Saturday, 16 August 2014

Is Confidence Over-rated?

Is confidence over-rated?

Have you ever fancied someone but never told him or her how you felt because you were afraid of what they’d say?

Have you ever really wanted something but didn’t go for it because you didn’t think you were good enough?
I know I have.
Pearl Grace Blog, confidence
I think it was because I lacked confidence. I don’t think I would have admitted this before but that was the truth.

Despite going to theatre school, performing on stage and having an outgoing personality, I lacked confidence and self-belief for many years.

I would use my lack of knowledge, limited experience and minimal resources as “valid” reasons that prevented me from going after some big opportunities in my life.

The truth was they were just excuses.

I’d convince myself into thinking that I didn’t have what it took to get the gig or get the job because I wasn’t “good enough”.

It took me a while but I soon realised that this was a broken record that I was choosing to play in my head and it was finally time to turn it off.

No matter the reason that I told the world, I knew in my heart that I suffered with a lack of confidence and was plagued with bouts of self-doubt.

As time went by, I decided to put an end to my self-sabotaging ways.

My being happier was down to me and something needed to change.

I started thinking…

What if being confident was over-rated?Pearl Grace Blog, confidence

What if I didn’t need confidence to take action?

I decided that was it. No longer was I going to play the waiting game.

I would start an online business. I would start writing. I would start researching. I would start networking. I would start studying. I. Would. Start…

Starting was the key that changed everything.

Many people around me thought I was crazy. They wondered how I’d make it work or how I’d find the time. 

They’d ask how I could afford it and say it couldn’t be done with a baby.

I have to admit that all of their questions and concerns were valid.

The honest answer was that I didn’t have the answers and I had no idea whether it would work out or not.

I just knew I had to push past the questions and my own insecurities otherwise I’d never do anything.

This is why I think one of the best things to do when you are afraid or think you’re not good at something is to get busy doing it.

None of us are born experts. We learn as we go and we get better by doing.

When we were little tots the thought of running, jumping and skipping around would have seemed like an impossible feat when we could barely walk.

But the amazing thing about toddlers is that they never give up and they don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.

They’re full of determination, tenacity and persistence. When they’re learning to walk they fall down all the time but they never give up.

As simple as this example sounds, it was enough for me. Watching Muffin learn to walk was enough to convince me that I could pursue Pearl Grace.
Pearl Grace Blog, confidence
I was prepared to make mistakes and learn as I go. And to be honest it’s been a lot more fun and such an enjoyable process because I didn’t have all the answers before I started.

I just got my arse in gear and went for it!

Here’s something I picked up from Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine.

I’ve started using this technique in my life with some brilliant results.

When you feel like you are lacking confidence then shift your focus and help someone else gain more confidence.

Give that person your time, attention, encouragement and expertise.

The magic lies in the small act of giving. By helping someone else you unconsciously and indirectly help yourself.

I’ve tried and tested this approach in many areas of my life and the results have been amazing.

For example, with friends who have recently become mums. I found myself encouraging and supporting them on their styles of parenting.

Now, I would have done this anyway because I value my friendships. But deep down I knew that I was giving to them the very thing that I felt I was lacking in my own life. Confidence.

I questioned myself as a new mum all the time. I think we all do in the beginning and maybe it never completely stops no matter how many kids you have.

But I would hear myself talking to my friends and I’d start to believe my own words.

And as a result I started to feel more comfortable in my own choices.

By the way, I would only tell my friends what I sincerely believed was true. No porky-pies!

I honestly believe that in many ways I have become more confident in my mummy-abilities because I helped my wonderful friends - who are amazing mummies - become more confident as well.

Here’s another interesting concept to consider that helped me push through my insecurities.Pearl Grace Blog, confidence

We’re all made up of tiny particles that are bouncing off each other all the time.

When we are excited these particles make us feel energised and positive. However when we are nervous they make us feel anxious and unsure.

You know that feeling you get like there are butterflies in your tummy? … Well, that’s a combination of both sets of emotions.

