Quick tips for more confidence at work!

This week’s tips are about boosting your confidence through humor. Often, we can get bogged down in a cynical world. Don’t. This week, lift up your eyes from your smartphones and start enjoying the moment (yes—even at work)! Stop living the drama, and start seeing the humor.

  • Your life is all how you see it. So stop the drama & start the laughter!
  • Stay calm & keep a sense of humor!
  • Reprogram yourself: Challenge & change your inner dialogue. Make it more kind & compassionate…and funny!
  • Find humor in how you have reacted—and perhaps over-reacted—to your problems.

Have you really LOL today?

Do eeeeet!!!!!!

 

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

7 Signs Your Company Is Depressed and 1 Surprising Solution

Depression-at-work

Of all the business problems companies have, I think they become more magnified when the chief executive officers lose sight that their organization is made up of people. When things go wrong, their focus is primarily on finance or strategy, or both: But, not on people.

This is a big mistake—to ignore the people who will actually execute any new strategy, especially if they feel disconnected and overwhelmed by your last plan. I’ve written about marketing from the inside out and the importance of inclusion over coercion. But, is the C-suite listening?

When your employees feel disconnected and that no one cares, they begin to shut down. Unhappy employees are unproductive employees, and this loss of interest affects every area of your business, particularly your customers.

It may be time to ask:

Is my company depressed?

Here are 7 signs of which to be aware:

  1. Low energy and self-esteem (Projects often seem to lose direction)
  2. Poor concentration (Costly errors are escalating)
  3. Difficulty making decisions (Deadlines are missed)
  4. Feelings of hopelessness (Recurring thoughts of layoffs)
  5. Social withdrawal (More conflict, less collaboration)
  6. Excessive negative thinking (Quality suffers. After all—why bother?)
  7. Loss of interest in jobs your employees used to enjoy (Productivity slows down or comes to a halt)

The key to all of this is day-to-day leadership, and its impact on employees and operations. The one surprising solution is the focus of a Harvard Business Review study. It is human warmth.

In the article Connect, Then Lead, Professor Amy Cuddy, along with Matthew Kohut and John Neffinger, discuss the influential leadership traits of warmth and strength. The study reveals that these 2 qualities alone account for more than 90% of the impressions we form about the people around us.

And, yes—warmth comes first.

The study found that trustworthiness is the first thing we look for in others, and warmth is the conduit to trust. In other words, “Before people decide what they think of your message, they decide what they think of you.”

Put this in a corporate setting, and warmth has a huge impact on people.  Collaboration, reliability, openness, cooperation, and motivation all greatly enhance performance and productivity.

I have found in my own leadership experience that without warmth, there is no trust, and without trust, there is no relationship. As I wrote in 7 Reasons Your Employees Hate You, you have to love people to be a successful leader. You have to be compassionate within to be effective without.

In this ever-changing world of work where stability and security are gone forever from our future, I believe it is more important than ever that leaders foster both through a sense of warmth and trust in the present. With trust also comes confidence—an essential element of well-being in people working in your company.

It’s not that strength of competence isn’t important—it is. It is a great compliment to warmth. However, as the study points out, “Leaders who project strength before establishing trust run the risk of eliciting fear, and along with it a host of dysfunctional behaviors. Fear can undermine cognitive potential, creativity, and problem solving, and cause employees to get stuck and even disengage.”

Fear is also what causes depression, so prioritizing warmth becomes even more critical.

If you’re a leader who’s a people person, you instinctively know this. You know how to talk—and listen to–your team. You enjoy sharing stories. You ask their opinion. You show genuine interest, understanding and appreciation. And when the going gets really rough, you acknowledge your team’s fears and doubts and give them the respect and attention they deserve.

If your business is depressed and not accomplishing its goals, take a good look within, and invest some time focused on your greatest asset—people. Give them leaders they can connect with and trust.

Trust me, it works.

