You Can’t Be Confident If You’re Avoiding Things

By Benjamin P. Hardy

How is your confidence doing right now?

Last week while at therapy, my wife told me she felt my confidence has been low lately. The reason, she thought, was because I still hadn’t completed my PhD, even though I am very close.

During that therapy session, Lauren told me to go up to Clemson and finish my degree. She’ll keep home-base taken care of, with the help of her supportive mom, while I’m away.

So I got a rental care and drove 8.5 hours from Orlando where we live up to Clemson, South Carolina. I’m here finishing something I’ve been avoiding for too long.

I’m grateful to have a wife who loves me enough to speak honestly to me and then gives me permission to do what I need to do.

CONFIDENCE, from a scientific perspective, is the byproduct of prior performance. In other words, confidence must be earned. Your confidence is the emotional evidence of what you’ve done and where you’re currently at.

Confidence, then, becomes your foundation.

Without confidence, your imagination is weakened. Having confidence allows you to think bigger about your life.

The more confidence you have, the more imagination and courage you can have. You need both imagination and courage to create a better life.

In order to have real confidence, you not only need to succeed at what you’re doing. You need to COMPLETE things (of course, some things should be dropped).

If you’ve been avoiding things in your life, then you can’t have confidence. Avoidance means you’re living in and dragging the past with you, wherever you go.

Confidence comes from being congruent with yourself. It also comes from completing hard things. As you become increasingly congruent with yourself, and as you complete big stuff, your confidence will soar. This will open your future up in amazing ways.

What are you avoiding?

What must you complete?

How can you become more congruent in your life?

This article was first published at Inc

You Can’t Be Confident If You’re Avoiding Things

By Benjamin P. Hardy

How is your confidence doing right now?

Last week while at therapy, my wife told me she felt my confidence has been low lately. The reason, she thought, was because I still hadn’t completed my PhD, even though I am very close.

During that therapy session, Lauren told me to go up to Clemson and finish my degree. She’ll keep home-base taken care of, with the help of her supportive mom, while I’m away.

So I got a rental care and drove 8.5 hours from Orlando where we live up to Clemson, South Carolina. I’m here finishing something I’ve been avoiding for too long.

I’m grateful to have a wife who loves me enough to speak honestly to me and then gives me permission to do what I need to do.

CONFIDENCE, from a scientific perspective, is the byproduct of prior performance. In other words, confidence must be earned. Your confidence is the emotional evidence of what you’ve done and where you’re currently at.

Confidence, then, becomes your foundation.

Without confidence, your imagination is weakened. Having confidence allows you to think bigger about your life.

The more confidence you have, the more imagination and courage you can have. You need both imagination and courage to create a better life.

In order to have real confidence, you not only need to succeed at what you’re doing. You need to COMPLETE things (of course, some things should be dropped).

If you’ve been avoiding things in your life, then you can’t have confidence. Avoidance means you’re living in and dragging the past with you, wherever you go.

Confidence comes from being congruent with yourself. It also comes from completing hard things. As you become increasingly congruent with yourself, and as you complete big stuff, your confidence will soar. This will open your future up in amazing ways.

What are you avoiding?

What must you complete?

How can you become more congruent in your life?

This article was first published at Inc

It’s Not How Good You Are, But How Good You Want To Be

Edited By Azugbene Solomon

“Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal it’s difficult to score.”- Paul Arden

It’s not where you are right now, it’s where you want to go.

It’s where you plan to go.

Where are you going to go?

Can you see that vision?

Do you know what you want to master?

Can you see yourself, deep in the process? Loving the process? Totally absorbed in the process?

There are a million distractions in the world right now.

You could easily distract yourself from your dreams.

But you know how it feels when you’re in a state of avoidance. When you’re just passively passing the time.

That’s not where you want to be.

Be active.

Get focused.

Shut-out the noise.

