3 Courageous Steps to Reducing Your Negative Voice

I’ve been reminded in the last few weeks how much I really don’t know.  I’ve been reminded how important it is not to make assumptions or indeed let my ‘negative voice’ dictate my behaviour.  I truly do not know what someone is going to say or how they are going to react.  I mean it makes sense, how could I?  I who I am and they are who they are – I cannot read other’s minds.

I have had many conversations over the past 6-8 weeks about courses I’m teaching and about coaching.  Many conversations, not about what I’m offering per se but about individuals lives, roles and what they are wanting to change or develop in their leadership.  I’m grateful as I sit typing this that these are the conversations I get to have most of the time – transforming, empowering conversations that sometimes in themselves have many insights for me and others.

I realised after three conversations this week (where I was extremely doubtful of getting the outcome I wanted) how massively important it is not to listen to my ‘negative voice’.  I was fearful enough that I seriously considered not even asking the question that I really wanted to ask.  This was because of course my negative voice’s commentary had already started:  ‘They won’t be interested’, ‘They will say no or not now, ‘They will say I can’t afford it or I can’t do the dates’…and I will be left disappointed, de-motivated and resigned to the fact I have to do more to engage more people.

Well what I actually did was I decided that I can connect, listen, ask the questions I want to ask and see what happens.  And then my friends I was shocked!  All 3 people just said yes!  And now I am thrilled – for them, for me and for the difference this will make to leadership in the world.

So my question to you is…where do you hold back, avoid asking the question you really want to ask?

Have a go at these 3 Courageous Steps:

  • Listen In – to your negative voice…what assumptions are you making about what may or may not happen? About how someone may respond?
  • Check-In – with those assumptions…how do you really know what that person will say or what the future holds? When in the past has someone said something you didn’t expect?
  • Be Curious – and courageous, take a deep breath and ask that question! You never know…none of us do…trust, be open…see what happens.  And if you get a response you don’t want… is it likely you will handle it?

Learn how to increase your willingness to be courageous, get past your ‘negative voice’ and put yourself forward.  Step In, Step Up in your Leadership.  And learn the tools to keep this going for yourself, for the rest of your life.

Come and join me in a warm and empowering environment, in my online taster session for The Power of Self Esteem course.

Taster sessions are on Wednesday’s 28th September or 5th or 12th October 6-7:30pm.

I’d love to see you there…

FREE tickets here: Book FREE Online Taster for Power of Self Esteem

Nicci Statham is an executive coach who specialises in changing behaviour, she is passionate about empowering clients to transform their results through changing their attitude and behaviour.  Follow her on Twitter @awareleadership.


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What makes a good leader?

leadership strengthsIt’s a tough one isn’t it?  Can you be taught good leadership or is there a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that one has naturally?

I guess the question is what = good leadership .  Many of my clients have challenges with striking the balance between being a professional and being authentically themselves.

I can think of numerous examples from clients – all whom have had serious concerns that they must not appear ‘weak’, ‘unprofessional’ or ‘‘get it wrong’.  They have it that they must be ‘strong’ as a leader and they must be the one who is demonstrating this strength 24/7.  In some contexts when this belief about being strong has become so fierce – the sad result is a huge demand on themselves to work, work, work to prove they are not letting anyone down or showing any weakness.

Of course this is exhausting and in some cases has had a serious affect on clients’ health, performance and actually enjoyment of their leadership role.  I mean who wants to spend most of their long working day firefighting and it seeming as if the end is never in site?  Exhausting!!

One of the key things we explore in leadership coaching is dispelling some of the myths around what ‘good, ‘strong’ or indeed ‘weak’ leadership is.  We consciously look at the purpose of being much more at cause of who we are as a leader.  This means exploring existing leadership behaviours and qualities and making conscious choices about which ones to keep.  This is a wonderful opportunity to really acknowledge the intrinsic leadership skills that already exist and identify where growth lies.

How is your leadership – do you fall into a pattern of leadership behaviours with the events that come your way?  OR do you decide how you want to be as a leader – choosing all the time how you are going to respond?

Thoughts or feedback?  Do comment and let me know… Nicci.


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Leadership style – what’s yours?

leadership style

We all have a natural leader that is present in all of us.  Building on leadership strengths is key to developing as a leader. 

Tools that draw out intrinsic leadership capacity, and build a real life approach to leadership and communication through experiential learning are vital. 

These tools can bring awareness to a conscious level, enabling leaders to notice and more actively choose which style they utilise in different leadership scenarios.

And there are a lot of those different leadership scenarios aren’t there?  In our What’s My Leadership Style? course participants have come up with many such as: team re-structures, new teams, staff with personal problems, disciplinaries, team/management conflicts, communicating/revising organisational strategy, increasing quality/capacity and many more…  

Leadership challenges change and develop as the context of our leadership does.  At different times, different strengths will be required and therein lies the opportunity to grow. 

But how do you grow if you are not actually aware of what your strengths or style challenges are?  Aren’t you going to keep making the same mistakes and having the same frustrations?  We’ve all been down that road!

