Women, Master Your Confidence!

Woman smiling in sweater

Why do so many women lack confidence?

If you ask those around you, you might find similar answers to that question. They feel like frauds, like they aren’t good enough, they don’t possess the skills and abilities, they are they compare, they are perfectionists.

Everyone is different and all facing unique challenges, but as a whole, why do women let their confidence sink so drastically?

From authors Claire Shipman and Katty Kay of The Confidence Code:

For years, we women have kept our heads down and played by the rules. We’ve been certain that with enough hard work, our natural talents would be recognized and rewarded.

Would you say you can relate to that statement?

The problem is, keeping your head down and always playing by the rules leaves little room for standing up in the boardroom presenting your ideas. Meek does not command a room.

Women need to start taking action and changing what has been ingrained in them for so long.

First let’s address 3 vocabulary no nos.

Stop saying “sorry,” “can’t,” and “just.”

“I’m Sorry.” We wrote an article on this that you can find here. Basically, by always saying “sorry”, you portray you are not confident and unsure about your expertise. There is no need to start sentences with “I’m sorry” unless you are actually sorry for some sort of wrongdoing. Communicate with confidence.

“I can’t.” That is one quick way to diminish yourself and your abilities. Stop telling yourself it can’t be done, that you can’t accomplish x, y, and z. Replace “can’t” with the word “will” and notice your mindset change.

“Just.” This is another subtle word that undermines your confidence. It is also a filler word. It takes up space, has little value, and weakens your message. Delete this word from your messages.

The Comparison Trap.

Very dangerous territory here. Have you heard the quote, “comparison is the thief of joy”? This couldn’t be truer.

In the right context, comparison is helpful, but an unhealthy amount will only rob you of many joys, one being confidence.

Focus on your strengths. On your skills. On your successes. If there is an area you need to make improvements on, find ways to do so. Redirect the energy spent comparing yourself to others and use that time to develop yourself.

Recognize comparison triggers. Are you comparing your current professional status to a peer? Why? Do they receive recognition from others that you would like as well? Ask yourself why, then dissect your answer. Get to the root and once you have that answer, find a solution. Your coworker is constantly getting praised because of their successful business practices, so what best practices can you start incorporating?

Not Good Enough.

We hear this all too often. You might even feel it right now. That you aren’t good enough.

More than 80% of women believe they aren’t good enough. That is a high percentage.

There is usually an underlying reason. Digging to the root of that can be time-consuming, and as we have stated in previous articles, we are by no means trained in psychology, but what we can offer is our expertise in handling this feeling.

Figure out why you feel you are not good enough and write out the details. For example, let’s say you feel you are not good enough to deserve a promotion because you don’t think you have mastered all the areas of your current position to move up to the next level. Write out what the requirements are for that position you want. Next, write down what skills you currently possess. Then, evaluate the two. Chances are, your fears of not being good enough will be squashed once you see you are good enough, or better.

Change feelings of inadequacy into facts. Get real with your thoughts of doubt. Take back the control.

Stop living in not good enough. Be confident.

Quick Confidence Boosters.

Need a quick boost? Try these, because they work!

  1. Celebrate small wins
  2. Revisit past successes
  3. Power pose
  4. Dress nicely
  5. Think positive
  6. Focus on solutions
  7. Smile
  8. Exercise

For more on this, read our article on 7 Steps to Take When you Feel Like You are Lacking Confidence.

Confidence is allowed.

There are ways to take back your confidence. There are ways to have personal breakthroughs. We have seen it. We coach it.

You do not have to apologize for being a confident woman.

You are good enough.

You can.


We would love to work with you. Contact us at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com.
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You Don’t Have to Settle for a Job. Here’s What You Can Do.

Woman talking in group of people sitting on couch

Job shaming.

Job shaming is real. People complain about their jobs on a daily basis and it’s not thought to be abnormal.

There are some who are very fortunate to be doing what they love to do. But don’t neglect their hard work. The perfect job doesn’t just fall into your lap, and even if it did, you must put forth effort every day to keep yourself on the correct path.

