3 ways of thriving in adversity

Adversity is part of life, especially when trying to climb to the top of the corporate ladder. When faced with adversity, people either fail, survive, recover, or thrive. Successful leaders strive to thrive. So, what does it take to thrive? According to the results of numerous studies, you need a combination of traits to truly flourish when facing hardships.

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut? If so, you may need more resilience. Researchers recently reviewed decades’ worth of research into resilience theory and the impact of resilience on leaders. They found that resilience is needed to continue succeeding in difficult times. Yet, they also found that some people do more than just succeed – they thrive.

Thriving is your ability to grow and change in meaningful ways after a difficult experience. For example, most people are simply happy to overcome hardship. Simply surviving the hardship allows you to continue but in an impaired state. Recovering from a hardship sends you back to your baseline, which means that no progress has been made. To thrive, you also need to learn from the hardship.

Researchers also reviewed the work of Patterson and Kelleher, which identifies three sources for building the resilience capacity to thrive. The three sources include personal values, efficacy, and energy. Your values shape how you respond to difficult situations. Optimists hold out hope for a solution while pessimists worry that they may never find a solution.


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You also need to believe in yourself, which is where personal efficacy comes in. It’s your confidence in your capacity to succeed. Low self-efficacy keeps you from believing in your ability to grow and change. The third component for dealing with adversity is energy, which includes your mental stamina. A lack of mental stamina limits your drive and determination. When faced with adversity, you may look for the easiest solution. Successful leaders have the mental energy to continue looking for the best possible outcome. You can read more about the review of resilience studies here.

Research shows that stress impacts your leadership skills. Studies also suggest that learning to manage stress increases resilience. Developing the right mindset can help you thrive during difficult times instead of simply surviving or recovering. As a confidence coach, I’ve seen the benefits of resiliency training. Anyone can develop the coping skills needed to lead more effectively. Resiliency requires a combination of self-esteem, optimism, adaptability, and other essential traits. NLP can help you focus on these variables.

NLP offers a variety of exercises for increased resilience and mental stamina. The power of positive psychology can help change the way you look at difficult situations. You can learn to maintain your composure under duress and lower your fear of failure to boost your decision-making abilities.

If you want to explore more ways to deal with adversity, I’d love to help. As the researchers point out, resiliency can make you a better leader. Confidence training offers a solution for building greater resiliency. To learn more, explore my one-to-one coaching and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au/

3 signs your ‘positive attitude’ is REDUCING your resilience

Two years of chaos have created a tsunami of burnout that’s wiping out the motivation of high achievers. You see, ambitious people are tough. They fight adversity. They focus on positives. In calm times this strategy pays off because it leads to effort being rewarded. During turbulent times, though, it leads to exhaustion. Why? Because in tough times, your ‘positive attitude’ can easily become toxic positivity. As I explain in this month’s video, this is particularly the case if you rely on ‘will-power’ alone to drive your success.

The fact is, it takes energy to maintain a positive mindset. But how do you keep your energy high during tough times? The answer is simple. Know the difference between useful optimism and toxic positivity. Constructive optimism is like a fighter jet on an important mission. It’s focused and heading towards a clear target. Toxic positivity, though, is like a fighter jet with a damaged navigation system. It’s burning up fuel and travelling at high speed – but it has no guidance and no safe place to land. If you’re someone who believes in focusing on the positive, but you’ve recently been feeling worn out and dispirited, you may have strayed into the zone of toxic positivity. Here are three signs this is the case and that you need a new way to cope with life’s ups and downs.


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Sign 1: Finding the ‘upside’ seems to take more and more effort

When your resilience is high, it’s easy to focus on the positives. When your mental stamina drops, though, it’s easier to see the negatives. After all, your brain is hard-wired to notice potential threats. Plus, a tired brain is less able to focus on the positive possibilities. This means it becomes much harder to find the ‘upside’ to challenges and negative experiences. When this happens, you need to build your support system. You should NOT keep pushing yourself to think positively or to go it alone.


