Margret Thatcher of Personal Development?!

I had a long, soul searching talk with a good friend not too long ago because I was feeling a little down and said stuff like “I don’t think I could do that. I am not charismatic like him”. She pretended to fall off her chair because she saw it very differently and told me off in her usual brisk manner. “You play in the league of Margret Thatcher or higher” she said to me. Oops, the iron lady… That is how she sees me?

I know I can be tough but that tough? “No, Barbara. I am not talking about being tough. I am talking about you being powerful like the iron lady and maybe even more! You are one of the most powerful and charismatic people I have ever met…”

WOW, that really blew me away. I was choking down my emotions and thought of all the other people who have told me that in the past. I had heard it but never really believed it because I did not really believe in myself.  No matter what people said to me, I had my own picture of myself and that was neither powerful nor empowering.

Where did that come from? It came from the extremely high expectations my father has had on himself and of course also on his only offspring. He wanted a boy but I came out as a girl. That didn’t stop him expecting me to do the same a boy would  and because I wanted him to love me, I obliged. I climbed trees, ripped my clothes, thought dolls were stupid and so on. I became tough and what I thought a boy should be like. But my Dad never seemed satisfied. Somehow I seemed never good enough. Somehow whatever I did was not enough. He beat me up a lot, shut me into a black hole under the staircase and no matter how loud I screamed, he made me stay there. At the same time he loved me to bits (when he was in a good mood). So I went from feeling cherished to feling like a doormat and that continued through most of my life. I gave men a lot of power trying to please them but at the same time trying to show that I am “one of them”. It didn’t work and destroyed my self-esteem more and more.

Fortunately that has changed but that is for another day.

I am sharing these painful experiences because I want you to become aware that how you feel about yourself today – as an adult – usually stems from your childhood and you keep repeating the same patterns that you have learned from those days but fact is, today you have a choice! You can decide how you think and feel about yourself. It is your choice!

Negative Self-Talk

Negavite Self-Talk – Most of the time we are not even aware that we are doing it.

Throughout the course of normal conversation, many of us use negative self-talk. While planning our goals and dreams we stop ourselves from even starting by saying things like “I can’t…” “I’m not good enough,” or “I could never do this” This and the subtle little things that we say while on conversational autopilot that eat away at our self-confidence.

How many times have you heard someone say things like “that was dumb of me”, “typical of me to put my foot in it”, “I am so stupid” etc. My mother used to say that all the time when things din’t work quite the way she wanted them to. She did not even realize she was calling herself stupid. Even though I used to ask her not to do it, she continued out of pure habit. Fact is her confidence was very low and that was not surprising. I love you Mom!

Sometimes the negative comments are disguised as humor. “I’m just a country pumpkin,” “Oh well, what do you expect from a dumb blonde,” or “I think my mom dropped me one too many times as a baby!” The fact that anyone should feel a need to make excuses for themselves means that they have low self-confidence.

It is a subtle and difficult pattern to break. Most people do it without noticing that they are even doing it. It is said with the same automatic reponse as the “Fine, thanks” that always follows a “How are you?”

Raise your self-esteem

Raise your self-esteem

To get rid of it I recommend that you ask someone to help you. For example, in the Toastmaster Clubs you will be told when you have used fillers like Um, Ah, soooooo, or ya’ know. Words that are not necessary to bring your content across but that you use to fill the nervous gaps. We do not know we are doing it until someone points it out to us. After awhile, the speakers begin to hear these fillers themselves and stop using them. It will work similar with your negative self-talk.

It’s simple but it’s not easy. Offer to help a friend to overcome their automated negative comments by playing the same game with them. If they are guilty of saying a particular derogatory statement repeatedly, offer to help them to break the pattern. If you can admit to yourself that you are one of those people who say negative things about yourself or to yourself without even really thinking about it, then ask someone to help you. You would be amazed at how quickly you can stop the behavior if someone will just make you take notice. Self-awareness is the key to ending negative self-talk.

In case you are too embarrassed to ask for help, or you do not have anyone that you would trust enough to help you, you will have to make a huge effort to become more aware of the words you speak to yourself or during casual conversation. It is much more difficult, but still do-able.

Imagine that the negative statements are cuss words. You would not want to throw those kind of words around your boss, your grandma or worse, around children, would you?  Attach the same ‘No way!’ attitude to those negative self-talk statements. Start really listening to yourself. You will soon find out that you beat yourself up frequently for no reason whatsoever. So when you catch yourself rattling off these negative statements, just take notice and make a promise to yourself that you will stop. Keep noticing, until you do stop.

