…Fish and chips
…Laurel and Hardy
And what about relationships?
To be successful blogger, you need a lot of focus, a lot of confidence and those all-important relationships.
A good friend of mine is a guy called Peter Nicholas.
Peter has a background in psychology and is one of the UK’s leading confidence coaches. He is regularly featured as the confidence guru in UK television programmes such as Faking It and Would Like To Meet.
Peter’s work includes communication skills, motivation, creativity and innovation as well as personal impact coaching.
I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Peter and here are a few extracts from the interview.
We cover sin binning, being present and building confidence.
Andrew: Peter, can you explain what sin binning means?
Peter: The ‘sin bin’ is the “compost heap” that you throw people into when you don’t want to have anything to do with them.
Andrew: In your head?
Peter: Yes, in your head.
For instance, somebody says something to you or writes a bad comment and they annoy you, and you think OK, that’s it. It’s a yellow card offence.
And then the next time they say or write something that annoys you, you just say, “get out of my life, that’s it. I’m not working with you, I can’t work with you.”
And you make the decision that you can’t work with that person and don’t want anything to do with them.
And then from then on, whatever they say will be translated to fit in with your picture of them, to fit in with that vision of them being out to get you or whatever.
Somebody might say, for instance, “I hear you’re having a tough time at the moment. I hope it works out.”
You’ll think, “They’re trying to undermine me again. They’re saying I can’t cope.”
You’ll translate whatever they say to fit in with that story.
Andrew: So, I’ve got someone in my sin bin. I know I shouldn’t have.
How do I get them out? I don’t want them in here anymore, because what you’ve just said is absolutely true, but I’ve got so many people in there I want to remove some of them. I don’t want them to be in my sin bin anymore.
Peter: We think we’re punishing people by putting them in there.
That’s the irony.
If you realize it takes an awful lot of energy to keep them there, you can save that energy and use it elsewhere.
Andrew: So how do I get them out of my sin bin?
Peter: The first thing is checking the reality of any situation because you’re making what they say mean something. You’re making every action that they’ve taken mean something.
Say, for instance, if they bumped into you in the corridor, you’ll probably assume and you’ll make it mean that they were trying to knock you over or they were doing it on purpose to annoy you.
They might not be.
So check what are you making things mean.
Secondly, try visualizations because they work.
If you visualize yourself having a positive interaction with that person that can really help. Every single time you go into a conversation with them, visualize it turning out positively.
Andrew: I assume the next stage will be to actually have that positive conversation with them? Do I have to be the proactive one to remove them? Do I have to be the one who makes the first move?
Peter: I think we spend an awful lot of hours thinking, and those people reading this will probably think, “Yeah, but they should say sorry first because they did this and they said that.”
You can wait all your life for that. The only way that any change happens is by you taking responsibility. That’s the only way anything happens, is when you start realizing that you’re the one that has to take responsibility for it.
If you don’t, if you continue to have the same conversations, nothing is going to change.
Eventually it may well be worth, say, having a conversation, saying, “I’ve had this attitude about you and it may not be right. I just want to clear it and try and get to the bottom of what’s going on.”
Actually have a really, really, really open honest conversation with them.
Andrew: That’s a big step.
Peter: That’s a huge step.
Andrew: Are people really going to do that?
Peter: A lot of people do.
Andrew: The people who want to make the change?
Peter: They want to make the difference, and they want to make the change in that relationship, and it’s often uncomfortable.
Do you have any blogging buddies (or ex blogging buddies in your ‘sin bin’)?
Can you remember why they are in there? How do you feel about making the next move to get them out?
Being a success at blogging means you need successful relationships.
Now we move onto “being present”.
Andrew: What does that mean, “being present”?
Peter: People often talk about charisma. They talk about they’re such a charismatic presenter.
I always quote Bill Clinton. He is a wonderful speaker. What he does magnificently when he’s talking to an audience is he is there for them. You can see he really focuses on sharing whatever he is speaking about with the audience.
Many of us spend time on conference calls, not listening. We are writing shopping lists or answering phones or sending texts.
We’re not present with the people we’re speaking to.
On the phone, people often spend their time speaking on the phone and they’ll be checking emails at the same time, so I’m just saying that’s not being present.
We know it when other people do it to us, but somehow we magically think that people don’t know when we do it to them…when we’re not present.
The power of just being utterly committed to the one piece of communication and the one person you’re in the room with is phenomenal.
Andrew: How can I improve my being present? How can I do that?
Peter: Make your choice to be present. Switch off your phones and you make a real determined conscious effort to get as much out of that conference call as you possibly can.
Most people sit in conference calls saying, “I could do without this,” and they go in with that “I can do without this” attitude.
Make your choice to maximize your time.
Do you attend conference calls? Do you focus 100% or are you thinking about dinner or what you have to do next?
Let’s move onto confidence…
Peter: One of the areas I spent a long, long time working in – and it still fascinates me – is the area of confidence.
How do you get people to be more confident?
If you can get people to be more confident, suddenly doors open up for them because they have self-belief to try new things. Try new behaviors. Expand their personality.
