Have you ever wished you could turn back time, so you could ‘unsay’ something?

In only a moment, what you thought was an obvious response and the correct thing to say to another person, turns out to be a disaster.

And the other person doesn’t just hold a grudge, but perhaps tells others as well, or uses it as leverage against you in future interactions. Or even breaks relationship with you altogether.

I’m guessing you’ve had a variation of this moment – because getting communication right is one of the hardest skills we are challenged to develop in our day-to-day lives.

Saying the right thing… or keeping silent and listening attentively, can make or break relationships, and reward you with new levels of understanding and appreciation with family members, loved ones and friends.

And in business, in pressured environments where saying the wrong or right thing, or allowing someone else to share their views – including criticisms and complaints respectfully – comes with truly high stakes, the potential impact is even greater.

After all… customer relations, sales, but also improved leadership, management, team dynamics and intra-departmental collaborations rise or fall on the efficiency with which values, targets and debriefings are passed across.

Unfortunately, unlike with physical or structural instabilities, where a skilled team of engineers, if given the right budget, can diagnose and fix the problem… communication gaps or worse – communication failures – can be a far more difficult challenge to accurately overcome, because their sources are often hidden or buried under other layers of other problems.

In almost two decades as a corporate trainer, I’ve seen these problems up close and personal and I’ve observed, tested and developed a toolbox of hands-on strategies to identify and resolve them.

Over the course of two days, my Up-levelling Communication in the Workplace programme teaches the mindset and tactics needed to navigate the minefield of errors and missed signals that undermine teams, while passing on the processes for maximising effective interactions, for the benefit of both colleagues and customers.

Through a dynamic, packed format that includes:

  • learning the fundamentals of effective communication
  • group discussions,
  • role-playing exercises,
  • individual presentations as part of simulations of communication crises

Participants learn, interpret and apply:

  • the behavioural and neuroscience behind effective communication
  • the key elements of Emotional Intelligence
  • the game-changing power of active listening
  • the clues and signals of body language
  • the strategies to communicate with each of the four main personality types

By the end of our time together, we have broken down, analysed and practised the flexibility and intuition needed in managing what we say, how we say it, when we say it and why we say it… with the additional requirement to understand the benefits of not saying anything at all, and instead listening, for maximum impact!

To recap… so much can change, in a moment, by what we choose to express or suppress.

Done right, effective communication creates the perfect momentum to align a company’s vision, renew the commitment of its human capital and enhance its inspiration to serve clients, deliver maximum value and achieve its brand’s unique mission.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

When did the big boss in the big office with the big cigar at the top of the corporate organisational pyramid start to go out of style?

One answer is: probably since the rise of the internet and the early 2000s.

The online world made easy access to information a new source of empowerment for the global workforce and… given that this was also the time that the Millennials (also called ‘Gen Y’ – born roughly between 1981-95) were hitting the job market… it signalled a slow erosion of the traditional, top-down vertical, command and control organisational structures.

Of course, in large-scale, legacy businesses, pyramidal structures are still in use and will take time to evolve into a more decentralised form.

But with the numbers of Millennials now having surpassed those of the Boomers (1946-64) and Gen X (1965-80), it’s clear that this younger generation’s preference for horizontal structures should be taken seriously.

What are the reasons for such a preference? Several, as it turns out.

Gen Y is by now famous for:

  • their collaborative, teamwork-loving ways,
  • their lack of familiarity (and reluctance to accept) traditional rank and age-based authority (their parents and teachers were their friends and mentors),
  • their desire to have personal impact in implementing a company’s mission and
  • their need for individual self-development and feedback throughout their time with an organisation

These characteristics make them feel far more at home working for organisations that have flatter organisational structures. Which is why start-ups have been so appealing to the entrepreneurial, innovation-driven Millennials. And, given their limited size, the flat organisational structure, with everyone taking multiple roles, is a natural fit for a start-up.

For larger, established companies, with more traditional work cultures that are based on a silo approach, horizontal structures can be seen as disruptive and unappealing, raising the threat of a lack of clarity, loss of control and role confusion across their personnel.

