Self – Management
Become confident, resilient and adaptable
Confidence is the belief in yourself and the conviction that you will meet life’s challenges and you will succeed. Being confident involves recognizing your skills and your weaknesses and feeling safe with this recognition.
“Human resilience is the ability to cope and bounce back after encountering negative events, difficult situations or adversity and to return to almost the same level of emotional wellbeing. It is also the capacity to respond adaptively to difficult circumstances and still thrive” (McGrath & Noble 2011).
Adaptability means one is able to be aware of life’s changes either in career or in personal field and adjust to them as soon as possible (4 Ways to Boost Your Adaptability Skills, 2019).
How to develop confidence, resilience and adaptability
Confidence is an acquired trait and as such, there are some steps you can follow to help you boost your confidence (Label, 2020):
- Replace negative thoughts about yourself with positive ones. Stop focusing on what you cannot do and start focusing on what you can do well. It may help to write it down in a list.
- Take care of yourself. Have a proper diet and exercise because endorphins are boosted and this positively influences our mood.
- Relax. Avoid high levels of stress because it raises more negative thoughts and therefore reduces self-esteem.
- Set small goals. Write down what you would like to achieve during a day and try to persevere until you reach your goals.
- Help someone out. Taking care of others makes you feel strong and useful.
- Change your point of view. Avoid thinking “I won’t do it, never mind” and start thinking “I have to try it”.
- Keep in touch with people who make you feel good and distance yourself from others, who don’t.
- Accept yourself. Everybody has his/her flaws and weaknesses. And that is totally normal. Knowing your flaws means you can work on them and improve them.
Whether you have already developed resilience or not, you can take a look at the following steps, in order to foster it (Use These 10 Tips to Improve Your Resilience, 2020):
- Find a purpose. Focus on something you are interested in and spend time in learning more about it.
- Recognize your assets and accomplishments. Remind yourself what you are capable of and encourage yourself to face life’s difficulties or/and changes.
- Surround yourself with people, who are supportive, positive and reliable.
- Embrace change. Don’t see it as a threat but as a chance to learn new things and gain experiences.
- Be positive. It may be difficult sometimes, but having an optimistic outlook helps to build resilience and perseverance.
- Take care of yourself. Do not quit activities, which make you feel good and relaxed.
- Practice problem-solving skills. They are necessary when it comes to dealing with new realities and coping with changes.
- Set small goals. Reaching small goals will motivate you to move forward and achieve bigger ones.
- Take action. Do not postpone your tasks for a better time. Start carrying them out and you will complete them earlier and easier.
- Keep honing your skills. No matter how good you are, you can always get better.
Adaptability is also a skill that can be improved and developed. Here are some tips to help you become more adaptable (4 Ways to Boost Your Adaptability Skills, 2019b):
- Change your way of thinking. Stop thinking “Well, I’ve always done it this way”. Come up with new and innovative ideas. It might work better.
- Take risks. And that doesn’t mean taking risks regardless of the consequences. It means to assess whether there is a chance worth risking and persuade yourself to take the risk. After all, success rarely comes from comfort zones.
- Be open-minded and encourage others to do so. This way you can both be open-minded but also be surrounded by people, who share the same mentality.
- Never stop learning. According to Forbes people who are curious and stay current tend to be adaptable. Knowledge has no limits and it supplies you with the tools you need to adjust smoothly in life’s changes.
Why it is important to develop confidence, resilience and adaptability
All the aforementioned skills are not innate. They can be acquired and developed. There are several benefits of working on these skills. To begin with, people with these traits are more likely to be successful leaders and create opportunities. Moreover, it has been proven that they enjoy better mental health and have a more optimistic and balanced view of life and its challenges. They also take care of themselves and are more likely to understand when bad thoughts creep in and how to replace them with more positive ones. In addition, it is less possible to give up on the activities they are occupied with and therefore possibilities to succeed are increased. Consequently, it is obvious that we should all try to develop those skills to earn these benefits and become more competent in the professional area.
Develop self-discipline and set goals
Self-discipline is the ability to remain focused on anything you pursue regardless of the distractions either internal or external, such as your mood or unfavorable odds (Self-Discipline: Persisting Until You Reach Your Goals, n.d.). Self-discipline is about setting a goal and staying loyal to what it takes in order to reach this goal.
How to develop self-discipline
Self-discipline is a trait that can be developed and acquired. There are some exercises that you can practice to increase self-discipline (Morin, 2021):
- Recognize your weaknesses. The first step is to acknowledge what sabotages your productivity.
- Set a goal and create a clear plan that you should follow throughout the day.
- Avoid temptations. For instance, if you cannot resist checking your social media, you can use an app that blocks access to Facebook.
- Try to handle discomfort. In the beginning you may feel pressured and will probably try to avoid a certain activity that will cause a short-term discomfort. You have to let yourself feel uncomfortable and prove that you can tolerate it.
- Imagine the rewards. If you are about to give in to temptations, then imagine yourself being successful and having reached all of your goals.
