Building Confidence As a …Writer (5)

Welcome to week five of the series on building confidence as a writer (many tips can be applied to any career or part of your life).

We’ve covered early morning feel good, daily writing, eating for energy, and act-as-if.

bethereasonsomeonesmilestodayToday is one of my favorites – pay it forward by focusing on others and giving them a smile.

Remember the compliment jar in an earlier post? You know how great it feels to receive a compliment, right? Do the same for others. When you’re out and about, or at home or at work, give someone a smile, hold a door open, compliment a person for something you notice.

If you’re a writer and have received a review, thank the reviewer for his or her time. If you have clients, think of ways you can improve your service to make the client even happier with you. Give a person your full attention and ask them how their day is going. Be interested in their lives outside of the office.

Drop an anonymous card on someone’s desk that includes a beautiful picture, a compliment, a treat, or a small gift – even a smiley sticker can do the trick. Be a ‘secret Santa’ on a random day of the year and do random kind acts throughout the day.

Paying it forward makes others feel good, but it also fills you with a positive sense of satisfaction.

One phrase I find that isn’t used much, but can mean a lot is, “You’re welcome.” It feels good when someone says “Thank you,” for an effort you made, right? Of course it does.

And when you say ‘thank you’ to someone, do you feel better hearing “You’re welcome,” or a casual “Sure”, “Yeah, no problem,” or “Don’t think anything of it.”?

“Thank you” and “You’re welcome” can brighten anyone’s day. They show respect, sincerity, and appreciation.

What small act or gesture can you give to a stranger, friend, family member, coworker, client, or customer today? Smiles are easy to pay forward since they are contagious. 

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a … Writer (4)

Welcome to week four of the series on building confidence as a writer. We’ve covered early morning feel good, daily writing, and eating for energy.

Now let’s talk about expecting success.

Think of it as the “act as if…” mindset. If you want to succeed and can envision it and feel it within yourself, you’ll turn every thought, comment, and action into a reflection of that expectation throughout your day.

Pay attention to self-doubt and negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

These aren’t only thoughts about yourself, but also words you say to others.

expect-successSee how quickly your attitude can change by eliminating statements that start with: I can’t / I don’t / I won’t / I’ll try, but..

And replacing them with:

  • I can
  • I do
  • I will
  • I’ll try, and also
  • I’m ready

Here’s a simple positive, encouraging, fun thing I do — a couple of years ago I read about a ‘Compliment Jar’. Every time a person received a compliment – personal or business – she wrote it on a slip of paper and put it in the jar.

Then if she needed a boost, she could reach into the jar, randomly pick out a piece of paper and read the compliment. Hearing (or reading) positive and encouraging words from someone you know (friend, client, co-worker, spouse, son, daughter, neighbor, etc.) is a great way to get back into the mindset of expecting your success. 

I have a little decorative box with a lid that I keep my compliments in, and they end up being written on whatever I have on hand, so even inside the box seems decorative with different colors and textures and types of paper.

I write the compliment along with the date and the person who said/wrote it to me. It’s amazing how powerful a compliment can be, and we all need a reminder sometimes.

Focusing on the success you want, and minimizing negative thoughts and words to others can keep you moving forward. When you do something that opposes your idea of success, you will feel uncomfortable, out of sorts, and a bit awkward – you’ll know you are out of alignment with your goals.

Do your best to focus on your goal of success, and take care to note when you feel yourself stepping off the path. The more aware you are of your thoughts and actions, the quicker you can get back on track.

Expect success. I know you can achieve it!

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a… Writer (3)

Here’s the third installment in a series to help you build confidence as a writer (or anything you want to be).

The first week I talked about doing something for yourself every morning that made you feel good. It doesn’t have to be writing-related.

Last week it was the ever-important tip (particularly for writers) about writing as often as possible. As writers, we write!

