Lets Take Some Time Out

I’ve just had a lovely slightly longer than average weekend.  A really good friend came to stay, a friend who I probably see 3 or 4 times a year.

I’m sharing this with you because, having my friend in the house meant that both myself and my hubby who also runs his own business, switched off our computers, and put down our tablets for 3 whole days.  I don’t know when this last happened other than over Christmas.  Even when we go on holiday we take a tablet each and seek out the wifi.  Its almost as though facebook would fail without us, let alone our businesses.

I don’t know if it’s the fear that if we don’t get back to someone straight away that a business lead will simply go cold, or our absence from social media means that we lose our presence. Either way those thoughts are unfounded.

The weekend is now over and there are no lost clients, just a bigger than average inbox to go through.  We have however had a lovely relaxed weekend that simply wouldn’t have been achieved had our guest not have stayed.  I even managed to try my hand at making crumpets, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

So the moral of this story?  Just once in a while, either with friends or on your own – switch off your social media – its one sure fire way of getting some balance back in your life.

If from time to time you find balancing home and work difficult, using a coach to help you make personal boundaries can make a huge difference. Give Carolyn a call on 07714 216388 today to make an appointment for your first free consultation – what do you have to lose?

 

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Comfort Zone Leap Part IV – Am I Consciously Competence?

Am I consciously Competent?  Simple answer? No not yet!    And for those of you who don’t know yet what I’m talking about – let me explain….

In learning we go through 4 stages of competence when learning.

(You Don’t Know that You Don’t Know)

At this level you are blissfully ignorant: You have a complete lack
of knowledge and skills in the subject in question. On top of this,
you are unaware of this lack of skill, and your confidence may
therefore far exceed your abilities.

Level 2 – Consciously Unskilled

(You Know that You Don’t Know)

At this level you find that there are skills you need to learn, and
you may be shocked to discover that there are others who are much
more competent than you. As you realize that your ability is limited,
your confidence drops. You go through an uncomfortable period as you
learn these new skills when others are much more competent and
successful than you are.

Level 3 – Consciously Skilled

(You Know that You Know)

At this level you acquire the new skills and knowledge. You put your
learning into practice and you gain confidence in carrying out the
tasks or jobs involved. You are aware of your new skills and work on
refining them.

You are still concentrating on the performance of these activities,
but as you get ever-more practice and experience, these become
increasingly automatic.

Level 4 – Unconsciously Skilled

(You Don’t Know that You Know – It Just Seems Easy!)

At this level your new skills become habits, and you perform the task
without conscious effort and with automatic ease. This is the peak of
your confidence and ability.

– See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_96.htm#sthash.SrfZRNRe.dpuf

Stage 1 – Unconsciously Incompetent

How can you know what You Don’t Know?

This assumes complete ignorance.  Because you don’t know what there is to know you have no sense of how little you do know or what skills you are lacking.  Therefore it feels OK. 

I was at this stage when I first volunteered for stand up.  I hadn’t considered the range of skills I would need to know and therefore concluded I was OK.

Stage 2 – Consciously Incompetent

You Know that You Don’t Know!

This is the stage at which your lack of knowledge and skills can hit you.  You may find that there are others that know more or are more skilled than you. You become aware of your lack of skills and your confidence may dip as a result.  It can be uncomfortable learning when others appear to be ahead of you.

I quickly hit this stage during weeks 1 and 2.  Other people seemed to be naturally funny and I knew I had to work at this.  The realisation that  I would need microphone skills too came as a shock.

Stage 3 – Consciously Competent

Knowing You Know

This is where you start to learn the new skills, but it can be tricky and takes practice.  You have to think about each stage of a process where in others it seems natural.  Confidence starts to build.

This is where I’m out now.  I have my comedy routine, my practice audience have laughed at it.  I know its funny.  Yet I still have to work on remembering it, framing it correctly, using the right tone and language makes such a difference and if I stop thinking  about it I get it wrong.

Stage 4 – Unconsciously Competent

You Don’t Know that You Know

This is the stage we’re aiming for, the stage where it all becomes 2nd nature, natural.  Confidence is high and we don’t need to think about what we’re doing.  The new skill has become a habit.  We are polished in what we do.

I’m not here yet, I still have 10 days.  I’m practicing regularly perfecting my piece, so that the words flow and are natural.