Yet one of the reasons organisations have such a problem retaining Millennials is their vertical organisational structures leave little room for Gen Y’s need for:

  • collaborations that are unlimited by seniority and rank divides,
  • opportunities for personal growth and development, and
  • to have a wider impact and say on the company’s performance

In contrast to older generations in the workforce, accustomed to ‘paying their dues’ and ‘working their way up the ladder’… Millennials are much more comfortable thinking of work as a ‘lattice’ of opportunities in every direction to contribute and perform.

To them, it only makes sense – after all, flatter structures allow for quick and more democratic decision-making, as well as greater employee ‘ownership’ of the company’s mission. And as the traditional workplace continues to be disrupted, trends point to such decentralised and more mobile organisational structures becoming the norm.

This may be uncomfortable and threatening to consider for more traditionally-organised organisations and their leaderships.

But with Millennials’ prime work years still ahead of them, it can only be a good thing that their native preferences will help evolve companies to flatter, more adaptable structures, able to survive and thrive in the fast-moving era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

There is no easy way of saying this… but most consumers of goods and services in the 21st century are tired of being sold to.

Sure, it has technically become more easy than ever to buy things… just connect your smartphone to a payment app and click ‘add to cart’.

But on the business side of that equation… has it become as easy to sell?

I would argue, given the over-saturation of marketing messages and ads, and explosion in competitors in almost every sector… succeeding in sales remains as challenging as it ever was – possibly even more so.

Nevertheless, any business that wants to thrive and grow relies on maintaining and adding to their customer base.

That’s where my two-day Sales workshop: The Multiplying Power of Offering Value comes in.

Offered under my EVOLUTION track of services, the workshop empowers sales professionals to becoming the most effective ambassadors for their company, raising the organisation’s professional profile in the eyes of customers and harvesting the reward for their satisfaction and loyalty on a recurring basis.

Research-based and tailored to the specific needs of an organisation, its unique products and services, market dominance, competition, target clientele, profit goals and, above all, the aptitudes and team dynamics of its sales team, this sales programme is a hands-on deep-dive into not just closing, but also multiplying the value offered to customers.

Integrating the power of leading sales approaches – including Jordan Belfort’s acclaimed straight-line system – and grounded in advanced communication, behavioural psychology and neuroscience – the programme’s highlights include:

  • Cultivating an effective sales mindset
  • Best positioning of products & services
  • Creating an accurate client profile
  • Learning engaging presentation tactics
  • Designing & executing an effective close
  • Handling clients’ objections
  • Choosing client-specific pricing strategies
  • Maximising customer satisfaction
  • Cultivating loyalty and repeating sales

The fact is, sales, when seen as part of a long-term, service-oriented and customer-centric strategy of growing the excellence and value associated with a company’s offerings, can be the most rewarding process for everyone in the equation.

Far from being a series of tricks and coercion, it actually becomes an experience that clients appreciate having with a brand, rewarding it not only by returning or additional sales, but also giving a company a multiplying, practical advantage in the competition for market share.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

“Put your smartphone down, when I’m speaking to you!”

Did you assume the hypothetical person with the phone was… a young person? Perhaps even… a Millennial?

Also known as a member of Gen Y, born (roughly 1981-95), stereotyped as self-absorbed young professionals, preferring to edit Instagram photos than pick up the phone to clients?

(That really IS a stereotype, by the way.)

To answer the question… the person absorbed in using their smartphone could have been of any age.

From a Millennial to a Gen Zer (the generation born roughly 1996 to 2000), to Gen Xers, Boomers and members of the Silent Generation, too.

Almost EVERY generation by this point, whether in or out of the office, has discovered the benefits of, and formed a certain level of dependency on, their smart device of choice.

Why? Chiefly because of the convenience such devices provide, but even more because of the connection, and the empowering feeling of having a say in shaping that connection.

Which brings me to the point of this post… Purpose. More specifically: Millennials’ demand for and near-religious devotion to it, whether in or out of the workplace.

So great is their need to find purpose in their work, accuse their critics, that Gen Y will walk away from perfectly well-paid, stable jobs, leaving expensive vacancies for HR to re-fill after spending only a relatively short period of time with a company.

Yet… if we are honest… EVERY generation of workers appreciates meaningful employment, and for their efforts to have a purpose beyond profit. Why? Because this is a very human need, no matter how old or young we may be.

