confirmation of my internal beliefs that I was inadequate, inherently flawed, and eternally “not enough”.

Now, my view of failure has completely changed. In fact, I often go looking for opportunities to fail. I don’t even like the word “failure” anymore and often use the phrase “learning opportunity” instead.  Expecting challenges and failures from the get-go will make it a lot easier to deal with them as they arise.

“Failure” is a 1000% necessary part of the process to becoming our best selves and accomplishing our greatest goals/challenges. Facing and experiencing failure is not some confirmation that you are inherently and eternally inadequate and not good enough. It is a normal, necessary, permanent facet of the journey towards success. We MUST fail to learn, we MUST fail to grow, and we MUST fail to know where our next steps need to be. Every time you fail and readjust accordingly, you are immediately leaps and bounds closer to success than you were when you first started. Fail hard, fail often, and fail fast. Learn and grow through each opportunity. As you do so, you will not only move light years closer to accomplishing your big goals and challenges, your confidence in your ability to handle failures and learn from mistakes will grow as well.

4.      Live in Context

This one has been huge for me. It can be so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day minutia of life, making it easy to feel overwhelmed, lost, and stuck. However, all it takes is stepping out to get a bird’s eye view of your life to get back on track.

When you step back and put your day-to-day struggles in the context of the bird’s eye view of your life, your struggles become small, your sense of “overwhelm” becomes empowerment, and your next steps to get back on track become clear.

For example, the day to day struggles of being a single mom and running my own business as a woman are immense. If you’ve ever watched Bad Moms, I fully resonate with Mila Kunis as the main character in the opening scene. Some deadline is always missed, there’s always at least one person unhappy with me, my house is a disaster 99% of the time, there’s always some overdue bill or email unanswered, and it’s not uncommon for me to break down in my car at least once a day from feeling so overwhelmed. I’ve stress-binged on Krispy Kreme donuts more times than I’d like to admit.

In those days, it would have been easy for me to give up – but stepping back and putting my day/struggles in context have saved me, without fail, every single time.

Yes, my life is stressful. But 2 years ago, I was sleeping on an air mattress on the ground, my daughter and I were living off food stamps, and I had to walk over a mile in the middle of winter just to catch a bus to get to job interviews.  I’ve come a long way in just 2 years, and I still have a lot of life left ahead of me.

Where ever you are, you have come a long way and overcome a lot of challenges to get to this point, here and now. That’s pretty amazing. You’re still here and you’re still fighting. That’s incredible. Give yourself a break and live in context. Today may be hard, but you’ve already come such a long way, and as long as you’re living, there’s always hope and opportunity for new accomplishments, new feats, and new joys to come. It’s not over until it’s over. On rough days, make sure to congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come and maintain your vision of the limitless potential the future holds. Writing in your journal and reading through past entries, if possible, is also a great way to live your life in context.

Live in context and know that these challenges are a result of your determination to live authentically and accomplish challenging goals – and that’s something to be proud of.

5.      Keep Momentum

Finally, when it comes to accomplishing big goals and challenges, keeping momentum is key. Start every day with a plan and live with purpose. Even if you’re not sure on what your next steps should be exactly, make an educated guess. No one ever has all the answers. The only way to learn and grow is to apply the scientific method (make an educated hypothesis, try it out, pay attention to the data and outcome, then readjust as necessary with a now slightly more educated hypothesis).

The key is to always start where you are, with what you know, and have an action plan to move forward. This continual growth, movement and momentum is essential for accomplishing big goals. You will fail and learn and grow along the way. Readjust as necessary – but never quit moving.

I start every day by writing out a to-do list and making sure that every to-do item is aligned with my overarching authentic values and goals. It took a while, but by practicing this daily, I was able to weed out a lot of the unnecessary daily minutia from my life that was sapping time and energy away from working towards my authentic goals. Villa Leadership has an excellent exercise to help you do this called the Big Dot Little Dot exercise. I highly recommend checking it out on their blog.

Your assignment for today is to go through each of the 5 points above and write out each concept as it applies to you:

1.      Get clear on your authentic self. Who are you? Who do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish most in your life? What things/people/accomplishments leave you feeling the most genuinely fulfilled, happy, and accomplished?

2.      What skills have you developed that you’re proud of? What skills do you want to develop further? What opportunities, mentors, and resources do you have available to you to work on those skills?

3.      Where in your life are you allowing fear of failure to hold you back? If you WERE to fail, what would that look like in a worst case scenario? Would you be able to recover from it? What lessons, skills, and confidence could be earned should you proceed and fail?

4.      What’s your context? What obstacles and challenges have you overcome and fought through to get here? What potential does your future hold?

5.      Write out an action plan for the next week. Break your big goal up into a series of key steps, and then break those key steps down further into bite-size baby steps. Be specific, give yourself deadlines, and create a system to hold yourself accountable. 

At the end of the day, remember that life is short. We all have a short, limited, finite time to live on this earth and chase after our dreams. Live authentically with heart and passion. Find the things and people that bring you to life and ignite a spark in you. Start every day where you are, with what you have, and with what you know, and know that what you are is enough. Make this your foundation for setting and working towards accomplishing big challenges and goals. Your confidence in your ability to do so will grow with every step. Lastly, make sure to share your journey with us along the way!

What big challenges have you set for yourself? What big goals do you want to accomplish? What are you most passionate about? We’d love to hear from you – and possibly even feature you in one of our blog posts! Share your big goals and challenges in the comments below! You’ve got this.

XOXO,

Haley


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 10: Learn to Speak assertively

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Hello and welcome to Day 10 of Confidence Boot Camp!  Today’s topic, Learn to Speak Assertively,  falls into the Psychological, Emotional and Physical components of The Chemistry of Confidence.

