Category Archives for "Confidence"

Feb 02

Why you need the practice of self-compassion and self-love in your life

By Yvette Ankrah | Confidence , power , self-care

Photo credit - Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

We all would like to be loved and have compassion shown to us but how often do we do that for ourselves?  In this article, I'll be exploring self-compassion and self-love and how both can enrich your life.

Phrases such as “you must love yourself before expecting to love you”, “you've got to love yourself first” I've been expressed Countless times and in many articles. Whilst it may sound like you've heard it all before there is a reason that these phrases are said and still resonate  The idea of self-love may come across as corny to some and narcissistic to others. Practising self-love is neither of these things. Developing love for ourselves enables us to thrive in so many ways. Loving ourselves is necessary for our well being. The same can be said for creating self-compassion.

People who able to practice self-love and self-compassion are more resilient, less prone to anxiety and stress and have improved health outcomes.

Across psychological research self-love and self-compassion can sometimes be used interchangeably, However, there are some subtle differences.

What is self-love?

…self-love is “a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological, and spiritual growth” (Khoshaba, 2012).[1] 

Self- love is not just a feeling or acknowledging that you love yourself it is the practices that support your mind, body and soul every day. For me, self-care and self-love are the same thing. You start caring for yourself, you start showing yourself the love you give to others and you look after your needs. This is not about being selfish it is about truly connecting to who you are and allowing yourself to be nourished and to thrive every single day. It is a tool that has been proven to help support the management of stress and anxiety and help to build resilience.

What is self-compassion?

Compassion is all about the awareness of the suffering of others and wishing to stop that suffering so when we're talking about self-compassion it is about doing that for ourselves

Researchers, such as Germer and Neff[2], have linked three main elements to self-compassion:

  • Kindness
  • A sense of common humanity
  • Mindfulness

Self-kindness - is about how we treat ourselves when we fall or fail or do not feel like we’ve lived up to our dreams and being understanding towards ourselves in those moments.

Common humanity - is all about recognising that we are imperfect and then we're not alone in things that we find challenging or the idea that it's only you that is suffering, this is only you that is experiencing this feeling. This can leave you very isolated and lonely and not knowing that others share those same thoughts and feelings as you. Imperfection is more normal than anything else. It is part of being human.

Mindfulness - it's not about ignoring any pain or upset that you feel it's about providing a compassionate response to those emotions. It's about acknowledging the need to sometimes comfort yourself before you go into action

By bringing in self love and self compassion into your life and daily activities you can change how you respond to difficult situations. It helps alter your perspective and enables you to bounce back in times of adversity.

5 ways to practice self-compassion and self-love

Listen to how you talk to yourself

In those moments when you fail or do not meet your expectations, think about how you speak to yourself and the words you use. For example, calling yourself stupid when you've made a mistake think about whether you would say this to your friend.

Change the inner conversation

When practising kindness it's about changing the nature of our inner conversation. To leave out judgement and anger in moments where we may not have lived up to our expectations

No more rabbit holes

When you're practising self -compassion it helps you stop going down that rabbit hole of worries -  “it's all about me”, nobody else has these problems”

“I am the only one suffering”

It helps you to recognise that others do have these experiences too and that you can be connected to others because you share these experiences – you are not alone.

Acknowledge emotions before taking intentional action

Acknowledge that you're upset, angry or you're sad. Sit down lick those wounds but pick yourself up again and then start to change and if at that moment you don't feel great about things that's okay. Self- compassion comes in to say we all have times we don't feel great, we all have times when we fall and fail but we treat ourselves with that compassion. We care about our own suffering just as much as we would care about somebody else’s and with mindfulness we don't stay in those negative emotions or wallow we deal with the difficult feelings and give them space but then move through them.

Self-care plans

Create your rituals and behaviours that support your well-being – from exercise to calling a friend, find things that you can do which enable you to take care of yourself.

Taking the time to add these into your life to thrive, respond differently when faced with adversity and experience different outcomes. A good place to start is just by being kinder to yourself.


[1] https://positivepsychology.com/self-compassion-self-love/

[2] https://chrisgermer.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Germer-Neff-JCP-2013-SC-ClinPracticefinal.pdf


Jan 03

How to use visualisation to achieve your goals

By Yvette Ankrah | business , Confidence , NLP , power

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

How to use visualisation to achieve your goals

What do you see for yourself, and in your life?

Visualising is an incredibly powerful tool for the body to rehearse, feel and connect with what it is you want to achieve. This is about really connecting into a space once you have set your goal.

When I was in the middle of my PhD - slogging away, writing, rewriting and feeling that this was a never-ending task - I would regularly visualise myself walking across the stage, shaking whichever academic’s hand and receive a little scroll. All whilst wearing my gown and a large floppy hat that doctoral graduates are given.