It’s just that… unlike Gen Y, older generations were born in more authoritarian and less-technologically-empowered times. Eras where you earned your dues over time, and a J.O.B. was perfectly acceptable – even if all it did was pay the rent and put food on the table, and wasn’t going to win you a Pulitzer prize or reinvent the toothbrush.

Millennials, on the other hand, were brought up with a very different picture of the world and their role in it.

Gen Y were taught by parents and teachers that they would change the world, and were groomed to expect to be agents of innovation. So, given their relative youth and ambition, not to mention, their ease in creatively collaborating with peers, finding ‘purpose’ in their work is a ‘luxury’ they believe they can afford, while staying in a job without ‘purpose’ appears a far greater threat to their future longterm.

This can certainly be a headache for HR departments, tasked with filling job positions that might have been retained by recruits of older generations, not to mention, spending time and money retraining replacements.

But it’s just as much an important warning sign to a company itself, that perhaps it’s not as aligned with its original vision as it needs to be.

Or perhaps that it needs a different ‘Why’ in Simon Sinek’s words, beyond merely turning a profit.

After all, Millennials are not just potential employees, but customers and consumers, too. Their perspectives on what is important, their values and their unique approach to work and life, can neither be ignored nor dismissed.

Meanwhile, retention headache or not, we can all stand to benefit from their desire to make time, creativity, education and effort count towards a meaningful initiative.

Because finding purpose, just like the ease and connectivity offered by smartphones, is something that ultimately appeals to every generation.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

In action or disaster films, we see heroes who survive some major catastrophe or impossible threat, and manage not only to find a path to safety, but also somehow lead other survivors to security as well.

Of course, Hollywood knows how to produce such movies for maximum thrills and audience excitement…

But if we are honest with ourselves, the reality we are living through in business – where massive technological disruption and threats to traditional leadership strategies, are colliding with equally impressive innovations – is more and more resembling a kind of Day Zero scenario.

And in a VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous – world, the role of those whose responsibility it is to steer an organisation through these turbulent, yet exciting times, is becoming increasingly more challenging.

That is why, under my EVOLUTION track of services, I offer a two-day training Strategic Leadership Excellence programme that empowers management-level professionals in aligning their company’s vision with their personnel’s diverse talents, transmitting the latest methodologies and best practices in:

  • strategic thinking,
  • executive skills,
  • people and performance management and
  • cross-departmental collaboration

By the end of the two-day, hands-on, dynamic workshop, participants benefit from

  • revitalised team relationships,
  • a new sense of purpose flowing across every level of the organisation,
  • raised levels of trust
  • enhanced feedback and people development strategies

To put it all in context: even though today’s workplace is unlikely to feature explosions, car chases, tsunamis and earthquakes, the pressures on organisations to adapt to a VUCA world, without being diverted from their vision or losing connection with their people, are IMMENSE, and will only continue to escalate.

Fortunately, it has always been possible to evolve as leaders and as teams, bringing the best of our human capacity to learn, unlearn and relearn, to meet the challenge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a disrupted 21st-century workplace.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

Why is it that sometimes, the thing that we want most, actually backfires on us, and can even make us miserable?

At this point, it is well-documented that Millennial or Gen Y employees truly value flexibility in the workplace and are unafraid to ask for it…

And yet… if they are given such flexibility, the additional pressure to manage their time while continuing to manage their social and personal lives, often proves overwhelming to them, leading to the stress and burn-out that this generation is experiencing at epidemic levels….

Let me give these thoughts a bit of context.

I’ve been a corporate trainer and a mentor for almost two decades. Over this time, I’ve seen the values and working preferences of several generations, up close and personal.

And what I have observed of Gen Y or Millennial workers (i.e. those born between 1981 to roughly 1995), they greatly value being able to structure their work around their other life interests. The famous ‘work-life balance’ that managers complain about and which their Gen Y colleagues continue to demand.

Now, this makes complete sense when you consider Millennials came of age during the rise of the internet, apps and smartphones, designed to harness online power to organise and carry out everyday life tasks in a matter of clicks.

But…

Unlike the generations before them, specifically their Boomer and Gen X bosses and managers… Millennials have had less practice in deliberately limiting themselves, their options – and in particular, their time.