I think social conditioning has made us believe that showing nerves is a bad thing and lacking confidence is an unproductive state to be in.

I beg to differ.

This feeling isn’t unnatural or unhealthy. In fact it’s a necessary part of living a balanced life. We have to experience both sides of the emotional spectrum.

Being nervous proves we care massively about something. It shows the world that we’re passionate about what we are doing. And that’s a FANTASTIC thing!

I think we should embrace and celebrate that nervous energy when it shows up to the party.

Accept it as a feeling worthy of our attention, like we would if we were feeling really happy.

Before a meeting or before I was about to embark on something new, I would feel this sense of nervous excitement.

I would be nervous because I was about to step into the unknown but I'd be super-buzzed because I'd think of the all the amazing opportunities that lay ahead.

Sometimes I even express my nerves to others including the person I’m trying to impress.

You probably think I’m crazy for saying that.

But sharing how you truly feel instead of trying to hide it or pretend it doesn’t exist can work more in your favour than you might think.

Of course there will be times when you may chose to retain sharing this emotion but the decision is yours to make.

Here's a question for ya... What if next time, when you see that guy or girl you fancy you went up to them and told them how you truly felt?

I know it would take guts but why not do it? After all, what’s the worst thing that could happen?

If they laugh then you know they weren’t right for you and you’ve found this out early and saved yourself a lot of time and heartache.
Pearl Grace Blog, confidence

But, if they are understanding and appreciate your honesty then you can celebrate in knowing that over-came a massive hurdle just by being open. Who knows you might bag yourself a date as well… now, that be awesome!

It’s worth noting that many of us are afraid to do what we’re most passionate about because we are afraid of what people think.

You might be worried that your family and friends won’t “get it” or that they’ll say you're a “crazy person” for daring to dream and pursue it.

It’s OK to have these thoughts. Feeling accepted by others is a natural part of bring human.

But when other people question you, or belittle your dreams, or tell you that what you’re doing can’t be done then tell yourself that’s OK and keep doing what you know in your heart to be true.

Remember, the naysayers are fearful that you will succeed and as a result put into question their own insecurities of what they believe is possible in the world.

Your guts, determination and fortitude makes them feel bad for not doing it themselves so they will resent you or try to stop you.

Keep a watchful eye on how often you surround yourself with these people. Make sure their dampening energy doesn’t crush your spirit and prevent your flame from burning bright.

We all have the right to shine like a star doing what we're passionate about if it serves us, other people and the world in a just and humane way.

So, maybe having confidence is over-rated. Maybe having all the answers and all the tools isn’t essential for winning. Maybe striving for perfection isn't necessary… after all it doesn't exist!

Maybe being YOU, with and without confidence, is all you need to achieve your goals, find love, be happy, healthy and life a meaningful life.

Don’t wait to be anything more. You will become more when you do more. And guess what, the confidence you’ve been wishing for will naturally come without you needing to chase it.

Let’s feel confident in this knowledge and have faith in our own ambitions. Let’s go after our dreams.

I love what Martin Luther King Jnr said, “Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” 

Here’s to you living up to your grandest purpose and doing it your way!

Love Nat x

PG Q: How do you push past your insecurities?

G Spot

G spot

I’d like to share something personal with you and talk about that special place.

That place you discover more as you get older.

You touch it when you start to explore the deeper parts of your being.

This place, when you hit it right, makes you feel absolutely incredible.

When you're finished you feel warm inside and rejuvenated.

Sometimes there's an ecstatic rush of adrenaline and deep satisfaction afterwards.

I personally like to do it every morning in the shower.

Occasionally Millie will do it with me.

It leaves us both feeling amazing - like we’re on top of the world.

You know what I’m talking about, right?… Yep! The G word... GratitudeWhy, what did you think I was talking about? (Cheeky)

Pearl Grace Blog, g spot, gratitudeBeing grateful can have a remarkable impact on our lives.

