I was delighted to be interviewed by author Vivienne Smith last night about Moving On: Clarity, Focus and Action.
Vivienne is the author of The Single Mum’s Survival Guide. Her own experience as a single mum prompted her to write a book about the subject. She was able to turn a negative and distressing experience into an opportunity to help others get through similar challenges. Now Vivienne provides support, practical advice and inspiration to single mothers everywhere, offering free monthly webinars. Vivienne is one of the experts featured in my forthcoming book The Confident Mother, so I was thrilled to return the favour and share my insights on confidence and action with her community of single mums.
Here are the five biggest takeaways from that interview to gain clarity and focus to empower you to take action!
Understand your values
First off, let me start by saying that I do not have a magic wand. I can’t turn you into a successful confident business mum. I can’t give you the clarity and focus. (Sure if I could, I would). I can’t force you to take action. (Yes as your coach, I will sure as hell ask you some challenging questions if you said you would do something that you didn’t do). I want all women to feel powerful – I want you to take control of your life. However you have to want it too.
It is down to YOU to make the decision. You need to have the wish, the vision, the desire to change. When you have that vision, when it is crystal clear, THAT is what empowers you to decide on the right actions to achieve your goal.
To achieve your goal, you need to understand the bigger picture – your vision. You need to understand your values and what’s really important to you, what’s most important to you.
Values are intangibles – freedom, creativity, security, status, knowledge – we all have different values. Intangibles that are important to us. If your business or your work life is not in alignment with your values, you may well have a general feeling of dissatisfaction. Perhaps a feeling that something’s not right but you can’t quite put your finger on it. If only one value is being transgressed, you might be ok about it. You also have your core values – the values that are the non negotiables. When one of your core values is threatened or questioned, you WILL know about it. That will provoke strong feelings and emotions in you. You may notice that you have an over-the-top reaction to something that is said or done. Read more about values in a previous post.
For me, my core values are about: integrity, equality, and professionalism. Those three are at the core of everything I do, the way I behave, and how I respond to family matters or even world events.
When you understand what’s most important to you, you can start to identify and articulate your goal, what you are trying to achieve. Why you need clarity and focus. Think about who benefits from that achievement. Are you aiming for something because you feel you ‘should’? Is it a goal that somebody else has set? If you are aiming for something that is not truly and completely for you, you will not be as motivated. Think about who benefits – what’s in it for you, what’s in it for your family. What are the benefits of achieving that goal, and what (who) benefits if you don’t achieve that goal. Who or what benefits if you stay stuck?
Next explore the current reality. What are you already doing that is moving you towards your goal? What could you be doing more of? What have you already tried? What have you done in the past that you could try again?
What other talents, skills, strengths and resources do you have that you are not yet using? Really give yourself credit here. Often we don’t but now is the time to think positively.
What’s worked before? What haven’t you tried? What resources or help do you need and where will you go to get them?
What’s holding you back?
Before you start to move forward, it can be incredibly empowering to identify what is holding you back. What is getting in the way? What are the barriers? Is it something or someone? Is it a limiting belief about yourself? Are you scared? Lacking in confidence? Worried about failing? Frightened of success? Identify what is holding you back and what MIGHT hold you back.
What is the worst scenario? What might get in the way? Identify the potential barriers and blockages and come up with solutions, workarounds and strategies. That way, if the worst case scenario arises, you are already prepared. You will have the power of having a strategy at your fingertips.
If overwhelm is holding you back, do something positive.
The final step is to take action. Do some brainstorming first and get creative with ideas and thoughts on what you can do to get started: what ideas do you have? what could you do to get you closer to your goal? what else could you do? what would your friend suggest? think of a business mum you admire, what do you think she would do?
Then pick just ONE thing. If you are feeling overwhelmed at this stage, it almost doesn’t matter what one thing you pick. Just select one and just get started. The only way to start is to start. My motto is imperfect action moves you forward much faster than perfect inaction. Don’t worry if it’s not the perfect thing that you start with. Just get started. Just take action.
Most importantly WRITE DOWN what you are going to do and WHEN you are going to do it. Get specific. Don’t just write “I’ll do it next week”. Pick a date and time e.g. “I will do x on Tuesday at 2pm”. To hold yourself accountable, tell a friend, write it in the comments here or come and share on Facebook.
In summary then you need clarity and focus to take action. To get that clarity and focus, you need to understand your values, identify who benefits from the change and how, explore your reality, pinpoint what’s holding you back or what might hold you back, and then TAKE ACTION!
I use my inner strength and confidence to nurture and inspire women like you to make decisions with confidence and with ease. I am an action taker and I know exactly how to move you beyond your confidence blocks and inertia that are holding you back. Don’t struggle on your own. Get support.