Ode to an underrated trait: Self-Will

self-will the underrated trait

On self-will, stubbornness and being opinionated

Self-will and being opinionated are brothers in a way. Recently, I saw a post by a thought leader I respect very much. It spoke against being opinionated and implied that opinionated people might be inflexible and closed-minded. Unable to listen. Unwilling to change. It was the first time I did not fully agree with something written by this incredible leader I hold in the highest regards. If you know me, you know I am opinionated and have a strong sense of self-will. Therefore, I belong to the group targeted by this post and that’s not something you can just ignore. Because I value this person and his teachings a lot, I sat back and reflected long and hard on his arguments and statements. Should I change? Should I change my training material?
  • Does having an opinion make me unable to listen?
  • Is my self-will egoistic?
  • Is my mind closed when I formed an opinion about something?
  • Is having a point of view a sign of ignorance?
Being agreeable is an instinct. Therefore, I wondered for a minute if I should share my conclusion. Then again, if you are a regular visitor to my article section or even a subscriber to my newsletter or client, you are here because you know who I am. You know what I stand for and what makes me tick.

Self-will and other virtues

There are a lot of virtues people aim to possess. But first: Let me give you the translation of the German word for stubbornness: (Eigensinn) “own sense.” Something that has its own sense. Someone stubborn follows their own sense. As opposed to what? Here are a few virtues I found listed on a homepage about good parenting:
  • Being on time
  • Humbleness
  • Honour
  • Excellence
These are not bad traits per se. What they do have in common, though, is that they have been invented to make us followers. Easy to control. Follow the laws, the rules of society and other people (for instance, a manager.) Self-will is the only virtue that is about following ourselves. “Own sense.” I know that own sense is not a word and I hope you’ll forgive me for using it. This article is not a call for a revolution or becoming anti-social. Revolution is war and I stand for happiness. A society can only work if everyone accepts and fulfills their role. But that does not mean thinking for yourself and being aware that you accept a role is a bad thing. Every virtue turns into a negative in an extreme. The person who is good with money vs the cheap person, for instance.
The world is not a talking shop. Decisions have to be made.
Alfred Herrhausen

Why do stubbornness, self-will, and opinion have a bad reputation?

If you look at the history of the world, all impactful change-makers (for the better or worse) were stubborn (self-willed) and opinionated. Just think of Mandela, Socrates – or if you are religious Jesus Christ. Once someone achieved success, we’re willing to call it "visionary", “charismatic”, “a lot of personality”, “individualist.” But until then, we consider self-will a character flaw. We group people into followers and leaders. Followers do not follow their “own sense”, they fulfill someone else’s vision. Our economic system would crash if everyone would think for themselves, ask questions and only do what made sense to them and served their growth. It can only work because most people follow orders. Explaining, influencing is much more exhausting than just giving orders. It’s understandable that the very teachers who tell us about the heroes, the self-willed people of ancient times, teach us to be compliant.

Self-will and egoism

Self-will, following your own sense, is egoistic. (It's a word now, I said it five times!) Egoistic in the good sense, not in the greedy or ruthless way. Every creature (besides humans and the pets they tame) follows their growth instinct to become the best version of themselves. They follow an inner law. Or we could say: calling. Every creature, every thing follows its calling. The inner voice that leads them to do what’s the best growth strategy for them. People and many other creatures also have the need for closeness, ergo the herd instinct. It’s also shared protection. While the compromises one must make to be a part of a herd are not endangering our health and happiness, the sacrifices, for instance, a fabric worker in the assembly line at Apple’s partner in China has to make are endangering his health and limit his growth. Can you imagine a herd of 100 animals where 2 animals get 90% of the food and all others have to chew on a few leftovers? Perhaps even toxic? But that is how our trickle down economy works. It cannot work if everyone follows their growth instinct. Our current model is based on exploitation and can only work if the vast majority of people are obedient. The more unnatural we live, the higher the suicide, depression, drug abuse rates. Not everyone who gives you orders has your best interest in mind. Without self-will, you will neither become the best version of yourself nor have a lot of success and happiness in your life. Everyone has an agenda. I repeat. Every. One. Has an agenda. And the agenda is always selfish. Not just people who want to exploit you for their personal gain wrongfully advice you to let go of your own self. We assess situations coming from what we know. People share advice from their biased point of view. Biased by their upbringing, intellectual capabilities, learned skills, what they expect from us. Everyone's ability to predict is compromised by the pain they suffered and by what we observed. We're not aware of it, but it's all parked in the long-term storage of our mirror neurons. People have more or less selfish agendas. Everyone has one. The point is:
  • You have to think for yourself to make educated decisions
  • To become your best/happiest, you have to have self-will
  • Emotional intelligence helps you to understand someone’s agenda
  • Following your own sense is your very responsibility and protects your core

