Sunday 25 August 2019

Gina London: Confidence is the key to letting our brilliance shine

'You can be an inspiring leader today.' (stock photo)
'You can be an inspiring leader today.' (stock photo)

Gina London

We peeked in the door of the tiny mercado in hopes of finding some bread, cheese and fruit. It was tucked along a cobbled stone street in Portugal's coastal town of Carvoeiro where daughter Lulu and I had decided to grasp a little autumn sun during her mid-term holiday.

Once inside, we instantly were distracted from the food on the shelves by the glowing personality of the proprietor behind the counter.

She was an older woman with softly-curled caramel-coloured hair. Her blouse was sharp and pressed and a long gold chain with black stones encircled her neck. She looked up at us and smiled.

Beamed would be a more fitting word. She emanated that gracious "welcome to my home" hostess kind of smile that instantly puts you at ease. I was taken aback.

Have you ever met a person who just seems to have that certain something? It doesn't have to be a celebrity or top model.

It's someone who glows from within. That woman had it. I don't know all her accomplishments or her heartaches because, of course, I didn't learn everything about her in the short time we shopped. But I didn't have to. I know her name is Isabel and she is brilliant.

I'm convinced each of us are. If we can only become confident enough to enable our brilliance to shine through.

Improving your communications is directly connected to improving your confidence and warmth. Here are three suggestions to help you begin your own brilliant transformation.

1 Start thinking of yourself as an inspiration - now!

It doesn't matter how big your team or division is or how many 'direct-reports' you have. You don't have to own your own business or be some kind of high-charging entrepreneur.

You can be a retiree or the newest hire in a small company. Doesn't matter. Because regardless of the title, you may, or may not, hold in the place where you work, you are the chief executive of YOU right now.

Therefore, stop putting off becoming the leader you imagine yourself to be in the future. You can be an inspiring leader today. If not to a team, then to yourself.

Look in the mirror. What do you see? Do you need to lose a few pounds? More than a few? It's okay. But it's time to get healthy. Remember, healthy bodies and healthy minds go together.

Next, envision what you want to see. Write that down. What will it take to get you there? Visit a nutritionist. Join a gym. I go to a great gym in Cork. The personal-trainer approach makes it perfect for me. I need the guidance and push.

If fitness isn't your issue, what is? Write down what you need to undertake.

Finally, concentrate on three things that are inspiring about you right now. Take two minutes to focus and repeat them aloud to yourself. Then state aloud the one improvement step you are going to do today.

Take another two minutes and repeat this. Some call this mini-meditation or priming. I simply call it purposeful self-affirmation. If you do this every morning, it helps change your mindset which is powerful.

2 Stop comparing yourself.

Years ago, I emceed a 'Day of Peace' event at Walt Disney World in Florida. It was my job to facilitate a discussion between two incredibly influential individuals: former Costa Rica president Rica Òscar Arias and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Before the event began, while we were all together in the green room, President Arias walked over to me and quietly confided that he was nervous about sharing the stage with Archbishop Tutu.

Arias explained that he was intimidated by Tutu's very outgoing and charismatic speaking style. I reassured him that as long as he spoke from the heart, his quieter approach would be just as powerful. But I will never forget that moment.

It didn't matter that he was a Nobel Peace Prize winner the same as Tutu. Arias was insecure about his manner of speaking when he compared himself to the Archbishop. So, it's not surprising to me if some of you out there are busy comparing yourself to someone else.

Stop it. There will always be someone who is richer, thinner, faster, funnier, or whatever. Stop comparing yourself to them. Focus on becoming a more confident, more radiant version of you.

3 Put yourself out there.

Finally, we all need to stretch in order to grow. While you're busy writing down your improvement goals that will help boost your confidence, you can also decide to do something that will test your preconceived limits.

Take Pat Whelan. He's a fifth-generation butcher from Clonmel whose craft butcher shops, named for his father James Whelan, are now found in many Dunnes stores. While my colleagues at Fuzion Communications were producing some material for him, they recommended that he should provide the audio track for his promotional video.

Pat isn't a trained voice-over artist, but he is someone who takes pride in his work so he agreed to give it a try. After a little coaching and practice session from yours truly, Pat's already naturally rich voice became warmer and fuller.

When we were together in the recording studio, you could feel the commitment Pat has toward his product and customers as he read the script.

The point here is that whether you're a shopkeeper in Portugal, a butcher from Tipperary or the former president of Costa Rica, we are all brand ambassadors. For your organisation, yes. But most important of all, for you. You can be inspiring.


What is inspiring about you? What would you like to improve upon? Write to Gina in care of

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist who is now a director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as media commentator, emcee and corporate consultant. @TheGinaLondon

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