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5 Situations When You Gotta Stand Up for Yourself

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Standing tall...
Doing the right thing.

Just what the fuckity-fuck does that actually mean?

Do you do what’s right for you and screw the next guy? Do you do what’s right for someone else, whatever the cost to you? Or do you do what’s right for society, community, family, work or whoever you work for?

“Right” is prickly like a bouquet of thistle and hedgehog, but I’d argue that doing what’s right is actually nothing more than standing up for yourself when it matters.

Because if you can’t stand up for what you believe in or who you are in the moments that count, there’s no other kind of “right” that matters.

Here are 5 situations where that needs to happen.

1. When someone’s putting you down

Banter’s one thing, but when someone routinely belittles you or puts you down, it’s NEVER OKAY.

Check out the comment thread here to see how people are suffering with this, and then tell me that the best way to deal with this kind of behaviour is to roll over and take it.

If you don’t stand up for yourself when the cost of doing otherwise is to have pieces of yourself chipped away until you’re a shell, then when are you going to?

But here’s a twist.

Standing up for yourself doesn’t always mean you need to confront the person putting you down and tell them “No more”. It might be that you need to stand up and out of the narrative that’s in your head and remove yourself from the story about needing to keep them happy, not wanting to upset them or even believing that you’re not good enough.

Standing up for yourself when you’re being put down is often more about changing your own thoughts rather than someone else’s behaviour.

2. When you can lead

Find yourself whining and whinging because people in charge don’t have a fucking clue?

At work, in government, even at home, it’s the simplest thing in the world to look at the shots that others are calling and tear it all apart.

More difficult, is getting off your arse and leading.

Leading is really just about believing in something enough
to align your behaviour behind it

It’s believing enough in something that you stand up and put your money where your mouth is.

That’s all it is.

It takes real, honest guts, because there’s no way of knowing what’s going to happen. All you have to go on is the fact that it matters to you.

And of course, taking the lead in your own life is how cool shit happens.

3. When you’ll regret it if you don’t

Regrets? I have a few.

Like not having enough faith in myself to date Barbara. Like not grabbing the opportunity to teach Mr Saatchi’s son about computers when I was 15. Like my wild overspending in my 20’s and 30’s.

Unless the things you’ve done include pushing a bishop down the stairs, opening all the cell doors in the high-security wing or tipping a bucket of blood over that odd little thing at the school prom, the saying that it’s better to regret the things you’ve done rather than the thing you haven’t is largely true I think.

Sometimes, life coalesces into a moment that invites you to step up

And whether you step up or stand down, you gotta live with your decision.

So if you suspect that doing nothing will be a decision you might regret, or if you detect the faint whiff of wanting to play it safe because shit’s getting real, then now might be a great time for a different kind of decision.

4. When there’s something real at stake

Dustin Hoffman looking for that damn monkey in Outbreak. Ron and Hermione standing next to Harry Potter when the shit hit the magical fan. Sam L Jackson dealing with those motherflippin’ snakes on the motherhubbard plane.

When things are on the line, some people stand up while others don’t.

This isn’t just about wild fiction or action movie tropes, it’s about real people getting involved because they give a shit.

An injustice in your community that fires you up. A change at work that threatens everyone’s great work. A crisis that threatens to engulf a relationship you care deeply about. A twist you couldn’t predict that’s just screwed up your new passion project. A curveball that knocks your health for six.

I could go on, but life is always ready to test you. To see how you react to new challenges. To see what your mettle’s really made of.

The choice to take a stand in your life is a simple one—either do or you don’t. And while what’s on the other side of that choice is rarely simple or easy, I think it’s the only real option you have, otherwise you’re just letting life flatten you like a muffin under an elephant. Who has a grand piano balanced on his head. With another elephant laying on top of the piano in a slinky red dress.

So, yeah. Pretty flat.

If you don’t stand up for yourself when there’s something real at stake, just when are you going to?

5. When your values could get crushed

Values. They’re the things that live ten thousand feet down inside you that tell you what’s most important in yourself, others or out there in the world.

They’re your compass. Your guide. Your intuition.

There are moments when life presents a situation where your values might be crushed like a late-harvest Gewürztraminer

When the company you work for has a discriminatory hiring policy or immoral sales tactics. When a friend asks you to take sides unfairly or to help them in a project that takes advantage of others. When you’re faced with a choice to tear something down rather than build it up or a choice to keep yourself safe rather than try an exciting new creative outlet.

These values-based choices are everywhere, and standing up for yourself is really just knowing that you have the right and the ability to honour, express and demonstrate what matters most to you.

Exercising that right, is what confidence is all about.

Fucking hell Fear, Don’t Be Such a Pissy Little Diva

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jennifer. . .
Fear is such a bloody drama queen.

Hey Steve, don’t go and do that because it’ll blow up in your face and then you’ll have mess all up in your face and everyone will be all like “Hey, look, Steve’s got a whole lot of silly dumb mess all up in his face.”

That kind of thing.

That’s fears job.

Fear makes you afraid of what might happen by telling stories

Turns things into dramas before they’ve had a chance to happen.

Stops you taking a chance by shouting at you like a pissy little diva.

But fear isn’t really so bad.

Fear just wants you to be safe. Warm. Comfortable.

Listening to the stories; that’s where the damage gets done.

Hearing the sound and fury is what keeps you away from change.

Screams, cries, sobbing, wailing, hiding and sometimes foot stamping.

All just ways to get your attention and add weight through drama.

If that’s all you experience of fear, then there’s an opportunity available to you.

See, while fear can shout loud it’s a quiet response that calms it

A response that knows fear is like a frightened child, crying because it’s afraid of the dark.

It’s okay.

Things will be okay.

You’ll be okay.

They’re just stories.

Ignore the tantrums and hissy fits that fear might throw at you and get behind the pissy little diva that fear pretends to be, and you get to comfort the scared child inside.

You get to take care of that part of you, not ignore it through shame.

You get to nurture that part of you, not feed it through inaction.

And you get to love that part of you, not dismiss it through judgement.

Fear, stop being such a pissy little diva and be what you are.

A little bit frightened, and totally lovable.

Are You Meant For Something Better?

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Guardian Angel
Ever have the nagging feeling that you’re meant for something better?

Maybe you’re in a small town and long for a bigger pond to swim in?

Perhaps you’re stuck in that cubicle and stare at the people around you, wondering how they can be satisfied to see out their days in that room.

Or maybe there’s just that sense that you have something more to offer, something deep down that might bring your life into focus…

We all share feelings like those.

They’re not the preserve of the lost, the low or the pathetic.

It’s not a sign that you need to find a real grown-up to show you what to do (even if if might feel like that).

It’s not a sign that you’re about as good as this life thing as a 7 year old kid is as passing off his crayon-scrawled, potato printed Picasso as the real deal (even if it might feel like that).

And it’s not a sign that you’re lacking something, because otherwise you’d already have this cracked (even though it might feel like that).

The feeling that you’re meant for something better is just what happens when you’re a human being on planet Earth.

It’s just there.

Like experiencing gravity, getting wet in the bath or having ears

Perhaps it’s what drives us to learn and to grow.

To adapt and to challenge ourselves.

To try for something, because it might be beautiful.

But, I want you to know that feeling like you’re meant for something better doesn’t devalue or diminish where you happen to be right now.

Sometimes, the feeling of wanting “something better” happens because you want something to come along that will make you feel differently, to feel better.

So you wait, and wait, and wait. For something to come along that will finally allow you to feel how you want to feel.

That is, of course, some seriously bad juju

That waiting means you never have to rest into where you are right now. You never have to fully experience what you’re feeling. You never have to own where you are.

That’s missing the point.

You’ve worked hard to get where you are. And even though it might not tick every box, or maybe it sucks balls, where you are now is where you’ve ended up, and that’s not nothing.

It’s something.

It counts.

It matters.

Something better might just start with softening into where you are, right now.

And this “something better”? It requires trust.