Sign 2: You are staying in a ‘great job’ that doesn’t inspire you

Just because you’ve been promoted or have a job with a great many perks, that doesn’t mean it’s the right job for you. It’s easy to be swayed by the opinions of your friends and family. But if you don’t find your job rewarding, it might be time for a change. This is particularly true if you’ve been promoted beyond your zone of happiness.

For example, many talented professionals regret taking promotions into management roles. Why? Because the higher they climb on the leadership ladder, the less they get to do the ‘hands-on’ work of their profession. Toxic positivity keeps people in this sad place. True positivity gives them the strength to find new roles that align with their passion and purpose.


Sign 3: You have recovered from a bad experience, but you are still not thriving

There’s a huge difference between simply getting over a problem and being resilient. Indeed, a defining characteristic of resilience is that it leads to growth and re-energisation. If you’ve moved past a negative event and are still low in mojo and energy, it’s time to shift your attention away from the past and towards an inspiring future. See my recent article 3 Ways of Thriving in Adversity for suggestions about how to do this.

Switch On Your Confident Mind Today

Are destructive thoughts keeping you from achieving your goals? If you’re like most people, you may worry about responsibilities or what other people think of you. These thoughts can destroy confidence and leave you feeling helpless. With the right steps, you can learn to switch on your confident mind.

A recent article on Psychology Today from Joel Minden PhD offers several effective tips for building more confidence. The suggestions include the use of evidence-based cognitive and behavioural strategies. You can use any of these techniques to keep your mind from playing tricks on you. First, Minden suggests that you restructure exaggerations. This works best when you tend to overstate the negative aspects of your experiences.

For example, if you tend to assume the worst, you’re exaggerating the situation. Restructuring exaggerations requires you to pay attention to your negative thoughts. When a negative thought arises, question it. Try to provide evidence for and against your negative thoughts. You may also want to try evaluating the situation from someone else’s perspective. After analysing your negative thoughts, you’re more likely to see things more realistically.

Restructuring exaggerations doesn’t work for every situation. Sometimes you simply need to solve a problem. If something isn’t going as planned, ask yourself how you can fix it. If you can’t fix it yourself, ask for help from someone with the skills or knowledge that you lack. If you assume that the problem isn’t solvable, you may need to try restructuring your exaggerated thinking again.


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The third recommendation is to accept what you cannot change. You need to accept the outcome of the situation and move on. Minden explains in the article that practicing acceptance helps you control thoughts that you don’t like. Read the original article here.

If you’re a high-achieving professional, you’ll likely benefit from the techniques discussed in the article. Restructuring exaggerations is a great tool for dealing with imposter syndrome. It helps you recognise when you’re not looking at an issue realistically, such as when you’re being overly self-critical.

Accepting that you can’t control everything is another important realisation for leaders and C-level professionals. Accepting what you cannot change helps limit anxieties and insecurities. You learn to rely more on others instead of assuming that you need to fix everything yourself.

These are just a few examples of how to boost confidence and beat imposter syndrome. As the article explains, you need to practice these techniques to notice positive results. So, why not start now? Taking the time to focus on your confidence can prepare you for a brighter future. To learn more about how to build confidence, explore my one-to-one coaching and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au.

Small Rewards (Like Chocolate) Can Anchor Confidence

Need confidence? Give yourself a chocolate. You’ve probably heard about the benefits of rewards for motivation. A new breakthrough in neuroscience suggests that rewards can also boost confidence. Giving yourself a small reward can train the brain to feel more confident.

A group of researchers published their findings from a recent study on using rewards to manipulate the brain. The researchers wanted to determine if self-confidence can be amplified directly in the brain. They explain that self-confidence is an essential quality to succeed in the modern world. Self-confidence may also help decrease the risk of mental illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression.

To complete the study, the researchers developed a unique method for reading and amplifying the brain. The method is called ‘decoded neurofeedback’. It involves mapping specific patterns in the brain linked to an individual’s feelings of confidence. The researchers used this technique to scan the brain and determine whether a participant is experiencing a high or low confidence state.

Participants were unaware of the nature of the study. They were instructed to perform a simple perceptual task. When a high confidence state was detected, the researchers gave the participant a small monetary reward. At the end of the training session, participants were asked to rate their confidence in completing the task. Participants were consistently more confident after receiving the rewards.