99% youth is distracted right now. They don’t have a vision. They aren’t absorbed in the process. They aren’t pushing through powerful boundaries and going deeper and deeper into a flow.

This is a brilliant opportunity you have.

Choose, based on your values and perspectives, which makes the most sense to master.

Become the best version of yourself.

Get clearer and clearer on what is most essential to you.

Become more courageous and confident by blocking-out the non-essential.

Complete those things you’ve been procrastinating.

You’ve got this.

This article was first published at Inc

Identifying and Nurturing Your Talents.

Identifying and Nurturing Your Talents.png
Featured photo credit: Mindsets Programs

By Azugbene Solomon

We are all gifted with different natural talents and abilities that are meant to help us in one way or another in our day to day lives but do we really use them at all?Truth is, few people in this world know their talents and abilities and even then, the people who have actually discovered their talents still do not know how to develop and use them.

A good place to start is by gaining a clear idea of your skills and talents. Make a list of the things you are naturally good at, as well as the things you’ve become good at through repetitive effort. Write down the skills you use in your job, the things you learned in school, and the things you enjoy doing in your spare time.

When you’ve listed everything you can, look over your list and consider whether any of these skills and talents might be marketable. How can you use your talents to provide something of value to others?

Take your time with this exercise!

Seriously, don’t rush through it. You’re trying to get an idea of the work that would make you feel passionate and fulfilled – therefore it deserves your undivided attention.

This exercise is also important for another reason. Your dream is NOT just about you. It’s about all the lives you will touch when you do what you were meant to do on this planet. It took me a long time to understand that by holding myself back I was denying others something special I had to share with them. And I don’t mean that as a boast.

We are each special and unique, and we each have something to offer this world that no one else does. By denying our own talents, we deny others the gift of what we have to share.

So please, don’t skimp on this exercise. You owe it to yourself and others to be ruthlessly honest about your passion(s).

Once you have a clear list of your existing skills and talents, make a check mark next to the ones you use on a regular basis, whether in your work or personal time. Can any of those skills be enhanced or strengthened? Can you enroll in a continuing education course to expand on any of your skills? Make notes about possible opportunities to grow and develop what you already have.

(Note: if any of the skills on your list are not things you truly ENJOY doing, cross them off the list and do not consider them as career candidates. That doesn’t mean you’ll never use those skills, just that they won’t be your main focus. A good example might be bookkeeping or accounting skills that you use in your day job. You may be good with numbers but if working with them doesn’t thrill you and move you, you should simply consider it an additional tool that can help with your work.)

What’s left on your list? Look at the talents that were not checked as something you use frequently. Would you like to spend more time developing those talents? Again, if they don’t thrill you, cross them off the list. If they do interest you, consider ways to expand and develop them further.

Finally, make one more list: of things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet. These will be things you can explore gradually and see if they have potential to be your passion.

Then, be sure to MAKE TIME to explore them! Check out courses and classes in your local area, or do a few internet searches for groups of likeminded people. Give your interests a chance, and one (or more) of them might blossom into a life-changing passion.

Reference
Develop A Millionaire Mindset, mind-sets.com

How to Stay Away from Friends Who Are Bad Influences

Featured photo credit: Getty Images

Azugbene Solomon

It can be difficult to stay away from friends who are a bad influence on you. Take time to notice which friends pressure you, are disrespectful, or try to manipulate you. These friends who are a bad influence are likely stressing you out and not treating you like a true friend should. If you can get help from others, set healthy boundaries, and make priorities for good friendships, you’ll be better able to manage or stay away from friends who try to influence you. Just remember your values and needs, and that sometimes bad friendships have to end.

