Focus on your strengths with Erin-Brie Warwick

Some views and ideas

Blog Posts

  • That Little Voice of Self Doubt (part 2)

    Why do we have this self doubt? What fuels it?? Perhaps we hear words/statements from long ago playing in our heads; memories from the past that still speak to us in the present. Maybe we were told in childhood or early adulthood that we weren't good enough or that we didn't have the capability to do something. Often we internalize other people's opinions of us, or even worse, the opinions that we perceive they have of us.

    Perhaps we feel it is better to be a self-doubter than to appear overly secure. Do you think there is a fine line between confidence and conceit? A fear of appearing conceited or asserting our abilities only to risk failure, creates a vicious cycle of insecurity. We need to feel that it is ok to be proud of our accomplishments and successes. In knowing that we're taking responsibility for creating the life we desire, and in knowing that we are the ones taking action, we can acknowledge that opportunities and successes aren't happening to us merely because we are lucky, but that our skill, hard work and dedication is the driving force. Of course, we are assisted by others in our supportive network, or (depending upon  your beliefs) perhaps spiritually. But it is crucial that we value our own contribution and congratulate and reward ourselves for a job well done.

    So, if a little voice in your head is saying "stop, you can't do this!" it's up to you to change your thoughts from negative to positive before the negativity spirals out of control and overwhelms you. Instead, tell yourself something along these lines, "I have the abilities and/or experience to do this. It's ok to make a mistake, everyone does. I've got this."

    Think back to positive comments that have been given to you that reinforce the intelligent, capable, fabulous person that you are. Think of some tangible examples of your successes, ability to defeat challenges and to overcome obstacles. Surround yourself with positive people who believe in and support you, not who put you down or diminish your light.

    Take ownership and be proud of who you are....and let your light shine.

    Moving you forward, WLS

  • That Little Voice of Self Doubt (part 1)

    Do you sometimes feel like you don't belong? As though you're 'faking' your way through your career successes, or that you're just having a lucky streak that will end at some point? Think about you own your successes or do you have feelings of inadequacy and a lack of self-confidence?

    Truthfully, many successful people feel inadequate. Their feelings of self-doubt are overwhelming and can be all-consuming, but on the outside they look secure and confident. I recall being in court with a senior Crown Attorney while I was articling. When I got up to face the judge, I felt my legs turn to jello. Of course, the words came and all went well. Afterwards, I explained to my colleague how I felt and he made the analogy to a duck - it appears to be gliding across the water effortlessly, while in fact it is paddling like mad underneath!

    What was really important in that situation was my internal dialogue. What was I saying to myself to get through? And what did I say to myself afterwards to have the courage to do it over again? I honestly can't recall, but I want to stress how important it is to have positive self-talk. We are our own worst critics and what may appear disastrous in our minds, often goes unnoticed by an outsider! We are often the ones who stop ourselves from progress, from taking new opportunities and challenges. Why? Because we give too much "air time" to the little (or big!) voice of self doubt in our heads.

    Self-doubt can negatively affect us in all areas of life. For example, professionally we can limit our opportunities for advancement and socially, we can withdraw and become less engaging with others.

    We are not only fearful of failure but can also be fearful of success. We wonder, will a new opportunity be accompanied with difficult challenges? And, can we really do what we are setting out to or will we disappoint ourselves and others?

    For the next 2 weeks, we'll further develop this topic. There will be an interesting guest blog post on the "Imposter Sydrome" as well. Stay tuned! See you next week!

    Moving you forward, WLS

  • Focus on Your Strengths (part 2)

    Last week's post raised the idea of focusing on your strengths. Is this an unsettling idea? It may be. As a young child in school, we were taught a number of subjects and required to demonstrate proficiency in all to pass and achieve good grades. Our parents and teachers told us to spend extra time working on those areas in which we were not strong.
     There was tremendous value in that - it taught us persistence, dedication and patience.

    However, in our adult lives today, to get us from good to great, playing to our strengths will help us to be more successful, helpful to others - including our colleagues, confident, rewarded and motivated. It's something to consider.

    A few questions to ask yourself when considering your strengths (paraphrased from Marcus Buckingham's Put Your Strengths to Work):

    -What are my positive qualities? What do others say positively about me?

    -What do I do that when completed, I look forward to doing again?

    -What do I want to know more about so I can become more proficient?

    -What activities make me feel energized, fulfilled, accomplished and strong?

