Skip to content

UXL Blog

Creating Successful Leaders

Tag Archives: Margaret Smith professional speaker

Are you a worrier? Do you tend to dwell on something and envision the worst possible outcomes? There is something to be said for preparing for the worst; however, constant worrying and catastrophizing can also lead to anxiousness, constant fear, and difficulty finding enjoyment or joy.

How can you combat your worrywart tendencies?

Psychiatrist Katherine Pannel recommends a thought exercise. If you’re faced with an uncertain situation, picture the very worst outcome, then shift your thinking and imagine the very best outcome. After that, consider the most likely outcome, which will probably land somewhere in the middle of the two scenarios. This exercise helps you to refocus and “redirect your thoughts to a more realistic, comfortable place.”

Another way to stop worrying so much is to focus on preparations.

When you know you’ve put in the leg work and are thoroughly prepared, there’s less cause for worry. Tell yourself that you’ve done everything you can, and the outcome will be what it will be.

When I’m preparing for a presentation or an important meeting, I try to allow myself time to A) prepare the material B) practice and C) anticipate possible questions. Ideally, when you practice it should be out loud, in front of a mirror or with a friend or family member. When you’re anticipating possible questions, think about the things people are likely to ask AND anticipate any follow-up questions to those initial questions. When you’re prepared, you tend to feel more confident and less worried. You’ve done what you can, and the rest is out of your hands.

Lastly, if you’d like to stop worrying so much it’s important to accept your imperfections.

Recognize that you are not perfect, and you don’t have to be. Nobody is! If you make a mistake, it’s okay (truly). Pick yourself, attend to any necessary damage control, and try again. Many of us have unrealistic expectations for ourselves (we would probably never treat others the way we sometimes treat ourselves!), and that isn’t healthy. Instead, be kind to yourself, recognize you’re an imperfect human being, and simply try your best.

Let’s combat worrywart tendencies once and for all! Most of the time, things are not as bad as you fear them to be.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

Tags: , , , ,

I get it. It’s difficult to maintain your enthusiasm about work/life/everything when things still seem pretty bad. Every day, we’re bombarded with grim news stories and reminded, yet again, of how dire things are for the planet and for people on all corners of the earth. Plus, many of us are still working from home and trying to balance work and life (kid’s soccer games, doctor’s appointments, keeping a clean house, etc., etc.) as best we can. It can all feel…overwhelming. So how can we possibly wrangle our emotions and convince ourselves that we’re happy or energized?

Well, here’s the thing about emotions: Even if you have to fake a certain emotion for a while, you’ll eventually feel it.

Before I explain, let me offer one important caveat: This advice does not pertain to people struggling with depression or other serious medical conditions. It is meant for those who are simply overwhelmed, feeling a little listless, or could use an energy boost.

That said, let me explain the concept of “fake it until you feel it.”

Essentially, when you want to feel a certain emotion—joy, confidence enthusiasm—do your best to mimic that emotion, and you will eventually genuinely feel it. Amy Cuddy suggests standing in a “power pose” for a few minutes before going into a big meeting to boost your confidence. Similarly, if you’re feeling a little low and want to boost your happiness, smile! Feel your face brighten and your body lift.

This advice isn’t just a “nice idea.” It’s rooted in neuroscience. According to psychologist Michael Schreiner, “…the barrier between external reality and internal reality is basically nonexistent. For example, scans have shown that you can feel happy and therefore smile, or just contort your face into the shape of a smile whether you feel happy or not, and your brain will respond the same way, releasing the same chemicals.” In short, it is usually possible to trick your brain into feeling whatever you wish to feel.

And that is powerful. It means your emotions are somewhat in your own hands.

So, what to do with this newfound knowledge?

First of all, understand that you have power and control. Your emotions are your own, and you can bend them to your will. Once you realize that, you can begin to “fake it until you feel it.” Smile when you’re having a lousy day. Act energized even when you’re feeling drained. Exude confidence even when you’re feeling timid. By putting your best foot forward and simply trying, you spark something in your brain. You begin to think that maybe (just, maybe!) things aren’t so bad. And you begin to gradually feel better.

This is all part of establishing a healthy emotional pattern. It may not be easy at first to get into a healthy, positive mindset, but the more you practice, the easier it will be. So, practice! Make a concerted effort to feel more joyful, positive, enthusiastic, or confident and see if you can trick your brain into actually embracing (not just faking!) these emotions.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

Tags: , , , , , ,

With cold weather right around the corner for many of us, it’s tempting for introverts to give in to their natural instincts and simply spend the next several months in near-hibernation. While that may sound like heaven to some, it could also lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Most introverts need occasional human interaction (even a warm smile or a thoughtful note) to feel connected or help them through tough times. But…they may not seek it when they need it, or even know how to seek it. What to do? As an introvert, how can you comfortably seek companionship or human connection when you need it?

Try these four suggestions:

Dare to ask

Instead of waiting around, hoping someone will invite you to coffee or an event, take initiative and be the one to extend an invitation. If you’re asking an old friend, this may not be a big deal, but if you’re asking someone you don’t know terribly well, an invitation can feel downright daunting. Accept the vulnerability that comes with asking others to do something, and don’t be deterred if they say no. Either aim for a different date on the calendar or ask someone else.

To ease into asking someone to hang out, you could attend a meet-up with mutual friends or see if someone else is willing to arrange a get together (a spouse or a close friend) that involves meeting a couple new people.

Put parameters on interactions

If you know that long interactions with others can be draining for you, try setting a time limit on get togethers. When you invite someone out for coffee, for instance, frame your invitation like this: “I can meet from 9 a.m. to 10:30. Does that work for you, too?” No need to offer an explanation—just provide the parameters.

Alternatively, you could engage in an activity that has built-in time limits. Go to a movie, watch a play, or engage in a couple rounds of mini golf. When the activity is over, you can naturally part ways.

Seek comfortable settings

To put yourself at ease, hang out with new acquaintances in familiar settings. Suggest meeting at your favorite coffee shop or lunch spot, visiting a local book shop, or even meeting in your home (if that seems appropriate). When you’re in a familiar locale, that removes one more “question mark” from the interaction.

Seek anonymous hangouts

Not every group activity involves talking with strangers or mingling with a crowd. Activities such as yoga, community education classes, going to the movies, or visiting a museum allow you to be around others while you comfortably blend into the crowd. You might invite a friend to attend one of these outings with you, or you could choose to go solo.

Being introverted doesn’t necessarily doom you to a long, lonely string of months when the weather turns chilly. Aim for casual interactions in comfortable locales, and dare to be a tad vulnerable. These small interactions will help scratch your itch for human interactions when you need them most.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

Tags: , , ,

%d bloggers like this: