Cultivate Your Inner Voice of Courage (Video)

You’re not smart enough. You’re too new to this. You make bad choices.

We all have critical voices in our heads that peck away at our self-confidence and undermine our dreams. But imagine if the only voices you heard in your mind were on your side. Thanks to one particularly strong, supportive voice in my life, I was able to root out the naysayers and replace them with cheerleaders. The trick was to deliberately seek out and cultivate lots of supportive voices. Voices that gave me the courage to risk.

To identify your own potential inner guides, simply follow the praise. The next time someone pays you a compliment, lean into it:

Let it in. It sounds simple, but it’s maddeningly hard to do – especially in the moment. First, it means banishing critical voices. (They rarely leave quietly.) Second, you must hear what was said. Often, we have a reflexive response to compliments. Too embarrassed to receive them, we brush off kudos with a quick “thank you” and a change of subject. Only later do we realize how meaningful the remarks were and allow ourselves to feel the rush of satisfaction. Remember to stay present, be curious, and let the words land.

Believe it. Once you’ve invited a compliment into your head, the real work begins. Now, you must allow for the possibility that what was said might be true. “You’re a good speaker!” Even if you want to accept the idea, if it challenges how you see yourself things can get uncomfortable fast. It means stretching or outright changing your self-perception. Don’t back down from the praise. Sit with it. Play with the idea. What if it is true?

Pass it on. Be a positive voice for others. Again, this one sounds easy, but in a world that equates critiques with smarts and discernment, it can be hard not to qualify your compliment. Or worse, to give inappropriate or awkward praise: “Sure, the presentation tanked, but you looked great!” Give a simple, genuine compliment and let it go.

And when things inevitably go off the rails?

Breathe. Challenge your definition of failure and call on one of your most trusted inner voices for advice.

These days all the voices in my head are by invitation only.  After years of careful curation, I finally have a team I can count on to give me just the perspective I need in the moment.

To learn more, please take a moment to watch the video.
And then listen.
Listen for your voice of courage.

This video appeared on YouTube, April 22, 2016.

Twitter
Follow Me
Tweet
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
Sabina Nawaz

Sabina Nawaz is a global CEO coach, leadership keynote speaker, and writer working with executives in Fortune 500 corporations, government, non-profits, and academia.  Previously Sabina spent 14+ years at Microsoft first in software development and then in HR.  She led the company’s executive development and succession planning efforts for over 11,000 managers and 700 executives. Sabina has spoken at hundreds of seminars, events, and conferences. Sabina believes the greatest privilege of working with leaders is bearing witness to their acts of courage.

Look for more stories, insights, and advice on thriving as a leader on Forbes, HBR, and Inc and her TEDx talk. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Twitter
Follow Me
Tweet
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

The Case for Why Millennial Women Should Job-Hop
The Case for Why Millennial Women Should Job-Hop

There are strong arguments for and against the debated practice, but for millennial women, job-hopping

Infographic: How to Slay a Stretch Assignment
Infographic: How to Slay a Stretch Assignment

Recent years have been full of talk about how to elevate women at work. Have you

Panel Presentations: Does Speaker Order Really Matter?
Panel Presentations: Does Speaker Order Really Matter?

On speaker panels, does the panelist order matter? If you’ve ever attended or spoken on

4 Tips for Failing Forward
4 Tips for Failing Forward

After you make a mistake, it’s easy to focus intently on your defects. And then

Press Release: Be Leaderly’s Selena Rezvani Wins 2019 Croly Award for Excellence in Journalism
Press Release: Be Leaderly’s Selena Rezvani Wins 2019 Croly Award for Excellence in Journalism

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—July 9, 2019—The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is pleased to honor Selena

4 Steps to a Flexible Work Arrangement
4 Steps to a Flexible Work Arrangement

Are you hungry for a little more flexibility in your day?  If so, you’re not

Dealing with a Bossy Coworker
Dealing with a Bossy Coworker

You might expect the occasional “order” or “command” from your boss. But it’s a whole

Press Release: Be Leaderly Wins Gold & Silver at the 2019 Stevie Awards
Press Release: Be Leaderly Wins Gold & Silver at the 2019 Stevie Awards

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—June 11, 2019—Be Leaderly, a globally recognized provider of women’s leadership development and

15 Questions to Ask Before Taking a Stretch Assignment
15 Questions to Ask Before Taking a Stretch Assignment

Stretch assignments are like the Instant Pot of career development. An intensely challenging, ambitious, go-big-or-go-home

How Can Pay Transparency Make a Difference for Women?
How Can Pay Transparency Make a Difference for Women?

It’s well known that women still deal with a pay gap relative to men. But

Ask Jo: How can I thank my mentor?

Question: I have an incredible mentor. She ...

Teamwork is a Skill. It Takes Practice!

Everyone wants to lead, or be a ...

It’s Worth the Risk (I promise)

This is Sarah. She’s one of my ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a ...

Leaderly Quote: Great Leaders Know When to Step Aside

“Great leaders know when to step aside.” ...

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Copyright 2019, Be Leaderly