Last words

  • Every virtue turns into a negative in the extreme
  • Having an opinion means you thought about something. It does not imply you’re not open to listen and change your opinion
  • The world needs more people who think for themselves and who stand for something
  • Opinionated people with self-will are harder to manipulate
  • The biggest change-makers in the history of the world were stubborn
  • People with emotional intelligence have a strong self-will
  • We have to understand someone’s agenda to decide if they will harm us or support our growth
  • Dr. Mark Goulston and I can help you to understand everyone's agenda and achieve your full growth potential. We help individuals and teams to become more influential.

Continue reading

How to make a difficult decision


Very difficult decisions

Sometimes we are at a crossroad in our life where we have to make a difficult decision.

  • Should I start my own business or stay where I am?
  • Do I want a baby or focus on my career?
  • Should I cut the salary of all employees or fire 10 people?
  • Do I stay in my unhappy relationship for the kids?

Did you know that there is a simple hack to make difficult decisions easy?

How to make difficult decisions easy

Let's start with the why:

Why are some decisions difficult to make?

The answer is simple. Difficult decisions are difficult because no alternative seems better than the other.

Perhaps one alternative offers security while the other holds the opportunity for a larger gain. Or you have to decide if you want to trade security for freedom.

Option A might mean you will miss something now while option B could mean you will miss something later on for the rest of your life. Maybe one decision will make you unhappy while the alternative will make others unhappy.

One decision would make shareholders happy but your employees would hate you while the alternative makes everyone like you but you might not hit your target.

Think about it: when was the last time you had a hard time deciding? Maybe you have to decide right now and you can't decide which way to go.

Is it because none of the options seem better than the other? Or because you will have to trade one thing important to you for another?  Perhaps there just is no better alternative.

Let me share with you the simple trick I use to make difficult life decisions easy.

I will say upfront that it does not help with small decisions. While I have no trouble making important life decisions quickly, I still might take 5 minutes to decide which toppings I want on my pizza.

Our hack is: We change the question.


What person do I want to be?

Instead of asking: "Which decision is the better one?" we will ask: "What person do I want to be?"

You're not depending on making the best decision anymore. You can stop making a rational pro and contra list. Just throw it away!

Now you are deciding which reason for deciding matters more to you.

Is that scary? Maybe.

Because it also means we accept accountability for our decisions. It means that we take full control of our life. Not society, norms, our partner, our boss, our shareholders - we decide.

With accountability comes the opportunity to create the life you truly want. And to feel free and powerful because you make decisions are in line with your values, beliefs, and goals.

How to find your reason

How can you find out which reason matters the most to you? Simple. Look at your dreams and values.

Check your options:.

  • How will my life change?
  • Do I want to be the person?
  • Is it in line with my value system?

Suddenly you find that one option is better than the other.

Maybe the option in line with your "reason" is the scarier one.

So what?

Do you prefer to listen to the audio version of this article? Just go HERE

Related articles: 

8 Hacks for more Confidence


The Power of Anyway


Hooray to Mediocrity


Continue reading

Positive vs. negative Motivation

Positive vs negative Motivation

Why positive motivation is better for your brain

I just scrolled through my LinkedIn news feed and noticed plenty of negative quotes. You find them on all social networking sites. 

Motivation is the sum of motives for our readiness to act which means our pursuit of goals or targets based on emotional and neuronal activity. 

Today we will not look at the topic in its complexity, but just pick out one factor constantly in front of our eyes. We will neither look at sources for motivation nor different models.