This week is the equally important notion/rule/recommendation of eating as healthy as possible.

power-up

Our bodies need the proper fuel to help our energy levels stay steady and our minds stay alert. I’m not saying change your diet dramatically, but if you can avoid sugars and refined foods you’ll be on the right track.

Cooking and food prep are at the bottom of ‘Lisa’s Favorite Things To Do’ list, so don’t think I have it all figured out in this area. I do believe breakfast is important and I start the day with Greek yogurt with granola. The particular type of yogurt because it has more protein than others and there are several options to choose from now! (In the winters I switch to steel grain oats with blueberries.)

Protein is the ingredient I strive for at each meal – so for lunches and dinners and snacks I’m looking at chicken breast, eggs, pork chopswild caught salmon, hamalmondsbeans, steak (now and then), cheese, and a daily protein shake.

High-protein foods include: tofu, oysters, cottage cheese, minced beef, lamb, and swiss cheese. (The items in bold come from a Daily Health Lifestyles article.)

And it is the season for pumpkin seeds – which are a great protein snack option. Yum!

Tips that work for me, and might help you – or give you ideas:

  • Keep junk food out of the house so when cravings hit, it isn’t easy to grab a ‘bad’ treat
  • Write down everything I eat and drink. There are so many apps, such as MyFitnessPal (I only mention it because it’s the one I use), that after a little work at setting up recipes and selecting most-commonly purchased items, it’s a breeze to record everything – even from restaurants!
    • Benefit to using an app is that it most likely will tell you calorie, protein, sugar, fat and other content so you can keep a strong handle on what you’re eating and drinking
    • You can also have friends connected to your apps — and have them help you stay accountable to eating healthy by giving them the ability to see your food diary.
  • Drink a lot of water. I have a 24-oz cup with a lid that I keep full of ice water handy when I’m home. Bottled waters work well in a cooler when I’m out and about during the day.
  • Don’t eat after 7PM — or at least stop eating 3 hours before you’re going to bed.

Does your diet need to change at all? Do you notice you have higher focus after eating certain types of foods (or lack of energy after eating junk food)?

Lisa_2015 Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a… Writer (2)

Last week was the first in a series of posts about how to build confidence as a writer. I use the ellipsis to show that the tips can be used in almost any area of life, not just the writing portion.

The first post was about starting your day off with something that makes you happy / gives you a smile. Several readers responded with wonderful habits they have to kickstart their days.

The second tip to building confidence as a writer is – no surprise – write!

the-more-you-writethe-more-you-will-improve-your-writingWrite on a napkin. Write on paper. Write on a pad. Write in a notebook. Write on a sticky note. Type on a keyboard and see it on a screen.

Write often. Write whenever you can. Write every day. Write on specific days.

Write for 5 minutes, an hour, or until your fingers cramp. Set a timer and write until it goes off. Write until the child wakes up from his nap. Write during your lunch hour. Write between customers. Write between loads of wash.

Write what you know. Write about what you’d like to know. Write what makes you feel uncomfortable. Write the way successful people in your chosen area write.

Write whatever interests you – business, finance, non-fiction, how-to, fiction, poetry, speeches, children, middle grade, adult.

Write 120-character phrases, play around with headlines, practice closing paragraphs.

Write short. Write long. Write somewhere in between.

Write. If you call yourself a writer, you need to write. If you want to build your confidence as a writer, you need to keep writing. If you want to be a successful writer, you will be writing as often as you can.

Write to specific prompts. Write to an assignment (in class or make one up on your own).

Playing with words on a daily basis enables you to become more comfortable with the  writing process overall. Having a habit of writing gives you the mindset to embrace words – no matter how they may come to you – as a magazine article, a short story, blog post, tweet, poem, process guide, marketing piece, customer or company profile.

As writers, we write. The more we write – the more we try different styles of writing – the more we can hone our individual strengths and narrow in on what we excel at and what we are most passionate about.

Are you working on building your writing skills each day? What are your challenges?

