CONFIDENCE BOOSTER No.7: Get a Positive Charge

It’s a simple fact that the more external negativity you allow into your life the more down you feel. Now, there are sources of negativity over which you have no control and very little influence, but there will be areas where you can make a positive difference to your environment.

THE CHALLENGE: To create a more positively charged environment in which to live.

If you allow yourself to be surrounded by ‘down beat’ and depressed energy from people, places and media, you are at a disadvantage before you even get started. Is there any benefit to your confidence in permitting this to continue? If you wish to up, maintain or enhance your confidence, it will be more difficult if you are weighed down by the burden of a negative environment. Remember that negativity is contagious and it loves company, but the same is true of positivity, so….



  • Seek out the company of supportive, positive and motivated people (this means reducing exposure to pessimism, doubt and psychological lethargy)
  • Do not allow your enthusiasm and motivation to be eroded by the negativity of others – you’ll know who they are. Where possible keep a distance because they just love to spread frowns.
  • Look out for negative judges, labellers, self confessed control freaks, or those who are simply unkind. The time may come when you may be able to help them….but you first.
  • Seek out different physical environments – try something new: gym, pub, café, restaurants, clubs, sporting clubs, parties you attend etc. Taking positive action will create positive change.
  • Beware what you read, listen to and watch. The constant media flow does have an affect how you feel – it’s your call.
  • Adjust your social media friends / likes as this alters the tone of your feed. Or take a holiday (temporary or permanent) from certain social media altogether.

This may seem obvious, however, so often  we can run our lives on auto pilot which will obscure what needs changing. It is said that if you own the action you own the consequences so a number of small adjustments can have a greater impact than you can imagine. The trick is in the doing.


THE CHALLENGE: To overcome inaccurate statements, self-talk and mindset. 

My clients get to hear about this over and over because accuracy has a complex role in combating a very powerful adversary of self confidence: cognitive distortion. This may sound complicated (it is) but if I highlight the most popular forms you will know what I mean:

  • Filtering – amplifying negative information while diminishing or completely excluding positives
  • Polarised “black & white” thinking – leaves no room for manoeuvre for yourself & others & leaves no room for balance
  • Overgeneralisation – With sparse information, creating strong opinions on a wide range of people, subjects or situations
  • Rushing to assumptions – not waiting for all (or any) available information on a subject & so assumptions are drawn & decisions made in considerable ignorance
  • Catastrophising – Why settle for a drama when a full blown crisis will do? This is when everything is bad even if it has happened only once. “I’m rubbish at this”, “No one likes me”, “You cannot trust anyone”, “Today was disastrous” etc etc.



It’s called tracking which is, in this context, keeping a log / diary of instances when you are inaccurate in any given situation about yourself, people, your day etc. If you are unaware of behaving in a particular way then how can you do anything about it? Just being aware of it will make a huge difference.

BEWARE: real and lasting shifts in deep seated mind set and behaviour takes hard work and consistency

Now you may be thinking that this is all a bit obvious and that calling yourself ‘useless’, for example, is merely a turn of phrase. But words have a huge significance: not only do they tell the outside world a great deal about us, but they also say much about our moods and mindset. Get control of them and they WILL begin to affect your attitudes and emotions for the better. 


I really enjoy connecting with larger groups of people because the atmosphere is always buzzing and I really like to see people challenging one another’s perceptions (including my own).

Of course these sessions, whether they be workshops, seminars, or set piece lectures have a very different dynamic compare to my 1 to 1 sessions:


  • Group sessions, by their nature, lack the intimacy of 1 to 1s
  • 1 to 1 sessions are very much led by the client and the discussion as it develops, whereas group work is more structured in advance
  • Group sessions tend to be one offs, or limited in number and therefore there is more detail to take on – 1 to 1s tend to be more gradual
  • Group work is great for understanding concepts but are, of course, unable to address in detail any personal issues

Like all of my coaching, in its various forms, I find group work very rewarding on a personal level. There’s no lip service here – I write and plan the session until I am personal moved by the content and I am convinced it will work.



  • Team building
  • Leadership & management development
  • Improved conflict management
  • Enhanced rapport between company and staff
  • Greater staff resilience
  • Greater unity of purpose within the team and the company in general
  • Increased productivity

I take a fresh approach every time when prepping, be it for one of my own workshops or for a session especially written for a corporate client. I value the input of my clients and together with them I will plan a session(s) to best reflect what they want to get from the experience both on an individual and a group level.


CONFLICT RESOLUTION AT THE OFFICE – Does familiarity really breed contempt?