- Forgive a mistake. It is totally acceptable you may once make a mistake. This doesn’t mean you have failed. Making mistakes is a part of the “getting better” process.
Apart from self-discipline, there is another sector of vital importance, i.e., goal setting. Without goals we lack focus and direction. We might work really hard but may not achieve the desired results. Some suggestions on goal setting are listed below (Golden Rules of Goal Setting: Five Rules to Set Yourself Up for Success, n.d.):
- Set goals that motivate you. You have to set goals, which are important to you. Remember that motivation is a key factor in reaching your goals.
- Set S.M.A.R.T. goals. By S.M.A.R.T. we mean goals that are Specific (must be clear and well defined), Measurable (include precise dates, amounts etc. so that you will know the degree of success), Attainable (goals that you can reach – not goals that you have no hope of achieving them), Relevant (related to your personal life and your career goals) and Time-Bound (have a deadline so that you can again assess your progress).
- Write down your goals. This makes goals seem realistic and tactile. You can use the word “will” instead of “would like to”, because it enhances determination.
- Make a plan and include all the steps needed to achieve your goal.
- Insist! Remember that goal setting is an ongoing activity and you have to be patient and persistent.
Why to develop self-discipline and goal setting
Self-discipline and goal setting have several benefits. They help you organize your time and prioritize your activities. They also boost self-confidence by measuring your progress and by being able to resist temptations. You feel motivated and capable of managing uncomfortable issues such as a rude client in the working environment. They can also improve learning process and lead to higher performances.
Appreciate diverse perspectives
Recognition of different perspectives means to be able to see the world through the eyes of other people. It means to get in their shoes and try to understand how they perceive reality. This requires self-awareness, intellectual flexibility and definitely the knowledge of different customs, ideologies, tradition and culture (Diverse Perspectives, n.d.).
How to start obtaining diverse perspectives
(Seeking Diverse Perspectives, n.d.)
- Be open-minded and try to listen and understand everyone’s point of view. Ask yourself why he/she supports a specific opinion and encourage everybody to express their own opinion.
- Be aware of the cultural, social and economic context of your interlocutor, so that you can better understand his/her point of view.
- Practice respect for others. You don’t have to change your mind about an opinion or an assumption you support, but recognize when it is the right time to express it and when it is better to remain silent.
- Appreciate the constructive value of conflict. It is a key element for mental growth. Through a disagreement you may succeed in both developing a better structure of your ideas but also enlightening them with someone else’s point of view.
Benefits of seeking diverse perspectives
(Seeking Diverse Perspectives, n.d.)
- It boosts creativity and offers more scopes of ideas.
- It helps a team to be honest and team members are not afraid to express their opinions.
- By accepting diversity, we “push our differences,” which can make our similarities even more evident.
- Phenomena such as racism and fear of diversity can be reduced.
Communication Skills – Verbal and Non-Verbal
Communication is the act of exchanging information by writing, speaking or by using any other medium that helps. Communication involves a sender, a message and a recipient (What is Communication, n.d.). Communication is a complex procedure, because sometimes the message the sender wants to transfer is perceived by the recipient in a totally different way. This misunderstanding may occur due to emotions, different cultural background, the medium used for communicating or even due to the interference of external sounds.
Verbal and non-verbal communication
Verbal communication mainly includes face-to-face communication, telephone, radio or television and other media. There are some skills concerning verbal communication, which are needed and useful in the workplace (Why you need verbal & non-verbal communication skills?, n.d.).
- Speak with a clear articulation
- Ask questions
- Ask for help
- Share information appropriately and on time
- Be an active listener and avoid interrupting
- Ask for feedback and accept it without complaining
Non-verbal communication includes everything unsaid, such as body language, gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice and eye contact. Non-verbal skills vary around the world. For instance, in European culture extended eye contact is preferred to show that we are concentrated on our interlocutor, whilst in Asia culture it might be perceived as a challenge to authority (Why you need verbal & non-verbal communication skills?, n.d.).
Connection between verbal and non-verbal communication (Source: Wertheim, E. G. (2008). The importance of effective communication, as cited in “Nonverbal Communication and Body Language”, n.d.):
- Reiteration: Non-verbal signals may emphasize a verbal message.
- Contradiction: Non-verbal signals may contradict a verbal message, thus revealing that you are not telling the truth.
- Substitution: Non-verbal signals: for example, a facial expression can replace a verbal message.
- Complementing: Non-verbal signals can add information to a verbal message.
- Emphasis: Non-verbal signals can underline a verbal message.
How to improve non-verbal communication (Nonverbal Communication and Body Language, n.d.):
- Manage stress: When we are anxious, we may probably misunderstand others’ non-verbal signals and interpret them the wrong way. Therefore, the message revealed may not be perceived appropriately. If you feel stressed, you can take some time, relax and then proceed with conversation.
- Try to recognize your emotions: By recognizing your emotions you are not only able to send accurate messages (verbal and non-verbal), but also understand others’ feelings and messages.