Tag Archives: Confidence

Emotional Milkshakes

Over the last few months, my family has had some difficult things happening in our lives. I spent some time with each of my nieces and nephews during the events of our summer. My niece is nine years old and we were hanging out. Our conversation turned to some of the events of the summer and how we were each handling them. Some of her fourth grade angst was about being separated from her mom, dad, and brothers. There was a little bit of anxiety about being away from the others at different times and having to face life on her own. A lot of stuff was happening all at one time and most of us were a bit overwhelmed so it made sense that her little world was being rocked a bit. I have a special nickname for her, for now we will just say “roo.” I made a deal with her that I would get her a necklace with a purple stone (that is a special color for the two of us) and when she was feeling a little nervous she could just hold it and think about her Roo Powers. We talked about how her name is a combination of people in our family that are special to us and we went through each of her initials to show how the foundation of who she is comes from all of these amazing people in her name…and our family. She was special because she gets to carry on the name and the power of ALL of those people – those are roo powers.

Brain freeze

She brought up being scared about not with family all of the time. We decided that being scared was really a kind of an emotion. We talked about how emotions can get a little overwhelming and it gets hard to think, and to breathe when we get emotional and nervous.

Hmmmm…. here’s me trying to think about how we are going to approach this little dilemma. I was getting a little nervous about how I could help a nine year old with some big concepts of separation, being anxious, scared, and that it is really ok. We have to feel some of this stuff to help us get through life. These emotions and fears hit us all from time to time. How to approach this existential angst and emotions and pull them back to Roo Powers? We were having milkshakes.

Ah ha!

Uncle: What happens when you drink your milkshake too fast?
Roo: You get a brain freeze.
U: Does that hurt?
R: Yeah (the look she gave me was more of the DUH answer than the word)
U: So what do you do then?
R: You stop drinking your milkshake.
U: All of it? You just throw it away?
R: No, you just wait a minute.
U: Oh, so you just wait for the headache to go away? To take a rest?
R: Yeah
U: Then do you drink the rest of it a little slower so you don’t get another brain freeze?
R: Yeah you have to slow down.

Wait for it…

So emotions feel like a brain freeze from drinking your milkshake too fast. The milk shake tastes good and you want to finish it, but drinking it too fast didn’t feel so good. That’s what emotions and fear feels like, it is a big brain freeze. So maybe what we should do when we start to feel scared or anxious is just stop for a minute. Wait. Think about our Roo Powers and that we are pretty strong on the inside. I talked to her about just holding her necklace while she waited for the metaphorical brain freeze to go way (I did not use the word metaphorical, by the way). She thought about it for a little bit and decided that she could buy this. This might just work.

Slow Down

Then after the brain freeze goes away we just slow down a little and know that our emotions are just getting in our way. Our mom, dad, and family have always been there for us in the morning, after school, when we get home from our friends’ house. It is ok to miss them. You are supposed to miss them, that’s how we know that we love them and want to be with them. A little bit of missing them helps us realize they are important to us. So that emotion of missing those people (not really an emotion…but just go with me here) helps us know things are normal. She told me it made sense and that she thought she could try all of this. I checked in with her after the next day, and she told me her roo powers were helping and she had a better day.

What’s your Roo?

As leaders, there are times that we are tested and all sorts of emotions and anxiety can sneak up on us. We might have times when the imposter syndrome sneaks in and we are just wondering when “these people will figure out that we don’t really deserve this position.” Ethical dilemmas and times when we are tested to do the right thing, be consistent, and maintain our credibility and consistency will push your roo all over the ROOm.

When we get a bit overwhelmed, we have to stop and wait for a minute. We have to let the brain freeze pass by and allow us to think clearly again. We have to take some deep breaths and step away from the milkshake and get some perspective. Calling on our own internal fortitude is how we can realize our own potential and ability. The ability to make a decision – Perhaps the decision is to change course or to explain our approach with a bit more clarity. But, the ability is there. Emotions, anxiety and fear can get the best of all of us from time to time. Fear can be a good thing, it might cause you to hesitate and rethink your work. It might cause you to re-evaluate your values and how those are helping or hurting your work.

What are your ROO POWERS? Whose name do you carry? What do you do when you get a brain freeze? And finally…what is your favorite milkshake flavor?

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New Pants and Negative Self-Talk

Buying new clothes can be fun for some and a chore for others. Some see shopping as a form of torture they just want to finish as soon as possible. Others use retail therapy to make a tough situation easier or perhaps there is an endorphin rush and a ‘hit’ on the credit card makes it all feel better. I think I could put myself into any one of these categories at different times. I have gone shopping out of boredom or the calling of some sale item or advertisement. I get there and it just isn’t there. Sometimes I seem to be on a new stuff runner.

Recently I went shopping for upcoming weddings and events for my students. I wanted new pants and a tie, perhaps a shirt. I got the pants and the tie, ok…I got two of each, but at different times so it wasn’t frivolous. Or so, I told myself. Fast forward, day of, as I was walking to the train noticed that I could not stop looking at the pants and thinking how much I liked them. Then my ties got some comments at the event and the wedding. That felt good. I started to think about when and why we get something new for special occasions.

There are special times that seem to call for new clothes. In the fall to back-to-school, we have all experienced that ritual that started in kindergarten. It was special. Then ceremonies like prom’s, weddings, special life events, Uncle Tommy’s wedding, etc. We need something to wear to other people’s wedding, not sure why really, we just do. Graduation just seems to call for something new. Maybe these markers are a form of “rebirth” and/or a clean start. We want to present ourselves to the world in a new, fresh, this fits better way. We feel good. We look good. And we remember from Fernando Llamas, “You look mahvelous, absolutely mahveleous”… and when you look good, you feel good (Billy Crystal, SNL, 1985). He tells us that it doesn’t matter how you feel, but it does matter how we look. Ah, so he’s the culprit!

I have two shopping stories that come to mind. The first, a girl friend asked me to go shopping for a swim suit. The second, my 16 year old nephew needed tennis shoes. I did not know what I was in for, in either situation. The friend perused, lamented, grimaced, smiled, wondered, and wandered through numerous suits. She took a few to the dressing room. I waited. She reappeared with nothing. Back to the racks she went. I said (oh so naively), “Well you didn’t let me see any of them.” I thought that was my role. NOPE. She looked at me in horror, and laughed. “Oh no, that is not going to happen.” I am still not sure of my role that day. I think she bought one, I think I saw it later. But I am not really sure.

Tennis shoes. White Tennis shoes. Easy enough eh? NOPE. We went to 15 stores. He would walk in glance at the wall and turn around. “There’s nothing here.” We left. It took a week. I made a comment to his mom about the week-long trek. She said, “Why do you think I was so quick to accept your offer to take him?” At one point I asked him, “What kind of shoes are we looking for?”
I picked up 5 different pair…like this, this, this, this or those? “Nope.” Each one was too this or not enough that. We bought a pair at store #15, that happened to also be store #3 or 4 earlier in the week.

We buy clothes as a statement about who we are. Our clothes have to fit just right, hide just right and look like us. My high school niece and I went shopping. We were buying clothes. I tried on some pants (I really like pants, can you tell?). I asked her how they looked. “Fine,” she said. I said (because I wanted to know and I was also trying to shock her), “Do they make my butt look cute?” It worked! She turned red, looked around, laughed and said, “yeah, sure.” I don’t think I bought the pants.

How do we treat ourselves? How do we treat our real selves? Our inner self, that only we truly know. We can be our own harshest critic (I remind you of my friend hiding in the changing room trying on swim suits in private). Her reaction is a theme for all of us. Buying new clothes helps us to feel good and showcase who we are. We want to look Mahvelous.

Grand Opening, Coming soon to a Mall near you

What if there was a store called Confidence R Me? Or Strengthmart? If we could somehow bottle and sell a little shot of confidence (that doesn’t give you hangover, and go away the next day) we could be rich. But our own closets, fears, hopes, and anxiety gets in the way.


I have a personal mission. I try to interrupt the negative self-talk that is rampant among so many of us (me included). Those times when we are quick to say –
I am so stupid
I am such an idiot
With my luck
Of course that will never happen for/to me
etc, etc etc, <INSERT>your favorite little confidence killer here.

Dr. Brene Brown researches, writes, and speaks on vulnerability. I love that she says vulnerability is truly about strength, and confidence. When we are vulnerable, we take a risk. I think secretly others (me included) and have a little sense of jealousy when someone else takes a risk we wish we could. I love how Brown frames some of those fears. One tactic is that she admits (out loud) about her own inner monologue, “The story I am creating in my mind says….” Brilliant. Risky. Honest. She admits it is in her own mind.

Mary Morrissey, transformational coach and Dreambuilder extraordinaire, reframes the “I’m an idiot” waste of time type comments with something better. Try this one on for size, “Up until now I used to think/act/behave…” This acknowledges that we can have some not-so-lucid moments, or a hiccup in brilliance and allow something not perfect to happen. GASP! But that was then. This is now. Next. I fall down. I get up again. Dust myself off. Look around. Laugh. And move on.

Fashion Boutique

The next time you try on some new clothes and think. “I look good!” Smile. Mean it. And wear it. Know that most of the others that have on new clothes are probably too busy worrying if they look good (and hidden) to be noticing anyhow. Go with it! We all have the ability to walk that catwalk with confidence. Work it and walk out to the end of it for YOU. Walk back to the curtain for them. Cause your boots are made for walking, that’s all.

Leaders Take Notes

I am talkin’ to you… notice how much you give to others when you recognize what they are wearing. Step it up, pay it forward and next time notice WHO they are (their inner fashion if you will) and TELL them a little about the accessory of their ability, their strengths, their passion, and what they BRING to you and your organization.

If you need to revist SNL 1985, laugh, and see that we were all young once…

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