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3 little-known factors that could affect your confidence as a manager

Get to know you, so the past no longer defines your future!

Every life is a series of defining moments. Capital M Moments are those times in your life that have shaped who you are today, that changed you and had an immense impact on your development and your choices. Some of these moments were positive, and some were negative, but that doesn’t matter so much. It’s not how those defining moments feel today, it’s the way they felt and guided you yesterday.

Defining moments aren’t easy to recognise when you are experiencing them - they might simply have been one sentence that somebody said to you way back that just shook you to the core, and instilled a sense of uncertainty in you (or empowered you). As you look back, it is easier to identify the small twists and turns that shaped everything that you were, are, and will be. Everything that you believe in and that matters to you.

There are 7 filters that shape how we see and perceive the world, one of which are our memories. These filters have an enormous influence on our professional and personal success, our happiness and our relationships with others. (If you would like to know more about these filter, make sure you read the blog ‘What’s on your mind?’)

A significant part of the memory filter are our defining moments. Most of us have between five and eight defining moments that shape who we are and the choices we make thereafter, but there is no right or wrong about how many you have. These moments can be fabulous moments that you treasure and that have been a source of joy throughout your life. Or they can be painful moments that you have tried hard to forget or minimise or run away from. What may seem of little consequence to one person, can change another person’s life. The way we interpret the event, and what we tell ourselves, in that given moment when it occurs, impacts our life from that moment on.

“Nothing in life has any meaning, except the meaning we give it.”
~ Anthony Robbins

We develop beliefs that support what we initially told ourselves during an event, and then we go searching for evidence, or proof, of this belief. But when we are young, we don’t have the awareness to tell ourselves that a person might make poor choices, and that whatever negative defining moment occurred was not about us. When we are young, we simply don’t have the capacity and experience to tell ourselves that we won’t let the other person’s poor choices affect us.

Our personalities, attributes, values and beliefs are shaped when we are fairly young, and unfortunately, we stop updating that information. The people who are central to our lives as children have a huge influence on what we believe about ourselves and what we communicate to ourselves during the next phase of our life. We go along, without questioning, with what we have absorbed like sponges when we lived with our families, our tribe, our school friends, etc.

Unfortunately, most of us stay with these beliefs without questioning them at a later stage. Sometimes we are carrying around beliefs that we adapted possibly 25 years ago around events that we hardly think of as adults.  But if you want to empower yourself and change your professional and personal life for the better, you need to decide to renew the beliefs that are no longer true.

Memory gives us the ability to recall these events, but our ability to recall these defining events ACCURATELY is difficult. William Shakespeare most famously said: “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Or in other words; there is no reality, only perception. This statement infers that regardless of what happens in our life, we can choose our response.


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If you want to get to know yourself, tap into who you are and create transformation, you need to expand your self-awareness which in turn offers you choices. Another crucial element to transformation is the knowledge that how you defined yourself as a child, is not how you must define yourself as an adult. You are free to choose what you want to believe.

To fast-track your self-awareness, let’s do an exercise. Think back and identify a defining moment for you. Write down:

  • Where were you when this event occurs? How old were you and what did you look like?
  • What occured that makes this event a defining moment? Who was with you? What was said?
  • What were the emotions you are noticing you were feeling? Sadness? Fear? Anger? Helplessness? Loneliness? Despair? Joy? Gratitude? Love?
  • What were you telling yourself in that moment?
  • What beliefs did you carry forward from that one defining moment?
  • How would you change this situation if you could? What would you have wanted to happen?
  • If someone asked you what you would want to say at this moment, what would you say? Who would you say it to? How would you want them to respond?
  • What are you telling yourself today as a consequence of the beliefs you’ve held onto and expanded on since then?
  • What are you telling yourself about you? About other people? About what this means to you? Why has this moment contributed to your sense of self?
  • What did you give up or surrender in the form of power and self-determination as a consequence of this event, if it was negative? If the event was positive, what did you gain? What did you discover about yourself that you still call on?
  • Why is it time to now change your interpretation of this event to something that supports you and your concept of who you want to be? What have you decided you want it to be instead? What will your beliefs become now?

Repeat this for all Capital M Moments in your life. Ideally, aim for at least 8 significant emotional events, or defining moments. Then take a moment and answer the following questions:

  • What price are you paying for these beliefs, and what consequences are you seeing or feeling because of old, distorted views you created in the past?
  • What price will you pay in one year’s time if you keep these beliefs? In five years? In ten years?
  • Go through the beliefs you wrote down earlier, and circle the ones you want to keep.
  • What will you give up if you don’t create the change?
  • What do you have to gain by adopting these new beliefs, in terms of how you feel about yourself, others, your life, career and relationships?
  • What is the one thing you can do to reinforce the new beliefs on a daily basis? What is your commitment?
  • Now that you are aware of what you have been telling yourself, ask yourself whether this pattern is going to serve, support, nurture and challenge you. If the answer is no, then what would?

Creating new beliefs that are in alignment with who you want to be can sometimes be challenging. Especially after a long pattern of old limiting beliefs. But if creating new beliefs is challenging for you, simply ask yourself: “What would I tell someone I care about in this situation? What would I want a child to believe?” And you might have your answer right there. Now, as promised in the title of the blog, here they are:

3 little-known factors that could affect your confidence as a manager:

You must create self-awareness and understand that you can give yourself choices and therefore empowerment. Your parents or other significant people in your early life might have made mistakes, but you have a choice about how long you will pay for them. Leaders have the ability to recognise their Capital M Moments and move forward. If your own confidence in your abilities as a manager is fairly low, it could be caused by:

1. Not being resilient and resisting the challenges.

The irony of a defining moment is that if you don’t define it, it will define you. Don’t let these moments paralise you, but instead view them as opportunities to learn and grow, and find purpose. For example, if you experienced a rather unpleasant time going through primary or secondary school, you might want to now invest some of your time and energy into making school years better for the current and future generations, by becoming a strong supporter and advocate for school mentoring, anti-bullying, and cyber-safety programs.

2. Not acknowledging fear.

Best-selling author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss says, “What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” The beauty of a defining moment is that it often forces us to face our fears head on and take action. This can be very scary, but facing fear helps reduce the potential paralysing effects.

3. Not following your WHY.

Your WHY, or vision and mission in life, is the foundation for building your action plan to move forward. It is essential to think beyond the defining moment and open yourself up to the invaluable lessons. With stillness and meditation come clarity and answers. Yoga or Tai Chi are great ways to process an event, calm the mind, and figure out what to do next.

With the help of this blog, you have raised some self-awareness and are in a position to begin creating transformation in your professional and personal life. To gain further insights and specific strategies to create profound and lasting change, please read our other blogs, or sign up for one of the online courses.

Thanks for reading our blogs, and ‘Dare to make a difference!’

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