You see, successful people don’t coast along. There are many early mornings and late nights. There are failures along the way. There are doubts. But the point is, they keep going. They don’t give up. They don’t say “I can’t.” And neither should you.

You are not stuck in your current situation. Your mind is stuck. Change your mindset.

“If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t…you’re right.” -Henry Ford

Don’t believe us?

J.K. Rowling – Before becoming the world’s first billionaire author, J.K. Rowling’s literature was rejected several times. She was a divorced, single mother on welfare. She was diagnosed with clinical depression and contemplated suicide. She didn’t surrender to her situations, she persisted.

Madonna – A college dropout, she moved to New York with $35 in her pocket. It was her first plane ride and first time ever in a taxi. She worked as a waitress at Dunkin’ Donuts while she actively engaged in singing and dancing gigs on the side. She faced challenges head on and didn’t give up.

Ursula Burns – Ursula was raised by a single mother in a housing project in Manhattan. Both of her parents were Panamanian immigrants. She didn’t let her circumstances dictate her future, she made her future.

Mediocre is good enough.

Most individuals choose mediocre over pursuit of fulfillment for many reasons. Fear of the unknown, embarrassed to fail, or the most common, comfort and convenience.

So even though their current job is satisfactory at best, most people will opt for staying rather than making the changes necessary to lead a more gratifying life.

“If you’re too comfortable, it’s time to move on. Terrified of what’s next? You’re on the right track.” -Susan Fales-Hill

People fear what they don’t know, so they decide to stay at a job simply because there is no risk, however, we all know that a job can come and go in the blink of an eye. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself to go outside of your comfort zone. Be afraid of becoming complacent and having no backup plan.

“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow.” -Marissa Mayer

Is it really that easy?

Yes and no.

No because it requires change and we all know change is not easy. There is a good article written by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. about why we don’t like change. Basically, subconsciously people associate change with unreliable.

We get it. When you have people relying on you and your paycheck to feed them, changing careers is a scary thought. When you are barely making ends meet, the very idea of starting over is the last thing you can handle.

But…what if on the other side of those fears lies a better life for you? We humans spend a lot of time at our place of employment. The average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. Don’t you think you should spend that time doing something you find enjoyment out of? Life is not meant to live for your next day off.

And now the yes part. Yes, it is really that easy. You replace the word “can’t” with will. You will find a way to make it happen. You will come out on top. You will be happy. Once again, mindset.

Easier said than done? Not necessarily.

The only thing that is difficult is changing your belief. That is what you will have to break through. We are not licensed psychologists, so we are not going to even start getting into how to train your brain to start thinking differently. What we are is experienced. We have learned many lessons along the way and want to share some successes with you.

Here are 5 tips we find helpful when you are ready for more:

  1. Replace the negative. We are focusing on those who are influencing your world. You become like the 5 people you spend time with. Pay attention to their outlook, how they speak, what they think. Replace the negative with logical encouragement.
  2. Know what you want. Don’t just say you want a job with perks, define what those perks are. Know exactly what you want and write it down.
  3. Never stop learning. Ever. Never ever. Did we mention never?
  4. Baby steps. If you aren’t ready to take the full plunge, start small. Get yourself some small wins under your belt. Keep going.
  5. Embrace failure. We will leave this last step in the hands of Ekaterina.

It seems that failure tends to be more public than success. Or at least that’s what we perceive it to be. We fret it, we try to avoid it, and we question ourselves every time we have unconventional ideas. But the simple truth is – no great success was ever achieved without failure. It may be one epic failure. Or a series of failures – such as Edison’s 10,000 attempts to create a light bulb or Dyson’s 5,126 attempts to invent a bagless vacuum cleaner. But, whether we like it or not, failure is a necessary stepping stone to achieving our dreams. –Ekaterina Walter

Don’t just wish your career was better and continue typing away in your cubicle. Your situation won’t change due to good luck and fortune. You must make things happen.

So, what are you doing about it?


Contact us at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com.

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Self-Awareness – Why It Matters and What Steps You Can Take

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What does it mean?

NOUN

conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.

Do not confuse this with confidence. Confidence is a feeling or belief; self-awareness is being aware of those feelings and beliefs and why.

