Can being more Confident be as easy as A, B, C?

Even the most outgoing and self assured of us can, I’m sure, recall a time when they wished they were just a little more confident. Perhaps doing an important presentation at work, going to a family function or networking do, even your first time at a mum and baby class and perhaps like me you’ve even resorted to hiding in the toilet on the odd occasion and wishing it was all over!

One of my most embarrassing times came at an event like this….. I remember in one of my first jobs out of Uni I was sent to a conference and networking event to do with the rail industry. I was so nervous. I had not been in the job long so couldn’t talk much about the industry and I knew no-one there. I had finally convinced myself to leave my car, go inside and get a drink at the welcome meeting. I was stood in front of the refreshment table and I started to sweat. I didn’t drink tea or coffee and that seemed to be all there was. How was getting a drink suddenly the hardest part of all this? What was I going to do? So I made myself a coffee. I remember vividly thinking to myself, if I was going to drink coffee how would I take it? I settled on white with one sugar and moved away from the table as I took my first sip. I have no idea to this day how I didn’t spit it all over the room. With undrinkable coffee in hand I looked nervously around the room and was convinced I was the only person stood on my own not talking to anyone. I started to give myself a pep talk…. just join a conversation, just stand near a group and nod and smile, someone will surely feel sorry for you and welcome you in. After standing rooted to the spot for what felt like hours I did it, I walked up to the friendliest looking group of people there and stood right next to them and smiled. One lady smiled back and slowly she moved towards me and asked “ Are you here for the book binding course too?” “No” I said, “I’m here for the rail conference.” “Oh” she said, “well you’re welcome to stay and chat with us anyway if you’d like” and at that moment I put down my coffee and ran into the toilets where I stayed until the conference began.

I have definitely had times in my life when I have felt more confident than others but my biggest confidence journey has taken place over the last few years. 5 years ago I was in a job I enjoyed and a job I had done for a long time. I was always striving though for the next step and to get to a place where I knew I could start to make a difference, have some influence and be a part of changing things for the future. I was eventually given that opportunity. You would have thought that my boss having the belief in me to move up to that level would have given me a boost in confidence but in fact it only served to put pressure on me to succeed and be good enough. Pressure on top of what I was already putting on myself about how I should be. I started to think about how people wanted me to act or what they wanted me to say. I dreaded every phone call and meeting, people relying on me for answers that I suddenly didn’t have or looking to me to be some kind of leader that I didn’t know how to be. It took it’s toll and eventually I was sitting in my work car park crying before I went into work, crying on my way home and in between putting on a smile and a brave face and pretending that everything was ok.

I wanted so badly to be the woman that had it all; high flying career, making a difference to women in a male dominated industry, making changes for the future, great relationships, friends, husband, kids…. you name it I wanted it and at that moment all I saw was what a disappointment I was to everyone and how I was letting people down by not being good enough. My confidence was at it’s lowest point ever and in the end to save myself I had to leave my job.

So how did I go from hiding in toilets and lacking so much confidence I left my job to running my own business and speaking on stage in front of rooms full of people? And how can you boost your confidence in 3 steps?

The first step C – Connect with yourself. One of the main qualities of a confident person is their authenticity and an understanding of who they are and what they stand for. What are your values, who do you want to be?

The second step B – Belief in yourself. I realised a big reason I was holding myself back was I was listening to all the voices in my head, the negative self talk such as you’re not good enough, you’re not brave enough, who will want to listen to you, you’ll never make it as a woman in this role, how could someone like you achieve all of this? It takes some real tools and techniques to overcome this negative talk and change it for positive beliefs but this is the biggest step towards feeling more confident.

The third step A – take Action. Waiting to feel confident before you do something will have you waiting forever. Confidence doesn’t come from sitting there thinking about it, it comes after you have taken action. It comes from looking back and saying Wow I did it, look at me, I can do it!

These steps aren’t always easy and they take time and effort but they can also be life changing and mean you live life with so much more ease and happiness.

If you’d like to know more about how you can become more confident in your life then go to my Facebook page “True You Coaching – Gail Butt” and make sure you are following to find out more about my upcoming course “Confidently You” or email me at gail@trueyoucoaching.co.uk

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Who is the True You?