So the next time you feel a dip in your confidence, do think….  Is it just because you’ve suddenly realised that you don’t know what you need to know – up until that point you were blissfully unaware you were lacking knowledge so felt OK about it.

Remember – you haven’t become stupid overnight – you just didn’t know you needed to know.  Put some simple steps in place and you’ll soon be confident again.

Many of my clients come to me because their confidence has dipped, coaching provides a supportive environment in which to analyse and change.  Call Carolyn today on 07714 216388 to see how Reflections Coaching can help you be super-confident.

Gingerbread Man - Babka

(Photo credit: avlxyz)

Level 1 – Unconsciously Unskilled

(You Don’t Know that You Don’t Know)

At this level you are blissfully ignorant: You have a complete lack
of knowledge and skills in the subject in question. On top of this,
you are unaware of this lack of skill, and your confidence may
therefore far exceed your abilities.

Level 2 – Consciously Unskilled

(You Know that You Don’t Know)

At this level you find that there are skills you need to learn, and
you may be shocked to discover that there are others who are much
more competent than you. As you realize that your ability is limited,
your confidence drops. You go through an uncomfortable period as you
learn these new skills when others are much more competent and
successful than you are.

Level 3 – Consciously Skilled

(You Know that You Know)

At this level you acquire the new skills and knowledge. You put your
learning into practice and you gain confidence in carrying out the
tasks or jobs involved. You are aware of your new skills and work on
refining them.

You are still concentrating on the performance of these activities,
but as you get ever-more practice and experience, these become
increasingly automatic.

Level 4 – Unconsciously Skilled

(You Don’t Know that You Know – It Just Seems Easy!)

At this level your new skills become habits, and you perform the task
without conscious effort and with automatic ease. This is the peak of
your confidence and ability.

– See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_96.htm#sthash.SrfZRNRe.dpuf

Level 1 – Unconsciously Unskilled

(You Don’t Know that You Don’t Know)

At this level you are blissfully ignorant: You have a complete lack
of knowledge and skills in the subject in question. On top of this,
you are unaware of this lack of skill, and your confidence may
therefore far exceed your abilities.

Level 2 – Consciously Unskilled

(You Know that You Don’t Know)

At this level you find that there are skills you need to learn, and
you may be shocked to discover that there are others who are much
more competent than you. As you realize that your ability is limited,
your confidence drops. You go through an uncomfortable period as you
learn these new skills when others are much more competent and
successful than you are.

Level 3 – Consciously Skilled

(You Know that You Know)

At this level you acquire the new skills and knowledge. You put your
learning into practice and you gain confidence in carrying out the
tasks or jobs involved. You are aware of your new skills and work on
refining them.

You are still concentrating on the performance of these activities,
but as you get ever-more practice and experience, these become
increasingly automatic.

Level 4 – Unconsciously Skilled

(You Don’t Know that You Know – It Just Seems Easy!)

At this level your new skills become habits, and you perform the task
without conscious effort and with automatic ease. This is the peak of
your confidence and ability.

– See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_96.htm#sthash.SrfZRNRe.dpufWant to know more about my comfort zone stretch in learning to do stand up comedy for Gingerbread – catch up on the last few blog posts below:

Reach For The Stars – What Could You Achieve With Some Creative Time?

I love stories.  They are a creative way of learning.  I don’t know where I first heard this story – it makes a great tale and a fantastic reminder that sometimes we should rely more on our creative elements.

Many years ago, a man who had not learned to read or write, left school and wanted to apply for a job as a dustman.  His application was refused when he was unable to complete the application form and he left dejected.

He was desperate to earn money and set up a small market stall selling plants and flowers as he loved gardening.  His market stall was a success and he soon had a second, then a third and a fourth.  Over the years he achieved business success, becoming well known for his drive, energy and enthusiasm.

One day, one of his employees suggested he write a book about his business experiences and the employee was rather shocked to find that he couldn’t read or write.

“Just think! _ What you could have achieved if you’d been able to read!”

“That’s easy” he replied “I would have become a dustman”.

Of course, in modern business, learning to read and write is useful, however its important to recognise that its very easy to stifle the creative side of our personalities.

Think for a moment.  What could you really achieve if you allowed yourself the creative space to do so?

P1060180Creating creative space is something that I focus on with my clients.  If you wish explore or develop your creative side – then take a peek at Reflections Coaching.  Who knows where it could lead…….