An even more effective way to stop negative self talk is to put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it whenever these negative thoughts come up. That’s the fastest way to get rid of negative, disempowering thoughts and words.

Happy talking

Barbara Hofmeister

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© Copyright 2009, TrainingVisions. All rights reserved.
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Take your Self Esteem Inventory

Self Confidence… that comfortable freedom to simply be yourself – absolutely certain that is more than good enough! A strong, healthy confidence is a warm reassuring feeling that in this life you can achieve pretty much all you want! The feeling that you can do whatever necessary to achieve your personal dreams!

Unfortunately most of us don’t have this strong belief in ourselves and our abilities. We have been mystified, one time or another and some very often, with conflicting beliefs. Maybe, when you were a child, some ‘authority’ figure ridiculed, embarrassed or scolded you. And you took that criticism too much to heart, as children tend to do because of their admiration of the adults around them they love.

You might even have heard your parents, grandparents or teachers say things like:
“You’re not good enough” or “You’re not smart enough” – maybe even, “You’ll never be able to…” or “You’ll never amount to anything.” These types of remarks coming from people we look up to can be very destructive for our self esteem.

It is not important how unreliable the source might have been or how misconceived the disparaging remarks were, they may still be making you feel a lack of confidence and low self-esteem today.

Furthermore, discouraging words spoken many years ago might lead you to find fault with many things you do and be overly critical with yourself.

Enough is enough!!!

Get yourself a journal and start each day by writing your strength, achievements and blessings down. You will be surprised how much you can come up with even though it might feel a little awkward at first. Concentrate purely on what works and leave the things that went wrong – now or in the past – behind.

The past is gone and cannot be changed. The future will come – whether we keep our disempowering beliefs or not. Today – NOW is the only time we can make a change and we can do that by starting to build our self esteem inventory!

Start NOW by writing at least 5 strength and achievements in your life down and then go out and get a journal so you can fill it in each day with a minimum of 3 of your personal blessings!

Give yourself the time. YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Barbara Hofmeister

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© Copyright 2006, TrainingVisions. All rights reserved.
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Confidence speaks

“I could never do that”

“I’m just not confident enough”

Have you ever heard anyone saysomething like this? You wouldn’t say it yourself, would you?

You see it is pretty powerful when you make a statement like that. So many people linguistically define themselves to the world; they give themselves no option to be anything else. They actually delete the opportunity to be anything else.

If you repeatedly tell yourself and others that you are…

Not confident…

No good at …

and that you can’t do this or that…

You make that a self-fulfilling prophecy!

Don’t let that happen to you!

Too many people view the future through their past! It is certainly not the best way to do things, looking backwards. Because you have been a certain way before you do not have to continue to be that way for the rest of your days, do you? Because if you do the result is that you become trapped in a perpetuating cycle; with a sense of unfulfilling fear or lack of confidence to show for it. Not much of a way to go, I’m sure you’ll agree?

Wouldn’t it be nice to ooze with confidence in whatever you do? Even if you are one of those people that can’t bear the thought of meeting new people without being properly introduced. Even if you are a nervous wreck when it comes to giving a speech in public. Believe me when I tell you that all of this can be changed. Naturally something that has taken so long to be like it is today will not change overnight but it is within your power to change it.

But let’s first look at where this lack of confidence comes from. We can compare your unconscious mind with a computer. Throughout your entire life it has been programmed; programmed with all your experiences, your relationships, your interpretations of what you see around you, and influences from family, teachers and others. All of this has culminated in your “mind computer”.

Your unconscious mind is the seat of your emotions which come from your beliefs and consequently create your behaviours. A great way to re-program your unconscious mind is to give it new, more empowering experiences.

According to surveys public speaking is the No. 1 fear even before the fear of dying. I don’t know if this is true but it can be quite scary and I have seen people stand in front of a group with loudly knocking knees and quivering voice. I have also seen the same people stand tall giving a great presentation only a short time later.

You see the secret is to overcome what you fear and if you can tackle the No. 1 fear first the rest will tumble like the stones on domino day and you can step “out of the ashes” into your true confident self.

after a while it becomes easy

after a while it becomes easy

I have gone through this experience myself

. The first time I had to speak in front of a group I drowned 2 brandies and it was only 9 am. Today I am actually looking forward to speak in public. It gives me a buzz. Of course I am still nervous but the excitement and satisfaction I get out of it is much bigger than anything else I might feel and the confidence I got out of overcoming this handicap is absolutely enormous.

That is why I am teaching other people to do the same. If I can stand tall so can you and if you are ready, I am here to help you.

Confidence is a must in such a result oriented world. Get your confidence boost now by taking up speech coaching immediately.

Talk to you soon


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