"Negative motivation" can be defined as something we do out of fear or to avoid certain consequences, but we will further simplify today and use the term for:

Negative motivation on social media

What's the problem with that?

You can hate to lose or love to win.

The word "hate" is a strong word that triggers reactions in your brain. Feeling hatred towards someone, especially in a professional environment, is rare. 

I think most of the time people who post quotes about jealousy, haters and such are not aware what they are doing to their brains. 

Our small minds cannot process everything around us. Our brain pick which parts of the infinite plethora of things around us it will show us. Our brain ignores negations.

We might not even be serious when we post about "the sum of our haters" - but tell that to our brain. 

Does that mean that negative motivation should never be used? 

When to use negative motivation

Negative motivation can be helpful if you are dealing with a disaster. If something happens that is so painful that we don't know how to move on, negative motivation can be a good short-term solution. 

When to use negative motivation
Picture Credit: TheOdysseyOnline.com

It is helpful to avoid and damage and deal with disaster. To that extent, and that extent only, it is a fabulous tool to help us survive disaster. 

It does not serve us long-term, though. It will not be long before it feasts on its host. Negativity is exhausting. The satisfaction of proving someone wrong does not last long. Doing something "because they said I can't" will not be strong enough to keep you going for a long time. 

We give people that hurt us and situations that were painful power if we substitute our higher goal with negative motivation and keep reminding ourselves on all the negatives.

To sum things up

Both forms of affirmations, negative and positive, can give you power for that moment. Positive motivation is side-effect free. Negative motivation is an energy thief because part of your attention shifts to all the negative things and people around you.

You will see more of that and a shift in your expectation will lead to you getting more of that. The same is true for positive words like "love" "support" "help".

Instead of "Punishing your haters with your success" you could "reward yourself". The strongest goal is a positive, higher goal.

Let's not give negative people too much credit by giving them an importance they do not have. Focus on yourself!

YOU are worth it!

Continue reading

The Price of Intuition

The Price of Intuition

Intuition is the result of suffering

I had what people call a violent, abusive father. My mom told me that he became like that after a car accident that left my father in a coma for 6 months and 1 week. My mom also told me that it's my fault she ever had to marry him because she was pregnant. Therefore, I took that statement with a grain of salt and learned to form my own opinion early on. The dirty divorce war lasted over seven years and was fought mostly at my expense. One parent blaming and accusing the other while my father sometimes tried to kidnap me from school. Trust me: If the school director summons all students, shows them a picture of your father and instructs the kids how they have to call for help when they see him, the unwanted limelight burns through your scalp. When I was 9, I learned how to pick a lock and broke into my mom's room when she was at work. The room with all the books. Grown-ups were sure: It's not normal for a 9-year-old to read Kafka and Hesse. At the age of 10, they brought me to a psychiatrist to decide if I had suffered lasting damage. They put me into a room with a lot of toys and left. I was damaged back then. What's there even to "decide" when a kid has been beaten and emotionally abused for all of his short life? My instinct was to throw away the first toy I grabbed and take the next. And the next. I could not concentrate on a task back then. For some reason, I "knew" I had to pretend I play happily with one toy. I did so until the doctor and my mom came back. The result was negative. I was considered a healthy kid. You develop the senses you need to survive. That's all your brain is about: Survival.  I had developed intuition. Because I had to. It was important to "feel" when danger (my father) was imminent and also find truth (to sort out statements that could have made me feel guilty for being alive.)

Our senses

I do not believe in witchcraft. I believe in the power of our brains and our senses. We have a 6th sense - or call it intuition. Some stronger, some not so much. For instance, it used to be pretty common that a mother would "feel" that something happened to her kid before we had telephones and modern communication. The sense became weaker when it was less needed. Also, our lives became less dangerous. Just like a blind person develops a stronger sense of smell, a kid in chronic danger will develop a stronger "6th sense." That might be a simplified explanation and I admittedly made it up myself, but, so I believe, accurate.