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Researchers could also reverse the effects. By withholding rewards, they could lower the confidence of the participant. They essentially proved that it’s possible to train the brain to be more confident or less confident with a simple reward system. Keep in mind that the study was limited in scope. The study involved just 17 volunteers. However, it’s in line with the results of similar studies. Read the original article here.

Research shows that a reward system helps drive motivation. It can also boost your confidence. If you’re an ambitious professional, your confidence influences career ambitions. Low self-confidence tends to lead to a feeling of inadequacy. You may start to feel unworthy of your job title. We call this imposter syndrome.

Giving yourself small rewards may offer a boost of confidence, but it may not be enough to beat imposter syndrome. To build authentic confidence, you need to get to the root of your insecurities. One solution is to reframe negative thought patterns using the latest neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques.

So, should you start rewarding yourself to increase your confidence? It’s a good start, but you should also explore additional confidence-building methods. For example, a reward may not train the brain to overcome major fears and insecurities. To explore other techniques for a more confident mind, learn about my one-to-one coaching and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au.

Beating the dark triad of imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome is particularly difficult to beat because it distorts your mental processing in such pervasive and paradoxical ways. It’s driven by a frustrating double bind where the very patterns of thinking and behaviour that so subtly erode your self-esteem also reap significant rewards.

I call these patterns the Dark Triad of imposter syndrome. What are they?


  1. Overthinking

Your mind is constantly busy, engineering solutions to problems and coming up with impressive new ideas. Sure, you’re not sleeping much these days, but everyone knows you’re the brains behind the team’s success. What makes this pattern so addictive is the buzz of finding that answer or having that ‘ah ha’ moment.


  1. Over-planning

You’re exhausted from working excessive hours but addicted to delivering amazing results. You resent carrying the burden of planning and coordinating everyone else’s work but breathe a sigh of relief when your efforts stave off disaster (or at least prevent missing the deadline). Your schedule is so packed with back-to-back meetings that bathroom breaks aren’t an option. But your busy schedule and reputation as the most productive team member feed your addiction to being busy.


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  1. Over working

This is the most obvious sign of imposter syndrome. It usually sets in early when a child learns that hard work at school leads to praise, attention, prizes and rewards. Sadly, this creates a dysfunctional feedback loop. The child equates hard work with social validation, and the vicious cycle of imposter syndrome begins.

Are these patterns familiar to you? If so, it may be time to address your imposter syndrome. The good news is the dark triad can be beaten: Thousands of high achievers have managed to develop authentic confidence. You can do it, too.

6 Ways to Think About Time… And How They Impact Your Confidence

Does your constant planning keep you from getting anything done in the present? Does your frequent worrying about the past keep you from trying new things? These are examples of how your perspective of time can impact your confidence. Thanks to research published on PsychologyToday.com, you can now gain a better perspective.

Everyone has a different perspective when it comes to the passage of time. Some people are more worried about the past while others focus on the future. According to Rosemary KM Sword and Philip Zimbardo PhD, these differences impact every aspect of your life.

The authors categorise people based on their time perspective. Someone who is ‘past negative’ tends to focus on negative events or thoughts from the past. This may include traumatic events or moments of failure. The negative thoughts tend to keep them from seeing a brighter future.

Someone who is ‘present fatalistic’ is rooted in the present but believes that they’ve got no control over their environment. As with past negative people, present fatalistic people tend to suffer from low self-esteem. They struggle to see their own self-worth. The authors also describe ‘extreme future’ people. This group includes people that are too busy planning to enjoy the present. All three of the time perspectives discussed can limit your opportunities.

So, what’s the best time perspective? The authors argue that the best perspective is balanced. When your time perspective is balanced, you can use your imagination in exciting new ways. You spend less time dwelling on negative thoughts from the past and fears of the future.


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The authors used their theories to help treat war veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, balancing your time perspective is beneficial for everyone. Read the original article here.