Do you network or do referal marketing? – What does this say about you?

The question do you network or do referral marketing is not so much because I’m interested whether you do or not.  Its more about how you perceive others and they perceive you.

It came about at one of my networking meetings.  I was having a chat with one of the attendees.  I tend to think of myself as a networker, they felt they did referral marketing.

Personally I prefer to ‘network’ – I see this as a really positive thing to do.  Building up great relationships with great people and making sure I keep in close contact.

My fellow ‘referral marketer’ held the opposite view.  She felt that net workers were people who just did the rounds, met lots of people and didn’t have close relationships.

I’m not seeking your views here – at the end of the day they are just words.  However it is for me a lesson in being aware about the words we use to describe ourselves, how we use them and how others interpret it.  We could just be giving the wrong impression.

 

P1050952

 

 

 

 

What were you born to do?

When was the last time you asked yourself what you were born to do?

Its that time of the week when I sit down and write my blog post, sometimes the inspiration flows and others I just get stuck.  This week, is damp outside, the light is starting to go and I’ve a stack of emails having taken a week off.  Inspiration was alluding me and I fell into the procrastination trap.

I write a lot about how we should avoid procrastination and I hope I don’t have to eat my words but rather than open up my blog to write I procrastinated – checked my emails and there it was – inspiration -via a weekly LinkedIn email and someone had posted a forum “What were you born to do”

I confess, I haven’t read the forum – the words were enough.  Its my favourite topic.  Its why I coach.  My job is about helping square pegs find square holes not force them into round ones as so many employers choose to do.

In short, I coach people who really aren’t happy in work, to help them to resolve their situation.  It isn’t necessarily about finding them a new job, sometimes its about making the round hole that they’re trying to fit into a bit more square.

And its a very good question.  I believe I was born to help people so, what were you born to do and what are you doing about it?

Reflections Coaching supports people in their roles with stress, work/life balance, career change, new business start ups so if you feel like a square peg in a round hole, please get in touch for a no obligation chat to see how we can help get in better fit in your working life.

Email caro@reflectionscoaching.co.uk

P1050063

 

Making The Most Out Of Your 1-2-1s – 5 Top Networking Tips

I’ve been busy networking this week and have taken some time out to observe others at work.  The 1-2-1s I’ve had have varied enormously.  So what does make a great networker?

Here are my top five tips:

Remember the age old statement – you have 2 ears and one mouth – use them in proportion.  I read somewhere that the most interesting people in the room – are those who are more interested in you then themselves.

Build Rapport Using Words – There are 3 main communication types in NLP, (Visual, kinesthetic and auditory) – listen to the words the other person is using and try and use similiar ones back – they’ll understand where you’re coming from much better.

E.g. If someone says “I view it like this” you might respond with “it can be seen here” or if someone says “it sounds to me as if” you could say “what I’m hearing is”.

Think about what you put into your pitch, is it memorable?, is it clear in what you’re asking for? does it really tell people what you do?

E.g. I could introduce myself as Carolyn Trafford, a coach, but does this really tell you what I do.  Perhaps telling them that I help people people work out what they want to do with their lives and help them get there would be much better.

Share the time – have you ever been in a 1-2-1 where the other person has done a great sales pitch but taken all the time?  Frustrating for both of you.  Its really simple to set the ground rules early on.

Follow UP – so few of us do this, but a simple email or twitter message thanking the other person for their time or what you have learned is a great way to keep the conversation going beyond the meeting.

These really simple tips are my top 5, but I’d love to hear your tips or networking stories – please feel free to share them here.

When did you last step into a different world?

 

Have you ever delved into a different world?

I have! After 22 years of a financial services corporate world, and then going into self employment, I’d convinced myself that I had now “seen it all”.  And we do, don’t we?  Its so easy to convince ourselves that we know it all.

 

But last week I had to deliver a presentation.  It was this presentation that resulted in me being two days late writing this blog post so I will apologise for that now.

 

The presentation was about legal structures of social enterprises.  I’d no idea where to start.  Fortunately there is so much information on the internet these days that I was able to pull together something meaningful.  Then I trawled my network and found a couple of people in the business who could just check it over.  Its been quite a steep learning curve for me but does show that there’s no real reason not to have an answer these days and has highlighted the importance of having a diverse network in business.