Some of us actively engage in thanksgiving once a year but how wonderful would it be if we practiced being grateful every day?

Many of us are extremely fortunate to have plenty of things to be grateful for however we tend to get so caught up in our daily routines that we often forget to take stock and give thanks.

Studies have shown that those of us who express a sense of gratitude on a regular basis are less likely to feel stressed, unwell, depressed and pessimistic.

In fact it’s quite the contrary.

Those of us who are grateful on a regular basis are more likely to:
• Exercise regularly and eat healthily
• Cope better with stress and challenges
• Have stronger immune systems
• Adopt a positive mental attitude about themselves, others and the future

These are pretty amazing benefits and what’s more it costs nothing to do!

It’s simply a case of programming your mind and opening up your heart to being honest and generous.

I say honest because sometimes if you're having a "bad day" then most likely being grateful won't feature high on your to-do list.

That's understandable and I think trying to be thankful at such a time can seem contrived and uncomfortable.

So this is why, it's a great idea to start the day off with a sense of gratitude before you leave the house and before any external factors can affect your mood.

It's pretty easy to think of something or a few things that you're grateful for when doing your morning routine.

You might appreciate the sound of a bird singing, the sunrise, or your morning cup of coffee. You might appreciate the lively buzz of your city, your warm car on a frosty morn or trying out a new conditioner.

It can be anything and it doesn't matter how small it may seem because the whole purpose of thanksgiving is not in the size of the gift but in the act of giving.

One of the main reasons why I am so passionate about being grateful is because it shifts my focus.

It's so easy and quite natural to wake up in the morning and think about all the things that I have to do; who I have to see, where I have to go etc.

But instead I find, when I tune my mind into being grateful I think about other people, the outside world and excitement of new experiences.

That's not to say we shouldn't appreciate and love ourselves. We totally should! In fact it nurtures our souls because its good for our self-esteem to express self-love. So, by all means do it for sure!

I usually thank the people who have shown me kindness, love and support throughout my life.

I think of my family, friends, animals, nature, music and art. You name it, if I love it, I thank it!

I even thank people that I meet on my daily travels. Sometimes its the cashier at the supermarket or a dog-walker in the park. I think of them and thank them for the interaction that we shared.

It's that simple and takes no extra time.

Can you imagine how positive, motivated and energised we'd feel if being thankful was as natural to us as brushing our teeth, taking a bath or driving a car?

The truth is it should be!

This is one of the reasons why I G spot every morning. As soon as I wake up, I jump in the shower and get busy G-frontin’ while I lather up.

The process of listing all my many blessings puts me in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the day and it gets me fired up to share that appreciation with others.

Sometimes, when I’m giving thanks I'll think of someone I haven't seen for a while.
Pearl Grace Blog, g spot, gratitude

I then make it my personal mission to call, text, email or message that person at some point during the day.

Sometimes all I say is, "Thank you for being in my life. I love you. I appreciate you." That’s it. Sincere, short and sweet.

And you know what? That’s all it takes. You can pretty much guarantee that I hear back from that person saying how much it meant to them.

That’s the power of being truly grateful.

It might not seem like a big deal but we should never under-estimate the power of the ripple effect.

Showing honest appreciation to each other is so powerful because it can have a remarkable impact on that person's view of themselves and the world around them.

Jim Rohn wisely said, “Giving starts the receiving process” and I believe this to be so true.

The more we help, give and show love to others the more we get back in return.

This is what I meant when I said be generous with your thanksgiving.

Now here's the hard part.

We need to make sure we show gratitude to the people and experiences that have caused us pain as well.

I appreciate how hard this can be but here's a point to ponder...

What if life was happing for you and not to you?

When I first heard this perspective I remember thinking how refreshing it was.

What if there were no accidents and everything happened exactly as it should?

What if instead these challenges were there to make us stronger, better prepared, more knowledgeable, more compassionate, etc.?...

I reckon if you've grown from the experience - even just a little bit - then the rough road was worth travelling.