Recognizing Bad Friendships

1 Notice who feels like a bad friend.

Notice who makes you uncomfortable, pressures you to do things you or parents don’t agree with, or teases you when you don’t want to do the things they want to do. These types of friends are bad influences, because they don’t respect your opinions and values. Instead, they try to pressure you and make you feel guilty if you don’t agree with them. Look out for friends who :

  • Boss you around
  • Use drugs
  • Are disrespectful or mean to others
  • Are destructive of property or violent
  • Try to manipulate you
  • Make you feel bad about your eating habits or body
  • Belittle your ideas or opinions

2. Realize the effects this friend has on you.

You’ve probably been noticing for awhile that this friend has a bad influence on you, but maybe you’ve been trying to give them more chances. You probably even defend them to your parents or other friends who object to the way they treat you. Take some time to think about the effect these friends have on you. Ask yourself if you feel:

  • Used
  • Drained
  • Stressed out
  • Unsupported
  • Trapped
  • Guilty for things you’ve done with the friend

3. Ask for help.

If you are having trouble saying “no” to or walking away from a friend who’s a bad influence, ask for help from a more trusted friend, your parents, or the school counselor. These people can help support you and make you feel better for the next time you face that friend. Other people can help give you a more objective opinion about if the friendship is a good one or worth saving.

  • Depending on what your friend has been doing, your parents may want to talk to their parents. They may also want you to spend less time with those friends or spend time with them in safer ways, like at home.

4. Talk to your friend.

Confronting someone who has upset you or is a bad influence can be hard, but you’ll have to take responsibility and try, otherwise they’ll just keep treating you the same way. By talking to them, you’re showing you care about yourself and them. Keep in mind that they may become angry or not understand. Try to focus on your friend’s behavior you disagree with, rather than criticizing them.

  • You can say, “I know you’re a good person and I know you’ve been having a hard time since your parents divorced. But I don’t want to be around your smoking and drinking at school. I feel unsafe when you do that and I’m worried about you.”

5. Set boundaries with your friend.

To protect yourself if you still want to be around the friend, you’ll need to set some boundaries so that they know they can’t treat you that way anymore. You’ll have to be direct and clear about what you need from them and what is not okay with you.

  • Limit the time you spend with that friend
  • Express your feelings and needs honestly
  • Leave situations where your friend offends you or puts you in danger

Don’t force them to change, that’s up to them

6. End the friendship.

If your friend continues to drain you, stress you out, or otherwise remain a bad influence on you, end the relationship. You cannot force them to change, but you also have to respect yourself and listen to your needs. Let your friend know that you’re ending the friendship not because of who they are as a person, but because of their actions and how they’ve made you feel.

  • You can say, “I really care about you, but our friendship isn’t working for me. It doesn’t seem our interests are the same and I don’t feel good about myself in this friendship.”

Moving on From Bad Friendships

1 Stay away.

Once you’ve ended the friendship, it may be difficult to completely avoid friends who are a bad influence, particularly if you’re in the same classes, live close to each other, or have mutual friends. It will be awkward for awhile, particularly if there are hurt feelings involved, but it’s important to be firm in your decision in taking time apart. To help you stay away you can:

  • Defriend or unfollow them on social media
  • Avoid talking about them with your mutual friends
  • Avoid answering any texts or phone calls from them
  • Avoid sitting next to them in class or at other events

2. Overcome hurt caused by the bad friendship.

Even if you were ready for the friendship to end, breaking up with a friend can take a toll on you. Take time to move on and overcome the hurt caused by your bad friendship. Allow yourself to process any feelings you have about the friendship ending, either on your own, with a parent or loved one, with a good friend, or with a counselor.

  • Cry and let yourself be sad
  • Write a goodbye letter, but keep it for yourself

3. Determine what you want in a friend.

Ask yourself what qualities most troubled you about the bad friendship, and how you can keep that from happening again. Good friendships are well balanced. Each friend gets their needs met fairly equally, and you’ll feel safe, supported, and appreciated in a good friendship. You’ll want friends who are there for you in good times and in bad. Look for people who :

  • Build you up
  • Genuinely care about how you are
  • Don’t focus only on themselves

4. Try to make new friends.

Once you know the types of people you want to be friends with and the types you’re trying to stay away from, put yourself out there. Look for people who have similar interests as you and ask to spend time with them. You can also try new activities to meet new, different kinds of people.

