Guest Blog by Leila Singh
How often do you find yourself holding back from speaking up, be that sharing ideas, opinions, asking questions, or simply reaching out to connect with others? I’d like to set you on a course for 2021 to value yourself and channel your thoughts and experiences into positive energy to strengthen your self-belief and empower you to take control of your life both professionally and personally.
There are many factors at play which may prevent us from speaking up, these include –
- We feel that our voice is not worthy of being heard;
- A previous bad experience when we did speak up
- Worry about judgement and others’ opinions
- Lack of confidence and self-belief in ourselves and our abilities
- An inferiority complex, perhaps due to how we look or sound, perceived lack of knowledge or education, our diverse background
Many people are surprised to discover that I was once this person, afraid of speaking up, due to having a huge inferiority complex – because of how I looked.
Whilst struggling with extreme acne from age 11 through to my late 20s, I exacerbated the problem in my head – with thoughts of how ugly I was, others’ judgement of me, and a subsequent lack of confidence in the workplace. I chose to hide rather than stand out. I didn’t want to be noticed.
By not speaking up, what has this cost you in the past?
- Sharing Ideas – Perhaps a colleague raised a similar idea, it was implemented, and they received kudos for this
- Sharing opinions – Maybe sharing your opinion would have prevented problems occurring or accelerated results, for you or your team
- Asking questions – Possibly your question was asked by someone else (often the case), or by not asking, it created delays or issues further down the line, a misunderstanding, or worse yet a huge mistake, warning or disciplinary due to having a lack of clarity at the outset
- Reaching out to connect with others – Perhaps you missed opportunities to increase your visibility, expand your network, make yourself and your skills and knowledge known, or others aware of your talents and achievements, which resulted on being overlooked for a new challenge, project, or promotion, worse yet, not being considered for a pay rise or bonus.
Embarking on a new career, taking myself outside my comfort zone, leaving accountancy to become a recruitment consultant, placed me in a position which left me no choice but to speak up and make myself known. It was here that I learned that ‘we all have value to bring to the table, everyone is equal’, as I had both clients and candidates listening and valuing what I had to say.
What I have learned is that much of what holds us back are our own thoughts.
The factors at play are all a result of our thoughts, even the bad experiences.
In other words, we often hold on to past experiences, we unwittingly create generic beliefs and expectations that those experiences will re-occur, and consequently they often do. They become our truth, when in fact they began merely as an experience.
By realising and tuning into the power of our thoughts and re-framing them to those that serve and encourage us, by focusing on what we do want, rather than what we don’t, we get to have a different experience.
Consider this –
- My voice is worthy of being heard
- My past experiences do not determine my future
- Others’ will judge no matter what; that is their business
- Confidence comes from within (my thoughts)
- Inferiority comes from my own inner dialogue
Set yourself the intention this year of creating a habit of tuning into your inner thoughts and dialogue and recognising where they are not serving you. Then reframe your thoughts to positive ones.
Remember: Our experiences are a result of how we choose to respond to any given situation. Change your response (thoughts), change your outcome.
Leila’s’ corporate career of 25 years combines a wealth of experience initially gained as a qualified accountant (FCCA), followed by 16 years spent at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, with seven years in Corporate Finance & Treasury and thereafter nine years as a successful Sales Executive delivering a little shy of $1bn of business.
In parallel, during the last six years Leila has established her Personal Brand and Coaching Practice, mi-brand, where she is enabling driven and highly motivated career & business professionals at all levels, to establish their competitive advantage in their organisation and industry, and accelerate their career, by creating a powerful personal brand!
Leila is a TEDx Speaker, Accredited Master Coach (IAPC&M), Coach Trainer & Speaker Mentor, Certified NLP Master Practitioner (ABNLP), Author and Podcast Host of mi-brand HQ.