Speaking assertively can sometimes seem like a double-edged sword, especially for women, who are often misjudged when they try to speak and behave in an assertive manner.  The double edge is we are also judged if we aren’t assertive.  Understanding why it is vital to our well-being helps us resolve the conflict around it.

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Assertive communication can be defined as communicating confidently, honestly and with authenticity.  It is about not being afraid to say what you need to say and what you truly believe.  As such, the first things we need to confront are our own potential fears and beliefs about being an assertive woman.

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook and author of “Lean In” lists common assumptions and fears that women may struggle with, including:  the fear of speaking up honestly (we may hurt someone’s feelings), the fear of not being seen as a team player (we may be perceived as being “too competitive”), the fear of bringing attention to oneself (women are “supposed” to be in the shadows), and the fear of being seen as negative or nagging (a common stereotype of women anyway). 

Therefore, the first step in being more assertive is empowering yourself by recognizing your own fears and assumptions.  The second step is to understand where they come from, which may be a multi-layered process.  We are all born into families that are a culture within themselves.  Our families are the first layer that will shape our beliefs significantly.  Then, there is the next layer that is the societal culture we live in and the tremendous influence it has on our sense of self.  For example, if we are born into a culture where women are seen and treated as second class citizens, we will have a more difficult time giving ourselves permission to be assertive. Finally, the third step is to challenge those beliefs and develop more realistic and healthy ego-building ones.  This undoubtedly will require support from others, whether it is through mentoring, individual therapy, self-help books and/or education.  The fourth step is to put those beliefs into practice by learning effective communication skills.  The video here will give you some great strategies and tips on how to communicate assertively.

 PRACTICE ASSIGNMENT

1.     Identify one area of your life where you want to be more assertive: Speaking up in a relationship, setting limits with another person, asking for what you want, etc.

2.     Following the steps outlined in the video, plan your conversation.

3.     Find a supportive friend or partner, and ask him/her to practice, or role play through the conversation with you.

4.     Observe the places where you might feel nervous or you might hold back, take a deep breath and push forward. See what happens. Remember, it’s just practice, and nothing can really go terribly wrong, right?

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It isn’t easy.  But it is vital to our own sense of self, and we know through research that people who do speak up effectively are 10 times more likely to have happier relationships than those who don’t.  Women value their relationships tremendously.  In fact, we make most decisions for ourselves through the lens of our relationships.  In addition, we also are powerful role models to other women, and to men as well.  It’s important to keep in mind that every person on the planet has an obligation to teach those people around them how they want to be treated. 

It may not be easy, but like any new skill we want to develop, we can be successful with commitment, understanding, support, and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Integrating a new belief or skill is a process researchers have identified as the end result of consistent practice, and very much worth the effort. 

And, remember, you have us here at The Villa educating you, supporting you and cheering you on.  Our door is open and the Light is Always On!  Thanks for joining us today.  We’ll see you tomorrow with more cool tips to build your confidence!

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If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 9: PRACTICE MINDFULNESS

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Welcome to Day 9 of Confidence Boot Camp. We are so excited today to share with you some wise words from another of our guest bloggers, Jennipher Walters from Fit Bottomed Girls. If you aren’t familiar with the Fit Bottomed Girls or Fit Bottomed World, we’d encourage you to check them out. They are true pioneers in the body and fitness movement, who started in 2008 as a group of friends who wanted to find fun, no-diet ways to be fit and healthy. They’ve gained widespread attention in many different publications, have over 183,000 subscribers to their blog, and host a podcast that now has 46 episodes covering topics on health, nutrition, and ways to be happy and healthy.

 Jennipher Walters and Kristen Seymour of Fit Bottomed Girls

Jennipher Walters and Kristen Seymour of Fit Bottomed Girls

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

Mindfulness as a practice has gained a lot of attention in the past few years. Many businesses are providing mindfulness training to their employees to help them be more productive and reduce their stress. The essence of mindfulness is learning how to control your attention. The human brain can actually hold about seven different thought streams at once. That’s pretty crazy, when you stop to think about it! But just because we can think of so many different things at once, should we? Research has shown that it’s not really more productive to multi-task, and when the brain is trying to hold onto so many thoughts at once, it can increase anxiety and reduce confidence.

Learning to be mindful is about staying present in this moment, in the experience you are in right now, without worrying about the future or perseverating about the past. When you stay in the present moment, you can feel more in control of your thoughts, your feelings and your actions.

We love the tips shared here with us by Jennipher Walters, and we hope you will, too.


10 Easy Ways to Practice Mindfulness

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By Jennipher Walters, www.FitBottomedGirls.com, @FitBottomedGirl

Mindfulness is a big buzzword right now. And with good reason – being mindful can make you feel more centered, it can reduce stress and it can actually energize you. But how do you do it, exactly? We’ve got 10 situations that are ideal for trying it out.

When you do chores. Tend to wish you were doing something – ANYTHING – else than the chore you’re doing? Instead of mentally fighting against the pile of laundry or the grime on the bathtub, tune into the task at hand. Feel your body as you scrub or fold. Put all of your attention on the task at hand. As thoughts of hating the laundry and tub come in, don’t fight them. Just recognize them and get back to what you’re doing. (Seriously, this sounds silly but it can actually make chores SO much more enjoyable!)

When you work out.  Don’t just hop on the elliptical and watch TV at the gym, spend a few minutes paying attention to how each of your muscles are firing and contracting and helping you to move as you are. Pretty darn amazing, huh?! (And if you need some workouts, go here!)

When you eat. Slow down and savor your meal fully by following these mindful eating tips.

When you go outside. It’s so easy to rush between one thing to the next, but each time you are outside, take a breath and look around. Focus on the breeze or the light hitting your skin or even the sounds.

