One of the women who have really made last (and this) year what it was (and is) is definitely my dear friend Milena Milošević, widely known to her followers as Psihologija sa šlagom. Milena is a psychologist and so much more. Her program called Professional disorientation has helped over 100 women find their true passion in life and realize what it is they want to do in their lives. Her ebook has had great success, serving as a road map for those who are ready to try to find themselves on their own. And for me, she has been an endless source of support and friendship! I am happy that I had a chance to welcome her to my webinar and my blog. In this interview, we talked about confidence and assertiveness, their importance for our work and life in general, and much more.
Thank you for talking to me today, Milena! I love to talk to the expert about various topics, and this is definitely your area of expertise. So tell me, first of all: is confidence something we are born with or do we build it?
There is for sure an amount of confidence that we are born with. We get a certain legacy in self-confidence from our parents and also they are our role models so it’s our starting point. Also as we go through life we have certain challenges, situations…all of us have different experiences that in a way build our self-confidence. There are people that are ”born” with a good amount of believing in themselves but there are many more people that have to work on their confidence.
Yes, we can build confidence. It’s our tool to get to know ourselves better. However, some people think that once you got confidence you never lose it but it’s not true, we have to work on it constantly. Confidence is not a straight line, it goes up and down all time, from hour to hour… We can feel confident in one thing but be totally scared in others.
Phew! Good to know this! How can we work on our confidence?
There is no magic pill, or some spell that we can chant that will get us instant results. And humans, in general, are very impatient when it comes to results, we want everything now. I have to disappoint you when it comes to confidence it can take years. We have to get to know ourselves, but really get to know US! What we like, what we don’t like, how our experiences shaped us to become the person we are today, what are our talents, what are our hopes and dreams.
Also, we have to go out of our comfort zone, there is nothing that helps better than experience. Even one step is enough. Sometimes you will need ”proper” support, people who can lift you up and you will have to get rid of people in your life that have a bad impact on you.
Can we be confident at work without being rude?
Yes, being confident without being rude is the very definition of assertiveness. Working on our understanding helps us see other people in a different light, and it leads us to empathy. Here are a few examples:
Don’t say: How dare you say that to me? Who do you think you are?
Say: I don’t think that was fine, I felt hurt by your behavior.
Don’t say: Can’t, you see I’m overwhelmed? I am not doing this for you!
Say: I am overwhelmed, I’m but sorry I can’t do it now.
Don’t say: This is what we are doing. End of discussion.
Say: I would like to consider the options we have and then decide.
Thank you for clarifying that! What about being “too confident”?
I think that is not about confidence, we can only be rude, pushy and without understanding or empathy for other people.
I couldn’t agree more. Now, I know there are people struggling with their confidence for this reason or that, who are also aspiring entrepreneurs. That’s why I am wondering: what is the impact of self-confidence on our decision making?
Unfortunately, most of the women that I worked with, when asked to tell me their strengths and virtues, ask me if they can start with the negative things about themselves. Most of us see the bad things first and don’t acknowledge the good ones. Why? Because of low self-confidence, we are not sure what we know, if we are good at something and if we are allowed to show it because it can seem like bragging. And when it comes to decision-making, if we, for example, want to ask our boss for a promotion, discuss salary, or we want to quit, our low confidence will have us in hand and we will stay in the same place. We won’t see the bigger picture, just a small frame. That’s why it’s important for us to build it.
Wow, I love this sentence: We won’t see the bigger picture, just a small frame. I’ll memorize this. Can we practice communicating assertively?
Yes, we can and it is not always easy. We are not always patient and sometimes we react from anger or sadness, but it is important to be aware of our reactions. Also, watch if you are communicating passively or with passive-aggressive behavior. You can try to do some assertiveness tests or just to ask people around you what they think about your communication style. Work on your empathy. and practice – it makes perfect!
Ok, can you explain to me what’s the difference between confidence and assertiveness?
Assertiveness means standing up for your personal rights – expressing thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in direct, honest and appropriate ways. Assertiveness cannot exist without confidence and can only exist in a situation where there is communication. The key thing to remember is that you can be confident without being assertive, but you can’t be assertive without being confident.
Can you recommend three books/podcasts/movies/blogs you love?
There are so many books. I can recommend ”The Artists Way”, ”Who Moved My Cheese”, TED talks (all of them), travel blogs, Mel Robins. Derek Sivers, Pick up Limes… It is also important to know what motivates you, what gives you hope and inspiration. For me its travelogue, because there are so many brave people doing incredible things.
Thank you for this inspiring and motivating conversation, Milena! Tell me in the end, how can we work with you at this moment?
Right now, my Professional disorientation program is available online, in individual sessions and we can work together this way. Also, there’s my ebook that you can buy if you are ready to work on finding your true purpose on your own. Basically, the online program means that I’ll be with you on this path, while my ebook is a road map for you to bring with you when you go on your own.
Want to listen to the entire interview? Check the video below and make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for future webinar and interview recordings.