Trust that you can choose, and trust that those choices are plenty and enough, right now.

Exploring your “something better” requires confidence.

And I’ve got your back.

So if you have a question about your “something better” or how you can make it happen, fire away in the comments and let’s see what we can do…

What to Do When Someone Doesn’t Like You

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Self-Portrait C
There are some people who just kind of look at me funny and walk away.

Huh, I think, guess you’re not a fan.

Sometimes that kinda hurts, particularly when I want them not just to like me, but to be a friend or a mentor or perhaps even a lover. I wouldn’t be opposed to all 3.

Sometimes I’ll get all upset and internalise it, telling myself that there must be something pretty wrong with me for them to not even want to get to know me one tiny bit.

And other times my inner monologue is one of untold rage and revenge.

Greurgh! I yell, I will wreak havoc and destroy the city and nobody will ever dare to not like me again. Graarrrrgh!

But yeah, when you get down to it none of those approaches are advisable, so what is the best way to deal when someone doesn’t like you?

What’s the confident way of handling this?

Here are some thoughts.

Stop making shit up

Most times, the sense that someone doesn’t like you will be unspoken. A turned back, a roll of the eyes, a little silent treatment or a t-shirt that reads “Steve, you suck“, there’s a lot of body language that can send the message “I don’t like you very much“.

But there’s obviously a big difference between unspoken behaviour that’s inferred and unspoken behaviour that’s implied, so first of all I’d look for places where it’s simply part of your own story or expectations that might be creating the experience of something negative, rather than something that’s actually coming at you.

Get brutally frank

You’re smart, and you know that it’s okay that not everyone will gel with you, connect with you, get you or like you. So what’s the reason you want these certain individuals to like you? Take a look at what’s happening in there – what does their “liking”, validation or approval mean to you?

Not everything is about you

What if their not liking you wasn’t a statement about you, but just something to do with where they’re at? Perhaps you’re both in different places and don’t get one another, and if that’s true then surely it’s less final, less judgemental and means they might get you some day, or if not, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.

Sometimes people are just in different places, and that’s only a problem if you think it is.

Brass tacks

Someone really doesn’t like you and you’re still having a hard time with it? Well, now we get to the tricky part. You either practice letting go of the need to gain their approval/validation or you need to have a conversation around whether there’s something you can do differently in that specific relationship. This doesn’t need to be a big dramatic moment, whichever way you go.

Certainly, if you have that conversation then it’s important not to blame or to be a drama queen about it, and if they don’t want to contribute or communicate around what you might be able to do differently, then be ready to let go of that too.

And when you get right down to it, a rich life isn’t a function of how many people like you, but how willing you are to live a rich life even though not everyone will like you.

5 Ways Fear Shows Up for Me


I get scared, just like anyone else.

Just because I write, work and coach around confidence doesn’t mean that I’m immune to fear, and it’s funny that some people expect that to be the case.

So this is me coming clean.

This is me showing you how fear shows up in my life, as well as some thoughts on how I’m responding to it.

When I get scared of looking dumb in front of people

Some twenty years ago I signed up for an audition of a local production of Death of a Salesman. I went to the theatre, put my name on the list of auditionees, then left the building, drove away, pulled over at the side of the road and wondered why I was too chicken to follow through with it.

I still regret not actually doing that audition, but I get why I chickened out. I hadn’t been on stage or acted since school, and as I stood in that lobby surrounded by everyone else who was auditioning, shit suddenly got real. I thought everyone else might actually be able to act rather than just turning up and winging it like I was, and that I’d just end up looking like a dumb-ass in front of everyone and wasting everybody’s time.

More recently, I was in a wine-bar chatting with people about Karaoke. I mentioned that my favourite Karaoke tune was “Beyond the Sea” (seriously, so much fun) and the woman I was chatting with scrunched her face, said that she didn’t know it, and asked me how it went. The moment demanded that I start singing, but I made an excuse and said that I could only do it with the music, even though I know it by heart.

