Competence Breeds Confidence

Competence Breeds Confidence

I’m going to let you in on a secret.

Depending on the circumstances of us meeting, if we’ve met, there will be two dramatically different responses to this revelation.  Very opposing responses.

If we were introduced socially, you’re already in on the secret.  If someone were to ask you “did you know this about her” your reply would be “isn’t it obvious, everyone knows that about her”.

Suppose our meeting happened in a professional setting.  Revealing this truth about myself would receive a much different reaction.  “No way”.  “It’s not possible”.  “Not her”.

Here’s the secret

I am not just a little bit shy.  I am deathly shy.  My preferred role in a social setting; wall flower.  The thought of having to introduce myself to total strangers and be able to make small talk with them gives me the same pit in my stomach as having just ate some bad sushi.  I can’t do it.  I won’t do it.  I remember being on a bus trip and someone yelled out “why don’t you ever talk”?  My valiant hero responded “she never talks”.  Shy.  So shy.  Paralyzed with fear.

In a professional setting a totally different persona comes to life.  A hostess with the mostest,  A larger than life very social figure.  Someone who is outgoing, approachable, even . . .  LOUD.  Put her on a stage and let her speak to the room and she shines. Who is this person?  Where does she come from?

It wasn’t always this way.  I remember early on in my career I would have to do morning sales meetings.  As I began to speak I would feel it.  The burning red creep.  It would start on my chest and the warm burning sensation would climb.  I would think “don’t be visible, don’t be visible” as I felt it creep up to my neck.  “Don’t be visible”, now my ears are on fire. “Don’t be visible”, my cheeks are certainly crimson with the burn.  The horror.  Complete terror.

What is different now?  Competence.  Studying your craft, becoming an expert and doing something over and over again until you build competence.  Action builds competence.  Competence then breeds confidence.  Look at the athletes about to take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics.  As they are about to begin their event they radiate confidence.  It wasn’t always there.  There was fear.  Confidence came with repeated practice of their sport making them competent.

There are two reasons I decided to share my secret with you.  First, you may be holding yourself back because, like most people, you have a fear of speaking.  This can be conquered.  Be a subject matter expert and keep throwing yourself into situations where you have to give presentations.  Eventually, it will get easier and even become enjoyable.  Second, as you’re working on yourself at the onset of the new year you may have some limiting beliefs about your abilities that are preventing you from setting certain goals.  I can’t possibly give a presentation, don’t you know that I’m shy?  Maybe it’s not speaking, perhaps it’s writing.  Maybe it’s exercise.  Just start doing it.  Action builds competence and competence breeds confidence.  You can do this.

3 Little Words

3 little words can be such a difference maker. . .

Schedules, lists, planning, calendars; these are not about being Type A (although those who don’t do them find amusement through that accusation).  They are about reducing stress and being happier.  Really, schedules make you happier?  Lists reduce stress?  Yes,  absolutely!!!
Here’s the morning self talk without planning

Maybe I can hit snooze one more time, and maybe one more time. Now, is the right time to get up.  What do I need to do today?  I guess I’ll get my workout in after work since I didn’t get up this morning.” 
Later that day…
I don’t feel like cooking.  Let’s go out.  I guess I’ll get my workout in tomorrow.”
Tomorrow, repeat.
Weekend, “I don’t know why these jeans don’t fit.”
Hmm, sound familiar?
Here’s the story with planning
“Time to get up.  There’s a 5 mile run on my schedule today. Bring it!!!!”
Later in the day self talk
I can do anything.  I started my day out with an awesome run and now I am ready.  Bring it!!!!”
Tomorrow, repeat
Weekend,  “Look at how good these jeans fit – sweet!”
Find a system that works for you.  I love my Outlook calendar, but a notebook or sticky notes work just fine too.  It doesn’t have to be formal or fancy.  Put your goals in writing to help you stick to them and don’t worry about all you have to do tomorrow because you put it off today.
July’s training schedule can be found here:  Fall Marathon Prep Month 2

Fall Marathon Training Kick Off Month

This month kicks off fall marathon training.  I am going full out with a month of total fitness before tapering off cardio and adding miles.  I am following my own advice for achieving goals by posting my June calendar.