They have had incredibly structured lives growing up – structured by parents and teachers willing to provide them with the scheduling and support they needed, so that they could focus on their studies, their interests, their potential, their aspirations.

Flash forward to their working life today… and whenever work-related flexibility is granted to Millennials, their professional tasks and deadlines end up competing with the parallel opportunity for them to explore and participate in lifestyle options older generations were not distracted by… simply because they didn’t exist!

Think about it… when you can identify, follow and participate in so many online forums, arrange dates, book workout classes, sign up for language classes and organise meet-ups for innovative collaborations… it’s far harder to set yourself the kind of limits that return your focus to meeting work-related goals.

What happens next is that Millennials try to do both – i.e. carry out professional tasks while SIMULTANEOUSLY managing their personal and leisure time, leading to overwhelm, stress and, often, dramatic burnout.

So, how should managers of Millennials respond?

Should they simply take flexible working hours off the table for their Gen Y employees? Or should they cave in, despite the time management challenges, hoping in this way, to retain a job-hopping generation of workers?

As it happens, the answer is… neither.

Flexibility of work is a GOOD thing. And more and more, I believe we will only see more need for it and it’s unwise to eliminate it as an option.

Rather, to get the best from their Gen Y team, managers need to keep flexibility on the table IN ADDITION to making it very clear about what they will STILL be required to carry out (and by WHEN) in terms of work.

Managers need to zero in on the deadlines and the deliverables, and let Gen Y know they will support them in setting an appropriate timeline, preferably with key milestones, to help them handle the challenges of distraction and overwhelm.

In other words, managers today have to wear two hats: one as the authority who keeps Gen Y on task… the other as the coach who ‘supports’ and guides them in implementing healthy time management.

I elaborate on how managers can support their Gen Y team in this way, in an online course I am currently developing, called Millennial Advantage. More about this course in future posts!

For now, let me end by saying that: if you, as a manager, are willing to go the extra mile for your Millennial teammates by facilitating and helping them manage their desired flexibility… they will reward you with a truly innovative ability to think outside the box, act as ambassadors of your organisation among their peers, and use their comfort with tech-based work to better serve your clients.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

Becoming a Formula One racing champion doesn’t happen overnight.

No matter how much talent you are born with, you still require

  • a daunting level of fitness to withstand the intense physical forces while driving,
  • continuous learning to master a new car and getting familiar with the bends of each circuit
  • advanced communication to engage your supporting team
  • absolute focus while maintaining flexibility of reflexes
  • emotional resilience in handling mistakes and accidents that can occur in a split second

Similarly, for any organisation seeking to grow and establish themselves as number one in the eyes of their clients, their in-house high-flyers must be ready to take on and overcome the competition… And that takes a long-term investment in their high-performing capabilities.

More than that… it takes a willingness to learn, unlearn and re-learn… because the pressures to change and adapt in the disrupted workplace of the 21st century will only keep picking up speed. And there will be curves and bends and new forms of technology to incorporate and competition to take on, with every passing year.

That’s why, I named the corporate training track of my services EVOLUTION, because my mission is not simply to raise the performance levels of managers and their team…

It is to bring a methodology of continuous ‘review and renew’, and to get your people comfortable in adjusting, often in ‘real time’, to the dizzying, unplanned shifts in a company’s life cycle.

Over the next few weeks, I will explore the different workshops of my EVOLUTION track of training services.

From sales training to strategic leadership to people development to advanced communication… EVOLUTION’s dynamic and CONTINUALLY-updated curricula are for corporate teams ready and WILLING to engage in the stress-testing, rebuilding, adapting and updating of skills that the Fourth Industrial Revolution continually demands.

So, rev your engines, and prepare for a powerful, behind-the-scenes tour of the high-performance programmes I have built over the years, dedicated to helping corporate teams thrive in an exciting, exponentially-shifting future…

Ready to boost your team’s high performance? To work with me or book a free consultation, please visit me here.

You’ve got the job. You’ve arrived at your new workplace. You’ve toured the coffees and teas in the kitchen. You’ve shaken hands with your colleagues.

Fast forward a few months, or perhaps even a year or so… and there are question marks in your head.