And then there is being true to yourself.  Striking the balance between leading the right response at the right time and keeping teams motivated can be tricky, especially when times are tough and everybody’s time is being squeezed to the max.  

The other thing that’s amazing about the What’s My Leadership Style? course is the exercises and facilitation enable key ‘bigger picture’ themes to be drawn out.  I’ve heard a lot from different leaders about the challenges of saying no, having a huge change agenda, setting boundaries, lack of trust, not being listened to, resistance to change, willingness to give honest 360 feedback and so on.

Surely as a leader being the best you can be is enough?  The thing is how do you know what is your best or enough?

I say get to know yourself a bit better through raising or deepening your self-awareness.  Practice flexing your style and cultivate your ability to lead in your intrinsically unique way. 

What is your leadership style? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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Face your Fears – Top Ten Tips

fears n dreams

  1. Ask yourself ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ – REALLY the worst!  The important word here being ‘could’!  It’s at least 50/50 isn’t it?  There may be of course a list of worse case scenarios BUT surely there is a list of BEST case scenarios too
  2. Accept Uncertainty as a part of Life – it can be a Fantastic part of it too!  Do we really have control over anything?  We may have an assumption based on what we’ve experienced before BUT how do we really know we are going to get exactly the same outcome again?  Embrace the don’t know, something wonderful may happen!
  3. Baby Steps – be brave in small ways to get you started.  Choices we make or avoid making can be very daunting indeed so break them up into smaller bits rather than going for the BIG cheese all at once.  Ask some questions, check out assumptions and have a practice! 
  4. Check in With Yourself – is your fear based on something you really want for yourself?  Maybe you just don’t want to do it and that’s what is stopping you.  Check in within yourself, your heart and your gut instinct.  Is there some excitement in there?
  5. Past Experience – where have you made a choice before to face your fear?  What happened that time?  Fear can be paralysing, so support yourself by connecting with previous experiences where you’ve overcome one of your fears – there will be many!
  6. Ask yourself ‘What’s would I Gain?’ – I bet there is a HUGE list, not just overcoming the fear and doing the fearful thing but what other things may you gain from this?  And what qualities in you will be brought forward to achieve it?
  7. Focus on What you Know – taking a risk can involve stepping out of your comfort zone so find a few key things that you are certain about.  This could be your experience, the people involved or the context  
  8. Ask for Support – share with someone what you want to do and what you’d like the outcome to be.  Ask for their support along the way and impartial feedback to check out your fears and worst/best case scenarios
  9. There are No Mistakes, Only Lessons – allow yourself to let go of the notion that you have to get it right or have a particular outcome.  The more you embrace not getting it right first time the more open you’ll be to whatever happens
  10. Breathe!!   The most important one – consciously breathe to stay present, check in with yourself and ease anxiety.

Good luck!


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Scaredy Squirrel

Melanie_SquirrelWow!  Now this little fella I do believe can be an inspiration to us all.

I was reading this for the very first time with my niece a while back, and I was amazed at the simplicity. 

Scaredy Squirrel never leaves his nut tree, he believes it’s way too dangerous out there!

The unknown can be a very scary place for Scaredy and thus he’d rather stay in his safe, familiar tree than risk venturing out into The Unknown.

Scaredy has a very specific list of fears.  In a nutshell (pardon the pun) this is:

  • Tarantulas
  • Poison Ivy
  • Green Martians
  • Killer Bees
  • Germs
  • Sharks

Of course there are advantages and disadvantages to leaving his nut tree.  He could stay where he is – in predictability OR he could take a risk and venture out into The Unknown.

Scaredy the unknown

One of the things I love dearly about this book is Scaredy’s ‘Exit Plan’ and ‘Emergency Kit’.  There is a comprehensive kit including parachute, bug spray, net, sardines, antibacterial soap and mask/rubber gloves. 

It was at this point that I thought Wow!  isn’t that true for us in life?  We all have our list of fears around the unknown – things we fear may happen if we go for something we haven’t done before or is generally out of our comfort zone.   

And his exit plan!    This made me smile hugely – his comprehensive list of ‘safety’ measures.  I mean, how often do we go into automatic pilot, behaving in ways that aren’t necessarily true to our ourselves or our purposes? 

Instead we act out our ‘exit plan’ hoping this will reduce our fears and increase our control over the outcome.  Very sadly, the result can be a massive reduction in our capacity to be open to life and creative.

Scaredy exit plan

And then SHOCK!  The unexpected happens – a killer bee appears out of nowhere!  This was NOT part of the plan.  Scaredy panics and knocks his emergency kit out of the tree and out of reach. 

Unexpected events – a tricky one eh?  How can we be sure what is going to happen at any given moment – from where I am sitting now this could be extremely exciting OR frightening OR both.

Through sheer panic, Scaredy discovers that he actually has the ability to fly.  He glides through the air and discovers he is a flying squirrel!  The result is joy, adventure, carefree – a huge sense of being Alive

Would he have ever known this if he had stayed in predictability?

Every day after this Scaredy ventures out into The Unknown.  Yes there may be unexpected events BUT they may be equally wonderful as they are scary.

It is at least 50/50 isn’t it?  Would you not want to at least have a go?

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