    Quoting (Psychologist/Author) Cheryl Saban, "When you take the time to engage in activities that absorb your full attention, you'll experience a sense of well-being and contentment. Use your natural gifts and talents. Find ways to enhance your quality of life with them."

    Moving you forward, WLS

  • Focus on your Strengths (part 1)

    Where do you focus your time and energy? Try spending the majority of your time building upon your strengths and talents and expanding your current knowledge. What are your natural abilities? Do you spend adequate time and focus on these?

    This does not mean that you must avoid what you do not like, as life is full of mandatory tasks that we do not enjoy! It also does not say that you must stick to a few activities and never expand your knowledge elsewhere. In a work environment, that is often required and expected.

    It's saying that if you focus on the things that fuel you up instead of depleting you and your energy resources, you will feel renewed as opposed to constantly drained. Consider what gives you the greatest pleasure, sense of fulfillment and excitement.

    A quote from Andy Stanley says that, " if you really want to make a lasting impact, then you need to eliminate what you do well for the sake of what you potentially do best." My best guess of what he is trying to say is that to maximize your potential, spend the majority of your time focusing on your strengths/talents/abilities.

    We spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to overcome our weaknesses and not enough time growing our strengths. For a good read and hands on exercises that focus on identifying and playing to your strengths, I suggest Marcus Buckingham's Put Your Strengths to Work.

    As a broad overview, Buckingham looks at identifying your own strengths and weaknesses and discusses how to put your strengths into practice while navigating away from the activities that weaken you. He discusses how this can be applied in your professional life at work.

    In next week's blog post, we'll continue the topic of focusing on your strengths. How do you feel about this? Does it feel wrong to navigate towards the things we enjoy and are good at, or do you feel like it makes perfect sense to do so?

    Until next week.

    Moving you forward, WLS 


  • Potential - You Have It!

    Living the life you desire and achieving your dreams doesn't just have to make it happen! Ask yourself - "Am I truly making the most of each and every day?"

    Live your life with intent and purpose and be excited and hopeful about what is upcoming in your future. You and only you are responsible for taking action and creating the future you want for yourself. Your future is what YOU make of it. The ability to reach your full potential is in your hands and is your responsibility, no one elses. You don't need to wait for anyone to tell you that it's "go time" to take full control and ownership of your life.

    Don't focus on what you lack, instead focus on what you have. Quoting Albert Einstein, "Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking that it is stupid." What are your abilities, unique skills, interests/passions and talents? Be conscious of what you're focusing your energy on. If you are fixated on the negative and on what you do not have or what you believe you are incapable of doing, you will only attract more disappointments into your life. You will create roadblocks for yourself that will hinder forward movement.

    Realize your passions - Build on your strengths - Attract what is positive - Be proud and happy with who you are.

    You are a unique and talented individual. Grow your potential!!

    Moving you forward, WLS

  • Being Grateful

    Gratitude is a topic that is often discussed during my coaching sessions with clients. I believe that it is hugely important and can have profound effects. Actually taking the time to experience and express thankfulness for everything around you is eye opening. It may be expressed by simply saying thank you more often (in genuine appreciation) or perhaps by engaging in internal practices of gratitude, such as: meditation, journalling, spiritual worship, etc.

    Many of my clients practice daily expressions of gratitude in doing a simple exercise - writing down 3 things that they are thankful for. Every day, regardless of how you are feeling. I encourage you to do this every morning to start your day in a positive frame of mind. A good way to end the day is to review this list, or a portion of the list, as a simple reminder of the goodness that surrounds you.

    We are faced with so many things that have the potential to make us feel down, disappointed and hard done by. Regardless of your situation, try to make a concerted effort to focus your energy on the abundance that surrounds you and is already present in your life...even if at first thought, it is difficult to see. There are always (always!) reasons to be grateful, commit yourself to seeing them.

    You may not be able to fully control your environment or situation, but you can always control your thoughts, reactions, and the decision to see your circumstances in a positive light. It is in your power to take the initiative to make these changes.

    Make the decision today to experience gratitude and to show thankfulness internally and externally. Be thankful for those who support you and make your world a better place.

    Moving you forward, WLS

  • Happy Hearts

    When I was studying psychology in University, I recall discussing 'positive psychology' (and pioneer Martin Seligman and colleagues). Some psychological schools of thought are largely focused on treating a problem ("disease centric approach") whereas positive psychology is more in line with coaching philosophy, namely that we are in the drivers seat of our lives. We have control over our happiness or unhappiness.