Question marks concerning YOUR performance.

You’re doing what the job description asked for in the original posting. You’ve got the relevant academic background. You’re at your desk on time and deliver on your deadlines…

And yet, you get the distinct feeling that you’re still… not quite living up to expectations…

Which also means you’re probably not getting the kind of professional attention to be entrusted with greater responsibility, promotion and professional advancement.

Sound familiar?

Actually, it’s only TOO familiar, given the stories I hear from the young professionals I mentor. And yet they can’t seem to figure out what they’re doing wrong.

My feedback for them is that it’s often what they’re not doing that might be holding them back.

Of course, there are many employability traits and soft skills that can make you shine in your career, and I explore them in other articles on this blog.

But in this post, I’d like to mention the three traits that most often come up, whenever I talk candidly with Human Resource officers about skills gaps in their hires.

  1. Resilience

This translates to the ability to remain focused and productive in times of adversity, to keep going in the face of obstacles and challenges and to display adaptability during unfamiliar or unforeseen circumstances.

Which is a fancy way of saying: being tough-minded.

Now, I’m not implying today’s young professionals don’t have the CAPACITY for resilience. Many DO in fact, express tough-mindedness and adaptability in times of challenge in the workplace.

But unfortunately, as hungry to find meaning, grow and develop at their jobs as Millennial hires may be… and as quick to learn and implement new technologies as Gen Z recruits are… both generational cohorts can struggle when they are professionally tested and placed under pressure, and when their managers and coworkers are unavailable to provide guidance or support.

Yet resilience is precisely the skill they would need to express at such times, and precisely the attribute that would draw a manager’s or HR officer’s appreciation and attention.

  • 2. Problem Solving

You would think problem-solving is in our nature. A basic part of the blueprint of being creative, thinking beings… and it is!

After all, the ability to provide innovative solutions to problems is one of the reasons Millennials are so entrepreneurial… at least when it comes to brainstorming and collaborating among themselves.

But place them in a traditional workplace, with top-down power structures… and it seems that natural, innovative problem-solving impulse often shuts down.

Which means there has to be a compromise.

Millennials and Gen Z employees need to remember that traditional organisational structures are not going to fade away overnight, and that they need to find the self-motivation to express their innate problem-solving powers irrespective of their environment.

On the other hand – and as I tell senior management and HR officers at every EVOLUTION corporate training I deliver… they have to be willing to LISTEN to the solutions that their younger team members propose, while empowering them to act on their most promising suggestions!

Either way, the greater the problem-solving capacity that a young professional demonstrates in the workplace, the greater their chances of being selected for career advancement.

  • 3. Self Motivation

And then there’s self-motivation. Human Resources, management and senior executives all seem to be united on this front: new hires need more of it! It’s also referred to as ‘taking initiative’.

Again… there are a number of things to say about this.

It’s definitely NOT that my Millennial and Gen Z mentees are lacking in passion, or ideas for how to change the world, or to up-level their own high performance.

And yet… their willingness to take initiative and be self-motivated in the workplace often gets road-blocked.

Why?

Part of the reason comes from not having the same support and mentoring system that was familiar and available while they were still at school, thanks to the undivided attention and guidance they were used to receiving from parents, teachers and friends.

And part of it is the fact that their suggestions and ideas are often not taken seriously in more conservative job sectors and traditionally-minded industries.

Once again, young professionals would still give themselves a massive career advantage by developing, expressing and continuously raising the bar on personal self-motivation at EVERY stage of their career, and developing the resilience (see above) to keep going and giving their best – even at times when the support and guidance they crave is not forthcoming.

To take a fitness analogy… if you don’t keep flexing your self-motivation muscle, you can’t rely on its strength when times get chaotic and more is expected from you than you had anticipated.

But on the other hand, if senior management has no intention of allowing Millennial and Gen Z hires to act on their initiative and self-motivation, and never creates opportunities (and rewards) for their young talent to exercise their self-motivation, they will either continue to see roadblocks on this front… or, eventually, their employees will take their obstructed self-motivation to a different workplace.

In our professional, as well as our personal life, it always pays to grow our resilience, problem-solving and self-motivation abilities… But such traits express themselves best when all stakeholders commit to empowering their expression!