 

But its also been a bit of an eye opener for me.  Social enterprise is a whole new world for me.  Not only a world where people matter more but also one that is having to come to terms with the removal of funding and finding new ways to overcome their funding issues.

 

But what I really learned here was, how often do I step out of my world and into another one.  This isn’t a comfort zone thing, this is actually about stepping into someone else’s world for a day.  I’m certainly going to be looking at other opportunities to do this.

When have you stepped into a different world?  Please share your thought here:

For The Love Of Networking

Do you find networking easy?

I remember when I first deliberately networked.  It was a conference and I was attending primarily for continued professional development (CPD).  It was Coaches Connect run by Vera Woodhead and I’d just finished reading a great book by Heather Townsend, the FT guide to Networking.  It felt like I had to take all the tips I’d learned and network properly and professionally.  I felt pressured, stressed and probably didn’t sleep the night before.

I remember some “OMG” moments where I found myself alone, suffered a bit of imposter syndrome and thought that everyone would not want to swop business cards with me and convinced myself I would fluff my elevator pitch if anyone asked me what I did.

What did I learn that day?

  1. Pretty much everyone feels the same when they find themselves networking for the first time.
  2. People like it when you show interest and ask for THEIR card rather than the other way around.
  3. Standing by the coffee whilst you wait for someone to break free from their conversation is OK.

Now I don’t worry.  I love networking and just 12 months on am now able to walk into an established networking group as a visitor or speaker and am comfortable.  It’s like many things and is about stepping out of and stretching your comfort zone.

I’d love to share more networking tips and more information about comfort zones but I think this may have to wait for another day. Although if you have any it would be great to share them here:

 

Networking – not all about business suits

 

You know that networking is important to your business, but are you put off by the business suits?

 

Networking is crucial to my business.  As a life coach it really helps when my potential clients see the ‘real’ me.  I have strong values about openness and honesty and I hope that this comes across when I meet people.

When I first started out in business, I have to admit to being more than a little put off by the thought of networking.  I had images of walking into rooms full of business suits, and yes some of the networking meetings can be like that, but I’ve found that those suits are about creating the right first impression, the people underneath are, well simply just people.

Yes, the jury is still out on whether or not you need to wear a suit at networking events to make the right first impression, however I know a number of people who chose not to simply because they feel more comfortable and confident in casual dress.  There’s no right or wrong.

And who could deny Mark Zuckerberg to be a business success, yet most often seen looking casual.

 

My choice, I’m a coach, a caring, listening, nurturing profession.  I choose to wear something smart to network but that will rarely be a business suit.  I choose colours that complement me.  And I make sure that whatever I leave the house in, I feel confident in.

If you need help feeling confident in networking situations or simply advice on how to get the best out of networking, then why not visit Reflections Website.

 

 

What’s your view on what to wear when networking?  Please feel free to comment here.  I’d love to hear your views.

 

 

Networking – Is it a necessary evil or do you thrive on it?

Do you network? Do you network face-to-face? Or simply use social media?  Does confidence stop you? Or do you thrive on it?
I’ve been networking all my life, I just hadn’t realised it until recently.  Its become particularly important to me since my role was relocated and I faced redundancy.

I knew it was coming but I hadn’t really anticipated the shock of having no work colleagues.  I also found that although I am very active on facebook, most of my facebook friends were at work during the day and not around to play until evening time.
So I’ve joined 4N, a particularly sociable way to formally network and this has been a fantastic way of replacing all those lost work colleagues.  And its not all about touting for business.  Its actually a very good way of connecting and getting to know people.  In the few short months I’ve been attending my local 4N meetings, I’ve met 3 web designers, 2 word smiths, a computer expert, accountants, legal professionals, recruitment agents etc etc.  All of whom are happy to answer simple questions and because you’re part of their network, often a little advice comes free.
In some cases I’ve even managed to organise skills swops.
Whether you’re looking for work or wanting to develop your business there are lots of great networking organisations out there.  You’ll need to develop your elevator pitch and be prepared to speak out but its fun why not have a go.
The PadTastic Elevator Pitch
What are your experiences of networking?  Do you find you have to do it or want to do it? Have you found a fun and different way of networking?  Please share your ideas here:
 If you find that confidence is stopping you getting involved then why not speak to Reflections to see about getting a confidence booster session for networking.
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