    Here are a few thoughts to think on......

    1) Focus on what is positive in your life today. Look ahead and plan for the future but don't forget to acknowledge your present accomplishments and to congratulate yourself. Also, remember to express gratitude. You have much to be thankful for....believe it.

    2) Capitalize on your strengths and live passionately. A passionate lifestyle is one where your values and interests are reflected in your daily life.

    3) Focus on goals that are your own and that matter to you. If they are aligned with your interests, desires and abilities, they will be easier to reach and the process will be much more enjoyable.

    4) Make happiness a priority. Write down 5 things that make you happy and try your best to include them in your daily life.

    5) Establish and grow meaningful relationships. Be grateful for a supportive network. It is incredibly important and deserving of your gratitude and effort to maintain and nurture.

    6) Last but not least, don't overextend yourself. It leads to stress, anxiety and burn out....not conducive to a happy heart nor a healthy life.

    During coaching sessions, clients and I often discuss the relationship between life balance and happiness. Be conscious of your stressors. Enlist the support of your social network (family, friends, colleagues) or seek professional assistance to aid you.

    Take a step today towards increasing your happiness. It's worth're worth it.

    Moving you forward, WLS

  • Resolution Solution (part 2)

    In last week's post, we discussed making the conscious decision to be more positive and how that can be achieved in a world where we are bombarded by negativity. Today, I want to turn the focus inward to look at our own internal voices.

    The noise isn't always outside, we battle internal demons as well. Our "inner critic" is crafty. It rears its ugly head when we're feeling low, afraid, or lacking in confidence. Unchecked, this can lead to disastrous consequences. This internal monster needs to be managed. We need to be able to acknowledge its appearance and recognize the negative voice in your head. Once you're aware of its presence, take action. Tell it where to go! Even saying "Stop! Enough!" may be sufficient to quiet the noise. Lastly, try moving forward using self-affirmations. These will be different for everyone as they should not feel forced, "canned" or fake. Create ones that work for you. Use them...and believe in them.

    Another important point in the discussion of positive vs. negative thinking, is the potentially damaging effects of over generalization. Make an effort not to globalize or overgeneralize your thinking. The world isn't black or white...there's a lot of grey in the mix too. Be conscious of the use of the words "always" and "never" (such as: "I always fail when I try to cook this" or "I'm not going to try this activity because I'll never succeed"). Can you work on those statements to frame them more positively? Constantly overgeneralizing can create a vicious cycle. Negative expectations are fuelled by negative thoughts. Negative thoughts create negative energy, attitudes and behaviours....thus creating a negative outcome....not surprising. So try to change your perspective and look for positives in a situation and experience gratitude, because things could always be worse.

    Take a look at your focus. Both good and bad things happen to us over the course of a day/week/year, so to what are you giving the most energy? Is it the 'negative drama'? If so, try to highlight the positive. Look for good in the world and feel optimistic about your future. Look for what made you happy, excited, energized, proud, etc. and talk about these things instead. Just like negativity, positive energy is highly contagious. What you put out into the world you tend to receive, so try passing along a happy bug (which, unlike the flu bug, people will be glad to catch along with you).

    Moving you forward, WLS

  • Resolution Solution

    Are you a resolution maker? Like many others in the world, you may have started this new year with a list of "Must Do's" (such as sleeping more or going the gym) and "Must NOT Do's" (eating fast food, smoking etc).

    The great thing about resolutions is they don't have to be written for January 1st. In fact, some people find them to be more effective when they're set at other times of the year. Regardless, they do serve an important purpose. They're helpful in causing you to look at your big picture goals/vision and to examine how satisfied you are with your life today in comparison to the life you desire.

    In making these key changes and moving forward, working with a coach can be very effective in helping you explore and further define your goals and to align them with your passions. We can help you to navigate through the complexities of life as you journey towards your goal while overcoming roadblocks that stand in your way. As well, we'll  keep you accountable to the small, manageable steps that you've created en route to your end goal.

    In reflecting upon the goals that you may have set this year, was "having a positive outlook and attitude" anywhere on your list? Some of us naturally exude positive energy (and if this describes you - thanks - the world needs more of you around!) A positive outlook is beneficial to us in many ways.

    They say that misery loves company, and negativity can inadvertently affect our own feelings and decisions. At times, we fail to differentiate ourselves from others. We need to acknowledge our own uniqueness in perception and experience, and know that we may not feel, interpret or react in the same way.