I think the same approach can be used when we think about any strained or broken relationships.

I have previously found this particularly difficult and I know how hard it can be to see the good in a person who's 
hurt you.

But it is possible to appreciate the experience if you grew and learnt from it.

Our ability to be grateful can empower us both spiritually and emotionally.

In many ways being grateful frees us mentally from the negative trappings that we associate with that person when we see the good in their character.

Oprah said, “I would like to thank the people who’ve brought me those dark moments, when I felt most wounded [and] betrayed. You have been my greatest teachers.

Her perspective on this perfectly exemplifies the power of gratitude.
Pearl Grace Blog, G spot, gratitude
We all have within us the power to transform pain into love, victimhood into strength and blame into forgiveness and being thankful is an awesome place to start.

Here is one final thought I'd like to share with you.

I think this is a comforting reminder that we need not crave more before we adopt an attitude of gratitude.

Research carried out at the University of Illinois discovered that affluent people in Japan experienced similar levels of dissatisfaction about their lives as people living in abject poverty in parts of India.

You see, there's little correlation between worldly wealth and true happiness.

We already have all that we need to be grateful despite social conditioning surrounding money, power and prestige.

Our ability to be grateful regardless of where we've arrived professionally or financially is where our true wealth and happiness derives.

I reckon it's not about how much we have but how we feel about what we have.

I love what John F Kennedy said:

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Now, I would be grateful if you would answer todays question and share your comments below

PG Q: What are you grateful for?

By the way, I came across a beautiful site called 365 Grateful. It's definitely worth a look if you fancy watching an inspiring story about being grateful for the simple things in life and living and loving one another to the fullest. Check it out here.

Just Say No

Do you find it hard to say no?

Permit me to play out this scene:

The phone rings. You pick up.

During the conversation your friend asks you for a favour. You listen then agree to help.

Moments later. Beep. Your phone flashes. It's a new message.

Another request. This time it’s from a family member. You read through, check your calendar and text back agreeing to help.
Pearl Grace Blog, Homer Doh
The following week, its more of the same. Or perhaps you volunteer your services even though you know you don't have the time.

Then one night you find yourself lying in bed. The lights are off. You're wide awake.

You can’t sleep. Your mind is in overdrive. You do a Homer, “D’oh”, as you realise that you’ve done it again. You’ve said yes to everything.

As you carry out a mental inventory of your ever growing to-do's you realise that most of them belong to other people. But how could this be? 

Most likely you said 'yes' because you love them and sincerely wanted to help. But now you're wide awake in the middle of the night feeling overwhelmed. Does this sound familiar?

I think back to my life a few years ago and this was my average week.

For some reason I hated saying 'no'. I hated feeling like I was letting someone down. Or that if I said 'no' I’d be considered a bad friend or not a team player.

It didn’t matter if it was for work or for play, my response was the same: Yes.

As a result, I’d put in the extra hours and work late.

Or I’d trek to the other side of London in the blistering cold to attend a party only to stay for an hour so I could catch the last train home.

Or someone would tell me their troubles and I'd spend ages thinking of ways to help them. Taking on their burden as if it were my own.

Needless to say it was tiring and I felt stressed. A lot.

I’d often commit to doing too many things and later feel, over-worked, over-tired and under-valued.

And what did I have to show for my efforts? Not much - usually a headache, sore feet and a cold. Not fun.

I’m sure you can relate because I think it’s written in our female programming to help, or say 'yes', or be there, or whatever vernacular you wish to use.
Pearl Grace Blog, Paulo Coelho, When you say yes

Don't get me wrong, I think its fabulous to live a life where you give yourself to others. 

In fact I am an advocate for living a life that is generous, open-hearted, understanding and positive. I think it’s wonderful that we can be so giving of our time and energy. And 

I truly believe that helping others is not only the right thing to do but it's healthy for our souls and makes us better people. Absolutely.