Whether you’re more focused on the past, present, or future, your time perspective may be holding you back. As mentioned in the article, the best perspective is a balanced one. The authors of the article also offer a few examples of how to balance your perspective. If you’re stuck in the past, you need to replace your negative memories with positive ones.

If you’re stuck in the present and feel that you’ve got no control over anything, you may also start to feel like an imposter. Try practicing more self-compassion. Give yourself the freedom to enjoy fun activities and accept yourself for how you are. Several of these suggestions align with common neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques.

Changing the way you think about the past, present, and future could hold the key to your happiness. Your time perspective largely influences your confidence. If you want to learn more about how to beat imposter syndrome, explore my one-to-one coaching and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au.

Fire up your motivation today

Feeling exhausted and burned out? That can change today. Most people believe that motivation is directly linked to the state of mental energy. They believe that once your body and mind are at their peak physical and mental states, you’re motivated to go through the ups and downs of daily life. But new research shows the opposite. Your brain is as powerful at creating and inducing motivation as it is at turning on and off your motivation.

It has as much to do with your emotions and the stories you tell yourself as it does about your level of physical energy.


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Whether you’re someone who seeks extra energy or motivation, this simple 2-step guide will help you to reverse a stressful habit and start taking charge of your own life.

  1. Start small. The best way to manage your emotions is to start with something that’s manageable. It’s better to take the small steps that you need to get started than to give up on something big. Choose a small goal today and set about doing it. This will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something – and you’ll build motivation from that point on.
  2. Make some changes. Change your exercise routine, increase the amount of exercise you do or try something new, like aerobic exercise. If you have a hard time getting up and going out, plan a morning routine that helps you get out of bed on time.

When you are motivated, you tend to be more positive about your future and what you want to achieve. So, power up your motivation today!

As the author of Beat Imposter Syndrome, I can help you achieve success easily. Find out about my one-to-one coaching and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au.

Getting up early to ‘put yourself first’? Bad idea!

So many female leaders tell me they get up early so they can fit in their ‘me time’ every day. These women speak as though waking at 4 a.m. is a self-care choice underpinned by assertiveness and confidence. But let’s think about that. How does regularly depriving yourself of sleep equate to self-care? Is working excessive hours every day a sign of assertiveness? Does a confident leader arrive at work frazzled and stressed by her gruelling morning routine?

To all these questions, let’s yell a resounding ‘no’. Let’s end imposter thinking and ‘nice girl’ behaviour. Let’s enter the zone of truly confident leadership. Here are three ways female leaders can do this (if you’re male, pass these tips on to the women in your business).

Stop faking work–life balance 

Successful leaders are congruent. They don’t pretend – to themselves or others – that they’re super organised. They don’t burn themselves out trying to juggle 12 hours of work, an hour of exercise, three hours of housework and five hours of time with their loved ones every day. Women who are self-assured in their leadership roles know that the idea of ‘faking it ’til you make it’ is outdated. In fact, professionals who believe this works are more likely to suffer from imposter syndrome, self-doubt and low confidence.

Dial down your standards

Leadership expert Kit de Vries calls imposter syndrome ‘the flip side of giftedness’. I wrote more about it in a recent blog article because it’s such a thought-provoking statement. If you’re a talented woman, remember that being gifted can put you in a harsh spotlight and trigger perfectionist habits.


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Here’s why: Gifted women are brilliant at many things. But that doesn’t mean you should do everything at a super-perfect level. Dial down your expectations for everyday performance to the level of Professional Output. Save your highest standards for the tasks that really matter.

Master the art of setting limits

Women with authentic confidence don’t say ‘yes’ to everything. They’re clear about their boundaries. They also know how to set boundaries without sounding like pushy cows. You don’t need a genetic predisposition for confidence. You just need to master the basics of assertive communication.  Read my book Difficult People Made Easy to learn how.


Beat Imposter Syndrome and Lead Without Fear

Ever feel like an impostor? You’re not alone. Most people feel unworthy of their success at some point in their careers. Yet, it’s especially harmful to leaders. It impacts everything from employee morale to time management. Luckily, anyone can learn to beat imposter syndrome.