I'd feel my heels on the wooden stage and hear them click as I walked. The stage would be brightly lit and the audience in semi-darkness. I’d feel so proud, so accomplished knowing that I’d finally done what I set out to do.

I’d hold on to the vision over the years and it did sustain me.

How can visualisation help you accelerate your goals?

  • Turns the dream into reality

The brain does not know the difference between fantasy and reality

As far as your brain is concerned whether you are visualising doing an activity or doing it the same areas are lit up in the brain. For example, if you are into exercise, mentally seeing yourself doing specific exercise can improve your muscle strength! Studies have been conducted which show the power of mental rehearsal and the impact on real life.

  • A tool for motivation

The practice of visualisation can improve your motivation and help you more quickly achieve your goal. It also helps you work better and get ready for success. You will also start noticing better results, opportunities and changes in your life.

  • Connects mind and body

Visualisation helps you link mind to the body, thoughts to behaviours. This is a very powerful connection and can change the outcomes for you.

Just by truly, deeply connecting with your vision and visualising it powerfully five minutes a day can have a huge difference to your outcomes.

Just a reminder, it's not about whether you can see it in your mind’s eye - some people find it difficult to create images and their minds - it is about intention, connecting to it and feeling it with all your senses.

For me, when the day came in real life, the outfit was slightly different, but my heels rang out on that wooden floor as I crossed the brightly lit stage, shook hands and officially became a ‘Dr’.

I was the last person that day to cross the stage and it felt even more poignant because it had taken me 10 years to get there. Yes, I did feel proud and yes, I did feel accomplished and visualisation was what kept me motivated and on that stage.

What is it that you want to see in your life?

I use tools to help my clients in a state where they can truly visualise and connect with their vision. It's amazing what you can achieve, when you put your mind to it.

Let's talk about realising your goals and your vision - book a call today.

Dec 30

Review of the year

By Yvette Ankrah | business , Confidence , Review

Review of the year

The great pause

The pandemic

Covid -19

Pivoting

2020 bought new words into our everyday use and changed how we live our lives in many ways.

My year started with death and grief and I've lost count the amount of times I've given condolences to people this year.

This year showed me how to use what I knew more than the decade before. It showed me:

  • How to work with uncertainty.
  • How to use my strengths.
  • How to face so many challenges.
  • How to deal with loss and grief and trauma,
  • To step into myself and my purpose
  • To speak my truth and take charge of my outcomes.

2020 for me has been a year of so much change and growth - some of it very painful.

But I can truly say I'm grateful to have had the year I've had.

I've made so many amazing connections and developed friendships, which probably would not have happened if it hadn't been for the pandemic.

I've also managed to help so many women with stress and burnout by sharing my story, helped women hit their goals, pivot their businesses and been there to support their transformation and change.

I've given a lot for free and held out my hand to those who needed it.

There have been so many people who have held my hand too and believe me, there have been many days when I needed it.

I am thankful for all the people I've worked with me this year, who have listened to me speak, invited me to share with their audiences, given me support and made me laugh.

Thank you to all that have been part on this incredible journey.

I am walking into 2021 changed, with intention, open and wearing my crown.

How will you walk into the New Year?

PS I've opened the doors to my group programme waiting list!

Nov 16

Why clarity is the key to success

By Yvette Ankrah | business , Confidence

Why clarity is the key to success

We all make plans - given unplanned and unprecedented experiences we've had during 2020 we might think that there's no space for plans. If you're looking at how you're going to shape, direct and change the next 12 months writing a plan will help you get there. However, before that process can begin, something that will help you make a difference is having clarity  

The Cambridge English dictionary defines clarity in the following ways:

  • The quality of being clear and easy to understand:
  • The quality of being easy to see or hear:
  • The ability to think clearly and not be confused:

Being able to be clear in your mind what you want to achieve, why you want to achieve this, how you are going to do this and what you are going to do - is an extremely important step.

There are several reasons why we might not feel we have that true clarity.

Owning your story

We all have stories that we tell ourselves and these are our beliefs - the problem is that not all of these stories are true and even worse they may not even be your own story. You may have told yourself that you are no good at public speaking - because of this story that you've told yourself you avoid doing this. If an opportunity arises that may benefit you, your business or your career that involves public speaking you avoid it.

Alternatively, you may have a belief that anyone rich is a bad person, even though financial wealth is important to you, you are conflicted because of your view of what that might mean to you become as a person.

Your mindset is truly powerful and that is what this collection of beliefs and stories are. These stories impact on your choices and your results. Consider what happens when we make plans from a space where we are running negative stories, beliefs and patterns. Getting that clarity on who you are and what is your story is a key step to success

What would happen if you owned your story and understood what it was and let go of stories that don't help you move forward?

