Category Archives: Confidence

Seeking

I read a story in the newspaper today about a woman who has been looking for a job for more than a year.  She held several good jobs before being laid off – a victim of the economy.  Even though she did nothing wrong, even though she was not in any way to blame for losing her job, being unemployed has taken a huge toll on her self-esteem.

In many ways, being laid off and finding yourself newly single are really similar, don’t you think?  There’s the anger (why did this happen to me?), the self-blame (I must have done something wrong), the loss of structure and rituals in your day, and — assuming you want to get back out there — the need to “sell” yourself.  Your self-esteem is definitely at risk.  So how do you handle it?

Well, let’s go back to the woman in the article.  After a year of looking, she was really frustrated, as you can imagine.  But she was still trying.  And then one day out of the blue, as she was sitting at a restaurant dutifully scanning through job listings, she struck up a conversation with a man at the next table.

No, he didn’t turn out to be her soul mate or even a potential employer.  But he did have an idea.  He suggested they throw a “pink slip party” — a party that brings employers, recruiters and job seekers together.  The pink slip party gave the woman a purpose.  She was excited to focus on a project that could help herself and other people, too.

Throughout her job hunt, she’d been uncomfortable selling herself, and she still felt that way at the party.  When recruiters asked her about herself, she gave them only a glimpse.  But then, as the party got underway, as she introduced speakers and kept the party going, she was noticed.  The character traits listed on her resume came to life.  The party didn’t end with a fairy-tale match, but she did wake up the next day with new contacts to call.

And I think the story is a good lesson for all of us.  Her job search was jumpstarted by a combination of happenstance and effort.  Her confidence returned when she threw herself into doing something different.  And her best traits showed through when she was busy being herself.

There’s one big difference between looking for a job and looking for a relationship, though.  Most of us need a job to pay our bills — not finding one is usually not an option.

On the other hand, you can give up on the search for a relationship.

You can, but I hope you don’t.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Confidence, Inspiration, No More Excuses, No More Regrets

In the Hot Seat

Friday morning, GreenlightCard.com co-founder Lizzie Williams woke up with butterflies in her stomach.  She was antsy all day.  She kept thinking about what she’d say to Chuck that evening.  She thought about what questions he might ask her and how she might answer them.  She wondered if the outfit she was wearing was right, even though she’d decided days ago that it was.  She took extra time with her hair and makeup.

She found herself having imaginary conversations with Chuck when she was supposed to be doing other things, like concentrating on the directions she needed to follow to get where she was going.  She’d promised to be there at 7 pm.  At 6:45, she was circling the block, not wanting to arrive too early.

Finally, they were saying hello, exchanging pleasantries and having a nice conversation.  The butterflies were gone.

It wasn’t a date–it was a live news interview, but the experience was ironically similar to a first date, or a second date that you really, really hope will turn into a third.  Lizzie wanted to present herself in the best possible light, without appearing to be trying to hard.  Mostly, she just wanted to be herself, with no nerves getting in the way.  And, because she remembered to breath, and smile, and listen, she pulled it off.

If you’ve ever gotten nervous about a date, here’s what you can learn from Lizzie’s experience:

  1. Butterflies are good.  They mean you care.  There are two things you can try to make them more bearable.  Diversionary tactics–keep yourself busy with any distractions you can think of.  Reorganize your closet if you  have to.  That’s number one.  Number two is psychological.  You have to remind yourself that eventually, the moment you’re waiting for will be upon you and sometime after that, the butterflies really will disappear.
  2. A little preparation will make you feel more confident and in control.  Lizzie sat down in the chair and knew that if there was an awkward silence, she could think of something to fill it–because she’d thought about it ahead of time.
  3. Listening is important.  Sure, Lizzie had been having imaginary conversations with Chuck all day long, but when it was show time, she let all of that go.  She listened to his questions and answered him easily and honestly.  You’d be surprised, or maybe you’ve experienced it enough not to be, how often people aren’t actively listening.  Their mind is only partially engaged in the conversation as completely unrelated thoughts (I wonder what that waiter puts in his hair) push their way forward.  People can tell when you’re really listening to them, and they like it.
  4. Genuine conversational compliments are another thing that make everyone feel good.  There’s a point in the middle of the interview when Lizzie says to Chuck, “That’s a very good question.”  It was a natural reaction, not a staged compliment, but it was a compliment nonetheless.  When you acknowledge a good question or an interesting point, you show that you’re engaged in the conversation and you keep the person you’re talking to engaged, as well.
  5. Lizzie kept reminding herself that it was just one interview.  There would be more.  If it didn’t go well, the world wouldn’t end.  It might feel like she wanted it to, for a few minutes, but the feeling would pass and life would go on.  Never put so much importance on a date that you feel like it absolutely has to work out.  At the risk of sounding like my mother, let me remind you that there will be other dates.

What about you?  Do you ever get nervous before a date?  How do you handle it?

p.s.  GreenlightCard.com got a makeover.  Hope you like our new and improved, easier-to-use website!

Leave a comment

Filed under Advice, Confidence, First Dates

Confident Kyle

Kyle uses Greenlight Cards–instead of cheesy pickup lines.

Click here and then click the play button for Kyle’s story.

Leave a comment

Filed under Confidence, Dating Unplugged, Greenlighting, video

Friday Night And I Ain’t Got Nobody…

…to tell me whether I’ve chosen the right outfit or not.

I look in the mirror. I try another mirror. I try different combinations of shoes, shirts, pants. Finally, now fashionably late but not feeling all that fashionable, I leave a pile of rejected items on the floor and head out the door, wishing I had more confidence in the look I’d ended up with.

Does this ever happen to you?

Even if you’d like to believe otherwise, if you hate to shop and say you don’t really care what you wear, clothes absolutely affect how you feel about yourself, as well as how other people feel about you.

So if you feel completely at a loss, there’s help, and naturally, you find it where you find everything else these days. The Internet. Surf on over to a website called Go Try It On and you can post a picture of yourself wearing an outfit and get the opinion of the masses on whether the combo works or not. Or, if you’re wary of the masses, you can get the opinion of just your friends. You have to know whether your friends will give you objective advice or not. If they won’t, try for the masses. Some of the people asking for advice blur or crop out their faces so it’s totally anonymous. What do you have to lose?

Along with the picture, you let everyone know where you’re going in the outfit (night out, first date, wedding, office party, meeting the parents) and what advice you need (do the socks match? do I need a belt? does this make me look old? does this make me look fat?). As in all things in life, you’ll get the most helpful advice if you offer up the best info you can give. Do you want to stand out or blend in? Are you going for a classic look or a trendy look? Are you trying to look older or younger?

There are many more women asking for opinions than men, but it doesn’t need to be that way.  I know plenty of guys who aren’t sure they’re making the right wardrobe decisions and since they’re less likely to ask a friend’s advice this might be the very thing that gets them out the door without misgivings.

Go Try It On caught the attention of the oh-so-trendy folks at Daily Candy so you can expect it to catch a big buzz right about now. And no, despite the fact that I have mentioned the website name twice now, I am not getting paid for this recommendation. It’s new and different and fun. And helpful, even if all you do is check out everyone else’s insecurities about what’s right and what’s not.

Leave a comment

Filed under Confidence, First Dates, Inspiration, No More Regrets, The Single Life