Why does it matter?

Many people throughout life have been told to “trust their instincts” and act on a gut feeling. While trusting your gut is an important intuition to have, allowing feelings to overcome logic is not always the best route.

Just because a feeling is strong, that doesn’t mean it is correct. The key is to step back, assess the situation, examine yourself, and determine if what you are thinking, and feeling is logical.

Being self-aware matters because it allows you to evaluate your current situation and what adjustments can be made to improve – and you should want to make improvements. Chances are, there is an area in your life that could use an adjustment. Being self-aware gives you the opportunity to correct misguided courses and realign yourself with your goals.

Confident woman standing in street smiling

We want to remind you, this is not a once and done sort of practice. It is a continual and learn as you go process. The important part is that you make the choice to evaluate regularly and make changes necessary. Please note, changes might not always be easy, but incredibly significant.

What next?

As mentioned, this is not something that is done overnight or once and done. Self-awareness is a continual check-up. The wonderful thing is it can be done at any stage in your life and at any time.

Finding out what makes you tick will always be powerful. There are countless personality tests out there that can help you find your areas of strengths and weaknesses but those are only tools and a small piece of the puzzle. There are many other steps to start (or continue) the journey.

Most common suggestions are:

  1. Start now!
  2. Write down goals
  3. Seek feedback
  4. Discover destructive impulses and successful best practices
  5. Practice and repeat

Let us know what you think and if you have anything you would like to add. Comment or contact us at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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7 Steps to Take When You Feel Like You Are Lacking Confidence

Confident woman standing in street smiling
Repeated mistakes.
Drop the ball.
Failure.

Sometimes you just can’t seem to get it together. And for some, you stew over these missteps and errors. You start to feel inadequate, you start to feel less confident.

What do you do when you feel like you are lacking confidence?

Confidence is a key component in your day-to-day activities. If you are feeling less than confident, it shows. The way you act, behave, and even your posture. You project what you feel.

Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to give yourself a boost.

  1. Celebrate small wins. You might have missed the mark on a recent big project, but don’t let that one misstep overshadow your smaller victories. Set little marks along the way and as you achieve them, be proud. Small wins along the way are building blocks and they can really boost your confidence.
  2. Revisit past successes. You aren’t always going to fail at all your endeavors. Want proof? Revisit your past successes. Look at your track record.
    Quote by Jenny Foss about confidence
  3. Learn from the failure. Increase competence. What did you learn from the experience? Great, now, how can you improve? Determining where you went wrong is ineffective if you do not learn and grow from it. Failure leads to success. You learn from mistakes and you learn about yourself. Top CEOs failed before they became successful. Does Bill Gates ring a bell?
  4. Clear the clutter. Get rid of hindrances. Messy workspace, procrastinating a task, constantly checking social media? Rid yourself of needless distractions and get to work. Stop making excuses.
  5. Dress nicely. Stand Tall. Your appearance has an impact. Not just on how others perceive you, but how you perceive yourself. One of our previous articles (Dressing For Success) spoke on just that. How you dress matters. And so, does your posture. Adopting a commanding posture can immediately help you feel confident and empowered. Stand tall. Sit up straight. Hold your head high.
  6. Empower yourself. Arm yourself with tools to improve. Read. Study. Learn from others. Gather as much as you can get your hands on to catapult you to the next level.
  7. Think positive. Good things cannot come from a negative mindset. You control your attitude. Get rid of negative outlooks. Envision great things that are yet to come.

Confidence definition from dictionary


What has been helpful for you? How can we help? Contact us at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com or connect with us on social media! We look forward to hearing from you.

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This is Why You Need to Network at Every Stage in Your Life.

Outline of group of people intertwined in a network of lines

Not a new concept.

Networking continues to be effective because it works. It continues to be worthwhile because of the successful outcomes. Another plus, it is not reserved for an elite group of individuals. Networking can be done, and should be done, by everyone. It does not matter if you are still in college, or a well-established CEO, networking is valuable.

You are not too young or too inexperienced to network.