To work with me one-on-one to take your professional and personal performance to new levels, please check out the LIMITLESS track of my services at: https://www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/limitless/

Remember your early twenties? I remember mine.

With a university degree under my belt and inspired by the relationships I had cultivated with both fellow students and professors, I was full of passion (still am), optimism and self-belief, and gripped by the absolute conviction that focus, discipline and clear goals were all I needed for success.

Today, hand on my heart, I still believe in those principles as crucial to professional and personal growth and achievement…

However, like all of us as we acquire real-life observations and experiences, I’ve evolved my views over time. Especially when it comes to getting young people ready for the 21st century workplace.

These days, the words on everyone’s lips are ‘disruption’, ‘automation’ and ‘Artificial Intelligence’, as well as ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.

In other words, a tsunami of relentless, escalating and no-guarantees change on every level – from technological to financial to professional.

Here are a few more words: ‘unemployment’ and ‘Generation Z’.

Gen Z are the newest cohort to be showing up at hiring interviews, following on the heels of the famously entrepreneurial ‘Millennials’ or Gen Y, having been born after 1995.

More risk-averse, conservative and privacy-loving than Millennials, Gen Z have never known a pre-internet world, and they are the true digital natives.

However… my takeaways in mentoring these young people, either during the FEARLESS self-development workshops I lead, or the one-on-one mentoring I undertake throughout the year, is that most Gen Z teens are still VERY under-prepared for the skills expected in today’s workplace.

According to professional networking platform LinkedIn, the top five HARD skills that companies need most in 2019 are:

  1. Cloud computing
  2. Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)
  3. Analytical reasoning
  4. People management
  5. UX design

What about 2019’s top five most-desirable soft skills? LinkedIn tells us they are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Time management

But I think that beyond hard and soft skills… there are timeless LIFE skills which new Gen Z workforce members need to know and implement, in order to become a truly FEARLESS generation.

And these are:

  1. Cognitive flexibility (the ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, or think about multiple concepts simultaneously)
  2. Problem solving (finding solutions to difficult or complex issues)
  3. Critical thinking (competently analysing facts to form judgments)
  4. Goal-setting and execution (the development of an action plan to motivate individuals or groups to materialise a target or achieve a pre-determined milestone)
  5. Resilience (the ability to cope with a crisis or failure, or minimise the impact of stressors or pressure)

These are the game-changer skills that people of all ages would do well to learn… and they are PARTICULARLY crucial to Gen Z, who, unlike previous generations, will have managed their home, school and social lives almost exclusively via smartphones and apps, without having had the independent opportunity to cultivate and practise the life skills listed above.

They say time waits for no man (or woman), and that is especially true today, with exponential disruption occurring across almost every industry and profession.

And for every generation still represented in the workplace – and most particularly for Gen Z hires – displaying cognitive flexibility, problem solving, critical thinking, goal-setting and resilience – are only going to grow in desirability in the years ahead.

Which is why, helping young people acquire these skills, so they become as natural as brushing teeth or riding a bike, is ultimately part of my personal mission in helping create (and grow!) a truly FEARLESS generation.

For one-on-one mentoring to transform your teen’s communication, leadership, self-management and long-term employability potential, please check out the FEARLESS track of my services by clicking here.

Those photos, those videos… That Instagram image, that Facebook post, that LinkedIn update, that YouTube vlog…

You can’t seem to do anything these days, without bumping into someone’s triumphant sharing (some might say, OVER-sharing) of their personal and professional success.

They may credit many different factors in their recipe towards accomplishment.

But hands-down, the number one reason people express their potential, develop in their careers and honour their own unique blueprint is self-confidence.

Which seems unfair, because some people seem blessed with a seemingly never-ending supply of it, while others feel lucky if they can experience that magical state once in a very rare while.

Which is why, when I work one-on-one with my young professional mentees, developing their self-confidence is one of the primary areas we target together – and the results are impressive.

From better sleep, to better relationships, to improved health… all the way to enhanced appreciation and promotion by their employers.

Everyone can develop self-confidence, including, if you’re reading this with doubts, YOU. Here are nine keys to boost your self-confidence in just 30 days.

  1. Target excellence

The famous Jim Rohn used to say that ‘Good’ was the enemy of ‘Great’. And he was right.