 

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Excerpts taken from Connect, Then Lead by Amy J.C. Cuddy, Matthew Kohut and John Neffinger, copyright 2013 Harvard Business Review

30-Second Cure for Anxiety

30-second cure for anxiety

It’s getting close to Sunday night, when many people begin to get anxious—very anxious.

It’s a ritual that many of us feel: a foreboding about what’s to come tomorrow.

This not only makes us anxious about the future; it also destroys our present moment—the few remaining hours of our weekend.

Counter that ritual with another: positive affirmations.

Instead of the negative ritual, create a positive one that relaxes and empowers you.

There are 4 rules I find helpful in creating these affirmations:

  1. They must be positive
  2. They must be spoken in the present tense
  3. They must begin with “I”
  4. They must be repeated–often

For example:

“I am calm. I am confident and secure. I enjoy today, and don’t fear tomorrow. It’s just another adventure. All is well.”

Feels better, no?

The whole idea of—and science behind–affirmations is to reprogram your subconscious mind to think positive thoughts which reap positive action.

Remember: your beliefs are your biology.

If you flood yourself with negative thoughts, you’ll  drown in anxious feelings and behaviors.

But, if you feed your mind with positive thoughts, you’ll reap the rewards of empowering thoughts and behaviors. You’ll draw better things to you!

Try it and see.

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Remembering 9/11 and the true towers of strength: US

Towers of Confidence. Statue of Liberty Between Twin Towers, World Trade Center at Sunset, New York City, New Jersey,  New York, designed Minoru Yamasaki

September 11, 2001 was a horrific day. No matter where you were, you will always remember.

That day, terrorists attacked and destroyed precious lives and landmarks.

But I believe that what they were truly after was our confidence.

In targeting Wall Street and the Pentagon, they went after symbols of power.

Little did they know about our true power: US.

I was working in Manhattan that day, and found myself walking across the 59th Street Bridge. There were thousands of us exiting the city, with fighter planes above us, and plumes of smoke below us.

It was a frightening scene, but we were calm, quiet, orderly—not what you would expect from New Yorkers.

You see, something miraculous happened that day: We walked like a team.

9/11 actually brought us closer.

I am sure this is not what the terrorists wanted.

Thirteen years later, we have rebuilt.

We have persevered.

We have held on to the one thing that will always be US:

Confidence.

 

 

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Classic lessons in kickass confidence.

I am a frequent guest contributor on Classic Movie Hub about classic movie characters with kickass confidence. Each of these characters has inspired me. I hope that they inspire you too.

This post is about Regina Lampert, portrayed by Audrey Hepburn in Charade:

Audrey_Hepburn_in_Charade

Adam Canfield: “Oh, you should see your face.”

Regina Lampert: “What’s the matter with it?”

Adam Canfield: “It’s lovely.”

“Lovely” goes right to the heart of this character in this wonderful comedy / mystery / romance.

It is Audrey Hepburn, after all.

And, in Regina Lampert, Ms. Hepburn gives us one character with kickass confidence who is witty, poised, charming, and well…lovely, even in the face of murder and intrigue.

Here is a woman who is chased by everyone—the villains, the police, the government–-and can still hold her own and keep a sense of humor as she dashes about Paris in kitten heels and Givenchy. Classy and wry, our heroine sidesteps danger while in hot pursuit of becoming the next Mrs. Canfield, or Mrs. Joshua, or Mrs. Crookshank.

Charade is one of my all-time favorite movies, and Regina Lampert one of my most-admired characters.  I can see that lovely face right now and hear: “Oh, I love you, Adam, Alex, Peter, Brian, whatever your name is, I love you! I hope we have a lot of boys and we can name them all after you!”

You go, girl!

Please visit Classic Movie Hub and enjoy all of my Classic Movie Characters with Kickass Confidence blog posts!

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

The Power of YOLO.

Invoking the power of YOLO

I had lunch with a friend yesterday, and she shared her hesitation about taking a trip to Eastern Europe—something she has always wanted to do. She needs to take a break from her work as a private investigator, but, like many people in business, has doubts about investing the time and money in a vacation like this.

She told me that when she shared her concern with her son, he texted back 4 letters—just 4.