I was taken off guard by someone asking me to risk looking silly,
and chickened out

What happened in both of these situations was that I internalised the situation I was in, then concluded that if I went ahead I’d be laughed out of the room.

That’s like thinking that if you go to the store and buy eggs, you might end up with actual egg on your face, so it’s probably best not to buy eggs and just have toast instead, because you can totally deal with having toast on your face.

When this shows up…
Every time this happens now, I practice interrupting the thought I’m going to look dumb with Sounds like fun.

For me, that works a whole heap better.

When I say no because I’m scared of how the illness will pay me back

8 years with an incurable, debilitating, chronic illness and counting.

Sometimes, it rears up and smacks me down so hard I wonder if I’ll ever get back up.

And sometimes, the fear of how the illness will pay me back makes me cower and say no to something, simply so I don’t have to deal with a flare-up that could floor me.

I’ve said no to a heap of stuff—parties, days out, family celebrations and loads more—just because I’m terrified of how the illness might react.

When this shows up…
I’ve become pretty good at noticing this one now, and when it happens I think about nourishment. If doing the thing that might cause a flare-up will nourish my head (a learning opportunity, a conversation with someone interesting, etc), heart (e.g. a little time laughing with friends or adding value to something that matters) or body (like a long walk) I’ll tend to say yes to it.

The only exception to that is when there’s a larger piece of nourishment looming that I know I need to preserve my energy for, and even then I’ll try not to get sidetracked into detailed analysis of risk/reward, but just look for how I can keep myself nourished.

Moreover, I always remember that however my body is doesn’t need to dictate my experience.

When I wonder if people really like me

When I’m around people and having fun I’m in my element. I love the energy and the buzz of bouncing off others, but sometimes, in the quiet moments when things are done and it’s just me again, I wonder what they really think of me and what they say among themselves.

Holy fuck I’m glad he’s gone. What an asshat.
Did you hear the stuff coming out of his mouth? Who the hell does he think he is?
It’s okay, he’s gone. Now we can have fun.

Occasionally there’s fear that people might have thoughts about me that are less than favourable, thoughts they keep secret or worse, thoughts that are discussed openly when I’m not in the room.

I can’t look into people’s heads and see what’s going on inside, and so this thought is really just a projection of my “self” into others’ thoughts (as if they don’t already have enough to think about), albeit one that pre-empts rejection so that maybe, just maybe, it won’t hurt as much when I get rejected.

When this shows up…
I know you’ll have thought similar thoughts, but that’s all they are. Thoughts.

They’re no more real than a thought about a beef-hat or
a thought about a city of otters

But it doesn’t stop those thoughts from being compelling enough to want to make people like me.

So, when this shows up I do 3 things.

  1. I tell myself to not be so bloody selfish as to plant myself in the thoughts of others
  2. I remind myself that some people will like me and some won’t
  3. I remember that my value isn’t related to the volume of people who like me

And that seems to help a whole heap.

When someone wants to get close to me

When someone wants to get close to me, I don’t know how to react.

Believe it or not, I’m ill-practised at it and clumsy in response to it, and all my charm, smarts and wit pretty much just hides a scared little guy who’s afraid of emotional intimacy.

The times I’ve opened up and let someone in, I’ve been hurt

And when someone’s wanted me to open up and let them in, I’ve pushed them away.

I laugh it off as coming with the territory of being a middle-aged, awkward English guy, but that’s not owning up to my fear around this.

That fear is all too real, and if fear could be weighed, this one would come in at around 17 metric fuck-tonnes.

When this shows up…
Managing any fear starts with noticing it, and it’s the noticing that affords you the opportunity to interrupt your normal reaction.

So for me, this one is taking the most practice of all.

I’m approaching it in a couple of different ways.

  1. When I feel it, and when it’s easier not to, I’m expressing gratitude or joy towards another individual. A simple and honest thank you, or a hug and thanking someone for their company. This is about the practice of being open with someone else.
  2. I’m putting myself in more situations where this might happen, like dating or having emotionally-charged conversations.