Reseach Facial Expression

In his best-seller "The Tipping Point", Malcolm Gladwell speaks about the teachings of pioneering UC San Francisco psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman on face reading. Ekman and several colleagues created (FACS), a Facial Action Coding System, which identifies facial expressions created by slight shifts in the facial muscles. It turns out that children of addicted parents (drugs, alcohol) are far better at detecting even the slightest change in facial expressions. I read similar research (for the German police) years ago (but couldn't find the source) that came to the conclusion that kids with a background of abuse are superior at detecting lying suspects and criminals from their facial expression.

Each of us is blessed

Everyone receives blessings. And there are two sides to every blessing. There is no light without shadow. The rich kid you envy might have had less chance to develop "fighter" skills. He might struggle later in life. The kid with the wonderful parents and the ideal loving childhood might break, unprepared for when it first faces the ugly, dark side of life. The intuitive kid has developed his skills at the price of suffering. Envy is such a waste of time. The Universe grants its blessings on its own time. Not ours.    And for everyone who still lets whatever happened centuries ago limit their amount of success = happiness: Consider emotional intelligence training. We are all blessed. But sometimes we need someone to teach us how we can remove the stains on our blessings caused by third parties. Please do not ask me what's the blessing of a child in Africa that dies from hunger. I could not answer that. But I will say: The more we manage to focus on our blessings and realize our potential, the more capacity we have to give to others.

Continue reading

8 Hacks For More Confidence

8 Simple Hacks For More Confidence
Confidence is self-trust. How far we trust ourselves decides about our results. A former trainer of mine, Lester Karrass, famously said:
"In business and in life - you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate."
The less faith you have in yourself, the weaker will you negotiate. You will settle for little. We ask for what we feel we are worth. People who lack confidence will neither ask nor get much from life. I put together for your 8 simple tips that allow you to increase your confidence and start re-negotiating with life. I will admit that the "simple tips" are a comprehensive collection of self-growth exercises. "Comprehensive collections of sometimes difficult exercises that require persistence and effort" was just too long for the headline (; Perhaps I even smuggled 2 tips in 1. Then again ... flashy one-liners rarely take you places. My guide has the potential to do something for you - if you allow it. I have made a video version for you as well, in case you prefer that.

8 tips for more confidence, self-esteem & feeling of self-worth


1. I can afford to make mistakes (self-acceptance)

"I am good the way I am, even though I am not perfect."
Self-acceptance means to embrace yourself with all of your mistakes. The price question is: How can you implement a mindset of self-acceptance into everyday life? I have an effective exercise for you, but it will take practice. Think of something about yourself you strongly dislike and that bugs you regularly. It could be
  • outwardness (a big nose, too much weight ...)
  • features such as shyness, slow learning, huffishness
  • other things like being unemployed, childless, lonely or poorly educated
You can use everything you dislike about yourself. And here comes the trick: Please say:
"Even though I .................... I am ok and right and worth the good things in life."
With "good things" I mean for instance: love, respect, abundance, recognition. The sentence reflects a fundamental fact of life that should be internalized to increase your feeling of self-worth - and achieve the results you want. If only perfect people deserved the good things, nobody would deserve them. Because nobody is perfect. You're not. I'm not. The person you look up to the most is not. Richard Branson is not. Not even the Dalai Lama. An example of a self-acceptance mantra:
  • Even though I am shy and have trouble approaching people, I am ok as a person and right. I deserve the good things in life and I am worth them.
You can reword it. Your own words are the strongest. Just do not weaken the message.
Even if you would stop reading right now: Just by practicing this little exercise you already take huge steps forward.

2. I can grow (confidence)

Confidence is faith in yourself. It's the belief you can master hurdles, challenges and whatever else life throws your way.It's the belief that persistence, hustle and the right way of thinking enables you to achieve anything you set your mind to.
Confident people have faith in their abilities and their power to master familiar and unfamiliar situations.
They trust they can handle challenges that are in line with their current skill-set and also those that require skills they currently don't possess.
Maybe you want to take on a job that comes with a lot of responsibilities. Or you want to end a relationship, change jobs and you trust you have or can develop the skills needed to go through a hard time, painful break-up and such.
To have confidence means to have faith in your ability to grow as a person. That you can learn what you need as you go along. And that you may make mistakes, yes, even that it's an important part of the journey and source for learning.
Naturally, there are limits. I, for instance, could not become the youngest person landing on the moon.
But because I allow myself to learn and fail and grow, I have faith that I can achieve a lot of things.
Even things I never did before.
If you want to develop confidence, the best way is to grow. Prove to yourself that you can learn. This is also the learning goal of "Project Confidence".
You could learn a new language or skill. But the best is to learn things related to your desires, goals, and needs.
Learn business skills if you want to start your own company. Learn communication skills and increase your EQ if you want to meet a new partner.
Showcase that you can grow. Your confidence will grow with you.