Expressing your heart's desire

The first question I ask my clients is ‘what do really you want?’ It's a powerful question simply because so many times people have never actually thought about what they want. The majority of my clients are women and so often with women, the needs of others are put first. The act of permitting yourself to say what's in your heart is liberating, powerful and clarifying. Your current job, your career path or your business model may need to completely change or just might need a tweak in a new direction - however, the actions aren't possible if you haven't started with that clarity on what you truly want.

Freeing your mind

There are so many distractions around us that create mental clutter – this could be is physical clutter that disrupts your mind or devices that interrupt us. The constant bombardment of information into our brain stops us from being able to think clearly. Finding ways to still the mind to allow those thoughts space, helps you get back to clarity. Tools such as breathing techniques, and mindfulness enable you to quickly get rid of the noise and have calm and clarity in your mind.

Connecting

We are not able to achieve what we need in this world on our own. We need to connect with others whether that is colleagues, clients or peers. Once you have the clarity on what it is you want and how you're going to achieve it, finding support to help you and letting people know this is what you're doing, is also important. This is about finding the right people by talking about what it is you need and allowing people to help you and connect you to others. For example, deciding to do work in an industry where you can see how your skills can transfer but you have not yet got the experience. To get the experience you start connecting with people in the industry, finding out more and explaining what it is you're looking for and how you might fit.

Being visible

Alongside connecting with others, being visible means that the right people see and hear you and understand how you fit into the solution that they need. Thinking about your career, you understood now that you wish to move to a certain Department. You start speaking to the people in that Department, you look at how you can transfer there or work on a project so that you can connect and showcase what you can do. You find a way to network with the key people who can make decisions - this doesn't mean changing your personality it just means creating a strategy. However, without that clarity and knowing that you want to be seen and heard you would not make these moves.

Clarity is the first part of everything that I work with when I support my clients because it is the first step to creating change. Your planning from a place of power, of knowing, and of strength when you have clarity.

Do you have clarity?

If you would like your internal story to be different and you're ready to have clarity and calmness in your mind, get in touch if you are high achieving women and see how I can support you.

Nov 09

Want more clarity? Ditch the clutter

By Yvette Ankrah | business , Confidence , self-care

Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash.

Want more clarity? Ditch the clutter

I have a confession to make. I'm not the tidiest of people. I often work on multiple projects and have a range of files around me all the time. I do this, so that I remember that something needs my attention – however, it turns out all those files are not helping my productivity after all!

As more and more of us are based at home, how we manage our environments becomes even more crucial especially as it can have a real impact on our wellbeing. Roster et al define clutter as “an overabundance of material possessions that collectively create disorderly and chaotic home environments”[1] In this article I outline the key reasons to ditch the clutter in your life and create calm instead of chaos.

Raises cortisol levels

Cortisol is the stress hormone and the alarm system for your body designed to help you in fight or flight mode. Having a lot of things around you can raise cortisol levels and cause you to feel more stressed. Items around you are reminders of things left undone, which can also contribute to high-stress levels. There is an impact on women as women, it seems, are more affected by clutter

Dust!

I'm not one for ornaments, as I have no fondness of dust or dusting. A good reason not to have so much stuff around is to avoid issues with dust. Dust can impact allergies and too many items around make it hard to clean!

Brain overload

We tend to overload our brains when there are lots of things around us. The brain is taking in all that information, all the time. There is an impact on how well you can think because of all the clutter as lots of items around you interrupt your flow.

Lack of wellbeing and weight gain

There are numerous studies that link clutter to feelings of wellbeing – clutter can impact your happiness![2] How you feel about your home and not wanting to be in that space has also been linked to weight gain and unhealthy eating. When a place is cluttered you eat more.

Stops us connecting

Too much clutter stops us connecting with others. As one study found, it's harder for us to read emotional expressions when we've got too many other stimuli around us.

Impacts your short-term memory

Clutter affects short-term memory as well as slows down our brains when processing information.

There are a wealth of reasons why we should ditch the clutter if we truly want to get clarity, improve our wellbeing, happiness and even our weight.

Read to ditch the clutter?

Clarity is the first module of my transformation programme as a key to help you change. If you are a high achieving women in corporate and want to create less stress and are ready to soar, get in touch.


[1]DarkSideofHome_JEP_Final2016.pdf

[2] The-Negative-Side-of-Office-Clutter-Impact-on-Work-Related-Well-Being-and-Job-Satisfaction.pdf

Aug 18

Work-life balance?

By Yvette Ankrah | business , Confidence , self-care

Work-life balance? Seven tips for success

Work-life balance is one of the biggest myths that has been created! Particularly for women in business, the female entrepreneurs building businesses around their families, the side hustlers finding a way to balance corporate life with their passion.