Nevertheless, believe it or not sometimes the right answer is 'no'. I appreciate that it's sometimes hard to say which is why, if you're anything like me, you probably try to give it a wide berth. But the truth is saying 'no' sometimes is necessary if only for your own peace of mind and well-being.

One night - probably when I was unable to sleep due to reasons outlined above - I stumbled upon renowned psychiatrist Dr Ned Hallowell.

Here’s something I picked up from him that I’d like to share with you.

When you are asked to do something try replying with something like, “I’ll have a think and get back to you.”
Piece of cake, right? But one of the biggest problems I found was feeling like I had to give an answer straight away. For some reason I'd feel pressured into saying something right there and then. But guess, what? There was no pressure. It was all in my head.

I also love that Hallowell's suggestion is so simple and polite, whilst providing us with some breathing space in which to consider our options and make a rational decision.

Of course there will be times when an immediate answer is required but in all other instances we can take our time.

Really think it over - reviewing all of our existing demands and come to a decision that's right for us.

So, if 'no' is the answer you need to give then you could try this, “I don’t think I could do it (whatever it is) justice”.

Again, its so simple - heck, I wish I'd come up with it!

Of course there will be times when further explanation is required but it's not a bad place to start.

Plus it can be used when dealing with colleagues, friends or family - pretty cool, huh.

Here's something worth noting. The time spent on doing this 'favour' will be at the expense of something else because there's always a trade-off. In choosing to do one thing you are ultimately deciding not to do something else.

But here's the rub.

These things that we often sacrifice as a result of our yes's, are often the most important things in our lives. Things such as date night with our partners, quality time with our kids and time devoted to ourselves, etc.
Pearl Grace Blog, Elaine Hardt Make a memory

It took me a long time to realise this but when I did I began to make different choices.

I decided to block in time in my calendar every week where I'd spend quality time with Millie, Muffin and Mister Riley.

This is one-on-one time with that person. It's a permanent fixture - No swapsies. So when something else shows up unexpected I can deal with it outside these times rather than at the expense of them.

I find taking the time to put it in the diary saves a lot of pain in the long run.

My feeling is this. If it's important to you, no matter what it is, block it in your calendar so you do it.

Plus sync up with your partner so they know your desires for the week. Who know's that long bath or that good book in bed or that glass of vino and a film could be waiting for you when you get home if your partner knows you want them...could make for a fun night too!

I think it's important for me to add that in no way am I suggesting you become selfish, uninterested, uncaring or self-absorbed. Far from it. I'm all in favour of lending a helping hand - 100%. This is merely a tool you may wish to try during moments of heightened stress so you don't take on more than you have to and so you don't neglect those soul-enriching experiences your heart yearns for.

Before I go, I'd like to leave you with a couple of quotes that work as beautiful reminders for why it's worthwhile saying the N word - the second is a personal fave so, go ahead and tweet it out yo!

"Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to the things and people that stress you out." - Thema Davis
"You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage - pleasantly, smilingly, unapologetically  - to say 'no' to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside." - Stephen R. Covey

Here's to your naysaying fabulousness!

Much love, 
Nat x

PG Q: How do you say no?

Discover more about  Dr. Ned Hallowell here.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

How much do you care what people think?

Okay, guys I gotta question for you… How much do you care about what people think?