3. I know myself (self-awareness)

"I know who I am and where I stand."
Self-awareness helps to stay calm and relaxed in a difficult situation. Self-aware people can act sovereign. They handle negative feedback in a constructive manner. Also, they act more than they react. When they consider something important they will make it a subject of discussion. Why can they do it? Because they know:
  • Who they are (self-understanding)
  • What is important to them and
  • They know their boundaries and if they consider behavior acceptable or encroaching
This knowledge leads to internal stability. If you have clarity, you are rock solid and can't be thrown off-track easily.
  1. Find out who you are
  2. Find out what is important to you and where you are willing/unwilling to compromise
  3. Define your boundaries. Decide what you will allow people in the future - and what not
You might find that these questions are difficult to answer. They are worth spending the time to look at them in-depths.
That leads to sovereignty.

4. I am real (authenticity)

"I am how I am and that is how I am."
The better we can accept and embrace who we are the more authentic we become. In combination with confidence and self-esteem, it allows us to show more and more often who and how we are. Without being ashamed of ourselves and that we are how we are. It becomes easier to say: "What you think about me is your problem and not mine." Authenticity directly results from self-acceptance. It works the other way around too. If I dare to show how I am, my self-acceptance will increase. If this concept is frightening you, you can start out small. Start by showing the real you to a selective group of people you trust. Own your fear, weakness, mistakes, and things you wished were different. Talk about your feeling of shame and display your vulnerability. You quickly see that you feel a new dimension of connection with your counterparts. Showing vulnerability creates a connection that could not be deeper. But careful: Start with people you trust. The more often you practice authenticity, the more you will learn to accept yourself. Another trick:  Write a list of all the things you feel ashamed of. Put the demons on a piece of paper. That has a cleansing effect by itself. Then sort the list from "less terrible" to "most terrible". Practice moving more and more items to the "less terrible" section. Admit how you are and accept it more and more. In conversations, you will notice that many people deal with the same issues you do. Commonality creates connection and has a healing effect. I will not lie to you. That takes guts and not everyone will appreciate you. But you will earn respect from the people that matter and learn to accept yourself which will lead to more power and happiness.

5. I accept my needs and am kind to myself (kindness, need-awareness)

"I deserve the good things in life."
We all have needs.
  • The need for physical and emotional security
  • The need for abundance and well-being
  • The need for love, togetherness, and connection
  • The need for freedom (of choices) and autonomy
  • The need for success
Our needs are individual. For some people, freedom is of uttermost importance while others strongly need to socialize.
We are all different. But then again, not that different.
Having needs is not a problem. It only becomes a problem if we believe that we don't deserve the good things.
Many people have a hard time standing up for their desires, interests, and needs. They think they are not good enough, not worthy of them.
Here is the good news and difficult message: Only one person can give you permission to grab the good things. And this person is you. 
I could tell you: "Hey, you're a wonderful person and you have my permission to pursue your goals and fulfill your desires."
But my permission is meaningless. The permission of your parents, partner, your boss is meaningless.
You and only you can give yourself permission. Because you also have to believe you're worth it.
Changing your feeling of self-worth will not happen overnight. It's a journey of many small steps, missteps, and steps back. But sometime you will arrive.  The journey is rewarding like no other - you will reap the fruits of your work for the rest of your life.
The first step could be to listen to your needs.
  • What do I need at this moment?
  • Do I give myself permission to fulfill the need?
Try to reply more and more often "YES". Give yourself permission to go after the good things in life. More and more.
That goes hand in hand with:


