Posts Tagged ‘confidence’

Channel Yourself

Coping and Communicating, Musings | Posted by Doc
May 12 2012

For a time, I was a coach. A personal / life / business coach. I loved the work. Well, it didn’t feel like work. It was joyful and amazing.

It was not uncommon for a client to tell me that they felt that they were not yet what / who they wanted to be. When this came up, we’d discuss the question of who or what they wanted to be. We’d create an image of that future self, including the way they’d talk, the way they’d walk, how they’d hold themselves, their posture, their gestures, the presence they’d create when they entered a room, and so on. A rich, full vision of the future self.


“Wow! That’s who I want to be. How do I get there?”

Sounds tricky, right? I mean, if it were easy, wouldn’t we all be powerful or leaders or loved or in the job we want or…

Here’s the technique I shared with my clients.

I get that you’re not yet that person. You have a clear picture of that version of you, who seems like a different person right now. You have a clear picture of how that person would speak, what they’d say, how they’d stand, how they’d move, and the gestures they’d use, right?

Channel that person. Don’t try to be that person. Act like that person.

What would that person say in this situation? Say that.

What would that person do in this situation? Do that.

It has been successfully demonstrated repeatedly that we can change our feelings by changing our words. We can change our behavior by choice, repeating the changes until they become our real selves.

So rather than wondering what I need to do to become the person I am visualizing, I choose to act like that person until I become that person.

Take it on like a persona, until it “takes”.

As it settles in, my feelings will change to reflect the confidence I begin to feel. The behavior will become natural and mine.

One day, I will wake up and discover that I have become the person I was visualizing.

I’m a warrior

Agile & Lean, Coping and Communicating, Facilitation, Musings | Posted by Doc
May 27 2009

A warrior acts as if he knows what he is doing, when in effect he knows nothing.

…Carlos Castaneda

I’m known as a man of confidence. In fact, my wife once said to me “You’re so self-confident, sometimes it’s hard to be confident around you!”

The thing is, I recognized a while back that I frequently sound far more assured and confident than I am. This – no doubt – came from years of actual insecurity in which it seemed effective to sound like I knew what I was talking about.

A warrior.

Of course, Castaneda is really talking about more than faking it.

I believe that Castaneda is talking about a real warrior recognizing that he has just scratched the surface of all that may be learned.  Like when my karate instructor said to me “the higher the mountain, the farther you can see.”

The more I learn, the more I realize there is to learn.

A true warrior acts strong and confident and able and in control, while recognizing that the reality is something else.

I see this in meetings all the time. There’s a common behavior (a pattern, you might say 😉 ) in which the individual says everything as if it is so. This individual makes assertions in the face of disagreement and even hostility. And there are several possibilities “under the covers”:

  1. the speaker is completely convinced that she is right, regardless of what anyone else might think or feel
  2. the speaker speaks with conviction, in order to sway others, regardless of how the speaker actually feels, in order to achieve some goal (dominance, for instance)
  3. the speaker speaks with conviction knowing that she is not convinced of what she says, in order to provoke/elicit information from others

Warriors, all.

Facilitation Pattern: Co-Worker

Facilitation, Musings | Posted by Doc
Feb 10 2009

coworkerMotto: Succeeding together is better than failing individually.
Belief: Two heads – or three or four – are better than one, and the group is more important than the individual.
Behavior: Frequently takes on facilitative roles/activities, looks for ways to cooperate and collaborate with others.
Characteristics: Patient, team-focused, non-combative, conciliatory

The Co-Worker* believes that the best results are achieved by cooperation, collaboration, and putting the group/team above the individual.

What I like about the Co-Worker is that they are very much like a facilitator. They believe in teamwork, collaboration, cooperation, dialogue… There’s nothing quite so good as having a Co-Worker or two in a meeting to make the facilitator’s life that much easier.

You’ll recognize the Co-Worker as the person who seems to always step in and say “I can see both of your points of view. How can we bring this to some kind of compromise or conclusion?”

Co-Workers rarely seek their own aggrandizement – they work for the group, and will put in as much effort as it takes to see the group succeed. They will frequently take on action items at the end of the meeting, and will seek others to work with in most cases.

* I was going to call this one Collaborator – as in one who labors with others – but was afraid that too many people would take the negative definition of that word – like traitor. English does have its challenges.

Facilitation Antipattern: The Qualifier

Facilitation, Musings | Posted by Doc
Feb 04 2009

qualifierMotto: Better safe than sorry.
Belief: If I don’t assert it, you can’t challenge me for it. And if you do, I can always backpedal.
Behavior: Qualifies statements with words/phrases like “sort of”, “kind of”, “about”, “just”, “basically”, “actually”
Characteristics: Tentative, somewhat defensive, somewhat insecure

While this is an antipattern, it’s a subtle one. After all, how damaging or destructive can it be to say “I kind of think that…”

This applies both in group participation and in presentation. The qualifiers – kind of, sort of, about, just, basically, actually – take away from the value of what is being said.

And, as I said, it’s subtle. The subtlety is that when I say “I sort of think you should do X”, it comes across as uncertain. First, that puts everything else I say into doubt, since I sound like I’m not really sure. Second, my listeners are subconsciously taking what I’ve said from an assertion – I think you should – to a question – Do you think you should – which also shifts the responsibility.

Of course, what the qualifiers also do is leave me an out. If challenged, I can say “Well, I didn’t say you should, I said I kind of think you should.”

Why leave an out? Why not commit?

In a group dialogue, it is important to recognize that the value of each contribution is affected by the words we use and the way we say things.

Don’t qualify unless there’s a very good reason to qualify.

Facilitation Antipattern: The Gladiator

Facilitation, Musings | Posted by Doc
Feb 03 2009

gladiatorMotto: It’s all about the combat!
Belief: The best results come from heated discussion/argument.
Behavior: Challenging and confrontational.
Characteristics: Doesn’t take it personally, and doesn’t understand why you do.

There are some people who seem to be happiest when they are immersed in conflict of various sorts.  “Violent agreement” is frequently heard, along with being told that it’s more interesting that way, or that you shouldn’t have to hold back, or that it’s not personal, or…

The problem is that most people do not respond positively to being attacked, assaulted, dominated, overwhelmed with perceived verbal and physical violence. They frequently do take it personally.

As a facilitator, behaving this way is right up there with the Evil Genius – you just shouldn’t be facilitating, unless it’s the Ultimate Fighting Championships!

As a participant, you contribute to creating a situation in which no one else is interested in speaking up. Why speak up when someone is going to challenge you to a fight? That’s not fun for most people.

Dealing with The Gladiator requires the patience and confidence to talk to them directly and ask them to tone it down. In many cases, Gladiators are not actually bad people – they’ve just fallen into a pattern of behavior that has worked for them.

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