When you sit. It’s easy to sit and slouch down, but practice sitting upright and being fully alert and aware of your entire body touching the chair and the air around you. A bit of a different experience whether you’re working or watching TV.

When you talk to … anyone. So many of us live in our heads, but listening is a mindful activity. So the next time you have a conversation, don’t just think about what you’ll say next, really, really listen fully to the other person. (Bonus: this can make your relationships so much better and help you to find common ground with others.)

When you drive. We love tunes in the car, too, but it can be way mindful to drive with nothing but the sound of the tires below you and your focus on the road ahead. It’s safer, too.

When you cook. Slow down and enjoy the process of cooking – the chop of the onions, the smell of the garlic. Experience it all!

When you pick up your phone. We all mindlessly use our phones – and grab for them when we’re bored or we want to check out. But, instead, every time you pick up your phone, take a deep breath and ask yourself: how does this make me feel?  The quick moment of reflection and mindfulness can lead to some pretty big insights.

When you breathe. When you’re stressed or busy, your breathing is usually quick and shallow. So make a point to take three deep breaths every hour or so. It’s like a mental reset.

Yep, they’re all basically little mini meditations that you can squeeze into even your busiest day. Which one(s) will you try?


PRACTICE ASSIGNMENT

Your assignment for today is to select just one of the tips Jennipher outlined here, and try it. If you’re feeling really confident, try two…or three! Share what you learned with someone else, or teach it to another person. Write your experience in your journal, or share with us on Facebook or Instagram.

The best way for all of us to get better at confidence is to practice and share. We want to hear about your successes (and your failures!). We’re all in this together.

See you tomorrow, Campers.


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 8: live above the line

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Welcome to Day 8 of Confidence Boot Camp. We hope you are following along and doing the exercises every day to help you build stronger core confidence. Remember, confidence is not a static condition or a place you can “arrive”. It takes practice, awareness, re-setting and developing your confidence muscles so you can be resilient no matter what life events come your way.
 
Today’s tool is a way to build stronger Emotional Confidence, and it’s a tool we learned from our colleagues at Top 20 Training, a group of teachers who developed a set of simple tools to help students, parents and teachers build stronger emotional intelligence skills.  We love this tool because it’s so simple and easy to implement as a practice. Part of the reason we teach simple tools for building emotional skill is that when your brain is hijacked, or in an emotional state, you can’t access your memory for complex models. We want you to be able to quickly remember—even when you’re wrought with feelings—what you can do to manage your emotions.
 
This tool is simply called “The Line”, so here are the basics.
 
Clear, focused thinking is essential to doing your best at work, and sometimes we don’t even realize whether we are in a clear thinking or feeling state until we pay attention to what we’re saying:
 
“I’m having had a bad day today.”
“I hate Mondays.”
“I don’t feel like working.”
 
Recognizing how you are THINKING, FEELING, AND COMMUNICATING is critical to your job performance and having good interpersonal relationships.
 

THE LINE

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We all have an imaginary LINE that is with us wherever we go. We may not be aware of it all the time, but it’s there. The Line helps us judge our thinking, feeling and communicating at any given moment. Like this:

When we are “above the line”, we generally think, learn and communicate in highly effective ways.  We often feel:

OPTIMISTIC
JOYFUL
CONFIDENT
ENERGIZED
CREATIVE
CAPABLE
APPRECIATIVE
OPEN
AWARE

When we are "below the line", we usually think, learn, and communicate in less effective ways. We might feel:

DOWN
TIRED
FRUSTRATED
APATHETIC
GRUMPY
"OFF"
ANGRY
ANXIOUS

 

What are some words you might use to describe how you feel, think and communicate when you are “above the line”?
 

What words describe how you feel, think and communicate when you are “below the line”?
 

Indicators                             

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Indicators are the physical signs and signals we experience that help us judge whether we are above or below the line:
 
•Do I feel tense? 
•Am I calm and feel in control?                
•Can others approach me easily?
•Am I walking more quickly or more slowly?    
•Am I short in my responses to others?  
•Can I laugh at myself?
•Do I want to blame others?
•Do I feel decisive?      
•Do I have a headache?       
•Am I looking forward to going to work?
•Am I breathing more rapidly?                 
•Are ideas coming to me more easily?
 
What are your indicators? How do you usually respond to your indicators?
 

Life looks different above and below the line

 
Our experience in life is greatly influenced by our state of mind, and whether we are ABOVE or BELOW the line.
 
When we are Above the Line—positive, energized, clear and productive—work seems easy.  The people we work with are helpful, we operate as a team, and we feel like we can conquer the world together.  We can even appreciate our differences and value conflicts that occasionally arise.
 
When we are Below the Line, simple problems can look like catastrophes, and the people we work with seem difficult, oppositional, annoying, or incompetent. We experience more conflicts and we tend to blame other people for problems.
 

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Trampolines & Submarines


Being Below the Line is part of being human.  It isn’t a bad thing; sometimes it just “is”.  What we do with our “below the line” state is another thing.
 

Trampolines

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If you’re below the line and want to get back above the line, you can use TRAMPOLINES.  Trampolines are the positive actions we use to help us feel better, clarify our thinking, and “get back in the game”.
 
 

 

Trampolines might include:

  • Taking a break
  • Listening to music
  • Eating a snack
  • Deep breathing
  • Getting some exercise
  • Talking to a friend

 
Trampolines help us “re-set” our mental barometers and get back to being productive.  What are your trampolines?
 

Submarines

 
Sometimes we just don’t have it in us to rebound, and we might need to stay below the line for a while.  Being below the line is okay, as long as you’re aware of it, and you take responsibility for how your thinking, feeling and communicating affects other people.
 

Below the line behavior hurts others. 

