Saturday, 13 July 2013

What's your Happiness balance? (Confidence is an OUTCOME gained through H.O.P.E.)

A couple weeks ago I blogged the first in my series on Confidence is an OUTCOME that is gained through H.O.P.E.  This is part 2.  The "H" of H.O.P.E. stands for Happiness.

As an executive coach, I often hear tales of some pretty horrid things. Companies restructure without adequate communication, the new strategy isn't working, a new boss comes in who is a tyrant, the struggle to be heard or to influence in a tide of bad decisions--these are all part of organisational life at one time or another.  And in coaching we work through these things and the individual's leadership during these trials.

So when I write about Happiness, I'm NOT going to espouse the power of positive thinking or "keep your chin up and smile" or any other such nonsense.  Life at work can be really hard sometimes, and when we also suffer from low confidence, we are prone to feel the knocks a bit too much.

It is important, therefore, to be able
take care of ourselves psychologically on a daily basis.  

It is important to focus on our Happiness balance, and on how we can be self-determined in creating happiness for ourselves, despite what is going on around us. 

If you've read this blog before you may recall the ABCs of Self-Determination Theory: Autonomy, Belonging, and Competence.  (See the subheader Number 2 in the 6 June entry "How Do You Motivate Staff?  Actually You Can't...)  These three fundamental concepts are what we as humans need every day in our lives in order to be happy.  If you are mired in the challenges of organisational life, there will be times when you don't feel that competent or a sense of belonging or autonomy.  It is critical that you find ways at work and in your broader life to have these things, even if they are in small ways, and to seek them out and feel them every day.  Thoughts on how to do that by doing an ABC Audit are found in this earlier blog entry.  By focusing on creating our own happiness on a daily basis, we give ourselves the first step toward greater confidence.

Edward Deci and Richard Ryan of the University of Rochester are the researchers who developed Self-Determination Theory.  They say,

"To be self-determined is to endorse one's actions at the highest level of reflection.  When self-determined, people experience a sense of freedom to do what is interesting, personally important, and vitalizing."  

Think about what self-endorsing your own actions would mean to you.  What would it mean to your team?  And how you communicate with others?  Can you find ways to build Autonomy, Belonging, and Competence into your daily life?

We cannot control all that is around us and what happens to us, but we can focus on our response to the situation, and gain greater self-awareness of which of our needs are met and which are as yet unfulfilled.  With this knowledge, we then can seek what we need to be happy on this day, and each subsequent day.  The result may be small slices of autonomy, belonging, and competence, but successive small slices each day do add up, building the belief that our own efforts to care for ourselves pay off, that we have efficacy, and that we make our own destiny.  This is confidence.

We each deserve to be happy, but it takes practice.  Why not start now with an ABC Audit?

Next in this series on Confidence as an Outcome gained through H.O.P.E. is Optimism.

Until then, warm regards,
Victoria Hall, Executive Coach 
Founder of Talent Futures

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