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a …Writer

Building confidence as a writer involves mastering the writing craft, sure, but it isn’t all about writing. And building confidence can be applied to all aspects of your life, not just the writing side.

I found an article recently that lists several ways to build confidence as a writer and I’m going to tackle one at a time as I feel they deserve more discussion than simple bullet points.

The first is to do something first thing each morning that makes you feel great.

My first thing is to greet the day. Now that I’m in my new place, I’m enjoying a wonderful deck and have taken to going out each morning to say “Good Morning, New Day”. After a few deep breaths and admiration of the view, I feel inspired. (I do something similar before going to bed, too.)

do-something-first-thing-each-morning-that-makes-you-feel-great-1It’s a simple thing, to acknowledge the new day – but it feels good. You may enjoy a few moments of quiet, write some morning pages, take the first sip of your favorite morning beverage, or any other thing. Giving your significant other a good morning kiss could start your day, listening to a favorite song or radio station, doing a crossword or Sudoku puzzle.

One view from my deck

One view from my deck

The thing you do that makes you feel great can take a few seconds or a few minutes – whatever fits into your life and helps you start the day with a smile. A smile triggers endorphins which make you feel better and when you feel good, your confidence gets a boost.

What do you do first thing in the morning that gives you a smile?

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Changes Aren’t Made in Our Comfort Zone

push-out-of-the-comfort-zoneAh, the comfort zone. It’s cozy, isn’t it? We know what to expect, when to expect it, and can enjoy the freedom of no surprises.

It’s the life created that feels like a soft fleece sheet we can snuggle up with at any time. Or a room with invisible bars that keeps us protected.

We feel secure and content in our world.

It can feel great …for a while, but then it can start to feel uncomfortable, claustrophobic, scratchy, and too small. When the “uncomfies” arrive, you’re realizing that it’s time to open the doors and seek out something new and different — it’s time to make a change.

Purposely moving forward with change can be (and usually is) scary because we’re moving into something unfamiliar. But without change, nothing will, um, change. How can you learn something new, build your business, or move toward your dream if you don’t step out of what you know to try something you don’t?

Think about the quote from Einstein: “Insanity: doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.” We can’t expect great things if we’re in settled in with “okay” or “good enough.” We can’t expect to make money for our business if we aren’t doing any sales or marketing.

Moving out of the comfort zone doesn’t have to be a large step. It can be as easy as  deciding to move forward. Then you figure out the next step. Perhaps it’s sharing your goal with a friend (someone to inspire you and help you stay excited). A step could be writing the dream down, then figuring out all the things needed to achieve the dream.

Moving out of a comfort zone could be learning new features on a smartphone, learning a new piece of software, saying ‘hello’ to someone as you pass them on the sidewalk or in the store, signing up for a class, making a phone call, trying anything unfamiliar (food, music, commenting on social media, and so on).

If we stay in our comfort zone, we can miss out on business-building and social opportunities. We can become lethargic, bored, uninspired, and willing to settle. There is so much out there in the world to explore and see and experience – and we don’t need to try to grab it all, just (at least) try things that interest us.

Why not start today? Take a step out of what feels comfortable toward what you desire (and that currently feels uncomfortable).

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Life Is Like…

I’m transitioning to my new living space today — it’s been a long time coming and I look forward to no longer living half packed and half stored! It will be great to set up my new home and office space.

In the meantime, I saw a “Life is like…” quote recently and thought it would be fun to share our favorites – existing ones or originals that we made up ourselves.

From Forrest Gump: “My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’”-Forrest

And there’s this one about tea and friends:

LifeIsLikeACupOfTea

“Life is like a camera, just focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.” – Unknown

How about one I made up: “Life is like a rollercoaster ride, so many unexpected twists and turns, yet a definite beginning and end.”

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

What’s your favorite / most memorable / made up “Life is like…” quote? Please share!

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.