Just because you are still in school doesn’t mean networking is not useful to you. On the contrary. That is one of the best times to start making connections. Those interactions that might not seem like much at the time have the power to produce results later down the road.

You also don’t have to have an official title to your name. It is not necessary to have a Ph.D. to mingle.

We find that those just starting out in their professional career do not view networking as an important step of the process. That networking doesn’t apply to them because they don’t have a detailed LinkedIn profile.

Man with beard and laptop at wooden table talking with woman in suitOne of the best decisions you can make for yourself is to get face to face with other individuals that have the capability to introduce you to others in the community. You want to grow your network. And as you grow your network, you will gain invaluable connections and information along the way.

There is a vast amount of knowledge that you will never learn from books or webinars. Don’t delay networking.

You are not too old to network.

Another tip – don’t stop networking.

You have heard the phrase, “you’re never too old to learn.” There is always so much that can be learned by meeting with others and finding out about new trends. Stay abreast on current affairs.

Another phrase, “you are never too old to reinvent yourself.” Don’t discredit yourself because of your age. You can keep learning and reinventing yourself as much as you want. You are not held to one role.

The power of networking.

We have discussed the importance of networking, but we wanted to show some statistics that back up our advice.

  • 70% – 85% of jobs come from networking and referrals
  • Seventy-two percent of people say their impressions are impacted by how someone appears and their handshake
  • One in four don’t network at all
  • 68% of entry-level professionals value face-to-face networking more than online
  • Nearly 100% of people say face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships

It’s not only about jobs, is it?

You hear a lot about how networking helps in finding jobs and applicants. While this is true, networking is not only about job searching and recruiting.

Networking brings groups of people together, who wouldn’t normally be in the Woman at table with coffee writing in notebooksame room, and encourages the exchange of ideas, solutions to obstacles, brings forth insight, and develop relationships that sometimes last a lifetime.

So, while networking does help immensely for finding a job, don’t limit the only time you participate in functions to when you are looking for employment.

Networking and job searching.

Now to the part about how networking can help you with finding a job.

One of the major reasons that networking is such an effective way to get a job is that there is something of a hidden job market out there. Some estimate that as much as 80 percent of new jobs are never listed but are instead filled internally or via networking. -PayScale

That is a large number of jobs people are potentially missing if they are not networking.

There is also something to be said about a respected individual giving their personal endorsement on your behalf. Companies are more likely to hire a referred candidate than spending time and resources doing it on their own.

If you are on the hunt for a new job, don’t forget connections you have made or can make.

Suggestions and advice.

From those who have been networking for some time now, we bring you a few suggestions and advice.

  1. Be aware of your online image. Once you start meeting people in the community, they will check out your online presence. Your posts will be reviewed. Your photos will be looked at. All your social media platforms will be inspected. Make sure you are representing yourself accurately.
  2. LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile has immense power to influence. This is acts as your virtual resume. Manage accordingly.
  3. Personal brand. You are a walking brand. What image do you want to project? Dress the part. Look sharp. Know your audience.
  4. Follow up. Did you meet someone you admire and respect? Follow up! Don’t just request to follow them on LinkedIn, follow-up with an email or note. Stay in contact. Meet for lunch. Keep your connections close.

We would love to hear from you on any success stories you have or questions for us. Contact us at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com or comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.


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Sources:
Hubspot.com
LinkedIn.com
PayScale.com

You Are A Brand. How Do You Want to Be Seen? You Are A Brand.

You Are A Brand wording in a gray box with pink background

Did you know you are a brand? An actual walking billboard advertising yourself. Eek!

Your personal brand is important.

This goes far beyond the way you dress. It is how you hold yourself. It is your lifestyle. It is who you associate with. It is what you post on social media. It is every nook and cranny. It’s things you might not even think about. It is how clean you keep your car!

According to Wikipedia: Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personalbranding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.

2 circles connected in the middle with the words "Your Personal Brand"Your brand matters because it is what you are projecting to the world. It is what you are telling people about yourself. It is what people think about when your name is mentioned. So, what do you want to be known for? What do you want to improve? What steps can you take to make a mark and developing your brand?