“I do not like that man, I must get to know him better”

Abraham Lincoln (attributed)


Serious disagreement and disaffection between colleagues in the workplace is a huge drain on businesses which can ill afford distractions. Strife and the stress and unhappiness that come with it can affect productivity, cause absenteeism and increase staff turnover – aka damage!
While human behaviour is complex, most particularly when under stress, the same trends and themes are often repeated. An understanding of what is really going on and the dynamics involved is half the battle when seeking to neutralise and resolve conflict. By upping their Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skill set, managers can become more proficient at spotting the early warning signals, and are far better placed to anticipate and then influence what happens next.





We often draw conclusions about people within moments of meeting them, or even just seeing them across the office – this is the ‘first impression’ trap. Once in place such preconceptions can condition our views of what others do and say from then on. We should therefore take time to find out more about those around us, or at least be aware of not forming our opinions before we have had the chance to do so in an informed manner.



Do we ever get the wrong end of the stick? Of course we do. The best way of avoiding this is, of course, communication – there is no better antidote to adjusting a negative impression of someone than simply taking the trouble to fill in the blanks.



Often these are born of ignorance and misunderstanding but also the baggage people take to work can have a huge effect as exterior problems may spill over at the office. This is not excusing ill manners or bad behaviour but if we begin to understand the causes of someone’s behaviour it could at least change our reactions for the better.



This is about our territory, and our desire to protect what we have or what we should like to have. If we feel threatened we are unlikely to be at our most reasonable or generous, and in such a frame of mind there are short steps between viewing a colleague as a rival, a threat, and even perceived as an enemy. Once this point is reached it is hardly surprising that relations can deteriorate very badly.



This is always a good trip wire to tell us we are not confident about a particular issue. Therefore, when we are on our guard we are alerted to anything we interpret as challenging or threatening in nature – and with our shields up we have difficulty telling them apart which can then lead to the next issue.



A form of social myopia obscuring a wider picture can develop, as we do not want to be seen to be giving ground. Our opinions become beliefs and therefore part of us so it can be very easy to slip into taking challenges very personally. So often when we ‘believe’ something it becomes regarded by us as the ‘truth’. Our conditioned sense of justice is ingrained in us to defend what we believe to be the truth, to be right. Of course there are very clear-cut instances of right and wrong, truth & falsehood; in human relations, however, things are rarely so straightforward.


Understanding the nature and origins of conflict gets us well on the way to preventing them from escalating or even occurring in the first place. The most important thing, as in the quote attributed to Lincoln, we have to be bothered to look behind the façade in order to drastically improve the chances of conflict resolution.


THE LIGHT BULB MOMENT – Challenge yourself by asking the right questions

After one of my recent public speaking events a member of the audience gave me some feedback – which incidentally is always welcome – how else can I adjust my sights?  The point he raised actually goes to the core of coaching, and the quest of personal development in general:

“I thought you were going to be giving some answers”.

That fact that I am often quizzed on a wide variety of life strategy issues highlights our fundamental need, as humans, to search for answers. Nowadays there are the added imperatives of wanting answers right now, on tap, and the simpler the better – an impatience that is hardly surprising given the spirit of our age.



Of course I, like everyone else, have loads of answers, but they are mine, applicable to my life and my issues, and are of absolutely no use to anyone else whatsoever. The fact is, the best person to provide answers for your life is you. However, in creating positive lasting change, the greatest challenge is not actually in finding the answers as we already have them within us in abundance. The real issue is to find the right questions as it is through them that our answers will become apparent.

“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.”

Eugene Ionesco



The need for asking the right questions is all about reaching that light bulb moment I see so often in my clients. One of the most frequent statements from those I work with is “I’ve never looked at it like that before”. The realization that we already possess our own solutions is both very dynamic and immensely empowering. We have the answers all along – but often we are  just not able to challenge ourselves.



  • Challenge our perspectives and test our thinking
  • Can make us look more critically at the way we do things and the way we view ourselves and our world.

When I say critically, I mean in the most positive and constructive sense – after all, we cannot build anything lasting upon negative foundations.


“We cannot solve our problems

with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein



Whether in a private one to one session or speaking to large groups, my work is all about challenging people’s existing thinking and perceptions – and my principle asset for that is posing questions and then waiting for the answer. Waiting for answers is equally important for individuals planning their own life strategy: do not rummage around looking for them. Allow calm and space to do the work and if the answer is a natural fit, it will come to you and, quite simply, it will feel right.

Alan Keyse is a fully qualified Business and Life Coach who now applies his 30 years of experience as a sales executive to coaching Emotional Intelligence to business leaders, executives, managers and their staff. Alan specialises in stress reduction; conflict management; low self confidence & employee engagement. 



