Several years ago I was going through a difficult time having just moved out of my house as the start of a divorce. My son’s girlfriend, now wife, who I hadn’t even met yet, gave me a great little book that’s one of my favorites called Astonish Yourself! 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life. Just what I needed at the time. I still turn to it often for fun things to do.
At the last reading, I realized some of the ideas might help women in their careers. So here’s a paraphrasing of #95 which will help you see what a difference having confidence can make.
Practice Make-Believe Everywhere
The moments when you feel crushed are also those when you end up believing that life is serious, the world is real and words true. Countering this tiresome tendency is, luckily, not too complicated. Turn the situation into scenes from a play. This can affect your internal perception of events: it can change your voice, your gestures, your sentences, and even what happens.
Let’s use for an example, typical errands of going to the bakery to buy bread and then to the post office to buy stamps. You will be playing a role of the confident, triumphant customer entering the bakery. Pay attention to how you thrust open the door (movement of the arm, full of energy, but not too brusque). Regulate your voice correctly, and sing out “Good morning,” the greeting of a customer who comes to buy a triumphant loaf. Ask, pay and thank you, watching every movement, from the confident step toward the door, to the little complacent smile addressed to the lady just coming in to buy her bread.
Next errand play another role, this time the anonymous purchaser of stamps, who enters a strange post office, full of timidity and apprehension. She doesn’t know how things are done, can’t figure out the stamp machine. Waits in a long line instead, keeps changing her mind about which stamps or how many to buy, holding up the line. Leaves, head down, apologizing to everyone.
For fun – and learning, don’t just envision these situations. Try acting out something similar on your errands. Which one are you normally? Which feels better? Do either of these fit into your work situation?
Even if you don’t feel like a confident, triumphant woman, try it out at work. Do you attend meetings or calls where you normally don’t speak up or sit anonymously and quietly in a meeting? Change it up. Just start with one meeting. Plan ahead. Pre-think some questions to ask. Go in with a plan to speak.
Walk in be boldly and confidently. Greet people enthusiastically. Listen attentively. Ask a few questions. Leave with a purpose. How did it feel?
Try another situation. In time, you will build up your confidence.
Diane, The Midlife Woman’s Career Coach
Diane Howell Topkis is the author of the Career Clarity ebook series. Diane works with midlife women to gain the clarity and confidence to reinvent or re-energize their career into meaningful work for their next chapter. Please visit www.YourNextChapterNOW.com to receive your free workbook Find Your Career Passion.
In her non-work time, Diane wrote three Tasting Journals to take on her weekend and vacation tasting adventures – Wine Travels, Craft Spirits and Craft Beer. They are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.