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You can contain your below-the-line thinking, feeling and communicating by using The Submarine.  Putting yourself in a submarine allows you to accept the way you are feeling, but not hurt anyone else with irresponsible words or behavior. 
 
 

Being in a submarine might look something like this:
 

  • Closing your office door for a short period.
     
  • Saying to a colleague, “I’m not on my A game today, so please don’t take anything I might say personally.”
     
  • Focusing on independent work tasks that might be less people-oriented, such as paperwork or computer work.
     
  • Listening to music on headphones while doing manual labor that doesn’t require communicating with others.

CAUTION: The Submarine is a technique intended for use ON OCCASION. If you find yourself in the submarine for multiple days, or if you notice one of your co-workers in the submarine for extended time periods, it might be time to ask yourself or him/her, “WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON?”

*The good news about a submarine is that it always COMES UP (eventually).
 

Practice

Here is your practice assignment for today:
 
Get out your journal (from Day 4 on Journaling) and respond to the following questions:

  1. Where are you on The Line right now? (Above, Below, or hovering around the middle)
  2. What indicators do you have about where you are?
  3. What trampolines do you typically employ to bring you up when you are below the line?
  4. Think of a time when you needed to be in a submarine and describe it.
  5. What did you do to protect others from your below-the-line behaviors?
  6. What helped you bring your submarine back to the surface (above the line)?

During the coming week, pay close attention to whether you are ABOVE THE LINE or BELOW THE LINE at various times during the day. Sometimes it helps to track it on a calendar or in your daily planner, just to note your own patterns.
 
What does “The Line” have to do with confidence?
 
Good question.
 
By now, you’ve probably started to see that confidence is largely connected to our perceptions of control—over our emotions, our physical bodies, or our thinking. Learning to be more aware of our emotions helps us to manage those emotions more readily, and actually use emotion strategically as a guide to our actions. The more purposeful we can be in our actions helps us build a stronger internal sense of control, or confidence.
 
Practice The Line and let us know how it works for you. Whether you’re above or below the line, there’s no failing in your practice. It’s just information for you to observe in yourself, and then decide what you want to do with it.
 
Thanks for joining us today at Confidence Boot Camp, and we can’t wait to see you tomorrow!


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 7: BUILD YOUR EXPERTISE

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Hello and welcome to Day 7 of The Villa Confidence Boot Camp! Today’s topic is about the physiological/cognitive component of The Chemistry of Confidence.

Today, we talk about building your expertise and skills. Your expertise is compromised of the following:

·       Knowledge, technical skill, education, training

·       Capabilities, judgments, critical thinking

·       Interpersonal and influencing skills

Your expertise and skills do not define you and your worth. Rather, developing your skill set and enhancing your expertise empowers you to build credibility and self-confidence.

As you build your expertise, people come to trust your level of skill and thus your credibility. When we are seen as credible, it allows us to build our own belief in ourselves, and therefore builds our own confidence.

Your expertise is your set of skills, knowledge, and experiences that makes you good at what you do. You may have technical skills, people skills, leadership skills, or thinking/influencing skills that increase your value. This part of your identity grows naturally over time, but is also enhanced by your efforts to gain critical thinking or experiences that help you grow.

The first step to building your expertise is identifying the skills that you are naturally talented at. What skills and areas of expertise have you always naturally excelled at and been drawn to? What technical or interpersonal skills do you enjoy the most? Pay attention to the things you are naturally drawn to. They are often connected to your path, passion, and purpose in life. Have the courage to follow them.

The next step is identifying those skills which you wish to learn or improve. What skills are required to reach your personal and career goals? What skills will, once developed, empower you to feel more confident throughout your day-to-day life?

As I talk about in my video, the next step in building your expertise is admitting that you are not yet skilled and accepting that that’s OK. Starting with humility and refusing to internalize your initial struggles as you develop a new skill is absolutely vital to building expertise and confidence.

In the beginning stages of learning, you will stumble, fail, and often feel overwhelmed. THAT’S OK. You are not only already more skilled than when you first started, you are now 1000 times closer to developing your expertise and self-confidence than if you had never started in the first place. Every expert that’s ever lived started with a slew of struggles, failures, and days of feeling completely overwhelmed.

Early attempt at graphic design.

 

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After some practice.

 

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I will never forget the first months when I attempted to start my own business. I was a newly single mom with absolutely no background in running a business – but being an entrepreneur was my dream. I wanted to create an income to support my young daughter while still having the time and freedom to be there for her.

To say I ran ahead like a chicken with my head cut off would be an understatement. I still cringe a little bit looking back at all the mistakes I made, the mediocre work I dared present to really important clients, the embarrassment I felt when my work was returned with criticism and constructive feedback, etc.

However, I am so grateful for those “expertise building” moments. It was those failures that enabled me to figure out what I needed to do to become better. And as I became better, my credibility grew. I have since done graphic design and digital work for several multimillion dollar international companies from the US to Canada and the UK. While I still have a lot of room to grow, my expertise and credibility – and thus my confidence - has grown every step of the way.

So how can you improve your skills and build your expertise? Here are some of my top recommendations:

-        Give yourself a specific project and deadline. You must first “try on” your new desired skill to figure out the specific areas where you need to improve.

-        Find exemplars (online or someone you know personally) that excel at the skill you wish to master. What are they doing on a regular basis that you can apply? Can you ask them for advice? Would they be willing to mentor you? How can you take what they are doing and apply it to your own skill development process?

-        Practice, practice, practice. Watch YouTube videos, search for “How-To” tutorials and articles, check out books from the library, and try something new daily.

-        Volunteer or offer to work for free somewhere that requires your skill. For example, I initially offered to do free graphic design work for several companies. My first attempts were GOD AWFUL, but having them hold me accountable and offer constructive feedback was extremely helpful.