As a recently qualified life and personal development coach setting up my own business I had the difficult task of choosing a name. It needed to be a name that meant something to me as a person, that said something about my relationship with coaching and that called out to the people I wanted to help. After much soul searching I decided on True You Coaching. So who is the True You and why was this important to me?

In my life BC (before coaching) I would say I was kind, giving, always putting others first and considerate of how others felt about me or viewed me.  These aren’t bad traits to have but during this period of my life I let these things control me, who I was, the decisions I made and what I wanted from my life. This affected not only my personal life, my romantic relationships but also my work life.

In my last relationship BC I had high expectations of myself to be the best girlfriend I could be. This in itself is a good thing you might think but actually it was probably one of the causes for my 7 year relationship ending in tears. I had to do the right thing, I had to say the right thing, I had to behave the right way and I had to want what was best for both of us. So who was dictating what the “right thing” was? It was my expectations, it was my interpretation of society’s expectations, it was my mind read of what my partner wanted or needed and it as all driven by my need to be “perfect”. As a coach now I immediately notice when people are in this place, the “should” place. I should be like this, I should do this, I should want this…… who says? I was so driven by the perfect girlfriend I was trying to create I had forgotten about me. What did I want, what mattered to me, was I even enjoying this any more?

My job BC was very similar. I had spent years working my way to the top managers position in my company only to stop being me the minute I had the promotion and start trying to be what I thought a manager “should” be like. How should a manager act, what should a manager say, how should a manager behave with people they had known for nearly 10 years? Again I was driven by my need to be perfect and didn’t even realise I had stopped being what got me the job in the first place…me.  Quite quickly the same thing happened with my job as it had done with my relationship – stress, upset, extremely low self worth, no self belief and a real confusion over who I was and what I wanted. How often do we ever stop to look at the answer to those questions?

Once I started working with an amazing coach I realised how much I was striving for perfection, which I thought would ultimately make me happy and was in fact ruining the person inside. I needed to rediscover who I was, what was important to me, what did I like, what did I enjoy and most of all where did I want that person to end up in life. The first hurdle was conquering what my coach called my “saboteur”.  This is the voice inside you that tells you all the negative things about yourself, your limiting beliefs. A selection of mine at the time were I’m not good enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not worth it, I’m not deserving enough and when you start to truly believe these things it is very hard to get back on top. But I did. I worked on this for a long time, in fact I’m not sure my work will ever be done, it is a continual process but it gets easier and I now have new beliefs about myself, I am good enough, I am worth it and my biggest one of all I do deserve to be happy.

The other great insight I had was to look at my values. I don’t mean the values we would all quote if someone asked us what our values are as these tend to our ideals but my true drivers, the things that make me tick, These are the basis of me as a person and in understanding them I can make better decisions and choices which I know are right for me.  Respect is a huge one for me.  This word means different things to different people but I know now when I get upset about something it is usually this values that is being trodden all over by someone else. Now I know this I know how to react, how to work it out in my head and how to get past the situation. Similarly my values of connection and empowerment have led me to my calling of being a coach.

I am also soon to be stepping into a new role of being a mother. As this is my first child I have never experienced this before and already I can hear the old limiting beliefs surfacing and the need to be perfect coming to the fore.  This will be one the biggest challenges I have ever faced but you know what, I am going to do it the only way I know how now…. being me. I never give advise as a coach but if I was to give advise to any new mother or mother to be it would be in those difficult times put down the book, close the app, log out of the chat room and trust you. Trust your heart, your gut, your instinct wherever it is that the love for your child comes from and go with what feels right. Ask for help, be supported, laugh, cry, scream and shout but do it being you not the you from Chapter 8 of Parenting for Dummies. How will your child ever grown up knowing that they are perfect just as they are when their parents are doubting that they are? Please however don’t read this is as I have this parenting thing sorted, I will be up in the night with a screaming child not knowing what to do like the best of us but I’m saying lets support each other and help each other and trust what’s inside, not judge each other, one up each other or put each other down for doing our best.