It might be uncomfortable or scary at first, just like asking someone out on a date. You can say, “Hi, I noticed your t-shirt. Do you like that band, too? I heard they’re coming out with a new album this weekend. Do you want to go check it out at the record store with me sometime?”

5. Spend time with yourself and your family.

If you’re having trouble making new friends, or just aren’t ready, focus on yourself. Make time for yourself by exploring new hobbies, focusing on school, and doing extracurricular activities that you like. Spend time with your family doing things you enjoy. Remember that friends are an important part of life, but they’re not the only part! Take some time away from friends to build back up your sense of self-esteem and self-confidence.

Helping Your Kids with Bad Friendships

1. Take a step back.

Before you’re tempted to talk to your child about their bad influence friend, think about what’s making you react to their friend in that way. You might be putting all the blame on your child’s friend, when in fact there’s something going on with your child that’s pushing them toward that friend. Understand that it’s normal during adolescence for your child to try to fit in and imitate their peers, so it might not be only about peer pressure or negative influence from the friend.

2. Avoid always criticizing.

Even if you don’t like your child’s friends or the way they treat your child, it’s important to avoid only giving negative feedback about their friends. This will only push your child further toward those friends and push them away from you. They’ll get angry and defensive and will be less likely to come to you about that friend in the future.

  • Seek out positives. You can ask, “What do you like about your friend?” or “What do you get from this friendship?”
  • Let them know they have choices. You can say, “You don’t have to spend time with those friends. You don’t have to be treated this way.”

3. Be clear about inappropriate behavior.

When your child’s friend does something you’re not happy about, like talking back to you or stealing something from your home, be clear and direct with your child about the behavior you don’t like. Don’t judge the friend’s personality or character. Be clear about what limits you’ll have for your child and that friend from now on.

  • You can say, “I’m sure your friend is a good person, and I don’t know everything they’re going through, but I don’t like that your friend stole beer from our refrigerator. I don’t want you to think it’s okay to do that, here or at someone else’s home. He isn’t allowed to come back over until he apologizes to me.”

4 Set limits and structure.

Sometimes you won’t be able to keep your child or teen away from friends who are bad influences just by talking to them. Instead, you can keep your child busy with structured activities during the week. Control more of their schedule by setting limits on who they spend time with, when, where, and for how long.

  • If you have a child 12 or under, you can plan visits to relatives, schedule doctors’ appointments, or schedule time with other friends instead of allowing them time with bad influences. When they do spend time with the bad friend, make sure it’s at your house or that you’re nearby and can listen in on interactions.
  • If you have a teenager, you can limit the nights they’re allowed to go out and make sure you know what their plans are when they do go out. Let them know their activities with friends have to be approved by you first, and enforce consequences if you find out they did something other than what they first told you.

5 Be patient.

Friendships come and go during adolescence. Once your kids reach high school, their brains and identities are developing even more. They’ll start to feel more secure in who they are and what they believe, and they won’t be as easily swayed by friends and peer pressure. Be patient with this process and trust that as long as you support their independence while providing them with some structure and limits, they’ll make good choices in friends.

Reference
Stay Away From Bad Friends by wikihow.com

Mentoring The Youth Matters

Adolescents Mentoring Program

By Azugbene Solomon

We understand the benefits of mentoring young people when we hear the powerful stories of teens whose lives have been changed by a single, caring adult. If you listen, those stories are everywhere. Like me, you likely have a story of a mentor from your own youth.

What we know about mentoring is that it matters to positive youth development. Now, one of the largest mentoring studies ever conducted continues to support this thinking and links mentoring to a reduction in bullying.Mentoring creates positive impact in youth’s lives. Youth with mentors have higher rates of high school graduation and are less likely to drop out of school. They find more self-confidence, self esteem, and are able to create big goals for themselves. Additionally, studies show that behavior, attitudes, and relationships improve when a youth has a mentor. Mentors help children grow and close the social and/or economic opportunity gap.