-        Post your work on social media (we’d love to see it on our Villa Facebook page!), even if it’s just a video of you practicing. This consistent public presentation of your skills/expertise, while potentially awkward at first, will empower you to stay motivated at building your skill, grow your credibility, and enhance your confidence.

-        If possible, join professional groups and get additional education. Check for classes at your community college or online courses, sign up for Meetups in your area, or find Facebook groups focused on your desired area of expertise. Continuing education is an important aspect of building your expertise.

-        Ask for feedback and reviews. If your skills and expertise are part of your business, ask your customers to leave you online reviews and testimonials. While scary at first, feedback and reviews are important parts of building your credibility and confidence.

As the eloquent Mia Selway talked about earlier in our Confidence Boot Camp, journal your feelings, experiences, and thoughts along the way as you practice your skills and build your expertise. This will help you to process the journey of credibility/ skill building and allow you to gain insights that you may have missed before.

Finally, here are key things to keep in mind as you build your expertise:

-        You will likely struggle in the first stages – THAT’S OK. You’re not alone.

-        Refuse to internalize failures and struggles.

-        Accept the ebb, flow, up, down, and all around cycle of skill and expertise building. Don’t view temporary setbacks as permanent failures or inherent ineptitude. Embrace the process.

-        Believe in your ability to do anything you set your mind to. When you do this, “failures” and “setbacks” become “learning opportunities” that propel you forward.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.

Live the life you have imagined.

—Henry David Thoreau

Remember that the person you want to be is already inside you; otherwise, you wouldn’t want to be that person. All it takes is a little determination, a lot of practice, and a safe person/system to hold you accountable to build your expertise, credibility, and confidence.

Your assignment for today is to 1) Identify one area in your life where you want to increase your expertise, and 2) Of the above recommendations, which one will you start with and why?

For example, if your goal is to become a better runner, start by signing up for a 10k several months from now and create a “couch to 10k” running plan. This both gives you a specific project with a specific deadline and holds you accountable (most races are non-refundable).

If your goal is to improve at public speaking, set a goal to go on Facebook Live once a day for a week and talk about something you’re passionate about. Invite your followers to engage with your video and leave feedback.

I hope you feel inspired and empowered to work on building your desired skill set and credibility in whatever area ignites your passions. Thanks for joining us! If you enjoyed this post, PLEASE SHARE IT and help us grow our worldwide audience of empowered women. We will see you tomorrow for day 8 of Confidence Boot Camp. You’ve got this!

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If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 6: TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR BODY

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Welcome to Day 6 of Confidence Boot Camp. We hope you are enjoying the content and the inspiration so far and have started to implement some new tools and practices into your daily routine.
 
Today’s topic is all about the physical component of The Chemistry of Confidence.
 
There are many things we cannot control in our busy day-to-day lives, but there are some things we can control, and one of those is how you take care of your body.
 
Take a quick moment and ask yourself the following questions:

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  • How much sleep are you allowing yourself?
     
  • Are you getting enough physical activity each day?
     
  • Are you feeding your body the nutrients it needs so you feel your absolute best?

 

As women, we often think only of confidence in relation to our physical selves, as being how we look, being fit, being the weight we want to be, being made up, etc. I’ve heard people say, “I’ll be more confident when I lose 20 pounds,” as if you wake up one day, look at the scale and think, “Well, look what I’ve done. Now I’m confident.”
 
But the truth is, confidence is a natural byproduct of your regular physical activity, getting good sleep, and properly fueling your body. When your body feels good and is working at its optimal level, you can be happier, less irritable, more productive, and full of energy. Can you imagine how confident you can feel when your body is working in your very best interest? We can start by making it a regular practice to associate taking care of your body with how you feel and NOT only how you look.
 

BE ACTIVE

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY doesn’t have to be a dreadful event. My tip to women is to make exercise fun. If you don’t like to run, don’t run. (I hate to run.) If you don’t like to go to the gym, don’t go. Choose activities that you love to do and incorporate physical movement into your activity. I personally love to be outdoors so one of my favorite things to do to get my heart pumping is go on a brisk hike in the mountains near my home. I have a girlfriend who has little time to fit in a structured workout, so she gets her kids to join her in simple, kid-friendly exercise moves. The kids have a blast and she gets her exercise in. It may not be perfect but it works for her. The main take-away here is do something that you will enjoy, is easy for you to fit into your routine, and gets your endorphins going.

 

 Grab your girlfriend's or your partner and hit the trails!

Grab your girlfriend's or your partner and hit the trails!


SLEEP. SERIOUSLY.

I think everyone can agree that SLEEP is a beautiful thing. That is, if you are actually getting it. To be fair, I agree that sleep can often feel very out of our control, especially, if you have young children, a new puppy, regular bouts of insomnia, or a partner who snores.
 
Take the control of what you do have and make the most of it. Set yourself a sleeping schedule and try to stick to it as much as possible.  Get into bed 20-30 minutes before you actually want to be asleep, turn off the television, and leave your phone in your bedside drawer.  Give your brain and body some time to really relax and shut off. If you are night worrier, or if the instant your head hits the pillow is when you remember all the things you were supposed to do that day that didn’t get done, keep a pencil and paper on your bedside table and write it down. Unless you are literally going to get up and get the task done at that very moment, it does you no good to stress about it.
 

DON’T EAT CRAP

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My favorite thing to remind myself when it comes to my NUTRITION is this:
 
When you eat like crap, you feel like crap, and then you act like crap. Makes sense, right?
 
My philosophy is simple: Eat what makes you feel good and avoid what makes you feel bad. I’m not talking about what makes you feel good emotionally—like chocolate cake or French fries. That’s another post for another day.  I’m talking about eating foods that actually make your body feel better and give you more energy. Do everything in moderation and don’t deprive yourself of things you really love, even if it’s the occasional piece of chocolate cake.

My advice here is to be conscious of what you are fueling yourself with and make sure it is working for your body and not against it. If your food choices have you feeling sluggish, foggy, or tired, that’s a good indication that choice is working against you. It won’t happen overnight, but listening and staying in tune with your body’s response to food can become second nature if you practice it. Try keeping a food journal for 30 days that records what you ate and how you felt. This can help eliminate problems foods for you. All our bodies are different and respond to things in different ways. Take time to learn your body and its signals.
 
Your assignment for today is to select ONE small thing related to ACTIVITY, SLEEP, or NUTRITION, and do that ONE THING today that will indicate to your brain that you’re in charge of your physical body. Some examples might include:
 

  • Set yourself a bedtime and go to bed at that time tonight (even if you haven’t finished your list or your laundry).
     
  • Choose the peach over the cookies for your afternoon treat.
     
  • Take a brisk, 30-minute walk after dinner instead of binging on Netflix.
     
  • Just ONE THING! Taking charge of your body tells your brain that what you do matters, and it raises your confidence level a notch each time you do something kind for your physical body.

 
Write in your journal (look back at Day 4 on journaling) what you did today to take care of your body, and go to The Villa Facebook page or Instagram page and tell us what you did differently today. We’ll be there to cheer you on!
 
Every little step you take moves you forward in your confidence journey. I hope I’ve sparked some new ideas for you and given you some good tips to help you keep moving.
 
We will see you tomorrow for another day of Confidence Boot Camp. You’ve got this!

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If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 5: Step into the mystery

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Today’s confidence inspiration is from Lisa Condie, author and international entreprenuer. We’ve all heard stories of people who take a leap of faith and reinvent their lives almost overnight. They sell all their possessions, say goodbye to family and friends, and move to a new place to start a new life. We watch with awe and sometimes envy, marveling at their willingness to throw caution to the wind and follow their bliss. But we don’t always hear how the adventure turns out.

We met Lisa recently, and we can tell you that her story has turned out better than she could have predicted in her wildest dreams. She described her story to Carol and me over lunch in a local Sicilian restaurant, and we were mesmerized by her warmth, her vitality, her courage and her honesty about her experiences over the past five years.

In 2012, Lisa took a dream vacation to Italy with her daughter, and she described it as the first time she had ever felt true joy. She said that she was waiting for a taxi in a coffee shop early one morning in Rome, and made the decision in five minutes that she would return to live in Italy. She went home, sold her home and most of her possessions, closed her business, and three months later bought a one-way ticket to Florence. For the past five years, she has nurtured a private tour company in Tuscany called Find Yourself in Tuscany and written a book about her experiences, “I Found Myself in Tuscany”. Her business grew quickly and she was featured on the Today Show in 2013, and writes frequently for the Huffington Post.

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"I know a lot about taking a giant leap of faith, and just having trust that your wings will sprout before you hit the ground."

“Stepping into the mystery” is one of our practices to build Spiritual Confidence. You don’t have to make a 180-degree turn to practice, but we all have places in our lives where we’ve been holding back on our dreams because of uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Maybe it’s about trying a new activity, confronting a difficult relationship, applying for a new position, starting a business, or simply committing to a new practice or breaking a habit.

For your confidence practice today:

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  1. Identify one area in your life—small or large—where you’ve been considering a change or a new path.
     
  2. Next, identify one action you could take today that would move you in the direction of the change. Even if the action is tiny, just find the first step.
     
  3. Decide when and how you will take the first step. You can even try what are called “micromovements”—tiny little actions that move you in the direction of your pursuit. Here are some examples of micromovements:

               -   Want to write a book? Go to the bookstore and look for books that are already written about your topic.
               -   Want to find a new job? Update your LinkedIn profile today.
               -   Want to make more friends? Go online and see what MeetUp groups are in your area.
     
  4. Finally: As you’re journaling (from Day 4), write about the change you want to make, including how you might do it, what you think might get in the way, and how you might navigate any potential barriers. Writing about it is a micromovement itself.

That’s it. Just start, and notice how movement affects your confidence. Taking control of our own path increases our sense of independence and self-sufficiency, therefore increasing our belief in our own capabilities.

We can’t see the future, so we have to trust in our ability to manage whatever comes our way. Confidence grows as we practice “stepping into the mystery” of our lives to see what surprises our journeys present.
 
Thank you for continuing the Confidence Boot Camp journey with us. We can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
 

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If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 4: JOURNAL YOUR FEELINGS

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Welcome to Day 4 of Confidence Boot Camp. Today we are pleased to welcome Mia Selway as our guest confidence expert to share her experiences about journaling. Mia is an actor from London, England. She is also one of our Aluminaria featured stories, and we encourage you to go here and read more about her most courageous and amazing life journey. She has used journaling through art, poetry, and writing to document events and experiences from her life.

Journaling has been one of the most important processes in my journey to live an authentic and wholehearted life.

Whether the experience is positive or negative, she uses journaling as a way to sit with and explore her feelings and reactions, which helps her to process that experience in the present moment. She also uses the journal as a record to look back and re-process at a time when she is in a different frame of mind. At that time, she can explore questions like:
 

“How would I react to this experience if it happened to me today?”
 
“Would my reaction be different or the same?”
 
“Did my response to an experience fit with my core values?”
 
“What did I learn from that experience?”

 
Processing through a journal in this way can give you the opportunity to change the way you see and react to a situation and be more confident the next time you are in a similar experience.
 
Some of the benefits of journaling might include:
 

  • Journaling allows you to take a break and “sit in solace and have a dialogue with yourself about where you are in life… and build an honest relationship with yourself that is one of the most important relationships that one can have.”
     