I had an amazing first date with someone just recently, then got rejected right after I said that I was interested, so perhaps it wasn’t as great as I thought. Funny thing is, I was cool with that and still loved the evening.

After a friend had a massive emotional trauma, I let myself just sit and hold her hand without trying to fix anything, and shed a tear when I told her I loved her.

Following a funeral in the family, I started a conversation around our wishes for our own funerals, the kind of charged conversation us Errey’s would normally avoid.

And I went on a national TV dating show that films blind dinner dates. And I loved it.

I’m just beginning to get it, I think.

When I look ahead at retirement

I’m not wealthy, and I have around 20 years or so to get my retirement sorted so that I’m not living off cans of spam in a tiny, damp studio apartment in the wrong part of town.

I love the finer things, I love laughing with good people and my history with money is less than stellar, so the fear that I might have a cold, lonely retirement chills me to the bone.

And then I pile on the pressure to succeed, and succeed fucking quickly, while also beating myself up for not being better with money and not being grown-up enough to have this sorted.

I’m a crappy adult, I tell myself.

If only a more adultier adult could come along and fix this for me

When this shows up…
This is a tough one, because I have no way of knowing what’s going to happen 20 years from now.

And it’s the unknown nature of the future that gives this fear its power.

So when this one shows up, I remind myself that the future isn’t set. Through my choices I get to have a say in what happens. And while the responsibility of having a financially viable retirement is, at first glance, scary as all hell to me, it’s really about taking baby steps. Making the best choice I can, with what I’ve got. Then doing that over and over again.

And maybe that’s the key to responding to all kinds of fear.

Trusting that you’re already good enough to take your next step, right in the middle of fear.

That sense of confidence, without even knowing what’s going to happen, is worth the whole world.

Can you relate? How does fear show up for you?

Take a lesson from the Experts

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From October 26th, we’re all going to give you tips and advice to ramp up your confidence and help you get through all that junk that may be holding you back.

And every expert is going to give you a unique strategy that you can apply right away.

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The Chasm Between You and Perfection

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I’m lucky to know some fucking awesome people.

People who are changing things. Shaping things. Shifting things. Making things. Doing things.

The kind of people who make me feel like I should be doing more, better. The kind of people who make me wonder why what I’m doing isn’t perfect, even after all this time.

But I also know the pressure some of them pile on themselves to be perfect.

They’re driven to succeed, which is awesome, but somewhere along the way that sense of success gets conflated with “perfect”.

And then things change.

The quest for perfection starts. The perfect career. The perfect home. The perfect body. The perfect health regime. The perfect haircut. The perfect sex life. The perfect sense of self.

That gap between where you are and where you think you ought to be is where you inner critic gorges itself on an all-you-can-eat buffet of fear and judgement.

You should be doing more
Why can’t you get this right?
If you were good enough, you’d have this already
See how much better everyone else is?
You’re not good enough
Gotta try harder
Gotta be more perfect

When you’re not working as hard as you can to hold it all together, you’re beating yourself up for not being better and not achieving more.

And the second you achieve something, the goalposts move and your self-worth demands that you gotta get to the next thing.

The chasm between you and perfection is where self-confidence—the sense that you’re enough, no matter what—trips up, slips down, gets stuck and has to cut off its own arm with a pen-knife to crawl its way back to the surface, broken, bloody and beaten.

Pardon me for yelling, but…


So let’s celebrate the incomplete, because you’re incomplete.

Let’s elevate the imperfect, because life is imperfect.

And let’s let go of the “shoulds”, because the only thing you should be is who you already are.

This is, of course, easier said than done.

Sealing up that gap between you and perfection is a process; not a one-time thing.

It’s a process of trust.

Trusting that where you are right now is right where you need to be.

Trusting that your next choice is the best one you can make.

And trusting that you’re already good enough to deal with whatever happens.

Which begs the question…

What would it take for you to let go of the need to be perfect?

What to do if You’re Pissed Off With Your Life


Pissed off
Life is fucking annoying sometimes.

You want it to go one way, but it seems resolute in being something else entirely.