"I treat myself like a good friend."
There is one more thing that helps us to increase our feeling of self-worth and genuinely accept us: kindness towards ourselves and self-care. It means nothing else than treating yourself with care and kindness. Just like you would treat a good friend. For instance:
  • We speak to a friend with respect
  • We listen to a friend without judging him
  • We lift our friend and encourage him if something went wrong
  • We tell him and show him that we like him
  • We forgive him if he was a jerk, for we know that people are not perfect and everyone has bad days
That's how we should treat ourselves. With care and respect. Non-judgemental. Eye to eye. Without accusations and cruelness.
We empower and comfort ourselves in difficult situations and lift ourselves up. We allow ourselves to make mistakes or even be jerks sometimes. We forgive ourselves.
The easiest way to be kinder to yourself is to identify when you are not. You could write a journal, set a timer on your cell phone or use good old post-its.
Hold yourself accountable and track your progress.
  • "I was kind to myself when I burned the sandwich today. Normally I would have insulted myself. But not today. Good job."

6. I consider my strengths (realistic self-assessment)

"I know what I can do and what I cannot do (yet)."
Difficulties with self-acceptance are most often related to our focus. You know about the half-full and half-empty glass. Even optimistic people can be cruel and unforgiving to themselves. Every person has strengths and weaknesses. Ugly and pretty features. We have no problems accepting this duality in others. Many of us focus primarily on our ugly spots. Our shortcomings, imperfections, and weaknesses. Take off your glasses and put on a better pair! You need glasses that allow you to not just see everyone else in a realistic light, but also yourself. The first step is the realization that you are wearing glasses that make you look ugly. Glasses that prevent you from seeing your wonderful and pretty features. The glasses have perhaps been built by signals from your childhood, past relationships - painful experiences of all sorts. Every person has talents and strengths. Your task: Switch glasses and go on a hunt. The hunt for what is great about you. A few questions that can help:
  • When do I have self-limiting thoughts? For instance: "That's nothing.", "That does not count.", "Everyone can do that"
  • What did I achieve in my life so far? And which features, skills have helped achieve it?
  • What is dear to my heart? And which of my positive character traits does that point to?
  • What do others compliment me on?
You can also take a minute at the end of the day and ask yourself: What did I do well today?
This way you focus on every achievement of yours. The small and the big.

7. I live my values (self-actualization/self-realization)

"I am true to myself."
Earlier you read how important it is to know who you are. Part of this is to know what is important to you because that provides you with inner strength. It's not enough to know your own values. You also have to live up to them, live them and defend them. If we don't do that we will soon lose self-respect. If I live my own values as good as I can, my self-respect will grow. It's important to live what is important to you. But how do you know what is of crucial importance to you? If I refuse to produce plastic waste, support Greenpeace and march against environmental pollution, "environmental protection" is one of my values. If I take care of my loved ones each day, focused on making everyone's life as good as I can, "family" might be one of my values. There are so many values. Tolerance, togetherness, fairness, autonomy, success, harmony ... and, and, and. We all have values. But we are also confronted with situations that make us question our values. That tempt us to compromise or even give up on them. It's only human to buckle from time to time - and to forgive yourself for it. It is even better to hold up your values and adjust your life accordingly. 100% is not always possible, but we should strive for it. That is the way to go. How can I achieve that? Ask yourself:
  • What is important to me?
  • How does someone act who considers these things of importance?
Then try to bring your actions in line with your values and beliefs.
That enables you to look in the mirror and say with pride: "I am true to myself. I live according to my values."

8. I solve my problems (problem-solving competence)

"I take charge of my life."
People with a high level of self-esteem solve their problems. That does not mean they are invincible superheroes but that they attempt to find solutions to their problems. They are accountable. They don't put their head in the sand and wait it out. They don't wait around for a hero to rescue them and make their problems go away. They tell themselves: "Dang. That s .... and can't continue like that. Therefore, I will take action." If you take care of your problems (starting with simple ones for quick rewards) your self-respect will increase. Because you are doing something for yourself. Because you are important enough to yourself to stand up for yourself and hold yourself accountable. Starting with the problems that are simple and easy to solve: take care of your problems. One after the other. That creates confidence and self-respect.  