If you’re anything like me then you probably spend a little too much time in this zone of pointless mental activity.
I think it’s only natural to want to feel loved, accepted, appreciated and valued by the people around you.
But what if these people weren’t positive or supportive or helpful? What if instead they crush your hopes, your dreams and your desires?
Pearl Grace Blog, Joel Osteen quote
The other day I read an article about breastfeeding – a very hot topic in mummy-circles. Naturally there were women in favour of boobie and others pro formula. The thing that struck me most was how much these mums felt the need to justify their choices and explain their reasons for doing what they did.
This got me thinking, why do we care so much about what other people think?
After all we have no control over this and yet we often allow the opinion of others to impact our lives dramatically. Doing this can send us free falling into a whirl of uncertainty and pain.
But this needn’t be the case. We can take back control by becoming aware and conscious of how we choose to respond. What people think about you, Pearl Grace Blog, life and photographyyour choices, your partner, your child, your job, your house, your car, your life, isn’t important. It really isn’t.
However, what you think about on a daily basis and how you react to what’s done to you is of paramount importance.
Here’s a little Nat background that I think you should know plus it ties in quite nicely given today’s example. Weeks after Muffin was born I was subjected to some harsh criticism from a close family member about our choice to breastfeed. (I say it was our choice because Millie was extremely keen and supportive about it. In fact he came with me to all the breastfeeding classes – bless him)
So, this person’s views - I’m ashamed to admit - greatly bothered me at the time. I wanted her to be more supportive. I wanted her to understand my reasons. I wanted her to encourage me. I wanted her to love me.
As I was reading some of the comments left by the mums in the article I couldn’t help but notice some similarities between us. They were desperate to convince people that what they were doing was right. Much like I tried to do back then.
Pearl Grace Blog, negative peopleThe chief problem was this... wanted these things from her. The fact that I didn’t feel that I was getting them wasn’t her problem it was mine. This was a massive Eureka moment for me!
I later realised that it didn’t matter what she thought, or said, or did. It really didn’t. Once I understood this and actively acknowledged that my happiness didn’t lie in her hands, or anyone else’s for that matter, everything changed, and I mean everything.
I truly believe we put way too much value on the thoughts and opinions of other people and in doing so we give them far too much power and control over thoughts, behaviour, emotions and in many respects our lives.
Our minds are incredibly powerful and ultimately we become what we think about. Our minds instigate our every move, our attitude and our behavior. This is why what we think about comes about.
This is why when I said everything changed when I stopped thinking about this person’s opinion of me and instead focused my attention (a.k.a my mind) on more positive and enriching thoughts the world became a much happier, friendlier and supportive place.
I strongly believe that with our thoughts we create the world. So it goes without saying that this shift in mindset enables us to show up differently, which effects the people we meet, our surroundings and to a greater extent the world.
Everything becomes brighter because we respond, interact and engage with people in a lighter and brighter way.
That’s why it’s so important to safeguard yourself from negative people. Protect yourself from their damaging thoughts that may drown out your own inner voice to doPearl Grace Blog, influence of toxic people  what you believe in your heart to be right, good and true.
I know this can be hard, especially with close family members and friends but it's essential. You really do have control over how much time and brain power you give to them and to the situation. You hold the power.
I think it’s important to note that the language and attitudes of the negative naysayers says more about them than it does about you. By challenging you, your dreams, your philosophy and your principles, they are simply projecting their own inner demons and limitations.
So seek solace in knowing that it’s not about you. It’s about them. They resist you because of their own inner voice telling them that what you're doing can't be done. I repeat, its about them.
Just carry on. Keep doing what you’re doing. Remain resolute in your desire and live the life you’ve always wanted.
Nat x
Fancy a little chuckle then check this out. Here's a little poem I sent to some friends a while ago that I lovingly share it with you - it's just a bit of fun.
Ode to the Boob 
Dear God, I’m here on bended knee and pray you show me mercy.
I did what nature said I ought and fed my babe when he was thirsty. 
I nursed and gave, then gave some more, whenever he desired.
He was content, happy and pleased, while I lay drained and tired. 
The time has past and he has grown, it’s wonderful, it’s fantastic.
But I look down and am distressed, my boobs are flat  it’s tragic. 
The midwife lied; she said they’d stay. She lied! They’ve gone away.
I don’t know what on earth to do this is a sad sad day. 
I knew there was a price to pay and know in my heart it’s worth it
But Lord they’re near my belly now and stretchy like elastic.
 For breastfeeding mummies the world over, With Love Nat Millie x
And finally, I’d like to leave you with these beautiful words from Mark Twain. May they sing in your heart when you face opposition to your dreams.
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too, can be great.”
PG Q: How did you overcome someone's criticism or negativity?