If only life would do what you bloody well told it to do you wouldn’t have to be quite so pissed off with it, right?

So if you’re royally pissed off and about to show life the business end of a hissy fit, here are 3 things you can do.

Stop being a whiny little bitch

Whining doesn’t help. If it did, the world would be full of smiley, happy people (who would all still find something to whine about).

Bitching, moaning and whining is very much like rolling around in shit, in that the only thing it really achieves is making you all shitty.

It’s nice to vent, sure it is, but sooner or later you gotta stop trouncing around like a fucking toddler birthday princess throwing a shit fit and decide who the hell you want to be.

Not only is whining a huge waste of focus, energy and attention, but it also swaddles you in a warm blanket of “I’m right and everyone else is missing the point” and reinforces just how pissed off you are.

So, the next time you find yourself wanting to whine like a little bitch, notice it.

Notice where your attention is going. Notice what you’re about to tell yourself. Notice who you’re going to blame. Notice who the hell you’re turning into. Then move to step 2.

Love the hell you’re in

You can’t meaningfully move on unless you first of all accept where you are.

Not only is that Day 1 of Pilot School, it’s also a pre-requisite for having an experience of life that isn’t full of piss and vinegar.




I’ve written the word “acceptance” 3 times, because it can be a difficult concept to accept the first couple of times.

It’s only by accepting that where you are is where you are that you get to shift your energy behind the fact that your next choices are yours to make, rather than blaming the world for not being where you want to be.

And let’s face it, being pissed off either happens because you’re hurting about how things have turned out or angry because it doesn’t seem fair.

You’re pissed off because you really do care, and accepting that is critical.

No matter how shitty your circumstances are or just how pissed off with life you are, accept it fully, embrace it wholly and welcome it in like you would an old friend. Then, move onto step 3.

Do something

Just fucking do something.

Change something up. Run an experiment. Get a change of scene. Deal with something you’ve been putting up with. Make a new friend. Start a new project. Pick up a pen. Run a different mile. Find a new lover. Paint a new picture.

Look at what matters to you, then just fucking do something.

Do People Think You’re Arrogant?

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Rosie's Arrogance
I’m a confidence coach.

99.9% of what I do is help people who feel held back by a lack of confidence to build natural confidence that works for them (rather than turning them into something they’re not).

But sometimes I hear from people with the opposite problem, and sometimes people ask me what they can do if people mistake their confidence for arrogance.

It’s an interesting question. What do you do when people think you’re arrogant? How do you deal with the people who get turned off by your abundant confidence?

Well, there are a couple of ways this can go.

1. You really aren’t arrogant.

I think I’m the most unthreatening guy you could meet. Sometimes I’m shy. Sometimes I’m quiet. But despite that, sometimes people say they’re a little intimidated by me, which is a bit like Donald Trump asking Mr Fluffington the playful kitten to stop being such an angry jack-ass, or like the Earth letting Pluto know that it doesn’t appreciate it getting all up in its personal space all the time.

Point being, if you’re not arrogant but other people think you are, that’s not your problem.

You can’t control what other people think of you (otherwise I’d be totally dashing and a fricking genius instead of mildly dorky), so at the end of the day you have to let go of their judgements of you.

But I get that it might not sit well with you that people think that of you, so there are a couple of things to look at or consider.

How big is the gap? Arthur C. Clarke said that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, and a similar thing can happen with confidence when the gap between the confident and the not-confident is large enough. To someone with little or no confidence, someone with abundant confidence may appear too confident.

Being considerate doesn’t hurt. Sometimes it’s appropriate to dial things down a little, and adapting your style to the situation you’re in or the individual you’re with is entirely appropriate when it serves you both well.

Your job is not to make everyone like you. With the above 2 points accepted, always remember that some people just won’t gel with you, get you or even like you. That’s okay too, so get ready to let go of the need to seek approval or validation if that’s an appropriate response. Oh, and be aware that this can be done from a warm-hearted, generous place (i.e. confident) rather than a “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on” place (i.e. arrogant).