Andrew: Improve my confidence. What are you going to do to me?
Peter: I’d ask you to tap back into when you felt confident in the past. I would look at what knocks your confidence now and how can you avoid it? And use behavioural experiments.
Andrew: What does that mean – behavioral experiments?
Peter: It means rather than thinking you’ve got to change your whole personality, it means that you can start developing simply by trying stuff… like trying on a “new coat”.
You think “ok, I’ll try that on, I’ll really try that for a day”.
You go out and try being that person for a day.
I qualified as a tennis coach and at one time I thought I was going to be a professional tennis coach because I love tennis.
And one of the things there is you can often transform the way somebody’s playing tennis by simply saying, “Who is your favorite tennis player?”
And they’ll say “Agassi” or something, and you say, “Great. What would that be like? Can you just be Agassi? Just pretend you’re Agassi for a bit?”
And you just play tennis with them. I mean, their tennis will sometimes transform simply because they’re thinking of it being somebody else: they’re trying on that new behaviour.
That can be highly effective.
In a similar way, you can do that with confidence.
Think of someone you know who is really confident. How do they behave?
You might say, “They would probably be a bit more like this, and a bit more like that.”
Now we say, “Great, do you want to try being like them the next time you want to be more confident…just pretend you are that person”
Andrew: And you can do that with any personal trait? Pretend to be someone else.
Peter: Yes, yes you could. And you could just try that and you could do that
Andrew: Yeah… and take on some of their confidence. So let’s make up a situation.
Andrew: I have been made redundant six months ago and I’ve lost a lot of confidence. What should I do?
Peter: There are a few exercises. One, I always keep a journal by the bed, and in this journal I always write down aspirations, “I wants” — just like you write your shopping list.
You write a list of “I want.”
“I want to have another job.”
“I want my job to be like this.”
And you clearly write it down.
You can also do exercises for two years time – where do you want to be?
How do you want to be?
So you start putting your thoughts out there: that’s the first thing.
The second thing is to become your best coach.
You don’t need a personal coach to work with you: you are your best coach.
So start coaching yourself, and coaching yourself as if you are coaching someone else.
So it might well be you haven’t worked for a while, and you’re having trouble with your confidence taking a knock because of interviews, that you see it as a numbers game to start with.
That you manage to go into each interview without that sense of desperation of “I’ve got to get it.”
Even though you might be desperate to have the job… it’s like a desperate salesman.
If you go in with that desperation it’s going to turn people off. So going in with that sense of “you’re not desperate to get it.” You can go in, and you go “I either get it, or
I don’t get it. If I don’t get it, it’s not the end of the world.”
And you become unattached to that desperation.
That’s very useful.
In terms of coaching yourself, you can see it just as a numbers game. Your time will come, and what can you learn from each interview.
So rather than going away and doing a post mortem on it, and beating yourself up for the way it didn’t go, you say, “OK, what can I learn from it?”
And that’s the only question you ask yourself: “What can I learn from that interview?”
“How can I apply it next time?”
And you keep on moving on, rather than, “Oh, damn… I should have answered that.”
And you save the energy, so you keep energy moving forward, that momentum moving forward.
The other thing is to realize a couple exercises:
The little permissions game I play, which is every single day.
I give myself permission to be – and you write it down – I give myself permission to be powerful, confident, dynamic, influential, whatever it is, and you just get writing those down every single morning.
Another little exercise, “I am…”
Write the words, “I am” down, and add to it.
“I am powerful”
“I am employable”
So you go with a sense of contentment…with the status quo as it is at the moment which is a much better point to go into rather than that sense of desperation.
Andrew: I understand exactly what you’re saying, I do. How do people overcome the fact that I find self-coaching quite hard, it’s having that discipline.
It’s almost like a personal trainer. I bought my gym membership, but I don’t go. But if I had a personal trainer who made me go every day, or twice a day, or every other day, then I would go.
But I need that push.
And that external coach would give me that push.
How do I push myself to be, to self-coach me?
Peter: For me, it’s like selling. You’ve got to realize what’s in it for you, what’s the benefits.
Andrew: So seeing that outcome.
Peter: Seeing the outcome – that’s your driver, that’s where I want to get to.
Andrew: And having that nice clear picture of what you want to see as the outcome.
Peter: Unless it is clear – you won’t be committed.
Andrew: Right, and that’s the drive.
Peter: Yeah. For me it is, yeah.
Andrew: The self-drive, the personal drive. Right, that makes clear sense.
Peter: It’s also about realizing that if you are committed to something…if I’m committed to going to the gym three times a week, and one week I don’t go, I only go twice, it doesn’t mean that I failed.
It just means that I’ve only been once, twice to the gym.
It doesn’t mean that commitment stops.
It’s just finding a way of keeping hold of the commitment to something, even though you might have failed on your first commitment.
What has helped your confidence grow?
So over to you…what do you think about ‘sin binning, ‘being present’ and building confidence’?
Please share your views in the comments below. Thanks.
Image by photomequickbooth