  • Journaling can be in any form of creative expression:  writing, drawing, painting, poetry, collages or doing exercises in a workbook where we can define our values, verbalize what we want in a relationship or job, or set boundaries.
     

  • You can find additional ideas for journaling through drawing, painting and poetry here: Illustrating Poems in Art Journaling

 
Many creative people practice what is frequently called “daily pages” or “morning pages”. In a notebook or journal, they simply write whatever comes to mind, without judgment or editing. It’s important to write by hand in these exercises, as it uses a different brain process than typing on a keyboard. Some write three pages, and some write for 10 or 20 minutes. In this experience, most people report they are able to sort through their thoughts, get them out on paper to look at them more objectively (like the Lizard Brain drawing!) and prioritize what they want to do with them. Some say they feel like they are opening a water faucet to their creativity, and once they’ve done their morning pages, new ideas or new fixes to problems start flowing in.
 
We are absolutely inspired to add journaling to our daily lives after hearing Mia’s experience.

Here’s your assignment for Day 4:
 

  1. Find a new notebook and a pen you really like. The pen is important—it has to flow for you and keep up with your thoughts.
     

  2. Write anything you want that comes to mind for 10 minutes or 3 pages, whichever you prefer.
     

  3. Rinse and repeat every day for one week.
     

  4. At the end of the week, write a new journal entry that reflects your observations of your week of writing.
     

  5. For an extra confidence boost: Reach out to us on social media and tell us about your experience. Leave a comment or post on your page and tag us. FB: @ourvillanetwork IG: @our_villa_blog

You’re rocking this! Remember, there is no way to “fail” at Confidence Boot Camp. Just do the best you can, try some new things, and pay attention to your experience. Each day as you practice, you’ll begin to see small, but very subtle changes in the way you think, see your world, or feel every day. And if you fall behind, it’s really easy to catch up. Just go back to our page at The Villa blog and review.
 
See you tomorrow, Confidence Crew!    


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 3: TAME YOUR LIZARD BRAIN

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Have you ever had one of these thoughts pop into your head?
 
          “You shouldn’t try that. You’ll fail.”
 
          “You’re not smart enough to do that job.”
 
          “People will laugh at you.”

 
Or what about:
 
          “That’s a ridiculous idea. Keep your mouth shut.”
 
          “Everyone knows you’re not qualified.”

 
If you’ve heard any of these statements coming from the space between your own two ears, you may be normal. And you may be hearing your Lizard Brain.
 
The older part of the mid-brain, the amygdala, is often referred to as “the reptilian brain.” Sometimes it’s helpful to think about this part of our emotional response system as “the Lizard Brain”.
 
We might think about the Lizard Brain as our negative, fearful self-talk that keeps us from trying new things or taking risks, because if we should fail, we may suffer embarrassment or shame.
 
The Lizard Brain isn’t all bad. The purpose of the amygdala is to alert and remind us of danger, but our brain in a high emotional state doesn’t always know the difference between what is actually life threatening, and what is not. It responds in almost the same way to negative performance feedback from your boss as it might to the sound of footsteps behind you in a dark alley.
 
Our Lizard Brain is simply the voice of fear with a mask of negative messages we may have heard at earlier times in our lives. The negative messages may have come from others—parents, teachers, peers, the media—or manufactured by our own self-doubt.
 
Everyone has a Lizard Brain, and it’s important to make sure we know our lizard and learn how to deal with it. Here’s today’s exercise:
 

Draw your Lizard Brain

Get out your paper and your markers and draw a picture of the lizard character in your head that speaks to you with fear and negativity. You don’t need to be an artist (and you may instantly hear your lizard say, “You can’t draw!”), but don’t let that stop you. Give your lizard a name, give him or her some color, and then identify what your lizard says to you.
 
What did you learn in that exercise? Show it to someone else, and describe how your lizard influences you.
 
Why do we ask you to draw it? Because it’s the first step toward separating yourself from your own negative, fearful thinking. By getting it out of your head and down on paper, you’ll be able to see your fears more objectively, and then you can decide what to do with them.
 

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR LIZARD BRAIN

 
You may not be able to stop your lizard from intruding into your life completely. After all, the amygdala serves an important purpose in keeping us alert to potential danger, whether real or imagined. But there are ways to reduce the intrusions and take charge of your lizard brain so it has less power over you. When you take charge of your negative self-talk, you make space for courage and confidence to grow.
 

  1. NAME IT By drawing your lizard and giving it a name, you can begin to become more aware of your own patterns of negative self-talk.
     
  2. CLAIM IT Once you become aware that you are talking to yourself in negative and destructive ways, you can “own” that you are the source of the fear and negativity, and decide to make a change.
     
  3. TAME IT You may not be able to rid yourself completely of the annoying lizard, but you can tame it by setting limits to keep it quiet, deciding that you are going to step up and show your courage in spite of the lizard, or simply not listening to it when your reasoning brain presents evidence that the threat is not real.
 Lizard "tamed"!

Lizard "tamed"!


That’s the Lizard Brain. We hope you’ve had some fun with our exercise today, and we encourage you to keep your drawing handy to remind you to keep a leash on your lizard as you continue to build your confidence.
 
Cheers! We’ll see you tomorrow.


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 2: DO THE POWER POSE

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Welcome to Day 2 of The Villa’s Confidence Boot Camp. At this point, we hope you have had time to review the Chemistry of Confidence exercise, as today we will be sharing a tool from the physical component of confidence. If not, download the guide here and review it.

My name is Meagan Nielsen and I am the Business Manager at Villa Leadership Group and one of the Storytellers at The Villa blog. I have a short attention span and get bored easily, so I am all about finding tools and practices in my life that are quick and easy. Enter: the Power Pose.