Step 1 to achieving your goal – put it in writing.
Step 2 to achieving your goal – share it with people who will support you

Link to calendar

Are you running a marathon or a 1/2 marathon this fall?  Let me know if your interested in sharing training tips.

No Child Left Inside

Ok, so this spring has totally sucked so far.  You may be asking, “what spring”?  Today is April 14th.
 Yesterday, in mid-Michigan it snowed on and off all afternoon and two days ago northern mid-Michigan had a snow day closing schools because of icy conditions.  Many of my friends have posted snow covered cars,  snow covered lawns, and photos of the weather report showing all kinds of wintry weather in April.                   

It is certainly tough to get outdoors ourselves let alone get the kids out of the house, but we have to stay strong, be committed, and get them outside.
I am currently taking an online course on gamification.  It is fascinating!  You should check out the free courses available on  .  That’s where I found this one.  The first lesson spoke of games and gamers and provided highlights and statistics.  Just one game system listed (my son’s favorite) gets over 100,000,000 minutes of active play every month.  Now, I don’t believe that games are bad, stir up bad behavior and violence and stuff like that, but I do believe that they can lead to our children packing on a few pounds.
That’s the main reason I made a commitment to get my family out and about at least once per month to run a 5k together.  Today is month 2 Thompson family 5k’s and we will be heading shortly to East Lansing to run in the Race for the Place.  For the record, we didn’t drag the kids out in January and February when race day temps were around 3 degrees with windchill well below zero.  I know that it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a good start.  My hope is that it will create healthy habits and memories that last a lifetime.
Running may not be your thing, but there are still plenty of things you can do to get those kids outside and ensure that No Child Is Left Inside (even in the cold brrrrr).

Overcoming Excuses: I’m Too Tired To…

Thursday night I was driving home from work (with a live (?) hamster lost somewhere in my car – ah! parenthood) making up every excuse why I wouldn’t get in my Insanity workout.  It’s dark.  I’m tired.  I hear the second phase of Insanity is really really hard.  I’ll do a double tomorrow. (yeah right)

I looked at the clock in my car and BAM! I had a total paradigm shift.  Even though I was feeling like it was bedtime it was only 7:30.  The darkness was playing tricks with my mind.  If it had been late June in Michigan, instead of March,  I would be bouncing in my car seat anxious to get home because there would be 2 1/2 hours of daylight left to get in a good run.

It’s the dirty trick that wintertime plays on us.  Winter conditions are perfectly suited for sleep.  It is dark outside and it is chilly inside making us want to crawl under the covers and stay there longer, but we don’t actually need more sleep.  We just feel that way. 

Sure, our internal clock is triggered by light and dark.  As it gets dark at night our body produces more melatonin making us feel sleepy.  Since there are more hours of darkness in the winter months our pineal gland is producing more melatonin.  This time of year it is still dark late into the morning hours so our sleepy gland is still at work making us feel more groggy in the morning.  It’s dark in the early evening hours making us consider going to bed much earlier than we would other times of the year.

You must be mentally tough.  You must determine your goals and really, really, really focus on WHY you want to achieve them.  You must keep your purpose in mind to fight the temptation of sleeping in.  You must  resolve to not plop down on the couch when you get home from work even though it is dark outside and you feel too sleepy to do anything else. 

If your boss were to ask you “are you too tired to be successful” you certainly wouldn’t respond with a “yes” would you?  Do your actions reflect that?

Here’s what Jim Rohn would say “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become.”

Pick up a book.  Write in your journal.  Go for a run.  Pop in an Insanity DVD.  Get to it!

If you need a success partner to help you through email me

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