By Gayle Tong from Enrichment Coaching
I first met Gayle a year ago when she was just about to launch her new coaching business, and she needed some professional photographs for her new website.
A year later and Gayle has just celebrated her first year and business. And what a fabulous year it’s been too … So we marked the anniversary with an up-to-date photo session, in beautiful Chichester.
It’s been a real pleasure to watch Gayle’s coaching business grow from strength to strength in the past few months. I’m also extremely honoured that Gayle agreed to be the first guest to feature of my new guest blog series.
So here she is, talking about confidence, stepping outside her comfort zone and her first year in business.
Hanging around in your comfort zone won’t do you any favours.
We all know about our comfort zone, you know it’s that space you like to hang out where you are in control, you know what’s going to happen, when it will happen, how long it will last, how you’ll feel about it, in fact you probably aren’t going to put in any effort at all because well it’s just quite nice there.
Having the courage to step outside your comfort zone can be really scary, but it is where the magic happens – cheesy I know, but so very true. Think back to the last time you did something that scared you or at least made you feel a little bit nervous, what happened? Did you feel great afterwards? If you did, go on step outside your comfort zone again. If you didn’t, go on step outside your comfort zone again, you learnt something from last time, so make the change, take a deep breath, pull on your big pants and go again!
Stepping out of your comfort zone requires COURAGE, but it is this courage that builds your CONFIDENCE.
We can all think about things we don’t want to do and staying in your comfort zone is far easier than stepping outside, some of this is the fear of “What if”, well what if that what if never actually happens?
When I decided to take the step away from the comfort zone of employment where I’d been for nearly 12 years, I was firmly in my comfort zone and looking back had probably been in it for far too long. Don’t get me wrong here, I loved my job, I was earning good money, had a company car, worked from home 2 days a week, had a great reputation in the business and had made a difference, you might even say I left a bit of a legacy behind.
BUT, it wasn’t right to stay I’d become complacent and I wasn’t challenged anymore, I was just going through the motions and it was reflected in my passion and probably my commitment too. It was time to pluck up the courage to take a step outside and leave the comfort zone behind.
I didn’t take the decision to leave lightly, there were so many “What if’s”, what if it doesn’t work, what if I fall flat on my face, what if no-one wants to work with me, what if I don’t make any money, what if I’m not cut out for running a business, what if I post on social media and no-one responds!
Well WHAT IF you just give it a go and WHAT IF it does work – I had to be courageous and have a certain amount of confidence that I could do this.
I know that’s easy to type and I know that will be a scary step for some and it was quite a significant change, but, stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t need to be life changing, in fact, I’d always encourage my coaching clients to break things down into small manageable bite size or baby steps. You might have heard the saying; How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So if you are facing something that feels huge, break it down into smaller pieces, tackle each one at a time and don’t forget to celebrate the all wins along the way – they make you feel like you’ve mastered things, and mastery builds your confidence.
People always say to me, well it’s okay for you you’re really confident, truth is that I am – most of the time! Like most people I hang out in my comfort zone but there are things that scare me, things I don’t like doing, things I do that make me worry about what people will think. But sometimes, you have to ACT AS IF you were confident, because if you don’t believe in you how can you expect anyone else to?
My mantra over the last 2 years has been ‘Gayle put your big pants on and just do it!’ This has got me to and through many a situation and as Ally asked me to guest blog, I thought I’d quickly share with you my feelings about the photoshoot we did for my website in July 2019. I knew I needed new photos for my website and for my social and I needed them quickly. I’d seen Ally at Networking but we’d never met. I’m not the biggest fan of having my photo taken, (because you are after all your harshest critic), I remember thinking all those “what if’s” such as what if I don’t like any of the pictures, what if I look awful, what if Ally says sorry there’s nothing I can work with here! None of these WHAT IF’s happened, yes I was nervous, yes it meant wearing my big pants, and yes it was a step out of my comfort zone. It goes without saying that the pictures were of course amazing and Ally’s style was welcoming, she put me at ease and this helped me to feel more confident.
Where am I going with this – well if you want to get stuff done and you want to make a change, you HAVE to find the courage to step outside of your comfort zone – challenge yourself to do just 1 thing each week for the next month that scares you. You’ll be able to recognise when you’re in your comfort zone and how good it can feel to step outside.
At some point we all battle with confidence, we all feel we want more but how often do we consider exactly what that means? It’s important to understand what your confidence looks like. When I work with clients, who say they want more confidence, we’ll always start by determining what does that mean? It could be anything from a specific situation to a more general feeling about how you might come across to others.
I’d ask you to take a few moments to think of a time where you felt really confident and then to visualise it and ask yourself the following questions:
- What was happening
- Who was there
- What was I wearing
- What was I saying
- What was I doing
Now ask yourself what was it about that situation that made you feel so confident? Then when you’ve identified that, what ONE THING can you take forward into situations where you feel less confident – almost so you ACT AS IF you were confident. This isn’t about being someone you’re not, it’s about working towards someone you are going to be. This can be a useful exercise to come back to if you feel like your confidence is slipping away.
I believe that by understanding your confidence, you are able to “Be More You” and by that I mean you will be able to come across as you in your business because you’ll be more authentic and not someone you think you should be. It’s really is true that people buy people, and that’s never more true when you run a small business and that business is uniquely YOU!
Over the last year, as I’ve discovered more about myself and my brand I know that my authenticity runs right through it – what you see is what you get and I know I won’t be the right coach for everyone and actually I don’t want to be! I have found the courage to be me and accepting it has given me clarity of who I am, what my business is about and who I want to work with – and you know what I’m okay with because it allows me to be the authentic confident me!
If you would like to find out more about Gayle and how she can help you gain more confidence, clarity and courage, visit her website – Enrichment Coaching.