Last but not least: Be patient

"I take my time and stay on it."
Yes, I know. This article has a lot of ideas.  And each of them is ambitious and cannot be implemented in a day. Therefore, one thing is important: Do not implement all ideas at the same time. Instead, pick a single idea and try it. When you played with it for a while and it becomes a habit, pick the next one. As they say: "The longest journey starts with the first step". And every step brings you closer to the finishing line. It's tempting to change everything at once. Sadly, lasting change does not work like this. Patience, discipline, realistic expectations and persistence are key when it comes to making impactful changes. We must not forget that implementing new habits and beliefs requires our brain to change, remove neural pathways that do no longer serve us and replace them with new ones. Therefore: Start small, stay on it, enjoy small successes. Change another small thing, continue to be persistent and enjoy your progress. Repeat until the changes have become habits, automatisms. Yes, that can take a few weeks and months. Things that crept in over the years cannot change in a day. It's understandable that we want to make changes quickly. "Change your brain in 10 days" will not work, just as "lose 20 pounds in 3 days". My advice is: Take the first step to more confidence, self-acceptance, and self-esteem. Enjoy the ride and you will see: It's worth it. And this will help you: PROJECT CONFIDENCE

Continue reading

8 Best Tips For Introverts

8 Best Tips For Introverts

Extroverts benefit from these tips too!

It's difficult to be an introvert. Often it seems as if the surest way to be the center of attention is trying to avoid it.

Most of our interests, character traits and likes have developed during our childhood. Our family, friends, our profession, and setbacks and failure - all of that influenced who we became and what is important to us.

While you can change the color of your hair with some dye, the same does not apply to personality traits, for instance, introversion and extroversion.

Introvert, extrovert, ambivert

The third category is ambiverts (like myself).

Introverted people are quiet while extroverted people are "loud" and outgoing.  At least this is our perception. In reality, we are chameleons. We adapt to our environment. That's easier for some than for others.

Introverted people can act just like extroverts. And that is advisable in many situations. For instance, when you are applying for a job, host an exhibition or want to make new friends.

Extroverted people often act like introverts. That too can be advisable in many situations. For instance, in a relationship or when you start a new job.

How do you fuel your engine?

The important distinction between an extrovert and introvert is on the inside. Important is

  • How does a person refuel and recharge?
  • What is the source of power?
  • How does he recover?


Introverted people often gain strength in a quiet setting. They can replenish best when they are alone with their thoughts.


Extroverts can gain power and strengths when they are in the company of others. Dialogue and togetherness are sources of power for them.


And then there are ambiverts. They can switch from introverted to extroverted pretty well. They can extract energy from togetherness but also need their alone time.

From black and white to gray

Introversion and extroversion are not inflexible categories. Most of us are somewhere in the middle with a tendency to one.

Fact is there are introverted people and extroverted people. And the difference is in our brain. Introverted people process impressions different from extroverts.

Introverts have different needs.

Great Tips For Introverts

If you are extroverted, you will still find value in this article. I am sure that there are introverted people in your personal or professional environment. Knowing how they tick can only help your relationships.

1. Find your energy spots and sources of energy

If you are introverted, you know to refuel and recharge your battery you need alone time and quietness. Consider

  • Where do you feel most comfortable?
  • Where can you refuel and regenerate?

You might learn about yourself that the best situation for you is not to sit home alone. Maybe you're feeling more comfortable on a long ride on the highway in a public library, etc.

Find out where you can refuel and make sure you can access this energy spots all the time

What are you doing when you want to energize? One likes to listen to music while the next prefers reading a book. Some resort to mindfulness while others prefer to do nothing at all.

  • What strengthens you?
  • What aids and empowers you the most?

Find out how you can energize best and make sure you have a lot of this in your life. Often an energy spot and energy source can be combined. For instance, if you're reading a book in a public library.

2. Don't wear a label on your forehead

A lot of introverted people carry the label "introvert" like a crown.

They will often say something like: "That is difficult for me because I am introverted." After hearing it for the second or third time, people will get annoyed.

Remove the label. There is no need to emphasize that you are introverted. You just are. Empathic people and people who care about you will be understanding.