    When negative gossip is being shared try to avoid engaging and instead, share something positive. Change the conversation around and make a positive contribution. Yes, sometimes gossip can be useful. It can make us feel closely connected to those with whom we are sharing and it can create a sense of belonging, understanding, and intimacy. However, it can also be incredibly destructive, unproductive and even harmful to our own well being. Try to shape a negative discussion into a more positive one while exercising good judgment and sensitivity. Even if you see the conversation as useless, negative banter, the speaker may feel differently. To him/her, they may be expressing a significant experience and it may be an emotional issue for them. 

    In next week's blog, I'll continue this conversation with a discussion on the effects of internal negative "noise", as well as how we can try to avoid making broad (negative) generalizations.

    Make it a fantastic week!

     Moving you forward, WLS


  • A Commitment to Growth

    Living the life you desire and achieving your dreams doesn't just happen. You have to make it happen!

    As we wrap up the month of December, and head into 2019, ask yourself - "Am I truly making the most of each and every day?"

    Mary Kay Ash, the creator of the incredibly successful company Mary Kay has said, "the world is full of people who are quick to dream but slow to act. Often because they have failed to break big goals into manageable ones, but more often it is a fear of failure. You can only overcome such fear if you are willing to get up and get started. Yes you are going to make mistakes, but we fail forward to success....remember, obstacles polish us up or wear us down" (Mary Kay Ash biography page 99).

    I love that quote and the realization that life doesn't come easily and that we often must fail forward to success.

    Make your own growth plan intentional and strategic. Commit yourself to not accepting the status quo or mediocrity, but force yourself to learn, change and grow.....and expect (and tackle full-on!) the obstacles that will present themselves.

    Put yourself in an environment that encourages (not hinders) growth. I've read somewhere that there are certain types of fish whose growth patterns reflect the environment which they're in. Put them in an environment that encourages growth and they will expand and reach their full potential. On the contrary, a stifling environment will stunt them.

    "Be willing to live life to your fullest potential, and believe in fact that you have plenty of it!" ~ Cheryl Saban (Psychologist and Author)

    Wishing you and yours happiness, health, and a commitment to positive growth in 2019.

    Moving you forward, WLS


  • Take a Deep Breath

    Last week, I had a chat with a good friend. During our conversation, when we found ourselves talking about the Christmas season I began to hear panic in her voice. She spoke faster and faster as she discussed the cooking and baking and family gatherings and holiday-party-attending and gift buying issues. I absolutely love this season, but goodness it can be stressful!!

    Even if you don't celebrate the holiday, you can hopefully relate to this the sheer craziness that the month of December can evoke. So, how can we enjoy this "most wonderful time of the year" with less stress, less emotional turmoil and more joy, peace and...calm?

    Lets take a look at 2 things, pressures and expectations. These can result from internal thoughts and/or external influences. Sometimes, we're truly our own worst enemies. We expect ourselves to: decorate like Martha Stewart, make 20 different holiday dishes (without burning any of them), find the perfect gifts, and the list goes on and on.

    You can't do it all. Or maybe you can, but there's a good chance that your body and mind are going to feel the feel the impact. Look at your to-do list and prioritize. What's the cake and what's the to speak.

    If you feel over scheduled with holiday events, remember that your own health and sanity is paramount. Everyone is extremely busy and people will understand. If you can, drop in and stay for a short while, or alternatively, thank them for their kind invitation but decline and offer to get together in the New Year when life slows down. In short, stretching yourself thin and stressing yourself out will not benefit you nor the people around you. Ask for help when needed and learn to say no when necessary.This is not an easy thing to do and something that I am continuing to work on myself.

    Another important consideration is your own health and well-being. With life in fast-forward mode, we can find ourselves out of sync with regular routines that keep us level. Sleeping, eating, meditating and exercising patterns change quickly and our bodies and minds struggle to adjust. This also applies to other members of our family, such as our children and spouse...and even the pets! As much as possible, attempt to keep up a normal 'routine'. Try your hardest to keep yourself balanced and practice being kind to yourself. Really. It matters.

