The Guy on “First Dates”

Can you remember some of your first dates?  Maybe you were lucky and they all went really smoothly but I imagine you can remember some feeling awkward and you were unsure about what to talk about or do?  Channel 4 has a tv programme which films couples meeting on completely blind "First Dates" and I was tuned in on the first night that Louis, a charmingly gauche young man, met a woman for dinner.

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Does comparing yourself affect your confidence?

I was at Swiss Ball class this week in an effort to keep fit. I've been doing this class for nearly 2 years now and, although we change our exercises on a weekly basis, I've got to know most of the exercises over that time. I don't think it's an easy class: I'm huffing and puffing, and usually the day afterwards my core stomach muscles are aching from the work I've put in (and that makes me feel all virtuous and like I can eat cakes for the rest of the week :-D).

So this week we were doing an exercise that involved doing a plank with our feet on the Swiss Ball. We then had to bring our knees into our chest before pushing them back out whilst doing a press up. I wasn't quite sure I'd got my rhythm right so I asked the instructor. She confirmed I was doing it right and asked "do you find it easy?" to which another lady in the class said "you make all the exercises look easy”.

How are you comparing yourself - a blog post about improving confidence by Gillian Lewis: Spectrum Coaching and Consultancy

Now, it's interesting to hear that that's the perception other people have but I don't feel that those exercises are easy - in fact one of them I find it nigh on impossible to do. The reality is that I have been going to the class for some time and I also do Pilates which helps with my core strength. Combining the two seems to work well for me. Maybe to the outside eye that looks as though I'm doing it well but I know how hard I find it​.

I think there are a number of reasons why we are constantly comparing ourselves:​

  • We want to make sure the progress is what we would anticipate given the amount of effort that we have put into something
  • We're generally trying to find feedback on ourselves. We're trying to find the most successful route through life and we try to understand our successes or failures - or assess whether we will be a success or failure. Now, we could just ask for feedback, but that's not something that most people do or give on a regular basis, and you might not like what you're going to hear so you compare yourself to others to try to work out what your feedback would be
  • We do it to stay on track - and I think that's about staying safe. Going back to cavemen times, if you stayed doing the things the same way that other people did them for generations you would stay safe because you fitted in with the tribe and you didn't risk being cast out and eaten by wild animals. I think that's where an overwhelming desire to stay in your comfort zone (and away from risk!) originates

But comparison can turn sour....

Most people at some point in their lives will have experienced people being cruel; people putting them down, and I think that comes from comparing ourselves. When that happens, it can be about jealousy or envy, and a need to bolster a fragile ego by crushing another. It can be active bullying, constant belittling or snide remarks heard.

If you've experienced the negative downside of comparison, it can be very easy to believe that there is something wrong with you, and not just in relation to the original incident - in many other areas of your life too. Now, depending on your personality type, that could drive you to ignore it, or compete to be even better.

Does comparing yourself affect your confidence? - a blog post by Gillian Lewis, Confidence Coach

But it could cause you to question yourself and your capabilities, and subsequently make you self-conscious and reduce your confidence so that you keep a constant focus on what you are doing and whether you're doing it right, or doing it as well as somebody else is apparently doing. Even when they might have been doing it for longer, or practice more, or have a greater natural aptitude, it can be easy to beat yourself up that you're not as good as somebody else.

When you feel like these thoughts are overwhelming you, just ask yourself what evidence you have to believe that you're not good enough when you compare yourself to other people - and the reasons why that could be the case.

What evidence do you have to believe that you're not good enough when you compare yourself to other people?

#selfimage #coaching

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In my situation, ​I know that the lady who made the comment to me at the Swiss Ball class will not be beating herself up about how quickly she is progressing because she is an accomplished endurance athlete, but another type of person could be put off attending because they didn't feel they were good enough after a couple of classes - and that might influence them to decide they wanted to drop out because they felt they *had* to be as proficient because in reality they're comparing apples and oranges.

Do you compare apples and oranges

And that comparison could lead to a life less lived.​

If this resonates with you...

I have a limited number of free sessions that I offer to help you take the first step to build your confidence so that you don't spend so much time comparing yourself to others


Are you holding a distorted view of yourself?

​I've been remarkably quiet over the summer for a number of reasons, but school holidays are over now so back into gear!

Last week, we were up in Alston and went to visit the Killhope Lead Mine in Upper Weardale.  The museum have created an exhibition with a number of original items to show how the mine worked in the second half of the 19th century and the home lives of the workers and their families in this remote part of the country.  Beautiful though it is in summer and with a car, I can't imagine it was much fun​ through the middle of winter 150 years ago!

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Imperfections? What Imperfections?

Have you ever been part of a group photo, and looked at the result only to groan because you look so terrible but all of your friends look fabulous?  Although you've probably only vaguely registered that they are in the photo because you're too intent looking at what you think are your imperfections.  Then your friends say "What a hideous photo of me" and you think they must be saying that to make you feel better?

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A Surreal Conversation about being a Life Coach

Have you ever held a conversation which you later look back on and think "well that was surreal"?  Now, it could be the content of the conversation was surreal, or it could be that the circumstances of where you held the conversation were surreal.  I have.  Several times.  Both types, but I think the conversation I had a recently might just have taken the biscuit.

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Going for a job interview? What first impression do you make?

If you've read my blog for any length of time, or heard me speak at an event, I'll frequently talk about what impression you make when you meet somebody for the first time.  With job interviews, the stakes are raised.  You are being assessed for suitability for a job against a number of other people who all want to make a good impression too so it's essential that you're aware of how important first impressions are.

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How old am I?

If I knew more about Google Analytics, I might know whether the search term I saw pop up on this website from a visitor was because somebody was trying to find out about me, or whether it was about another Gillian Lewis (maybe Gillian Lewis, the English Character actress who I think may have been the inspiration for me being called Gillian): "How old is Gillian Lewis".

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Lucky Pants – does your underwear give you confidence?

I recently attended a workshop with the irrepressible Steve Thompson at Teesside University (  We were discussing confidence and how, if you employ a "fake it till you make it" approach, you will constantly nudge at the edges of your comfort zone before finally realising that you do have confidence in a particular field.  

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Big Sky Thinking

I'm just back from the new Mackenzie Thorpe exhibition of Station Posters in Middlesbrough.  I love Mackenzie Thorpe's work, and find I am always drawn to his paintings with really beautiful big skylines with puffy clouds - although the ones with shepherds and sheep come a close second (and when he paints both together, I'm in heaven! :-D).  I once spoke to him about how much I loved the cloud filled scenes he painted and he told me he got the best results when he turned the painting upside down so he could gain a different perspective on the work.  Reflecting on that on the way home, I started to think of this as being "Big Sky Thinking" (rather than Blue Sky Thinking) and how that would be a pretty good way to help you achieve the best results too. 

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Replay: Inspiring Change – International Women’s Day 2014

Yesterday was International Women's Day and I wrote a blog post inspired by the theme: #MakeItHappen.  Today I'm going to replay a post I wrote last year for the same event: Inspiring Change - International Women's Day 2014.

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