What You Can Do to Develop Your Brand.

First, we suggest setting a clear goal. Know exactly what you want and what you want to be known for. Do you want others to come to you for advice about finance? Do you want to be regarded as confident and a thought leader? What image do you want others to have of you and then find ways to make that happen?

Make it happen. Our next point. Once you have figured out what you want and who you want to be, do it. Stop making excuses. Make plans. We have found it helpful to have a list.  Also, give yourself time frames. Goals are merely words if no game plan is established.

In your face. Ok, maybe not in an obnoxious way, but don’t sit in the corner and keep to yourself. Start becoming an expert in your area of interest. And it is worth repeating, be aware of your online image. There is power in the world-wide web, and that power can ruin your image fast. Make sure you are projecting what you want to be known for. Be mindful of what you are posting.

Knowledge is power written in pink and black letteringKnowledge is power. Read. Study. Educate yourself. As mentioned before, become the expert. Please note, this does not say become the know it all. There is a difference. You don’t want to be that person who monopolizes every conversation. There is a lot to be learned by listening.

Rebrand. Never stop growing. Never stop learning. And if you continue to improve yourself, you will need to rebrand yourself. With growth comes necessary changes.

Dress the part. We said earlier that the way you dress is not the only part of your brand, but it does plays a large role. Make sure you are always presentable. It will just happen to be that day that you phone it in when your biggest client or opportunity comes up and you aren’t presentable.


Tell us what you think! TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com.

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Career Moves I Wish I Would Have Known Then. 10 Tips that Work!

Drawing of business woman holding a clipboard. No face. In suit. Yellow background.

Three years ago, I started my career completely over. I literally started from scratch. I have learned so much over these last 3 years that I wish I would have known fresh out of college. Seems to me colleges, and high schools are missing some fundamentals in preparing young individuals for the real world, but that is a discussion for another time.

To keep this short and to the point, I have decided we should dive right in. So, here are 10 specific things I have learned these last 3 years that have made monumental impacts in my career.

10 Tips:

  1. Network. Do not get in a rut staying in your cubicle. Meet new people. Go to seminars. Attend workshops. Accept a happy hour invite. Utilize pockets of time to meet others and gain knowledge from their experiences. You never know where connections will take you.
  2. Read. Immerse yourself in current affairs, industry news, personal development, Oprah book club logo. Black circle with white "O" in middle. etc. Some of the wisest and most powerful individuals will tell you that reading is the gateway to growing yourself. Don’t believe me? Here are a few name drops: Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Warren Buffet. All avid readers.
  3. Interview. Find people you admire and ask them if they have time to meet with you and tell they why. There could be many reasons why you admire that individual but let them know why you would like to speak with them and have a list of questions ready. And always thank them for taking time out of their day to assist you in your growth.
  4. Try something new. Don’t think you are “qualified” to handle a project? Why not try? Volunteer to help with an initiative and learn. You will never grow if you don’t take on new adventures. Aspire for more.
  5. Put emotions aside immediately. Having a bad day? Leave it at the door. Everyone has a battle they are facing. Everyone is going to have a bad day but if everyone let that affect them, nothing would get done. This does not mean you need to be a robot, this just means work is not your personal soap opera.
  6. Be confident in yourself. You are in your position for a reason. Recognize your Confidence quote in black letters with orange background. amazing capabilities and use those to your advantage – every single day. And be proud of your hard work.
  7. Are we friends? You are not at work to make friends. You are not at work to sit around and gossip. Your job is not to be best liked for the yearbook. Be nice, be cordial, but remember, you are in a professional setting. There is a time and place for everything. And please know this, crying at work doesn’t get you empathy, it gets you a spot very low on the professionalism totem pole.
  8. Slow down. Unless you are an Olympic runner, slow down. Do it right the first time. Have all materials needed before pitching the idea. Proof read before sending the email. Gather all the facts before making a decision. And really take time to think of the outcome of those decisions.
  9. Handshakes. Never underestimate the power of the handshake.
  10. Don’t chew gum. No explanation needed.

Let me know what you think. I would love to hear feedback and other suggestions! TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com.

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