According to MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, children at risk who had a mentor were:

  • 55% more likely to enroll in college

  • 52% less likely to skip school

  • 37% less likely to skip class

  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly

  • 90% interested in become a mentor themselves

  • 130% more likely to hold leadership positions

Youth who had a mentor also showed a better attitude towards school.

Regular meetings between mentor and student saw that youth were:

  • 46% less likely to use drugs

  • 27% less likely to drink

  • 81% more likely to participate in extracurricular activities

Youth also showed less depressive symptoms when they met regularly with their mentor.

While meeting a student or child once or twice a month may not seem like a huge impact, mentors are creating positive change in the lives of their students. Mentors become someone that youth look up to and trust; and youth may see their own dreams in their mentor. Being a mentor is a rewarding experience that allows us to be the person our younger selves needed.

A five year study sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada found that children with mentors were more confident and had fewer behavioral problems. Girls in the study were four times less likely to become bullies than those without a mentor and boys were two times less likely. In general, young people showed increased belief in their abilities to succeed in school and felt less anxiety related to peer pressure.

Mentoring relationships with youth are complex and there is more to be learned about what makes them succeed, particularly when mentors are matched through organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters and other kinds of nonprofits. In my own research with teens who became engaged citizens, all of the young people in the study had naturally developed mentee-mentor relationships with adults sometime during their middle and high school years. None were matched by organizations. Nonparent mentors – teachers, clergy, and civic leaders – were highly instrumental in how these teens learned to believe in themselves and tackle challenging goals – much like those in the Big Brothers Big Sisters study.

Six Qualities that Make You a Good Mentor for Youth

Most studies have focused more on the effects of mentorship on youth and less on what adults actually do in their role as mentors. But in my interviews with more than 40 young people who were mentored by adults, some common and important themes emerged.

Young people agreed that you are more likely to influence their life path if you possess the following six qualities:

1. You are Supportive

By far, the most important role of a mentor is to support and encourage young people, particularly as they struggle to overcome obstacles and solve problems. When young people feel down, upset with their families, or unhappy in their life situations, mentors are beside them, letting them talk about anything and reminding them of their innate value.

2. You are an Active Listener

Mentors listen first and speak last. Many teens mentioned how little they feel listened to by most adults. Often, they feel inferior even when they have good ideas. But mentors are different. They always listen, even when they are not obligated to do so.

3. You Push — Just Enough

As parents can attest, most teens don’t respond well to being pushed out of their comfort zones, particularly within families. But teens really like to have high expectations set for them – both academically and personally. They appreciate when mentors push them beyond what they may have imagined they could accomplish. In fact, this is likely the reason why mentored youth from disadvantaged backgrounds are twice as likely to attend college.

4. You Have Authentic Interest in Youth as Individual

Teens can tell the difference between adults who are authentically interested in them as individuals and those who are just playing a role. Mentors engage youth to understand all aspects of their lives and interests. They value young people’s ideas and honor their changing feelings and moods.

5. You Foster Self Decision-Making

Good mentors don’t judge young people or impose their own beliefs on them. Instead they remind teens who they are and help them believe they have the insights to make good choices. Knowing they are not being judged helps young people think through decisions critically, sifting through the deeper values that will inform the adults they become.

6. You Lend Perspective

Adult mentors provide perspective to young people from their additional years of life experience. When obstacles seem overwhelming, mentors help put those challenges in perspective. They also help young people see both sides of a situation, helping model the skills of positive skepticism.

What other qualities make good mentors for young people? How can we provide mentoring relationships to all teens? Please share your insights and experiences.

Reference
1. Bu Community Service Center: The Importance of Youth Mentorship

2. Psychology Today: Mentoring Youth Matters by Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D