    Lastly, I think that at some level we begin to believe that the holiday season is one that should resemble the picturesque scene on the front of boxed cards. That it should have happy families, perfect gifts, smiling children and incredible food. It is difficult to match this level of perfection...and is it even realistic for us to want to? As well, the unspoken expectation in those holiday songs, stories, movies etc. that the holidays are a time of togetherness and love can be heartbreaking to those who are experiencing loss, loneliness, and heartbreak. Having expectations for ourselves is a good thing....but searching for what is truly important for each of us is the most important thing. What the holiday means to me is most likely not what it means to you. We have different interests, beliefs and customs. But I ask you to go back to the it religion, or family, or a sense of peace and good will? Try to focus on the true meaning of the season to you and your family, and look at the rest of it as window dressing....pretty decorations on a strongly rooted tree.

     Seasons Greetings and best wishes for health and happiness.

    Moving you forward, WLS

  • Take a Leap

    You may be able to personally relate to this or in the least, know of people who are undergoing changes (or major overhauls!) in their lives that lead them to new and exciting places.

    Oftentimes, that leap of faith is a difficult one to take. Many of us - most likely all of us at one time or another - find ourselves in a rut, going through the motions of life not feeling much in terms of passion and excitement. Instead we may feel that we are circling in monotonous boredom. This boredom can be an excellent red flag, alerting you to the fact that change is needed. That doesn't mean we have to make drastic changes to our job, relationship etc. but it may mean that we need to set new challenges or goals to achieve.  

    Change is scary stuff. It's one thing to be able to identify that you need to shake things up (and kudos to you for recognizing that change is required) but actually doing it takes much courage, effort and oftentimes, a leap of faith.

    So take a few minutes to think of the big picture. Ideally, what do you see yourself achieving? Where do you want to be?? Take a moment to think about what you love to do, where your talents lie, and at what you're willing spend time growing and improving. Then write it down, draw of picture, cut out photos and quotes, and pin them up. Do whatever it takes to inspire you and to create that clear vision. Don't bite off more than you can chew...take one small step at a time. As a coach, I work with clients to achieve their desired goals. Once that vision is created and goals are formed, it is important to remain accountable to yourself. The path to reaching your goals is often a rocky one. You have to be prepared to stay the course through the ups and downs.

    Remember, that brave first step is often the hardest but to quote Walt Disney, "If you can dream it, you can do it."

    Moving you forward, WLS

  • A Hideaway from the Everyday

    If “a little change will do you good” then a little change of scenery will do you great! I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to spend some time at beautiful Falcon Lake in the ‘Whiteshell’. For those unfamiliar with Manitoba, the Whiteshell is a large provincial park full of everything wonderful that our Canadian Shield has to offer. Although the bugs were out in full force, I can’t really admit to roughing it. The beautiful cabin accommodation certainly didn’t test my camping skills, but did create a space where I had no choice but to slow down and relax for a couple of days (relax...what!?). It’s a strange realization that in fact, it is possible to forget how to truly do that. It was as if I was given the permission to slow down with no obligations and no distractions to divert my attention. What a blessing this was. Although I had to return to reality, I was grateful for the moments that I had to slow down and experience ‘quiet’.

    In our busy lives, how many of us regularly take a few minutes in true ‘quiet’ and find a space where we feel peace and serenity? You may wonder if that’s even possible with kids and/or the busyness of work and life. Of course there was noise at the lake, but it was a different kind of noise. It was awakening to chirping birds, hiking to the top of a cliff and hearing only the wind rushing through the trees, listening to the sound of water against the lakeshore and of a canoe paddle cutting through calm waters. It was peaceful and calming. I returned rejuvenated and ready to tackle the week. Although living in this environment would be sheer bliss, it is not the reality for most of us, so I asked myself, “How can I find this quiet space in my everyday life?” How can I feel that way again in an entirely different environment with so many external distractions that are out of my control?

    Do you have any suggestions on what works for you?
     Moving you forward, WLS

  • A Little Change would do you Good

    Change is inevitable, unavoidable, unquestionable...

    I do believe that life gives us many opportunities for change but we have to be open to these possibilities that surround us and lie before us. Sometimes, however, our lack of awareness of what exists both around and ahead of us comes from our fear of really seeing what is possible. Fear can be almost tangible – causing us to create obstacles to progress or to even set up our own roadblocks. Sometimes it’s easier to maintain status quo than to face the unknown and venture into uncharted territory, exposing ourselves to something new and different. But where is growth without change or triumph without challenge? And how can setting our fears aside and embracing change help move us forward to places we’ve only dreamed of?

    As a coach I am grateful to be a part of the journey that my clients take to identify goals and roadblocks and make the desired changes in order to live their best life. Welcome to Warwick Life Strategies! 

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