1000 miles journey


Belief is the key to all work related to changing life strategies regardless of whether someone is setting such plans for their home life or their business.The belief referred is not that associated with faith, but instead is concerned as it applies to facts, to our reality and to objective judgment. So what it is we need to believe in order to take control of our lives?
We can all agree that allowing negative thoughts and actions to preoccupy us, contributes nothing towards positive change in our lives. If, on the other hand, we recognise the positivity that already exists for us, there will be a change in our thinking – and that can only have a beneficial effect.
We need to recognise, acknowledge & connect with our strengths – we all have them – the stuff we are good at. At this point, if we can hear a voice saying ‘I’m no good at anything’ then that is a trip wire alerting us to the fact that we are allowing excess negativity into our thinking. If we allow negativity to run the show the results will be predictable. The truth is that by the time we reach maturity we already possess everything we need to achieve our own fulfilment – we just have to reveal it.
Lets make sure that we are surrounded by people who are truly in our corner, and who bring positive energy with them. The power of intention – our will to make things happen – is a matter of fact and it works so much better the more of us there are all wanting the same thing.
Of course, we are not in control of what others think and do, but we are totally responsible for our own thoughts and behaviour and, importantly, our reactions to people and events. It’s our choice to turn off the autopilot & once we take ownership of what happens next, it gives us much more clarity as to the choices we have to make.
This all leads to one thing: BELIEF IN OURSELVES….
This is what it all boils down to. We can set our goals and formulate our plans but the engine room is to be found in believing we can do it. Once we back our abilities, once we create an environment where our strengths can be enhanced by drive and optimism, there’s nothing that can stand in our way.
“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves”.  
Alan Keyse is a fully qualified Business and Life Coach who now applies his 30 years of experience as a sales executive to coaching Emotional Intelligence to business leaders, executives, managers and their staff either in one-to-one sessions, in groups, or speaking to larger audiences. 


QUICK TIPS, EASY WAYS – no such thing!


In life development there’s no such thing!

I write a blog relating to issues I come across on a regular basis: decision making; obstacles to clear thinking and focus; self confidence; workplace stress; early depression among executives, and so on. Just recently a coaching website very kindly agreed to published one of my missives with the condition that they could affect minor alterations to fit in with their style and theme. I willingly agreed and thought no more of it until one of my regularly readers brought my attention to the title of the piece which had been edited to begin with the words ‘Five Easy Ways To……’

‘Five Easy Ways’, ‘Ten Quick Tips’, ‘Seven simple steps’, are all anathema to me and unfortunately do my profession, at best, a huge disservice. Before proceeding I should say that the website concerned reacted promptly when I pointed out my feelings and they quickly changed the title to one I could agree with.

Blogging by its nature cannot explore a topic in any depth. It is there to promote interest in a given subject and to provoke the reader to ask questions of themselves and to challenge some of their perspectives. These mini articles of 300-500 words, however, may offer insights and illustrate behavioural triggers that can help people to begin to understand how life management and/or change may be brought about, but that is all. In our social media centric age we seek snippets of information, fast solutions, and ‘drive-thru’ concepts – but in my profession, to offer people anything other than complete reality is, to put it mildly, profoundly misleading.
There is no reason that the universe should be designed for our convenience.

John D Barrow (British cosmologist)

Our social conditioning began when we were small children so we have decades worth of beliefs, of knowledge, of family and social norms – some very good, some we are better off without – to balance. In my experience there is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to addressing how we see and think about our world.

When discussing managing our businesses or our lives, it takes hard work, clarity, focus, planning and time. With these factors in place we can achieve anything we set our minds to. Straightforward it may be – but simple it aint.

iceberg floating

Emotional Intelligence


EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE is regarded by successful business leaders as an essential skill to compliment IQ and is defined as:

“The capacity for recognising our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships”

The five domains improved by enhanced Emotional Intelligence are:

Improved connections to our emotions & their effects on us physically, our thinking & our behaviour. A greater understanding of our emotional strengths and limitations.

To better control our behaviour and reactions. We also become more flexible in challenging circumstances

Strengthens our ability to get inspired, motivated, up-beat, and ensure we stay there consistently

Understanding the emotions, wants and needs of others. Being better attuned to body language and moods, be it in individual or a group dynamic.

Developing relationships & communications. More empathetic & effective management – picking up early warnings signs of potential conflicts.

85% of financial success is due to skills of personality, communication, negotiation
Carnegie Institute of Technology