And here they are: YOLO. You Only Live Once.

Those 4 words have finally sparked her decision to go.

They also inspired me to take the Mediterranean cruise I always dreamed of taking. I am heading out later this year.

Workplace confidence is not just about feeling good about what you do for a living. It’s also about having the confidence to take a break to enjoy the life you’re working for.

When we take time to let go and relax, we come back stronger, with a fresher perspective and healthier attitude. We feel like we have taken care of our needs. Vacation helps us feel renewed, and we return a lot more productive than if we had never left.

Remember, you only live once.

Do you live to work, or work to live?

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

The Sound of Confidence.

Recently, I had the pleasure of recording a few radio demos at the brand-new ProMedia Studios in New York City. A friend, who is also a sound engineer, knew I wanted to record a few spots, and surprised me by asking if I would like to help them christen the new equipment by being their “demo”!

It was an unexpected opportunity. I was excited and anxious.

Although I’d been interviewed on the air before, I had never recorded in a sound booth.

This certainly was a night of “firsts” all around!

When I sat down in the booth and leaned into the mike, I could see my right hand begin to quiver a little.

Then, I recorded my opening line:

“This is Workplace Confidence in 60 Seconds with Michelle Kerrigan.”

The sound engineer—an amazing pro—guided me through a few takes, and I recorded my first full demo. Wow–I could hear the little quiver in my voice now.

With the second demo, I felt more relaxed. Even the engineer commented that I sounded stronger.

That was the sound of confidence.

Exposing myself to this new experience helped me to get through my wall of anticipatory anxiety. I felt great!

Confidence comes when you believe in yourself, and then take action. It comes when you get beyond fear and doubt. When you try new things. When you step up to the plate.

Confidence comes in the doing.

When it comes, you’ll feel—and sound—great!

 

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Workplace Confidence TV: International Etiquette

Business a la carte--basic tips for business dining

To doggy bag, or not to doggy bag….that is the question.

On my recent Workplace Confidence TV show, my guest, Robert Salvatore, and I answered that question.

We discussed etiquette—especially the international kind. Etiquette is not so much about which fork and spoon you use, but how you modify your behavior to make others feel more comfortable.

In this clip we discuss how knowing local customs before you travel can have a positive impact on international business relations.

Take a look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3-a_yW6A4M

Bon appétit!,

Michelle

 

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Quick tips for more confidence at work.

  • You can depress yourself with your own words. Don’t. Choose language that’s confident.
  • Speak to yourself with encouragement, not discouragement.
  • Change “What if I fail?” to “What if I succeed?”
  • When you feel good on the inside, you project confidence on the outside.
  • You gain confidence by believing first, then doing! So, get past your fear and DO!
  • The first sale is to yourself.  Amen to that!

 

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Do you need career confidence?

Interviewing--What not to do

Yesterday, a friend of mine called to ask for advice. She is looking for a job and saw one listed on the site of the corporation where she used to work.

She was struggling with the online form that had a million fields to fill out. She wanted to know my thoughts on salary and was also stressing about putting her date of college graduation.

It was clear to me that this form was making her very anxious.

I was shocked that she was even filling out a form for a company where she already had contacts. I advised her to forget the form and start reaching out to the people she knows. To ask them if they know—not the “hiring agent,” which signals Human Resources—but the decision-maker: The buyer. The one who can say “yes.”

My friend hesitated. Even after all these years, she still felt shy and awkward.

Here’s a true pro—one with years of incredible experience—and the hiring process was getting the better of her.

I know that once she gets the job, she will shine.

It’s selling herself to get the job that’s the problem.

What she needs more than anything else is to believe in herself and her skills, her personality, her true value, her self-worth. To see that she has what it takes to produce excellent results, especially as she’s done it many times before.

Then, she needs to start networking. Networking strengthens relationships and builds confidence, which preps you for the main event: The interview.

So, stop relying on a form. Pick up the phone. Send out an email. Reach out for help.

You gain confidence by believing first, then doing!

So–DO!

 

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan