Sunday, 20 January 2013

Do you suffer from square peg syndrome? - GUEST BLOG BY PAULA JONES

I believe wholeheartedly in stepping outside of our comfort levels. In fact, I believe that comfort zone, when seen as a dot in the distance, is a great marker of how much we’re willing to push ourselves towards the shiny stuff we want. However, there’s also the issue of being a square peg in a round hole and in trying to batter ourselves into shape to fit, we have a tendency to knock our confidence levels.

Let me give you an example.

I have a client who knows that for her business to be a success, she must network. And let me tell you, she loathes it. Now, I’m not the biggest fan myself, but I do it and I’ve found networking formats that suit me really well. My client, however; we will call her Sue, and you guessed it, her name has been changed to protect her confidentiality; Sue made appointments for networking and signed up to tons of events, because they would seem like a good idea at the time, and then she’d torture herself over them.

Here are some of Sue’s old thought processes:
“I really have to go.”
“I should go, I’ll feel terrible if I don’t.”
“I don’t want to go.”
“If I don’t go it will look really bad.”
“I’ll feel like a failure if I don’t go.”

So, not a healthy set of thoughts, and thoughts that are guaranteed to make us instinctively form the “loser” gesture once we start beating ourselves up about them. What a shame.
Sue and I discussed her reasons behind these thoughts and I asked her what she did enjoy; and she enjoyed the social type of networking where she didn’t have to stand, quaking in her shoes with all eyes upon her while she stumbled through an introduction. So, I asked what was stopping her from choosing the networking events she could get along with and ditching the others.
Her eyes were like saucers. “I don’t have to go to the ones I don’t want?”

No, of course not.

Now; this may seem like a no brainer. However, if you run a business and your mojo is running on empty, the temptation is to think that in order to get yourself “out there” you must attend every event going. I don’t believe that’s a useful or viable option. If you are mojo – less, forcing a square peg into a round hole is a pointless and painful exercise, and your discomfort will show. You may as well carry a sign that says, “I don’t belong here!” Trying to keep up and act of being someone other than yourself is tiring and self identity is central to confidence.

This is true of so many situations. Push your boundaries, leave your comfort zone in the distance while you speed away in a cloud of dust; just remember you don’t have to put yourself into situations that leave you thinking, “well, I’m not going there again.” Network like mad, in a format you love. Get into social situations that you wouldn’t normally attend, just making sure you are likely to enjoy it.

You don’t have to force a square peg into a round hole.

Paula Jones is a qualified life coach at She dedicates her time to helping women who have been in a toxic relationship to recover their mojo and get back the confidence and self-esteem they left behind. She is now happily married to a fabby man who makes her laugh every day and reminds her of what it’s like to feel valued and respected and gently made fun of. Life is good again...

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