According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review, imposter syndrome is a common problem for C-suite professionals. Managers and leaders often doubt their abilities and self-worth. Manfred FR Kets de Vries, the author of the article, explains that feelings of self-doubt are less pressing when they come from someone lower on the totem pole. However, when you reach a position with more responsibilities, your insecurities become more visible.

Fortunately, the article provides three solutions for overcoming the uncertainty associated with imposter syndrome. First, you should strategize vulnerability. This means that you should be willing to fail. Your vulnerability should be open for others to see, as it helps humanise you. The author also recommends greater transparency and open communication among team members.

The second solution is to promote problem-solving. Encouraging others to solve problems reduces your burden and stress. It’s a form of delegation, which also shows that you believe in the skills and abilities of your staff. This reinforces their confidence, which helps keep imposter syndrome from spreading to your team.

The third solution is to make questions more commonplace. Ask questions and invite others to ask questions. Questions encourage an environment of learning. You should accept that you don’t have the answers to everything. Be prepared to ask others for help when there is a gap in your knowledge.


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According to the article, leaders can also use these techniques to address imposter syndrome among their team members. Read the original article here.

Imposter syndrome is a drain on your self-esteem and confidence. As explained in the article, vulnerability can help leaders feel less as if they are imposters. However, I also find that high achievers struggle to be vulnerable. You don’t want to be perceived as a failure, which comes from a place of fear.

Recognising that you cannot control what others think is a good first step in dealing with fear. You should also take the time to list your positive abilities and traits. You can use them as anchors to remind yourself of your worth when you feel as if you are an imposter.

Over 70% of people experience feelings of inadequacy. When these feelings occur in the workplace, you may start to think of yourself as an imposter. As the author of Beat Imposter Syndrome, I can help. Find out about my one-to-one coaching and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au.

The Most Terrifying Thing Is to Accept Oneself Completely. Carl Jung

Everyone is their own worst critic. However, some people let the inner critic get the best of them. Negative self-criticism can have an emotional and physical impact on your well-being. According to advice from Harvard Health Publishing, you’re more likely to suffer from low self-esteem when you can’t accept your capabilities.

It’s possible to gain self-acceptance and love yourself as you are. First, you should understand the definition of self-acceptance. Srini Pillay, MD defines self-acceptance as your acceptance of all your attributes, including positive and negative attributes. Accepting yourself includes body acceptance and self-protection from negative criticism. Self-acceptance also requires you to believe in your abilities.

According to Pillay, most people have low self-acceptance. He argues that this typically occurs due to low self-esteem. To boost their self-esteem, people may try to accomplish great tasks. However, this may only offer a short-term benefit. Achievement is a poor replacement for intimacy. The article goes on to explain the consequences of low self-acceptance. If you don’t believe in yourself, you may suffer from additional stress. Excess stress increases your risk of various physical ailments.

Pillay presents three ways to increase self-acceptance: self-regulation, self-awareness, and self-transcendence. Self-regulation requires you to suppress negative emotions. You suppress the negative emotions by refocusing on the positive features of yourself. You can reframe negative situations to find new opportunities.

Self-awareness involves seeing yourself as others see you. Sometimes you need to stop and look at yourself from an outside perspective to see the truth. Self-transcendence involves relying less on external forces to define yourself.


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Srini Pillay MD also recommends meditation as a path to greater self-acceptance. Read the original article here.

Why does self-acceptance matter? If you can’t accept yourself, others won’t. This is a common worry for those that suffer from imposter syndrome. When you don’t feel worthy of your position, you’re likely to struggle through most projects. One solution is to recognise that no one is perfect. Self-acceptance is about accepting yourself as you are, including traits that you consider negative.

After over 20 years of confidence coaching, I’ve learned that not all methods work for everyone. However, self-regulation as described in the article is often effective for reframing negative self-criticism. Using positive thoughts to counter negative ones leads to a shift in your thought patterns. It boosts your self-esteem, which makes it easier to accept yourself.

Of course, accepting yourself is easier said than done. Working with a professional can help ensure you receive the tools needed to finally start loving yourself. Find out how to beat imposter syndrome by checking out my one-to-one coaching and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au.