THE POWER POSE

Years ago, we came across the Ted Talk from Amy Cuddy, researcher and professor at Harvard Business School, on power posing. We were intrigued with the research around this simple yet effective practice that can improve the way we feel in potentially stressful situations. Since our discovery, we have been sharing this tool with people in our programs all over the world. We often receive feedback from participants well after the programs are complete that they are practicing the power pose daily.                 

Why is it so great? Well, I think it’s because it is so easy to do and only takes two minutes a day.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Stand up tall with your feet firmly planted on the ground.

Step 2: Raise your chin slightly.

Step 3: Put your hands on your hips like a super hero.

Hold this pose for two minutes. What Amy Cuddy discovered is that while holding the body in an open, power posture like this one, testosterone increases and cortisol (the stress hormone) decreases. Thus, you feel more confident, more engaged and focused,  and better prepared to take  measured risks.

Since it requires so little time, you can fit in a power pose practice almost anytime. We have individuals report to us that they are power posing in bathroom stalls before job interviews, while their oatmeal cooks in the microwave each morning, or before a difficult conversation. Some have reported standing in their cubicle before a contentious customer phone call, preparing to be calm and assertive. They say the results are incredible.

Your assignment for today is to practice the power pose. Please share with us how it made you feel, or what you noticed in your practice. You can reach out to us on FaceBook and Instagram, or contact us here.

Power posing around the world.

 

I highly recommend you watch Amy Cuddy's video on power postures. Here it is:

 

If you have a bit more time, you can watch Amy Cuddy's entire TedTalk on power posing.

(Have you ever noticed that most super heroes practice the power pose? Need we say more?)

Happy power pose practice.


If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

Subscribe Here

 

 
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Day 1: WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL CONFIDENT?

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Congratulations! You’ve already taken the biggest step: You enrolled in The Villa’s Confidence BootCamp. The best is yet to come.

We are very excited to have you with us for the next thirty days of skills and practice exercises to help you build your core, unshakeable confidence, so that you can achieve anything you want in your life. We’re grateful to the many people who have joined us in our preparations over the past few months, and shared their tips and tricks for building resilience and stronger beliefs in our own capabilities. We have stories and practices shared by women from all over the world and many different backgrounds and traditions, so we hope you’ll love hearing from all of them as much as we’ve enjoyed working with them.

We also hope you’ve had a chance to review The Chemistry of Confidence Self-Discovery Exercise that describes the four domains of confidence that we’ll be focused on to build our confidence muscles throughout the month. If you haven’t yet, it’s a good idea to take the time today to review those materials, because everything else will make more sense if you have the basic concepts covered.

What do we know about confidence?

As you have probably heard by now, confidence may not be just a feeling; it may be much more of a “state of being”—a feeling state that results from a mix, or a “chemistry” of actions, situations, responses or conditions. Confidence is also not a static condition—it can change from day to day or even moment to moment, depending on how we respond to both external and internal (in our minds) stimuli. Understanding yourself and your own confidence chemistry, and what affects it may be the most important thing that we can learn as we move through the next thirty days.
 
We want to help you build confidence in your confidence. What we mean is that the more you understand just what affects your confidence—either the things that build it for you or the things that shake, rattle or rock your confidence—the more control you have over it. We hope during the coming month in our Confidence Boot Camp, you can really gain a better understanding of yourself, and what helps you feel more confident.

Today’s practice assignment

Your first assignment on Day 1 is to make a short list of things that make you feel confident. It’s always important to acknowledge and build on our strengths, and you’ve already got a lot going for you, whether you realize it or not. You couldn’t have come this far or become the person you are today without a good base of confidence. And even though confidence has a way of ebbing and flowing from time to time, you undoubtedly have some experience with feeling both confident and not confident (as we all do), and therefore have some context to work with to build your confidence even stronger.

Make a commitment: What makes you feel confident?

Now, if you’re really brave, take a cell phone video of what makes you feel confident just like Meagan did. Post it to your Facebook timeline and tag us @ourvillanetwork, or your Instagram profile and tag us @the_villa_blog. Let all your friends know that you’re participating in Confidence Boot Camp, and they can follow and support you. Maybe they’ll even join in, so please invite them to become inspired with you.
 
Are you ready to begin?
 
Let’s roll into Confidence Bootcamp.

See you tomorrow!
 
Merrilee, Carol, Meagan and Haley
Your Villa Storytellers and Confidence Bootcamp Trainers

  We filmed our promo video on a ropes course just to make sure that we can "walk" the confidence walk as well as we can talk the confidence talk. There may have been some tears and some hesitations, but we all overcame our fear of heights together and cheered each other on. Confidence in your support system is one of the best things you can have! Thanks for a great day, Villa team!

We filmed our promo video on a ropes course just to make sure that we can "walk" the confidence walk as well as we can talk the confidence talk. There may have been some tears and some hesitations, but we all overcame our fear of heights together and cheered each other on. Confidence in your support system is one of the best things you can have! Thanks for a great day, Villa team!

If you are enjoying being a part of the Confidence Bootcamp, please tell your friends about it! Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our 30 day confidence camp at anytime - even on September 30! We're constantly growing our group of worldwide women who inspire through shared stories and collective confidence. Please help us get the word out by sharing on your Facebook page and following us by clicking on the icons below!

Did you land on this page from our Facebook page or website, but haven't subscribed to the Confidence Bootcamp yet? It's not too late! Everyone who subscribes will receive daily emails with extras, bonuses, and surprises.

PLUS you'll be eligible to get $500 off a Tuscany Tour through Find Yourself In Tuscany (a tour company run by one of our Confidence Bootcamp participants!) and be entered to be one of 3 lucky winners who will receive a free coaching session ($800 value) from our very own Merrilee Buchanan. 

Make sure to subscribe before September's over, there's still plenty of good stuff in store! 

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