2. You really are arrogant

The other option, of course, is that you really are arrogant and the other person is calling you on it.

How do you know if you really are arrogant? Here are 5 big clues:

  • You go out of your way to be right, and to let people know you’re right.
  • The most important person in any conversation is probably you.
  • As far as you’re concerned, you have it figured out and other people just slow you down.
  • Getting your own way is how you know you’re on the right path.
  • It matters that the world sees you as successful or as one of the good ones.

If you put the clues together and figure out that you really are arrogant, then here’s what you need to do.

Just stop it. Please just let go of the pretence that you’re right, or that you’re better or that you have the answers. You may be right sometimes, but nobody is right all of the time. You may be better at some things than others, but there are also others who are better then you. Better doesn’t matter. And while you may have some good answers, pretending that you have them all or that your answers are right for everyone is just a fiction.

Practice uncertainty. Arrogance is often about making sure you’re okay in a world filled with uncertainty, so practice leaning into uncertainty without your usual comfort blankets. Take off the armour and allow yourself to be scared.

Soften into connections. Arrogance is isolating through its dependence on self-righteousness and validation, and the antidote to that is to soften into relationships rather than harden against them.

So that’s covered how to approach things if you’re not arrogant and if you are.

There’s a third option of course. There always is.

That you’re sometimes arrogant. Maybe at work with a particular group or individual. Maybe with an old friend. Maybe with someone in your family. Maybe when you’re tired or stressed out.

Arrogance might catch you unaware and hijack your best intentions, giving you a little rush of power or control that feeds off others.

Notice that. Interrupt that. Let go of that.

Because life’s too short for arrogance.

How to Survive as The Underdog

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I’m something of an underdog.

I’m not a big name coach. I’m not rich. I don’t have a team of people to bounce ideas off or help stuff happen. I don’t have the marketing clout of other guys. I haven’t “made it”.

I’ve figured out a thing or two about being an underdog though, and how to make it feel not quite so underdoggy.

Don’t let the distance define you

Being an underdog means that there are people more adept or more accomplished out there. It means you’re the long shot.

When you let the distance between you and “them” define you, you internalise it as a statement of personal value. They’re more deserving of success. They’re better than me. I’m not good enough.

But that distance isn’t about worth or who deserves what. It’s simply a thing that happens on a planet that houses over 7 billion people.

In fact, the distance is simply a matter of marking where people are at on a scale that doesn’t even make any sense. It’s all subjective, and making comparisons makes about as much sense as saying that an egg does a much better job of being eggy than an orange, or that a squirrel is rubbish because it can’t out-run a gazelle.

So don’t let distance define you. You’re better than that.

Keep finding a reason

An underdog tries because they care. They give a damn.

Regardless of the odds or how shit-your-pants scary things might be, they still want to try.

But when struggling starts to weigh more than the reason you try, you get disillusioned, demotivated and frustrated. And then you stop or get stuck. And that’s just no fun.

To keep going, even if “keeping going” means that you have to pivot, change course or make a new decision, you have to keep finding a reason to care.

You need a compelling reason to give a damn about what happens in your life, because without that you may as well give up now.

That reason could be that you can’t imagine life without the stuff that matters. It might be that you need to add value. Or it might be that you want to have a whole heap of fun.

Whatever it is, keep finding a reason to try.

Let go

Struggle happens when there’s tension between where you are and where you think you ought to be.

It’s a tension you keep close because, dammit, you want to get there already. You want more. You want the success. You want it all.

Some say that this tension creates motivation, but that’s the kind of motivation that soon runs out of steam and turns into a struggle that’s all too familiar.

The alternative is to let go of the other end of that tension and ease into the moment you find yourself in right now.

Choose to be at your best right now, not when you get to where you’re going. Let yourself ease into your next choice or action rather than needing it to be a certain way. And ask yourself how you can smile now rather than dreaming of how great things will be when you “get there”.

Struggle is overcome by letting go of the tension that creates it.

Feel like the underdog? What is it that keeps you going?

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