And the rest? They will not develop sympathy or be more understanding because you tell them you are introverted.

That doesn't mean you should hide that you are introverted. Just don't use it as an excuse or explanation.

Make a conscious decision whom and when you will tell that you are introverted. Try not to stick a label on your forehead.

3. Don't shoot your own foot

Many introverted people have been through a lot of suffering. Especially when they spend a lot of time with extroverted people who never show a lot of compassion for their otherness.

When they are young, other kids might mock them because they often choose to be alone. Parents might try to pressure them because they play outside less often than their siblings.

As grown-ups, they embrace their new freedom. Finally, they can decide whom they want to spend time with. Sometimes that leads to isolation. For some, withdrawal has become a habit while others want to avoid to be pressured again.

If that applies to you make sure you notice it. You are a grown up now. You decide how you want to live and how often you want to go out. Just make a conscious decision and do not allow negative experience or fear taking control of the way you live your life.

? Ask yourself, do I live like I want to? Would I want more or less excitement and people in my life? Which experience might block me from living the life that I truly want to live?

4. Have faith in others

Introverts often feel like nobody understands them. For instance, when they RSVP with "no" just because they want to think about it and not decide right away. Experience has taught them that every other reply leads to discussions.

You could still give others the chance that they might understand you. Without a big fuss. Just being yourself. Without explaining yourself or apologizing for who you are.

If you feel that this is difficult for you. Contact me and we can discuss if my EsteemedMe program is right for you.

? Give others the chance to accept you for who you are. That implies that you have to be yourself. Without fuss, explanations or apologies.

5. Leave your comfort zone

Often in life, it feels like everything happens at the same time. One appointment after the other and a stressful week at work followed by a workshop on the weekend. And on Sunday, it's your grandma's birthday.

You could cancel the workshop or not attend the birthday party. But maybe it will be great to hang out with your family again?

It is often very rewarding to push your own limits. You can make the conscious decision that even though it will cost your last bits of energy you attend all of the aforementioned.

? Confide in yourself and push your limits from time to time. Just make sure that you recharge your battery as soon as possible.

6. Appreciate who you are

Introverted people often feel exotic or even alien. That is not surprising because a there are more extroverted people and because they are "louder" they are highly visible.

There is nothing wrong with being exotic or different. We're all "different" if we are authentic. The problem is that for many people "different" has a negative connotation. Our society has conditioned us to comply. "What are people going to say?"  Even if we are not aware of it this way of thinking is still an us.

Society has changed. We can risk being different. It's okay. We can admit that we are not party people and that we want to spend our lunch break alone.

? Understand that there is nothing wrong with being yourself. Different is just different. Authenticity cannot be trained. Self-esteem can. Contact me if you need a hand. 

7. Accept incomprehension

It will happen to you all over and over again that you come across insensitive people. Your boss might not understand that you would rather go home instead of an after work party or your friend doesn't understand why you wouldn't want to go to the concert with him or her.

Develop strategies to handle reactions like this. Without blaming yourself for who you are.

Create a strategy of how you will handle incomprehension and negative feedback. We must learn to accept that not everyone will like everything we say or do all the time. And that is okay. A high level of emotional intelligence is extremely helpful for learning to deal with rejection or criticism.

8. Don't get lost in details

Do you want to be heard in meetings? Do you want others to understand what you have to add to a discussion?

Mind the difference. Introverted people appreciate complexity. They have a good sense for details. It's one of their strengths.

Extroverted people sometimes can be irritated by complexity. They focus on the big picture and might lose interest or focus if you don't get to the point fast.

When communicating with extroverted people focus on what matters. Keep the big picture in mind. Communication skills is yet another advantage of people with a high EQ

What next?

Did you discover a few tips that can be helpful to you?

You could pick one, two or three tips and implement them into your daily life in the next days. Some tips might require you to do soul-searching first. But if you are an introvert, this will not be too hard on you (;

And if you read this article as an extrovert you have gained a better understanding why your introverted friend or coworker sometimes seems a bit off.

I have more tips to share but this article is already pretty long. If you would like to see part two - just drop me a line.

Additional resources

Continue reading