If you target mediocrity, or staying average, then you’ll never experience the satisfaction and deep self-belief and self-appreciation that comes with targeting excellence.

Of course, the journey towards achieving the highest standard in anything is not for everyone. But if you’re reading this blog, it’s because you know, in your heart, you’re not going to be satisfied with merely ‘good enough’, or sticking only to ‘what works’.

The heart of an innovator and a high-performer is to challenge themselves to go beyond the benchmark for ‘good’ that’s taken for granted by those around them.

Have a look at who has the courage, imagination and commitment to target excellence in your life. Keep them close to you, and find honourable ways to distance yourself from those who are complacent. Do this for 30 days, and make it a habit.

  1. Reclaim your appearance

We shouldn’t judge on appearance. But the reality is… first impressions count a lot in our fast-paced, competitive societies.

Now, I’m not advising you to go and splurge on designer clothes if you’re on a limited budget, but I AM advising you to spend better care in how you look.

Looking and feeling better includes sorting out your diet (no more unhealthy ‘snacks’ and junk meals), daily exercise (you don’t need a gym membership – there are unlimited free workout ideas on the internet) and, yes, saving up for quality items of attire wherever your budget allows.

One pair of high-quality shoes, a smart, well-tailored suit, a clean and professional hair-cut goes a long, long way – professionally and personally.

And it will sky-rocket your confidence on every occasion.

  1. Make friends with discomfort

The dreaded comfort zone. So familiar, so appealing, so… well… comfortable.

But if you want to grow your confidence over the next month, you have to find creative reasons to go (or should I say grow) beyond it.

Here are some suggestions:

Set a date to have that difficult conversation with your manager, where you bring up the topic of why you’re not getting the support you need in the office, or why you may have been passed over for promotion or a raise.

Commit to taking part in some event that will require you to work hard – perhaps a charity sporting event – or perform some action before others that you have so far resisted doing – such as public speaking.

Of course, you don’t need to do this on your own. In contrast to coaches, a dedicated mentor will actually take you by the hand and go on the journey with you.

Either way, make moves to get beyond your comfort zone over the next 30 days. Your confidence will thank you for it.

  1. Expect good things

The hardest thing about hard things is oftentimes our own mind-set. And high performers, sooner or later, discover mind-set is the alpha and omega of making personal progress and cultivating unshakeable self-confidence.

Sometimes this is easier said than done. Most of us will go through hard times at some point or other in life. And at such times, it’s hard not to make caution and pessimism our default setting.

But that’s part of the challenge of the next 30 days, if you know you suffer from negative thinking and you’re honest enough to admit that it erodes your confidence, your ability to feel ready to handle the challenges, the unexpected difficulties or crises.

You don’t have to do it alone. Part of getting to a growth mind-set, where you see difficulties as opportunities and actively search to see things in a positive light… is finding the people who will support and add to that mind-set.

Expecting good things requires you to check-in with your thoughts and mental patterns, find positive ways of interrupting the negative self-talk and maintaining access to the people who will help keep you in the plus and not the minus side of the landscape.

You will see that cultivating a positive attitude where you deliberately expect good things to come to you, over the next 30 days (and, okay, beyond!) will grow your self-confidence radically.

  1. Chase gratitude

What’s even better than getting ready for good things to come to you? It’s actively going towards reasons to feel grateful.

That’s right – over the next 30 days, I want you to chase gratitude.

Not just passively, reluctantly, grudgingly try to make yourself feel grateful (particularly hard to do if you’re experiencing challenges in daily life)….

But actively setting yourself that target of running after opportunities to feel grateful… as if you’re pursuing a particularly interesting or attractive person.

Trust me, as paradoxical as it may feel… the more gratitude you can allow yourself to experience, the more things you will find to be grateful about. And the benefits, other than self-confidence and good health… will be a new feeling of optimism.

And if you can get to optimism, you can dial down fear, reservation, insecurity, and, over 30 days, discover a new level of self-confidence!

  1. Write down your goals

This is a big one for me and is a critical part of the work I do with my mentees, in helping them design a sequence of steps towards achieving breakthroughs they desire. And, yes, growing their self-confidence.