So who is the True You? For me it has stopped being about what I can do to be the perfect girlfriend, friend, daughter, sister, colleague or even mother to be and it is about me being me. I am at my happiest and strongest when I am me, when I connect to my values deep down inside me, when I believe in myself and when I use that to achieve whatever I want to in life. Since discarding my need to be perfect, since accepting I am who I am and it is in my control to be the best I can be things in my life have started happening, great, amazing, loving, wonderful, fun, exciting things and I know it is no coincidence that connecting to the true me has made those things happen.

So my mission now is to spread the word, add to the wonderful work of so many coaches and practitioners helping people to be the best they can be and be the happiest version of themselves possible. Imagine if we were all happy, successful, loved, appreciated, motivated, challenged individuals, wouldn’t the world be a better place? So go on, ask yourself, who is the True You and are you living and honouring that person? And if you don’t know, don’t worry, I didn’t, but let me know and I will help you connect, believe and achieve just as I am doing.

Gail Butt – True You Coaching – gbcoaching@outlook.com

It’s tough at the top!

When someone uses the word brave the images that immediately come to my mind are soldiers fighting on the front line or fire fighters saving people from a burning building. So when I recount the story of the last year of my life and people use the word brave to describe it, it never used to ring true.

I was the Manager of a £4 million turnover company and was responsible for 60 employees. When I got the promotion to this position aged 32 I was proud that my 8 years hard work beforehand climbing the career ladder had finally paid off but with the promotion came change. The people in my office quickly went from co-workers and friends to employees, the expectations from my bosses rose and with the title, pay rise and company car quickly came misery.

Out of those 60 employees only 2 were women. As a woman I had always loved working in a male dominated industry and I was never one to agree that it was any different to being a man in my role.  However things changed as soon as I became the boss! I would love to say that the 58 men I had worked with for years didn’t treat me any differently as a boss than they had my male predecessor but I would be lying. Everything had changed. While I knew there was nothing I could do about changing other people’s thoughts or views what seemed to be affecting me more was my own.

I was always a confident, happy, hard working employee but once I started in my managerial role all my confidence went and I started to doubt my ability.  As much as I could look rationally at the situation and say my boss wouldn’t have given me this chance if he didn’t think I could do it, everything inside of me was telling me the opposite. I had been fighting for years against people telling me that a woman wouldn’t make it in this position and for once I had started to believe them.

One day one of my best employees handed in his resignation and that was a turning point for me.  I was more convinced than ever that if I was any good at my job or if I had created a team he wanted to be part of he wouldn’t be leaving. While I was at my lowest point a friend recommended I speak to a coach she had been using to help her. I was willing to try anything and so desperately wanted to be great at my job.  Through working with my coach I discovered something life changing. I actually had the skills, ability and potential to be amazing at my job but something was still holding me back from being happy.

A few months later I handed in my resignation too. I had no new job to go to, I didn’t even have a plan but something was screaming inside me saying this wasn’t right, I shouldn’t stick with being miserable I should take a leap! Apart from my partner and my coach I told no-one I was going to quit my job.  I started to predict how my friends and family would react. Would they think I was a failure or that I was stupid for throwing away such a great job? Actually they all sighed with the same relief as they knew this was the right decision for me.

When I look back now I can so clearly see what was wrong. Yes there were people that made things difficult, yes there were situations I was dealing with I didn’t have the experience for but deep down the real issue was I wasn’t being true to who I was.  The minute I started being a “manager” I stopped being me. I wanted to be all the things I thought a manager should be….. the top of my list was a man! (Not something I could have ever achieved without surgery and a huge life change!)

Once I left that job I started to left myself be me again and looking back I had so much to offer that role and that company that I just wouldn’t allow myself to give. So many goals I wanted to achieve I just didn’t have the believe in myself or the support around me to make it happen. If I’d known then what I know now about myself I would have done things differently. I would have stopped trying to be a carbon copy of every previous successful manager and just been me. I would have stood up for what I believed was right and made the changes I knew needed to happen instead of hiding away and never achieving what I had dreamed might be possible during those years on the way to the top.

Now as a coach myself I get to see amazing women realising their potential, achieving their goals and living their dreams whether that be making a career change, making a difference working in a male dominated industry or taking a leap and setting up their own businesses. I know first hand with the right support anything is possible and with the true belief that you are amazing just as you are you can achieve your dreams.

I also know that next time anyone tells me I was brave in my decision I will just smile and say thank you.