The reason I say this is because of the constant feeling of juggling, overwhelm, guilt and stress striving for balance produces. It is unrealistic to think you can completely separate parts of your life, particularly if you work from home, which so many of us find ourselves doing now.

There are a few reasons why you may be working for yourself (or want to do so if you are in transition) – passion and flexibility are two of mine. I love what I do, and I do it around my family. There is an intertwining of my work life and my personal life.

I’m calling out this myth as the mum who has asked her child to ‘wait a minute whilst mummy sends this important email’ instead of helping him build his Lego figure. The reality is, especially if you work for yourself, it is not always possible to keep work and your personal life separate.

This is why over the last few years more business magazines and coaches had been debunking the myths,  talking about either setting boundaries  or integrating your work and life, rather than trying to create an artificial divide. It is about the lifestyle that works for you and your family.

I work for myself so the success or failure of my business is on me, it doesn't mean that I shouldn't take care of myself or expect there to be no overlap of my business and my personal life. By setting boundaries and finding a way to merge your life and business you create your own version of what is acceptable to you. It is realistic and enables you to make better decisions about what you will do and how you will work. These can change daily, weekly or monthly depending on what is happening in your life.

Setting those boundaries and integrating work and life:

Your view of ‘work’

If you are doing something you are passionate about you may not see it as ‘work’. Work implies something hard, difficult and involves lots of labour. Your tasks may be hard and labour intensive but if love them, are skilled and motivated it doesn’t feel like a slog!

How do you view what you do? More importantly, are you doing what you love?

Got a plan?

You may need to put in more hours particularly when you are starting out. Know your plan and ensure you look after yourself at these times.

What’s your plan?

Office hours?

I like to have set office hours and always clearly state when I will get back to people. This manages expectations and enables me to manage my private time. The likelihood is if you call me during pickup and during my after-school cuddle I'm not going to answer the call! I will also work in the evenings however not every evening. I often work with a client or run a workshop between 7-9pm, but after 10pm I use for writing or admin tasks.

Are you clear on what times you are available?

Manage 'always on'

Modern technology is amazing and I could not survive without my mobile phone however there are certain functions that I switch off so I do not have work invading every minute of my life. This way I can focus on tasks when I am working and when I’m not, be away from work-related messages.

Can you look at how you use your mobile or have a work mobile which you can switch off at certain times?

Deadlines

There are times when you need to meet specific deadlines and you may have to forget about your boundaries during this time. However, be clear in your own mind that this is for a short time only. If you are so busy that you find yourself chasing your tail all the time you need to invest in support or hire some staff. This will stop overwhelm, stress and burnout as your boundaries can be maintained.

What support do you or your business need to thrive?

Do not neglect self-care

You need to be at your best to run your business. If you have taken the time to invest in a self-care regime you will know that missing your exercise or quiet time is not going to let you be your best. Whatever you have chosen to do - morning meditation, a run in the park, yoga - try to set a boundary around those things and limit missing them during busy times.

What is your self-care regime?

Creating boundaries, adopting a flexible approach and answering these questions will help you find a way to work that supports you.

Book a call to see how I can support you.

A verson of this article appeared on LinkedIn

May 09

The power of words & why you need positive affirmations

By Yvette Ankrah | Confidence

​​Positive affirmations are statements that you use to combat negative thoughts. They can be helpful to remove patterns that may be held in your subconscious that are not helpful to you.  You can use positive affirmation in a number of ways they can help to provide you with motivation or to improve your self-esteem.

Positive affirmations are not some new-age idea plucked out of the air but have been used in clinical practice in particular cognitive behaviour therapy as part of treatment to help anxiety and depression and help boost self-esteem. There have been a range of empirical studies which have shown the benefits of daily affirmations which range from:

  • helping to decrease stress,
  • improve resistance to negative situations to
  • actively changing physical behaviour e.g. stopping smoking

With regular practice you can create positive thoughts and make concrete change to how you think and behave. They do need to be practised regularly for you to see the impact and you can do this by saying them out loud several times a day or writing them in the journal.

Positive affirmations are designed to target a specific belief or fear you hold about yourself.

Creating your affirmations:

Decide what you would like to address and create some positive sentences e.g. I am loved, I am skilled, I have the knowledge to achieve my goal

  1. Write in the present tense.
  2. Repeat them regularly out loud.

How to succeed with affirmations

  1. Firstly, you have to want to make this change happen and you are affirming something that you know is true but sometimes you forget and think negatively about the situation.
  2. Pick three things you wish to affirm.
  3. Write them down.
  4. Put them somewhere you will see often
  5. Repeat regularly

You could choose to do them every morning and every evening or whenever you remember to throughout the day.

Try practising positive affirmations daily for 21 days and see what shifts occur in your life.

Yvette Ankrah – Transformational Coach

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