Writing down their goals. When we work together, every mentee has to do that.

Because something magical happens when you write down something that your heart, mind and spirit truly desire…

You immediately either see the truth or the illusion behind the target you’ve just set down.

And if it’s an illusion – i.e. a goal that you’ve told yourself you want, but which is not actually aligned with your heart’s desire… then hanging on to it will erode your confidence (because you’ll lack the ‘heart’ to achieve it, and this, in turn, will undermine your ability to feel confident).

Meanwhile, if what you’ve written down truly represents what you wish to accomplish, then your spirit will respond with love to seeing your commitment printed, in your own writing – a kind of contract you have just made with yourself.

And from that love… will grow the passion and motivation and, yes, confidence, to achieve it.

Write down the goals that are precious to you and read them every day over the next month, and see how it jump-starts your self-confidence.

  1. Cultivate influence – be a connector

Influence has always been important to personal and professional progress, which is why Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People remains a foundational text on the art of growing your reach and impact on others.

Influence is also one of the characteristics of super achievers, as identified by high-performance gurus such as Brendon Burchard.

But what exactly is influence?

The way I define it is as: influence is being seen as an authority with integrity in a particular subject or area, who is also a talented and generous connector.

As long as you are visible (and cultivating visibility) before people in the areas of life that you consider to be aligned with your personal goals…

And those people see you as someone with both integrity AND authority (i.e. a higher level of ability) in that area…

AND you are generous in introducing people in that network to each other, or bringing more people into that network…

(…in other words, showing that you are willing to serve and benefit that network…)

Then your influence will grow, and with it, your sense of confidence.

Try putting people together, or selflessly introducing friends you know to each other, for their benefit, over the next 30 days, and their gratitude and respect will boomerang back to you… in the form of self-confidence.

  1. Celebrate others

This is a huge one.

Like it or not, we all have human moments, where other people seem to us to be having a good and happy life… whereas perhaps, for us, at that particular moment, life is actually being very tough.

Perhaps we’ve just broken up with a partner or going through a bitter divorce.

Perhaps a parent or loved one is suffering with ill-health or a terminal illness.

Perhaps… no matter what we seem to do… we are encountering setback after setback in our professional life, with no hope or clues as to how to turn that situation around.

At such moments, it’s especially hard to feel genuinely happy or pleased at someone else’s personal or professional success, accomplishment or good fortune…

ESPECIALLY if in areas where we ourselves are feeling a tremendous lack.

But I promise you… a person who cannot genuinely celebrate others’ successes, will always feel insecure about their own self-worth and with feeling equally deserving of the universe’s blessings.

Conversely, by sincerely praising and feeling happy when others in your life succeed, and by actively celebrating their success… you will not only attract to yourself the people, events and opportunities that you yourself desire, but you will also powerfully rendezvous with your own sense of confidence.

Because people who are happy for others, have far less room in their minds and hearts for self-doubt and low self-esteem – the opposite side of the coin, from self-confidence.

So, celebrate others over the next 30 days, and light up the self-confidence in your own heart. Good things are on the way to you as well.

  1. Embrace generosity

Finally, following on from celebrating others’ successes… I want you to practise generosity over the next month.

I’m sure you’re already a generous person.

Perhaps you are an active volunteer for good causes, or give of your time and money to serve others, or offer a listening ear to those in trouble or who need support.

Whatever you already do in terms of generosity… over the next 30 days, do more.

Don’t worry about how much more. Or what form your generosity takes. It doesn’t really matter. What’s important is to find new excuses to act with love for someone without expecting anything in return.

Bonus points if you get no credit for such generosity, or you don’t even know the person that you’re being generous to.

The universe pays attention, and in the meantime, you get to feel good about yourself.

Actually… you get to feel great about yourself.

Because generosity is a happiness that goes down to your bones, and reminds you that you are precious human being, with your own unique blueprint of talents and gifts.

Giving to others – whether in the form of time, resources, support or simply in keeping people in your thoughts while wishing them well – connects you to what is highest inside you.

Among which is, I promise you, is the profound confidence to go after your dreams.

To work with me one-on-one to take your professional and personal performance to new levels, please check out the LIMITLESS track of services at my website, www.leonidasalexandrou.com